At the C.O.W. Council meeting on October 23, Heritage planner Alison Torrie Lapaire presented a review of the Heritage Master Plan which was adopted in May of 2016. The review included a couple of new (or resurrected) ideas: 1. The possibility of expanding the Heritage districts to include Corktown (East from Victoria Park to D’Arcy and South of Perry – originally suggested in 2007) and 2. Organizing a free public event to promote the idea that Heritage is good for Tourism. In addition, there were several other “announcements”. The review referenced the Vision of the Heritage Plan and linked Heritage with the small town character of Cobourg. The stated reason for the review was to report on progress, especially on short term action items (3 years or less).
The Vision in the Heritage Master Plan is:
To conserve and enhance cultural heritage resources and manage change so that the community can continue to grow in keeping with the heritage character of Cobourg while also preserving the vibrant small-town feel.
Status of Short Term Action items
Notable items only – see full report for all items
- Consider other areas for possible designation as Heritage Conservation Districts.
A staff study in 2010 suggests that Corktown may be suitable for designation. This was after LACAC suggested it in 2007. Alison asked that this be included in the 2018/19 budget.
- Provide information to Property Owners about the benefits of Heritage Designation.
“The Heritage section of the [Town’s] website includes a page titled Benefits of Designation. This communicates to the public the many environmental, social, economic, individual and community benefits of designating heritage resources. The Cobourg Heritage Advisory Committee (CHC) has undertaken to host a free special event in November 2017 which will feature a guest speaker and will invite the community to consider why the heritage of our community is important to protect. Following the anticipated success of this event, the CHC intends to plan similar guest speakers and workshops in coming years, with a view to engaging the community in the protection of our Town’s built heritage.”
This event is on November 4 in the Concert Hall at Victoria Hall from 2-4:00 pm. More at this Town link or download the poster directly. The focus appears to be to emphasize the benefits of heritage to tourism and the economy.
- Archaeological Assessments
Cobourg’s new official Plan “requires the protection, conservation or mitigation of sites of archaeological value and areas of archaeological potential”. An example is the new Legion development on Hibernia which has been delayed while excavations are made. Apparently they found the foundations of an earlier building believed to be the Calcutt brewery. This was reported by the Cobourg Museum Foundation in their newsletter here.
- Branding and Marketing
This would be aimed at “celebrating the small town character of Cobourg”. For this purpose “Heritage Planning staff will be working with Recreation, Culture and Tourism staff to highlight heritage in the development of a comprehensive tourism strategy in 2018-2019.”
- Work with Like-minded Groups
“Heritage Planning staff are presently pursuing discussions to participate in a province-wide video series to share Cobourg’s history within our own community and other like-minded communities in Ontario. It is anticipated that our participation in this project will be determined this Fall, with a view to the video series being launched in February 2018 during Heritage Week.”
- Town should consider re-use of older buildings for expansion of office space
The Market building was recently modified to accommodate DBIA and Town Tourism staff. Dressler House will soon be available – no specific plans have been announced for this.
- Town should address issue of tax rebates for under-utilized properties
“Northumberland County is presently undertaking a review of the vacancy rebate program, with consideration possible for phasing it out.”
When the report was presented to Council, John Henderson gave it lavish praise. Although the report was received for information, it included a number of forward looking statements giving an insight into the thinking in the Town’s Heritage Planning department. Note especially the intent to educate us more and to participate in a “comprehensive tourism strategy”. It’s also good to see the term “vibrant small town” being used. Is that better than “Feel Good Town”?