FM 89.7 concerts supported and other Council updates

At tonight’s Council Committee of the Whole meeting, Barry Johnson from Northumberland 89.7 FM made a presentation asking for approval of a Community Grant – their original request was denied at the budget review meeting – see “Budget for 2018” link below.  He gave considerable detail and asked for $2,995 but $2,500 was approved.  Miriam Mutton made a presentation as a citizen and objected to the spending of taxpayer money on the Kerr Street “layby” (see link below); the YMCA “agreement” was deferred until after the YMCA Board had met on the subject (no date set);  the Floating Playground was discussed and the RFP was approved to be issued.   Also announced was a replacement for Bryan Baxter – he was chair of the Cobourg Police Services Board but died recently.

FM 98.7 Summer Concerts

Barry Johnson with Forrest Rowden asking a question.
Barry Johnson with Forrest Rowden asking a question.

Barry Johnson, Northumberland 89.7 Special Event Manager, made a presentation to Council asking for approval of a grant to support their 8 summer concerts.  This will be their fourth year – Barry made the case that:

  • Northumberland 89.7 FM is volunteer based and not-for-profit.  Income is from sponsors, donations and advertising.
  • They broadcast local musicians
  • The coverage extends from Newcastle to Brighton and north to the other side of Rice Lake
  • There are 8 concerts on Wednesdays from July 4 to August 29 – they are free and are from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. Local and regional performers are featured.
  • Attendance in 2017 was an average of 125/concert over 7 concerts (one was cancelled because of rain).   In 2015 – average was 25 to 35.
  • Eleven musicians have applied to date for 2018 – some who are inexperienced and with a limited repertoire will be paired will more experienced performers.
  • Up till now the musician groups have not been paid (although individuals may have) but nearby municipalities spend up to $500 to $1000 per evening (These are Belleville, Brighton, Colborne, Port Hope). Payment will be required in 2018. 
  • The Station’s budget for the 2018 concerts is $6,570 of which $3,600 is for payment to performers (plus they get free advertising)

Barry asked for $2,995 but Suzanne Séguin made a motion to provide 8 x $125 as an in kind donation of the bandshell fee plus a $1500 grant for a total of $2,500.  Forrest asked could they take up a collection at Concerts. The motion was approved (Forrest voted against) and the amount was subsequently added to the final approved 2018 budget.

Miriam Mutton and Kerr Street

Miriam made a detailed presentation asking why was the Kerr Street layby a high priority?  Why was it in the 2018 budget?  What other Community improvement Projects should also be done and why this one now?  She pointed out that there was in fact space for the residents to provide 3 and perhaps 4 parking spaces for each resident and that accessibility issues for private dwellings are not a Town responsibility.  Council agreed that it needed more study and said that being in the budget did not necessarily mean it would happen (although the resolution was not crystal clear to me).

Floating Playground

This idea (see link below) was discussed and it was clarified by Director Dean Hustwick that:

  • 80% of survey respondents said that Tourism was important.  80% also said that visitors should pay more of the cost of facilities.
  • The playground would be operated by a contractor who would pay some sort of fee to the Town
  • No other jurisdictions have raised any concerns with similar facilities
  • The location has not been finalized but it seems that the water must be a certain depth and the location should be far enough out to minimize wave disruption.

YMCA decision deferred

Suzanne Séguin said that the YMCA board had not met to consider the Memorandum of Understanding so moved that the agreement by Council be deferred until they had met.  No date was mentioned.

Police Board Chair

With the passing of Bryan Baxter, a new member was required.  There were 10 applications but “one stood out” – Dean Pepper.  He had previously served on the Board and had also been a Councillor.  Margaret Godawa has been named as chair for the remainder of this term.

Following the Committee of the Whole Meeting, Council held a special regular Council meeting specially to pass the 2018 budget.  In summary, these are the key final Budget numbers:

2018 Budget

Operating budget $23,160,148
Capital Budget $8,563,030
Environmental Operating (Sewer) -$1,573,349 (surplus to reserves)
Environmental Capital (Sewer) $925,000
Water Operating -$954,949
Water Capital $2,127,000

Mayor Gil Brocanier noted that the Environmental and Water budgets were “Full cost recovery” – that is they are completely self-sufficient and separate and do not affect tax rates.  Presumably the profits help pay for past and/or future expenses per their long term plans. All budgets were passed and are now in effect.

The Police budget is included in the Town’s budget.

The Operating budget is $2,500 higher than originally published because of the additional money allocated to 89.7FM

The final Town of Cobourg Operating budget increase for 2018 is 2.3%.  This will result in an increase in the tax levy of 1.6% – the rest comes from “assessment growth” – that is, more people to tax.  What it means  is, IF (a big IF) your MPAC valuation changes by the same percentage as the average valuation change for the Town, then your tax bill will go up by 1.6% from 2017.



