Major Upgrades Planned for Mall

On July 1, 2018, Timbercreek Assets Management took over ownership of Northumberland Mall – they then appointed Sandalwood to take over management.  New money, new senior management. This promises to completely change the future of the mall. Timbercreek is “well financed” and they want to put a significant investment into the mall. They are looking at all options which range from (as a minimum) a facelift with many overdue repairs being done, to possibly a complete revamp. They are currently reviewing the options and hope to start work on the chosen changes in January although the work would likely proceed in phases.  Mall Manager Paul Kiidumae, who now works for Sandalwood, told me about some of the options which would possibly mean starting from afresh. The news of new management was made public with a banner on the outside of the mall – see photo below.

Northumberland Mall - announcement banner
Northumberland Mall – announcement banner

Ideas being considered

  • A location inside the mall has the disadvantages of higher cost and lower visibility so existing stores could be relocated to outside locations.  Paul said that the recently opened “outside” stores were doing well; it’s also evident that “outside” compares well with big box store configurations. So either indoor locations would be eliminated or much reduced.
  • Metro is looking at a major renovation
  • There might be some Residential units – no suggestions on format.
  • The long promised Cinema expansion has been delayed pending finding a suitable contractor but just as one was found, the change in ownership occurred so the project is once again on hold.  Rainbow would still like to proceed but the configuration would likely be different pending the mall revamp.

Timbercreek

The new owner is Timbercreek which is a Canadian asset management company specializing in Real Estate both through financing and active ownership.  They own or invest in properties globally – see link below. They had been financing the mall but it had a negative cash flow so ended up taking ownership.  They are based in Toronto but have offices worldwide.

Sandalwood

The new management company for the Mall is Sandalwood Management Company based in Texas but with an office in Montreal.  They manage Retail, Office and Residential properties.

Both owner and management company appear to be the proverbial “breath of fresh air” that the Mall needs.  It is also encouraging that significant investment is planned and not just more of the same which has obviously not been good enough.

Links

Cobourg Blog News earlier reports

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Celeste

It’s a good idea for a complete and total rehaul of our mall because the stores that are presently in the mall are suffering because of a lack of interest in going to the mall.
Since they took out the food court I can’t see anybody who’s under the age of 20 have any interest in the mall in the first place.

perplexed

The last thing we need is more Condo s where the Taxes are 3 times higher than a similar unit in a similar building if it were apartments and accessed as apartment, and common element & management fees that continually climb and escalate at the same pace as the Taxes in most cases . The Condo buildings around here offer nothing more than a apartment There are no extra amenities like exercise rooms , pools or hobby rms even tennis and sports courts like you see in other communities . All cobourg has to offer is the so called parks .
Big deal parks are every where. Hey how about some underground parking older folks don’t want to go out
in the rain snow or ice to reach their vehicle . Enough with the cobourg condos its just an easy way for builders to get financing and for builders / owners to get out of the project the minute its done .

Pierre

Perplexed, you need to do your homework on condo’s.
It offers home ownership to many people and many have a beautiful environment. Some condo owners do not want a lot of amenities, and if they do they can choose a condo with the amenities they want.
Also, once a builder is finished and certain sales are met, the condo building or townhouse condo is passed on to the corporation where it is then managed by a condo board….
Condo’s are not for everyone, as there are rules and regulations, not to everyone’s liking, but does offer a safe and enjoyable experience for many.

perplexed

I know that been involved for many years
Cobourg offers few options

Celeste

I think condos are an absolute waste of money when you can live in an actual house and not have to pay expenses like condo fees.

Elaine

The winters are long and cold. An indoor place for all ages to hang out would be nice. The movie theatre, bring the bowling alley up from the basement and put an adventure playground for families and a food court and a few choice shops. It could become like a community hub; just like the malls of the 80’s! I wouldn’t be upset if an IKEA or a COSTCO went in though.

Durka

Why the downvotes for this? It is a great idea. What am I missing?

Dubious

Why the downvotes for this? It is a great idea. What am I missing?

Possibly the down votes are because some consider that any successful company that meets the needs of their customers — Ikea, Costco, Walmart, Home Depot — is evil since it takes sales from local merchants who refuse to meet customer needs. See the comments by Ben which seem to imply that Walmart should never have been allowed to open a store in Cobourg.

manfred s

it was about LOCATION, not about the business. Why not ask Ben about the issue instead of making unfounded assumptions.

Dubious

Unfortunately there is neither a Costco nor an Ikea here so are you referring to the Walmart and Home Depot? I would be delighted for Ben to weigh in but in the meantime could you provide a clue regarding what is wrong with their location?

manfred s

the short answer to your question is: the town had jus at completed it’s Official Plan and that area was designated ‘Employment’ uses, not commercial uses. The developer requested a change of use and the town acquiessed, against the appeal of objectors. They simply “tore up those pages” of their OP after having spent time and money to write them, which clearly specified what the town thought to be the best use of that land, and for very good reasons. The town realized what damage, major commercial development that far from the central core would do to it in the long term and created an OP that would prevent such long term damage. The town simply caved under the developer’s pressure and today we see the impact and damage that they have been complicit in causing to the central core. Now they flail about, looking for ways to lessen the impact and damage by taking one stab in the dark after another, like sign boards and window wraps. That, Dubious, is the short answer. Ben could expand on this if you want all the details. And yes, it refers to the Strathy Road developments, that should have been rather obvious,… Read more »

