Housing Developments in Northeast of Cobourg

Two public meetings were held on June 25 to discuss adjacent housing developments in Cobourg’s North-East.  One was an update of a 1700 unit sub-division first proposed in 2004 then approved in 2009. Called the Villages of Central Park and located at the north end of Brook Road, it was last presented to Council three years ago (2016) – since then only minor details have changed (see link below).  The other is more immediate and is called the Nickerson Woods subdivision with 23 bungalows located between Nickerson Drive and Midtown creek.  This proposal drew comments from nearby residents who were concerned about their view of the forest and drainage issues.  In the subsequent Committee of the Whole council meeting, both proposals were approved to proceed.

Both proposed projects will come back to Council at the Site Plan stage and it seems that they will both start building within a year or two.

Rondeau Phase 1
Rondeau Phase 1

The larger development by Rondeau (1700 units) will be in six phases with phase one at the North-West corner of Elgin and Brook (or an extension of it).  The image at right shows the concept for phase one. Director of Planning Glenn McGlashon estimated that each phase will take 3 to 5 years so the whole project will take 20 to 30 years.

The one that got the attention of residents was the proposed addition by LeBlanc Enterprises of 23 bungalows along the southern edge of Midtown creek which runs through Nickerson Forest.  Existing houses on Nickerson Drive currently overlook the forest and the new houses could potentially block their view.  But developers went to some trouble to point out that since they were bungalows, the effect would be minimal. Another concern was drainage after heavy rain.  Again, the developer showed measures they would be taking that would not only take care of their own area but also run-off from the existing homes.

A third point raised by home owners was that the backyards of five of the new homes would encroach on the 30 metres set-back required from the creek which would be environmentally protected.  This means that although some lots would include some environmentally protected land, it could not be developed.  That is, no structures, pools etc. could be built there. But objectors felt that the lots should not include any of the protected area.  A related concern was about how environmental protection would be enforced – e.g. some people might dump grass clippings.

Nickerson Development - Re-zoning Map
Nickerson Development – Re-zoning Map

At right is a map provided by the developer showing proposed rezoning – it’s the clearest map showing where the property is. The 23 bungalows would be in the green area.  The dotted green area labelled EC is where the creek and forest are located.

An underlying concern is that the road to access the development will be classified as a common-element Condominium Lane.  This is because it will be narrower at 20m than the usual 30m.  Because it’s a condominium, it will not be maintained or managed by the Town and nearby residents felt that this would cause future problems – e.g. if the drainage issues were not resolved.  It was felt that it would be better if it was owned by the Town and an exception could be made for road width.

Both developments were supported by the planning Department and Council felt that most concerns would be addressed at the Site Plan stage so approved the sub-division agreements.  However, John Henderson moved an amendment to the Rondeau approval limiting the maximum number of storeys to 6 versus the 6 to 8 suggested.  This would only be for a limited number of buildings in later phases.  John’s amendment passed.

Links

East End Housing Development – 3 June 2015 – 1700 units, now called Villages of Central park

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Julien Winter

Second to Iceland (with free heat from a volcano), Canadians are the largest per capita users of energy on the Planet. Housing and transportation are the biggest consumers of energy. Of course, part of our predicament is the cold climate and long distances. However, we have to adapt, because the effects of climate change are looking worse than expected. The ice on Greenland and Antartica is melting faster than was thought 10 years ago. On first glance, this new housing development doesn’t seem to be taking environmental issues seriously. They should be explicitly stating what actions they are taking.

Rusty Brown

If we are the largest consumers of energy per capita, it would be because we have such a small population. It costs the same to drive a transport truck 1,000 kms in both Canada and the U.S., but they have 10 times the population, hence 1 tenth the cost per capita to buy fuel for the truck.

Mrs. Anonymous

” Because it’s a condominium, it will not be maintained or managed by the Town and nearby residents felt that this would cause future problems – e.g. if the drainage issues were not resolved. It was felt that it would be better if it was owned by the Town and an exception could be made for road width.”

