Early look at Organization Review

One of the things that any CAO wants to know, is whether their organization is optimum.  So CAO Tracey Vaughan has hired KPMG to find out. On Monday, an initial report was presented to Council by Oscar Poloni with a final report due in another week.  It’s not clear if all of it will be public so let’s look at what we have.  Oscar pointed to the earlier Service Delivery Review for complementary information (it focused on what you do and why you do it) whereas the Organization Review focused on “how you are structured to deliver services” and emphasized that the Organization should be aligned with Strategic priorities.  Given that, he was concerned that changing priorities meant that some… Read complete articleEarly look at Organization Review

Town of Cobourg Employee Arrested

In the early morning of Saturday, September 11, 2021 Cobourg Police started an investigation into a Town of Cobourg Employee because of a complaint by a resident. Initially, the name of the man charged “was not released to protect the integrity of the investigation and ensure the victim’s privacy”. But today, Police announced that 27-year-old, Michael Dale Orleck of Hamilton Township has been arrested and charged with sexual assault, mischief to property under $5000 and criminal harassment.  This is because the investigation suggested there may be other victims so “the name and photo of the suspect are being released”. Police say that Orleck worked at the Cobourg Community Centre but is “currently prohibited from attending there until the conclusion of the… Read complete articleTown of Cobourg Employee Arrested

Next Council meeting to be Hybrid

In this case, hybrid refers to a mix of in-person and Zoom meetings.  Council will meet in Council chambers but will allow individual councillors to attend via Zoom if they cannot attend in person.  This decision was made at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting but not before there was considerable debate.  Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin first proposed that this format start on November 30 but other Councillors did not see the need to wait.  Further, Councillor Nicole Beatty wanted hybrid meetings to also be available for advisory Committee meetings.  Although Town Clerk Brent Larmer said that this was possible, it would cause a lot of work to accommodate so this idea was voted down. Separately, CAO Tracey Vaughan said… Read complete articleNext Council meeting to be Hybrid

Cobourg’s 2021 Highland Games has Big Crowd

In Cobourg at least, there are signs that we are “back to normal” – almost.  There were no Highland Games in 2020 and this year’s was moved from the usual June date to Saturday, September 11.  Billed as the “only Highland Games, in all of Canada, with Pipe Band, Individual Piping & Drumming, and Heavy competitions” it felt just like it has been for the last 57 years.  Although there were no highland dance competitions, many dancers were there anyway – doing “demonstrations”.  I heard an announcement that there were 170 pipers and drummers and organizers expected 12 bands.  Although there were obviously fewer bands (maybe about half the usual), the number was still impressive – see the video below. … Read complete articleCobourg’s 2021 Highland Games has Big Crowd

All-Candidates Meeting

A group of local organizations concerned about sustainability have announced that they will be organizing an all-Candidates meeting.  Chambers of Commerce from Northumberland are organizing one but it’s just for members so it’s good that the sustainability group are organizing this event which is open to everyone.  It will be via Zoom but will allow Q and A.  All Candidates have confirmed.  The idea is to get the position of all candidates – and presumably their parties – on where they stand on “the climate crisis, sustainable communities, and the human right to a healthy environment”.  To participate, you must register via Event Brite although tickets are free.  When you register, you get an email with a link to the… Read complete articleAll-Candidates Meeting

Changes Proposed to Cobourg’s Animal Control

Currently, the management of lost and stray cats and dogs is done by the Joint Animal Control Municipal Services located on Theatre Road – generally called the “Shelter of Hope”.  This facility and service is jointly managed and financed by Cobourg, Hamilton Township, Port Hope and Alnwick/Haldimand – the cost to Cobourg is $104,000 in 2021 or an average of $9.56 per household.  But other municipalities pay an average of $4.82 to $4.63 per household and a recent KPMG report suggested Cobourg could save $40K per year. In addition, Cobourg staff felt that current performance was not satisfactory.  The current agreement mandated 2 years notice and in February 2020, the Town gave notice that it would withdraw from the agreement. … Read complete articleChanges Proposed to Cobourg’s Animal Control

About Cobourg’s Web sites

This post is a little different – it’s about web sites serving Cobourg – and particularly about ones that entertain. Most web sites provide information but some do more. This post will attempt to help guide you. Many people use Facebook pages for information. These are really personal web sites and some are even used by businesses instead of conventional web sites but Facebook sites are limited. I will point you to easy ways to get news, information on clubs, information on the Town and I’ll highlight a few neat stories about Cobourg that you may or may not have heard of. Did you know that a commercial passenger plane once landed here?  And that there was a public hanging?  Did you know that Cobourg… Read complete articleAbout Cobourg’s Web sites

Council has second thoughts

Cobourg’s Council meetings come in pairs.  First comes the Committee of the Whole (CoW) where items are generally first raised and debated; then at the regular Council meeting comes a confirmation including any necessary by-Laws. At Monday’s regular Council meeting, Councillors revised two significant decisions from the previous CoW: 1) when deliberating the budget, what the target should be for the base levy increase and 2) whether to resume in-person Council meetings.  Other motions from the CoW passed as expected.  Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin said that since the target was based on the inflation rate and that this was now higher (July was 3.7%), the new target became 5.25%.  However, the high target was approved with no debate other than… Read complete articleCouncil has second thoughts

Town of Cobourg reports 2020 Financials

At last Monday’s Committee of the Whole Council meeting, the audited financial statements for 2020 were presented.  The audit was clean – KPMG signed off saying that the statements were truthful (that’s really what an audit does – looks for untruths or errors).  Jennifer Heslinga, from the Town’s Finance Department made a long presentation and apart from a few interesting items, it was all about esoteric accounting details with an emphasis on what the pandemic did to the numbers and how the reserves work.  Frankly, I did not understand the details on reserves so I’ll just report the interesting items. For example, where did the money come from and where did it go. Big picture? Cobourg gets only 47% of… Read complete articleTown of Cobourg reports 2020 Financials

Walkway to Cobourg’s Lighthouse too Expensive

At the March 8 Committee of the Whole (C.O.W.) Council Meeting, it was decided to ask for an estimate of the cost of making a walkway from the East Pier out to the lighthouse.  At the C.O.W. meeting on Monday, this estimate was provided and discussed.  According to the Town’s Engineering Manager, Terry Hoekstra, adding a pathway would cost about $3 million (+30%, more detail below). This is in addition to the cost of repairing the breakwater under the path. It seems that a breakwater can be allowed to move a little but a path must not. This means piles would be required as well as the armour stone. It also means that it would cost even more if done separately to fixing the… Read complete articleWalkway to Cobourg’s Lighthouse too Expensive