Affordable Housing Promises by Candidates for Mayor

One of the issues in this election is what to do about affordable housing.  County Council is responsible for providing affordable housing and Mayors from each municipality are County Councillors so it seems that the affordable housing promises by candidates for Mayor are relevant. Since this is a blog, it’s web based so a review of online statements seems appropriate.  Cobourg’s Candidates for Mayor are incumbent John Henderson and local businessman Lucas Cleveland so I have extracted their positions on this issue from their Web sites and where available, other Social Media.  I emailed both candidates offering to publish their response but I have received no response. Note that affordable housing is a very separate issue from Homelessness although it’s… Read complete articleAffordable Housing Promises by Candidates for Mayor

Town has Purchased Surplus School Land

When the two high Schools in Cobourg amalgamated, the land for a playing field in the West End of Town was no longer being used. (See below for more detail on location). It was therefore likely that the School Board would eventually sell the land but there is a process that they must follow that means that 15 or more entities – including the Town of Cobourg – must be notified first. They did that in 2021 (see the Timeline below) although prior to that they formalized the right-of-way provided for the Boardwalk. Negotiations between the Town (Council) and School board were held in closed session to ensure confidential negotiations.  On September 20, 2022, the School board accepted the Town’s… Read complete articleTown has Purchased Surplus School Land

News and Decisions coming to Council

As previously reported, the CoW Council meeting on Monday 26 will have a long Agenda.  This is the fourth article (post) on this meeting – see Resources below for a list of earlier articles. Apart from the five items which are already the subject of my reports, I count four more items of interest coming before Council as well as a number of routine items (mostly Heritage Permits but also some new policies).  1) Keith Hearst, recently hired Grant and Policy Writer, provides a report on applications made and approved in 2022; 2) If approved, the development at the corner of Albert and Division will proceed – but it’s controversial;  3) A use has been chosen for the empty Memorial… Read complete articleNews and Decisions coming to Council

End of Year Staff Reports – Part 3

At the year’s final Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting next Monday (26 Sept), Council will be asked to approve an usually large number of items.  Previously posted were highlights plus a report on the Harbour repairs but there are more items.  Staff reported on progress with three reports: The Service Delivery Report; the 2022 Organizational Review and the Strategic Plan.  In addition there are four policy reviews and a report on the Town’s grant applications.  The Agenda also includes a number of other items that need to be made public plus the usual Heritage Permits and other less significant, but still important, matters. (Watch for a report on these in Part 4 – yes, there are a lot of… Read complete articleEnd of Year Staff Reports – Part 3

Harbour Repair Cost Problem

As we heard over the last couple of years, Cobourg’s Harbour is in urgent need of repair – that is, the harbour walls and the breakwaters need a whole lot of work.  A consultant has done the design work and the estimated cost for Phase one of the work was put in the 2022 budget and tenders issued.  Specifically, Phase one was to rehabilitate the walls on the north and east side of the marina basin as well as the fuel dock. However, all 6 bids responding to the tender were well over the amount in the budget – the budget is $5M and the lowest bid was $7M so Staff are recommending that the tender be cancelled and that… Read complete articleHarbour Repair Cost Problem

End of Year Staff Reports

At the Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on 26 September, three major reports on Staff actions will be presented as well as five reports on Policies and other actions.  Reports on these by Cobourg News blog will follow in the coming days but advance notice on some key items seems called for.  The reports are listed below and it must be said that it’s good that Staff, led by CAO Tracey Vaughan, are providing these updates to Council and the public. Some things that are happening and highlighted by these reports (notably the Service Delivery Report) are:  Reduced spending on Tourism, $1M per year increase in Parking Revenue, the new Asset Management plan and review which will point to… Read complete articleEnd of Year Staff Reports

Johnny Percolides and Brian Darling

These two candidates have very little in common – one difference is that Johnny is not planning a web site although Brian Darling only recently put his online.  Johnny had previously run in 2014 and 2018 but was not elected and Brian has been a councillor since 2014. Johnny is a Real Estate Broker and Brian is a retired Fire Department Captain. Johnny is relying on Facebook and his “Meet and Greet” sessions while Brian’s campaign is more traditional.  There’s not a lot of information available on what Johnny would do as a councillor while Brian is letting us know what his “Areas of Focus” are – see summary below.  Like other candidates, Brian stresses being fiscally responsible and engaging with the… Read complete articleJohnny Percolides and Brian Darling

Candidates Mark Mills and Sara Gardinier

Two lesser known Candidates have added their names to those wanting to be elected as Councillor: Mark Mills and Sara Gardinier.  Mark is Manager Transportation Services, City of Toronto and previously had a similar job at the County.  Sara is a homecare PSW.  As you might expect, Mark has a strong interest in active transportation and Sara wants to change the struggles the elderly and the disabled experience in our town.  Mark’s web site records his meetings with key people in the Town and appreciates their support.  Sara does not have a web site but seems to be relying on Facebook where she is quite active and says “change is needed”, “You can count on her to be 100% transparent.”… Read complete articleCandidates Mark Mills and Sara Gardinier

Community Improvement Plan – Awards from 2021 Budget

It seems that Council believes that affordable housing requires that the Town provide subsidies by way of grants, loans and waiving fees.  The way to do this is to create a “Community Improvement Plan” directed at affordable housing.  After a consultant’s study and public meetings, such a plan was approved in November 2020 (see Resources below).  The process to implement it was then approved in June of 2021 and inputs were requested from developers to obtain the 2021 budget of $250,000.  An ad hoc committee was created to review the applications and at the CoW on 6 September, 2022 one recipient was finally approved:  Balder Corporation was awarded $248K in grants and loans.  This was ratified at the Regular Council… Read complete articleCommunity Improvement Plan – Awards from 2021 Budget

Northumberland County Pilot Bus Service

After a lot of lobbying and much political wrangling, a bus service taking Northumberland County residents to other Towns and to the Go Train in Oshawa is now in service for a one year trial. Called “Commuter Connect” you first must register then you must buy tickets online or by phone.  The service operates two routes (lines) connecting at Northumberland Mall and there are four return trips per day – Monday to Friday.  Tickets start at $3.00 one way within a community (but there’s only one stop in each community – so huh?); $9 for Multi Zone one way (Travel to other Northumberland communities) and $13 one way for the Durham line which connects to the Go Train in Oshawa… Read complete articleNorthumberland County Pilot Bus Service

Bryan Lambert – Delegation to Council

Many citizens of Cobourg criticize Councillors but few actually make a delegation to Council and let them know what – in their opinion – they are doing wrong. At Monday’s regular Council meeting, Bryan Lambert made a delegation to Council saying that for multiple reasons, hiring yet another consultant was the wrong thing to do.  The consultant in this case would review all the user fees paid to the Town to see if they could be increased and to provide a formula for an annual review.  Bryan also pointed to the unusual adjustment of the contract price to keep it below the limit imposed by the fact that the Council was now in a Lame Duck period.  This award was the… Read complete articleBryan Lambert – Delegation to Council