I can imagine that the drainage is a valid concern. That area is prone to flooding. Neither the builder nor the town will have to live with the consequences. It will be the neighbours, the future homeowners (who trust the town to make good decisions and might not be familiar with the flooding issues) and the people foolish enough to be on the condo corporation.

In a few years, there will be flooding and undoubtedly people will blame it on “climate change” when the issue is that they never should have built in an area prone to flooding.

democrat

The flooding question is a tricky one to predict. Severe storms have flooded Elgin St and the bottom of Birchwood Trail with runoff from this site. Now this site will be filled in the runoff will have an increased velocity in the natural channel. So it could be that flooding will be made worse. The storm pond on Birchwood gets overloaded easily and the “S” pipes behind the LeBlanc building cause backups so look for Elgin to be flooded despite the million dollar investment in the new pond on George St (which is designed to lessen the backup on the culvert at the north side of the tracks on George).

Durka

Good luck enforcing the “no structures” rule. Just about guarantee you check that street out in a few years and there are sheds and who knows what not all in the yards.

I actually kind of feel for the Nickerson Dr folks in this case. You would think “environmentally protected” would keep you safe from development.

Walter L. Luedtke

Are they getting side walks?

Tim

The Council was elected to protect the interests of the people of Cobourg and that includes the residents of Nickerson Drive. No private lots should ever be allowed on environmentally protected land.
Developers are king in Cobourg and everyone else has to live with the disastrous results of our Council’s constant pandering. They’d rezone Victoria Park if someone wanted to build condos there.

Susie-Q

Tim, funny you should say that. While in the park with my husband yesterday, I made the comment that many developers would probably like to get their hands on Victoria Park to develop it. I can see why you stated that “developers are king” . In my opinion, it seems to be the case in many communities. Forgive me, but I have become very sensitive about this subject due to the fact that the GTA community where I currently live, has been decimated.

Wally Keeler

The idea that Victoria Park would be used for anything other than a venue for parties is a ludicrous contention without any merit in fact.

Susie-Q

Oh Wally….

Susie-Q

Hey Wally. you may want to read the article in today’s Toronto Star regarding a community just outside of Liverpool. It looks as if the local government is seriously considering selling the town’s beloved park to developers! Sadly, you never know what will happen these days.

Wally Keeler

extreme stretch

Susie-Q

Did you read the article? I didn’t think so.

Wally Keeler

Oh I believe the story is true, but it is an extreme stretch to contextual the same thing in Cobourg.

Susie-Q

In my opinion, you are being naive. Rezoning can happen ANYWHERE, even in Cobourg. The town’s close proximity to both Toronto and the GTA makes it vulnerable to over development. Add in pressure from the provincial and federal governments to intensify and there you have it. Yes, it can happen in Cobourg and is not such an “extreme stretch” .

Wally Keeler

Really? You think the majority of residents of Cobourg would permit that to happen? Not a chance. The vast majority prevented Victoria Hall from being a parking lot and they would do the same towards any threat to Victoria Park. Victoria Park has been expansionary all my life. It absorbed the tenements at the south-west corner of King/Church, it expanded by absorbing The Chateau Hotel, and the house next door. It expanded the sensory garden. Generation after generation, Victoria Park has expanded. Never in its history has it contracted. All of the evidence to date is contrary to the ludicrous belief that Cobourg Town Council would vote to sell a part a part of Victoria Park to a condo developer or manufacturing company. There would be too much outrage and resistance for that to ever happen. I guess I have a stronger belief in the people of Cobourg to resist such a development.

Frenchy

Where did those consultants suggest a hotel should be built downtown?

Wally Keeler

Like I said, such ideas can be run up the flagpole for applause, but it was quickly brought down to ground by people’s opposition. That will always be the case, regardless of your pessimistic view of your fellow Cobourg citizens that they are too weak and stupid to save Victoria Park from condo/hotel development. Victoria Park’s history has been of expansion, not contraction.