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Walter Luedtke
6 years ago

Good to see the usual mugwumps out on a spree.
We have heard it all before, parking, garbage, noise, fumes, stress. taxes – all from those pesky migrants from the GTA. Time to ‘take back control’!
What beats me is why those folks who find living close to the water front ‘stressful’, choose to live there at all.
On another note:
I find the annual trimming of Community Grant Budget Requests a bit cheese paring.
Cobourg is blessed to have so many community groups staffed by volunteers.
Last thing Council would want is to tick off those folks who freely donate their services.

Wally Keeler
6 years ago

Wibit makes modular floating playgrounds. It has individual products ranging from $650 to $13,000. It asserts that huge combination playgrounds range from $3,800 all the way up to $187,000 to assemble. The playground south of Chicago (Whoa Zone) has admission starting at $20US per hour, which includes a 15-minute safety intro. The playground can handle up to 120 people at a time. The owners of the playground promise life jackets for all. That’s a lot of life jackets on busy long weekends. Where and how will those hundred-plus life jackets be stored? How many personnel will be hired to operate and maintain the playground? How much is the Town charging the business for the privilege of operating in our Town?

Splash On Water Parks, Barrie, The B.C. company behind the project was awarded a five year contract by the city to create the new summer tourist attraction. The inflatable water park will be able to hold 100 people at a time. Organizers say the water park will be open seven days a week throughout the summer from 10am to 8pm. An all-day pass will be $25, and an evening pass will be $15. It also comes with a “Participant Agreement”

Here are 9 locations and prices in Canada.

6 years ago

I do not believe a water park playground is a good idea!

Boaty McBoatface
Reply to  Charlie
6 years ago

I do believe a water park playground is a good idea!

Walter Luedtke
Reply to  Boaty McBoatface
6 years ago

I am with Boaty on this!

6 years ago

I was just wondering about the additional cost to Cobourg Tax payers of Liability Insurance & maintenance t No one is talking about
I was also advised that these water park play grounds do not hold up well to
rough water like lake ONT.

I just wondering if the persons spending Tax $$$ on this can be held accountable ???

Old Sailor
6 years ago

Re the summary content above on the floating playground, there is the assertion that 80% of survey respondents agree that tourism is good for Cobourg. Council should not assume this means attracting more tourists to a free beach and free park, where parking is non existent on the weekends, is a good thing for Cobourg. More stress for Cobourg waterfront area residents. Less chance of Cobourg families using the park and beach. What is the net benefit to the town of this floating playground???

Why not charge $40 for waterfront parking for non-Northumberland residents and $0 for Northumberland residents? Barrie is adopting a similar waterfront rate structure which favours their local residents.

Better to have a 2nd Best Western located near the CCC and encourage more events there. This would help offset the annual $1 million dollar CCC operating loss. It would also attract the kind of tourists that would spend money in town.

Reply to  Old Sailor
6 years ago

Your absolutely correct with respect to where and what type of Tourism is require especially when a 3 Month beach season Can’t support King st. The second Hotel idea is also a good one but like every thing else
the Planning Dept . does I underestimated again when it came to the real Parking requirements of the CCC
which makes it difficult for our aged population to get near the building when another function is taking place at the same time

Reply to  Old Sailor
6 years ago

Exactly the same thoughts I had Old Sailor.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Old Sailor
6 years ago

The $40 seems a bit extortionate, like a shake-down. Barrie maxes it at $15. Seems more reasonable. I would not give free passes to residents of Northumberland – they contribute no tax for the upkeep of Victoria Park and beach. Cobourg resident vehicle owners should pay a nominal fee of $5 annually, to cover the cost of printing the permits and administering them. Why should Cobourg residents without vehicles subsidize those with vehicles?

Reply to  Wally Keeler
6 years ago

Nice to see that Wally now likes “User Pays” …Perhaps more of the cost centers in the Cobourg budget can be put into the “User Pays” category.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  cornbread
6 years ago

Not accurate cornbread. There is no advocacy of user pays for access to Victoria Park and beach, only for polluting motor vehicles that occupy space.

Reply to  Old Sailor
6 years ago

The free parking should Only be for Cobourg Residents (the ones picking up the maintenance tab, in Municipal taxes)

User pay is the way to go! Hire some summer students to sell wristbands at the Park. Not only covers costs, but helps students get summer employment.
On the beach without a wristband? The Trespass to Property Act, already includes a $50 fine.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Roarke
6 years ago

I will walk on the beach without a wristband. Trespass? Przt!

Reply to  Wally Keeler
6 years ago

You rebel.