Council Responds to Delegations

At the committee of the Whole Council meeting on Monday, there were two delegations: Carol Anne Bell-Smith asked that the mat at the Beach be upgraded because of deficiencies in the existing mat and Lauren Quinto, President of the Cobourg Farmers’ Market Association asked for better terms for their agreement with the Town.  They want a 5 year lease, parking passes and storage space. And Council responded with actions.  Summaries of their presentations are below but both delegations were well received.  The cost of upgrading the mat would be approx. $30K plus installation – a decision was deferred to current budget deliberations; after debate, Councillor Brian Darling’s request to leave to Staff the details of the farmers’ market lease etc… Read complete articleCouncil Responds to Delegations

By-Law Enforcement Annual Report

At the Committee of the Whole meeting on January 30th, Brent Larmer’s By-Law department will publish their 2022 Annual Report – it’s their first. Their official name is now “Municipal Law Enforcement and Licensing Services” and during 2022, they moved out of Victoria Hall to the adjacent Market building. There are no longer any seniors’ programs there and after renovations they plan that up to 10 employees will work there. The Annual report provides details on what the officers have been doing and what is planned for 2023. The report clearly indicates that the department will be measuring their work by implementing Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These are stated levels of performance to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – that is,… Read complete articleBy-Law Enforcement Annual Report

Report on Winter (Christmas) Storm

No doubt in the interest of transparency, at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Brent Larmer will present a report on how the Christmas storm emergency was managed.  I didn’t see any announcement but Brent (Director of Legislative Services) is now the “Community Emergency Management Coordinator” (CEMC) and Fire Chief Ellard Beavan is the alternate CEMC.  Other members of the team (for the Storm emergency) were: CAO (Tracey Vaughan,  Fire Chief (Ellard Beavan), Police Chief (Paul VandeGraaf), Public Works (Laurie Wills), LUSI (Dereck Paul), Communications (Kara Euale) and Manager of Facilities (Jason Johns).  They met in 13 meetings over the period December 23 to 25 and Brent reports that during the Holiday “over 50 Front line Staff worked, assisted and… Read complete articleReport on Winter (Christmas) Storm

First look at 2023 Budget

At the budget meetings on January 25 and 26, staff presented to Council the details of the budget that they had come up with. The tax levy required for this budget would be 5.86% – this is after a growth amount of 1.5% due to an increased assessment. The total tax bill is also impacted by an increase of the County portion (6.0%) although the School board increase will be zero. You need to read the full presentation available in Resources below to see where the money will go but it was not only Councillors who were learning from the process, there were a good number of things that others can learn – many not really budget related. This report… Read complete articleFirst look at 2023 Budget

More Public Input on Budget

Council held a special meeting on Monday, 23 January, to accept public input on the budget. As well as receiving the report about the online survey per my previous report, there was a presentation by Johnny Percolides wanting a second dog park (at Donegan Park) and presentations from Community groups requesting a grant. The total requested is $87K but unlike previous years, no target total has been announced. Last year’s total was $30K but some previous years were $50K. No decisions were made at Monday’s meeting but there were 14 presentations plus 4 others who did not make a presentation. I sorted the applications based on whether they were new for 2023 and whether they made a presentation. For those… Read complete articleMore Public Input on Budget

Taxpayer Input to 2023 budget

It’s a pity more people don’t provide their opinion on the Town’s budget.  On Monday, 23 January, the results of the online budget survey will be presented at a public Council meeting.  From 15 December to 4 January 2023, only 70 citizens bothered to air their thoughts on the budget. (For comparison, 6,757 voted in the last election.) At the same meeting, other inputs will be accepted: 1) Written and Oral budget submissions and 2) requests for community grants.  The agenda lists only one written submission – from Hope Bergeron once again asking that Transit revert to scheduled service – my report on 24 January will provide what Oral submissions were made.  The report on the Survey and Hope’s letter are… Read complete articleTaxpayer Input to 2023 budget

Right of Passage along Shoreline

One of Cobourg’s features is that we have a lake – complete with not just one, but two beaches – a large sandy groomed beach and a natural beach – the west beach.  At one end of the west Beach is a natural “park” and the other end is a creek – but oops, you can’t walk to the creek because you cross private property  – and further, that the property owner is insistent that no-one ventures onto their land or even goes into the water which they have title to.  But for those who would like to walk the full length of the West beach, the City of St. Catharines is suggesting that the provincial Government pass legislation that… Read complete articleRight of Passage along Shoreline

More Transit Discussion at Council

At Monday’s Council meeting, correspondence from Hope Bergeron generated discussion on Cobourg’s Transit system. Hope was unhappy with the on-demand system and wanted a return to a fixed route system.  She called the on-demand system “illogical and exclusionary”.  She accepted that it was needed while we had the Covid pandemic but now “life returns to normal”.  She said that she had written “two months ago in Nov 2022” which she said was not read out or acknowledged.  I could not find any online reference to that but I did find that she had written to Council on the same subject November 2021 although it was received as a community grant request.  Both of her hand-written letters are available below. A… Read complete articleMore Transit Discussion at Council

Police Transparency and Budget

It’s hard to know what other Police forces do but Cobourg Police are increasing their level of reporting.  For the last year, they have been issuing monthly reports on the quantity and types of crime including neat graphs showing trends for the last 3 years.  They also report on the number of Opioid overdose calls received. I find the most interesting to be their report on “Investigative Occurrences” which describes a selection of incidents – some of which have been resolved and others are still being investigated. But these reports are not available on the Police web site nor on their social media – instead you need to look at the Agendas for their monthly board meetings.  I have created… Read complete articlePolice Transparency and Budget

Short Council Meeting

The Committee of the Whole Council meeting on 9 January was probably the shortest ever (less than an hour). The big item on the Agenda was a review of unfinished business from the previous term but Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty moved that consideration of it be moved until after Council had met to create a new Strategic Plan. This would mean that action schedules and even “disposing” of actions could be set in line with Council priorities. Councillor Miriam Mutton wanted to discuss several items but in the end voted with other councillors to accept Nicole’s deferral.  She wondered about the Strategic planning session schedule (not yet set) and whether it would include the Governance review (No).  The dates for… Read complete articleShort Council Meeting

Police Busy over Holiday Period

We talk about many homeless people having mental health problems, but when you read Police reports about who they have arrested, you have to wonder if many “criminals” are also mentally sick.  Often they break probation conditions, drive without a licence or car insurance and flee from police.  They are often caught in routine traffic stops – presumably because of suspicious behaviour – then found in possession of drugs or prohibited weapons even while on probation.  Why would anyone in their right mind do that?  But over the last several days, Cobourg police have been busy catching – then mostly releasing – many of these unfortunate souls.  Below is a summary of announcements since Christmas day.  We know that police… Read complete articlePolice Busy over Holiday Period