A draft copy of the long-awaited waterfront study is now available on the Town’s web site (see link below). It was presented to the Parks and Recreation Committee on Wednesday, 16 May and will be a draft until accepted by Council (expected June 4) but no significant changes are expected. It’s a very large document in two parts with 410 pages. It recommends spending an estimated $27M over 24 years. There are 83 “initiatives” grouped into 24 projects – these cover everything from the Harbour to Victoria Park to Parking. The controversial subjects of the Trailer Park, Marina expansion and East Pier enhancements are NOT avoided and are included in recommended actions. This is a major project for Director Dean Hustwick and it has been the subject of a lot of discussion – but the turmoil is far from over.
At the committee meeting, there were two presentations from citizens:
- Ted Williams questioned the financial health of the Marina saying that the Marina is underfunded by approximately $1.25 million over the next 10 years (more on this in next presentation). He was also concerned that the original Survey Monkey data is no longer online but he was informed that the data is now included in the report.
- Bryan Lambert pointed out what he saw as errors about the Marina. He said that the Marina and Trailer Park should be “expected to make money” so there should be no capital expenditures by taxpayers. He pointed to the asset manager plan which said the Marina needed $175K to be spent per year for 10 years so instead of a $75k/yr profit, the Marina is losing $100K per year. He also said that there is no business case for a travel lift (see Links for his 2016 presentation on this). He was told that although it was not available online before he made his presentation, many of his concerns would be answered in Appendix I – A Business Case for Cobourg Harbour and Marina. [I was later told that this business case does show that the Marina can cover the costs for the lift.]
The consultants gave a presentation on highlights of their report – see Presentation to Parks and Recreation Committee in links below. There was a long discussion on the recommendation of expanding the Marina by adding slips to the Central pier with the key question: why is this being suggested when Council has already rejected it twice? The reason given is that the consultants are saying that the Marina is profitable and additional slips will make it even more profitable. Brian Darling said that “now we will have all the cards on the table”. Committee member Richard Pope made it clear that he did not agree with all the recommendations in the report. Stan Frost said that in his opinion it is not intended that the Committee or Council “approve” everything in the report – the Committee does not “endorse” it. He then revised the wording of the motion to be passed by the committee so that the report is described as a framework rather than a set-in-concrete plan. Specifically, moved by Stan Frost “THAT the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee support the Town of Cobourg Waterfront User Needs Assessment and Detailed Design Report as a framework for further planning and decision making by Council and staff. And FURTHER THAT the Committee recommend that the report be adopted by Municipal Council.”
Council will have to decide whether it will follow all the recommendations and will have to decide if they agree with the sequence suggested. But the report does provide a vision for the waterfront – like it or not. I would suggest that most people will like most recommendations but some will be unhappy with a few of the ideas. The report is too large to be covered in one post – but here are some highlights.
Highlights of Waterfront Study
- Survey results provide a major input to recommendations – there was an online citizen survey, a survey of businesses and stakeholders, and multiple public meetings.
- Tourism is important and a benefit to the economy.
- The trailer park (called a campground) will stay and be upgraded.
- The West Beach and headland should be enhanced but stay natural.
- The Marina should be expanded with slips on the west side of the central pier. Other harbour users can still be accommodated. The consultants studied this issue in depth and have said that despite what a couple of groups say, the large harbour and specifically 76% of the common harbour is more than adequate to accommodate canoes, kayaks and Dragonboats. Also, for Dragonboats, while the harbour is quite large, it is already too small for most sanctioned races which need to be 500 meters.
- The Marina should be equipped with a travel lift – the Yacht club will stop providing the service and a crane is unsafe. The estimated cost is $829K.
- The Marina and Yacht Club buildings should be combined into one building with expanded facilities/services.
- Upgrade parking to west of Yacht club building.
- Repair and upgrade East pier to make it more pedestrian friendly and allow food trucks (or other options) in season.
- Realign walkway between beach and Trailer Park to provide a larger buffer between trailer park and beach – some beach area would be lost or moved.
- Provide parking permits to residents near waterfront. This would be for new areas where paid on-street parking is extended.
The consultants and steering committee concede that:
- The Plan is flexible and should be adjusted to reflect new information received over time.
- Future Councils and staff will determine if, when and how projects are implemented.
It will also take a while for the full details of this study and its vision to be understood by citizens, staff and councillors.
As this study gets accepted by Council and a final version is published, there will be future posts on Cobourg blog News with more detail.
On Town portal (web site)
- Cobourg Waterfront Study – Draft – 47MB, 138 pages
- Cobourg Waterfront Study – Appendices A to I – Draft – 29MB, 454 pages (now updated).
- Cobourg Waterfront Study – Presentation to Parks and Recreation Committee by consultant – 29MB, 51 pages
Download from Cobourg Internet
- Delegation to Parks and Recreation Committee from Ted Williams.
- Presentation to Council by Bryan Lambert
- 2017 Citizen Budget Input (includes Bryan Lambert’s “demolishment” of business case for Travel lift) – October 2016.