King Street West Update

Cobourg residents are encouraged to shop and do business downtown.  The centre of downtown is King Street West but some stores have closed or are wanting to close and their buildings are up for sale – although there are also building owners selling with the tenants continuing.  What does that mean?  A CIP is available that provides grants for building improvements but the amounts are small compared to current ask prices.  The program to “vitalize” the Downtown that started over 10 years ago seems to have died and judged by actions, this was a low priority in the previous council.  On King Street West alone, I count 10 current listings of downtown properties, some for multiple buildings.  There is negative… Read complete articleKing Street West Update

Revisions to Policies on Free Parking

At the Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on 21 February, Director of Legislative Services, Brent Larmer submitted a memo that asked Council for direction on the distribution of free or discounted parking passes. This was in response to a discussion during budget deliberations on Community Grants when staff were asked to review the relevant policies. Some groups currently ask for free parking passes as part of the Community grant process but others ask separately as part of organizing a special event. There are three policies that affect the issuing of free parking passes and Brent made recommendations for changes to each of them. Brian Darling moved that staff make the recommended modifications and bring the amended policies back to… Read complete articleRevisions to Policies on Free Parking

Sleeping Cabins – update

At Cobourg Council’s Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on Tuesday 21 February, there were seven delegations about the proposal to put “Sleeping Cabins” in the parking lot of the Memorial Arena on Furnace Street.  Six were in favour and one presented a petition of 36 nearby residents who were against the idea.  Not all of those in favour were from Cobourg – Rob Horgan was originally from Durham but said he “needed a place to go” and even the representative from the “Northumberland Sleeping Cabin Collective” (NSCC), Alastair McKeating, was from Port Hope.  Several people spoke emotionally about how homelessness was bad and in fact was a crisis.  They were short on what to do about the crisis other… Read complete articleSleeping Cabins – update

New Annual Report by Planning Division

In 2020 CAO Tracey Vaughan commissioned a Service Delivery Review followed by an organization review which resulted in comprehensive reports with recommendations – some of them contentious.  One of the results was a re-organizing of the Planning Department.  The simultaneous retirement of its long-time Director – Glenn McGlashon – and the hiring of a replacement – Anne Taylor Scott – allowed for some fresh thinking.  Economic Development was moved under this Division and a new manager hired (Daniel van Kampen). Planning was then split into long-range, under long-term incumbent Rob Franklin, and Development Review (approving applications etc) under new hire Vanessa Reusser.  Also new is an annual report on activity in this division – including a review of external factors… Read complete articleNew Annual Report by Planning Division

Waterfront Parking Survey Results

At the next Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on 21 February, Council will receive a staff report on the latest survey about waterfront parking.  This issue goes back to 2021 when there was concern about managing crowds at the Beach.  The Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee recommended a major increase in parking fees at the waterfront with passes available to residents.  There were a number of meetings and surveys to get residents’ feedback before implementation for the 2022 season.  Then in January this year, a follow up survey was done to review the changes.  A total of 465 people responded to the online survey which mostly asked about how well the changes were understood and details about resident passes…. Read complete articleWaterfront Parking Survey Results

Affordable and Rental CIP for 2022

In the summer of 2022, applications were opened for Cobourg’s Community Improvement Plan which is intended to “help stimulate the provision of affordable and rental housing in the community”.  The deadline for applications was 30 September 2022 with the announced budget being $125,000 although unused amounts are carried forward.  At the Committee of the Whole Meeting on 21 February, 2023, the committee reviewing applications will provide their recommendations to Council.  All six applicants are to be approved for a total of $108,627.  Details of the awards (assuming recommendations are approved) are listed below.  The committee also recommends that the same committee members work on the 2023 CIP which is anticipated to be approved in the 2023 budget. (List of Committee members… Read complete articleAffordable and Rental CIP for 2022

Last Year for Community Grants?

Although Council approved grants to 17 community groups, it may be the last year that this is done.  When Council approved the grants, an additional sentence was added: “And further that Council direct staff to review the Community Grant Policy including options to cease the program, streamline the application process for more efficient decision making or offer special rental and parking rates for non-profit organizations;  And further that a report be brought back to Council by June 2023.”  Mayor Cleveland and Councillor Barber were against any grants and Councillor Brian Darling was against cash grants. Brian was also reluctant to approve in-kind grants to waive fees for Victoria Hall since Victoria Hall is already subsidized.  Councillors also suggested that more… Read complete articleLast Year for Community Grants?

Second Meeting to Review 2023 budget

Councillors covered a lot of ground in reviewing the budget for 2023.  Key issues were an increase in compensation for Councillors, Community Grants, Centennial pool, tree planting and of course, the tax rate or levy.  In the interest of minimizing the length of this report, I am leaving a report on community grants until tomorrow – but they were not cancelled.  Although there might be some minor changes if arithmetic errors are discovered, the tax levy increase will be 6.6%.  There is an 8% increase in the budget but because of growth in the Town resulting in an increased value of taxable properties of 1.5%, your taxes will go up by 6.6% in 2023 compared to 2022. For comparison, the… Read complete articleSecond Meeting to Review 2023 budget

First Budget Review meeting

In the first 2023 budget review session, Council made no decisions but lots of ideas were suggested.  The meeting on Tuesday (7 Feb) was chaired by Mayor Cleveland although assisted somewhat by Deputy Mayor Beatty – budget responsibility has not so far been delegated to the Deputy Mayor;  that awaits the Governance review.  There was not a line by line review – instead the Mayor asked Councillors to talk about any items they wanted to discuss and if there were any changes to be made, that would be noted on a virtual whiteboard for decision at the end of the meeting.  Most suggestions required spending more money and a few were for savings.  The total was estimated at $600K which… Read complete articleFirst Budget Review meeting

Residents Express Views to Council

As Dennis Nabieszko has said (see Resources below), Mayor Lucas Cleveland has achieved his objective of getting taxpayer feedback.  At the Council meeting on 6 February, there were 5 delegations and 25 items of correspondence.  Of these, most were about issues of concern to residents:  2 were about keeping the Centennial pool (1 delegation, 1 letter); 5 were about the Sleeping Cabins in the Memorial Arena parking lot (5 letters); 2 were about the need for more trees not fewer (1 delegation and 1 letter);  1 suggested that more compensation for councillors would be fair (delegation); one asked that Transit be a priority (1 letter).  There were other concerns – see the full list below including what Council decided to… Read complete articleResidents Express Views to Council

County looking at Northumberland Police Force

At the County Council Meeting on 25 January, Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander made a  motion to “approve a budget of $75,000 to retain a consultant to update the 2007 ‘Policing Study Final Report for Northumberland County’, in order to investigate opportunities for a consolidated police service in Northumberland County.”  His motion was seconded by Cobourg Mayor Lucas Cleveland and passed with the support of Port Hope Mayor Olena Hankivsky and Alnwick/Haldimand Township Mayor John Logel.  In an interview, Lucas said that there are increasing problems with officers being on long term disability because of PTSD and that Cobourg Police are having difficulty with recruiting and that a larger Police force would make it easier to resolve this.  Mayor Cleveland sees… Read complete articleCounty looking at Northumberland Police Force