Frenchy

Wally, I don’t have a “pessimistic view of your fellow Cobourg citizens”, and I don’t think “that they are too weak and stupid”. Don’t put words in my mouth. You said those things, not me.
If the hotel idea was floated once, it will be floated again, and again, and again. Just like marina expansion into the west harbour was shot down but keeps (somehow) resurfacing.

Wally Keeler

Big deal. So what if it returns and returns. That’s natural. It’s also natural for the Cobourg public to reject it. The paranoid fantasy that a part of Victoria Park will be sold to developers has no legs, never has legs, and never will have legs. Get used to it.

Say What?

No one can build on environmentally protected land.
Obviously, this land is adajacent to EP land, but is developable.
The homes on Nickerson Drive are higher that the lands being developed so they won’t be flooded.
It really sounds like NIMBYism.

Tim

“the backyards of five of the new homes would encroach on the 30 metres set-back required from the creek which would be environmentally protected.”

So, five of these lots are indeed on EP land. Durka’s point, which I agree with, is that when you own property you tend to feel you can build whatever you like on it.
This has nothing at all to do with NIMBYism, which I think of as not wanting a project that is vital to the community next to your own property — it’s necessary, you want it too, but put it someplace else.
Yes, there is a housing shortage in Cobourg but it’s a shortage of affordable housing and this kind of development is not going to alleviate that. Many of these condos and homes will be sold to people from out of town.

Miriam Mutton

The preliminary engineering drawings suggest that the development site will be filled, raised at least five feet above original ground and possibly more in some areas.

If development of this site is pursued, the design and construction may need to be very different from ‘traditional’ technique.

Thinking about it, I agree with the Nickerson Drive residents who are asking for the access lane to the lots to be a public street with public services and not a private lane because services of the new development will partly also service (ie. drainage) the existing residences on Nickerson Drive.

democrat

One should not be concerned with the flooding of Nickerson – will not happen. But reducing the amount of land in the creek overflow area will increase the possibility of downstream flooding. But who cares nobody lives downstream, or if they do they are on high land. It is ironic that the LeBlanc corporate HQ is now in danger of being flooded more often because that are building houses in a floodplain upstream!

Wally Keeler

“They’d rezone Victoria Park if someone wanted to build condos there.”

No they would not. Ever.

gerinator

I just don’t get how you could believe that ‘…would not. Ever’. Money, political support, who-knows-who, all elements that play a roll in evolving our environment. We, in Cobourg, continue to see that Town Staff and Councilors are unable to close down (permanently) topics that are clearly unfavourable to the public at large. How does that happen? I honestly do not believe that Victoria Park, East Beach, West Beach, and others are immune to the power of elements above. Ever.

Wally Keeler

Oh posh. Silly paranoid nightmare about the mighty powers of Town Staff and Councillors to fill their bank accounts by selling out Victoria Park to condo developers or a new branch extension of Cameco. LOL. Provide one iota of evidence that Town Staff and Councillors are in cahoots with each other to sell Victoria Park land. What a joke. Pure paranoid fantasy.

Tim

Nobody said anything about Town Staff and Councillors filling their bank accounts. Do you know something we don’t?

Wally Keeler

Nobody said that the sun rises in the west either. So much for your silly sophistry.

Susie-Q

Ohhhh Wally.

Wally Keeler

So many times I have heard that uttered from the mouths of women I have loved.

Frenchy

Wally, listen closer… there’s a difference between ohhh Wally and eewww Wally.

Wally Keeler

That’s right, but it was the Ohhhh Wally that I got. You only have speculation and it’s wrong as usual.

Susie-Q

Get your mind out of the gutter Wally!

Walter L. Luedtke

Hmmmm.
Where is Cobourg’s ‘Central Park’? Is it like New York’s Central Park?
And why are cookie-cutter subdivisions called ‘villages’?

Wally Keeler

And the village square was a place, not a person.