Dubious

Interesting summary of the birth of Strathy Road! In retrospect it appears that the right decision was made. Considering the unused locations in Northam, Lucas Point, Kraft and others we are seriously over supplied with land for ‘Employment’ uses without Strathy Road. Strathy Road is now a thriving area with hundreds of the minimum wage retail jobs that Wally often extols.

manfred s

… and do you see the irony in your comment “Strathy Road is now a thriving area with hundreds of the minimum wage retail jobs”? To start with, as Employment Area those would be higher quality jobs. Secondly, Strathy attained its “thriving area” status at the considerable expense of the Downtown, something the town now considers a significant enough problem to focus even more considerable energies and money on, as we can see. How is all of that a ‘good’ thing?

Ken Strauss

Perhaps it is reasonable to consider the alternative scenario:

Strathy Road remained zoned for ’employment’.

The Strathy Road area would then be unused industrial land the same as Northam, Lucas Point and other locations. There would be no property tax revenue from Strathy Road stores nor hundreds of minimum wage jobs there. Locals would drive to Peterborough or Oshawa or Belleville to shop at their Walmarts and Home Depots and contribute to employment in those towns. In a perfect world Port Hope politicians would have encouraged Walmart and Lowe’s to open stores there to the detriment of Cobourg. I’m puzzled why you feel that those outcomes would be preferable to the current situation.

You mentioned that other locations for Walmart would have been preferable. Where were the favoured Cobourg locations? Why did Walmart prefer the current location?

ben

They preferred the Strathy Rd lcoation because it was zoned emplyment and it was easier and cbeaper to buy it and rezone it than buy commercial land. BTW the issue for me was the location not the store.

Walmart had no other site in mind. Just bullied and bought their way into the site. Several council members accepted campaign donations from the developer during the election that was taking place during the rezoning process.

Ken Strauss

Again, where were the more suitable locations that were zoned commercial at the time?

ben

How about the empty lands in the harbour at the time. Lots of room there

Ken Strauss

I’m surprised that they were zoned commercial at the time. I would have assumed that they were zoned industrial.

manfred s

there is a zoning map and that’s where developers should look to find locations suitable for their purposes. Asking that question implies that just because their preferred location was not where the town wanted that type of development, someone should have to come up with an alternate location. Through the regular periodic updating of their OP the town has laid out the plan it feels is best for the future, and it pays good money for expert advice when doing so. There is no denying the severe impact on the central core by the Strathy developments. Their forced development was a crippling blow to the central core and it just happened to be Walmart, or rather their landlord, at the spearhead.

Ken Strauss

The Official Plan must satisfy the needs and desires of the residents. If a developer or other party feels that the OP does not succeed and the residents (as represented by their Councillors) agree then the OP should be modified. I was not in Cobourg when the Walmart rezoning occurred so I have no feel for the resident’s opinions prevalent at the time.

Two rezonings were recently approved — College Street and in New Amherst — and I don’t agree with either decision. However my distaste for the results doesn’t mean that changes to the OP are inherently bad and should not occur. Residents will be able to express their approval or disgust by using their votes in our current municipal election. My regret is that several of the politicians who approved the changes left politics without an opportunity for the residents to vote them out of office.

ben

“The Official Plan must satisfy the needs and desires of the residents. “

And if after all of the exhaustive work done on an OP by the steering committee, advisory committee, committee of the whole and then Council, done over a period of a couple of years, nobody has made any suggestions for change, then you still claim that the residents are not being listened to?

In the case of the Walmart rezoning the votes took place during an election campaign and those councillors who were funded by “SmartCentres” were re-elected because the donations were revealed after the election.

Sometimes nice theories about democracy just don’t work in real life.

Besides the way public opinion was at the time, if the donations had been made public during the election it would have garnered them more votes.

Ken Strauss

And if after all of the exhaustive work done on an OP by the steering committee, advisory committee, committee of the whole and then Council, done over a period of a couple of years, nobody has made any suggestions for change, then you still claim that the residents are not being listened to?

As you note the OP is developed “over a period of a couple of years”. Times change, resident’s needs change. The whole point of rezoning is to correct for changing needs and for oversights/mistakes that somehow found their way into the plan.

You write that “if the donations had been made public during the election it would have garnered them more votes”. That sounds as though the voters favoured the rezoning and bribery was acceptable. No comment about a solution to that!

manfred s

Ken, you say “Residents will be able to express their approval or disgust by using their votes in our current municipal election”. What’s the point in that, Ken? What do you then do to rectify a bad decision after the fact? We now have the answer to that question – window wraps and grants to private businesses, funded by public money. How does that sit with you? Some careful forethought could well avoid such fallout, and whadya know, we have a process to deal with that, the regular review of the OP, done without special interest pressure being applied as the review takes place. That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be any participation or challenges, but those should be part of the process and inform the process at the time, not after the fact, when the pressure to make changes is amplified and resisting them becomes quite expensive for the municipality. That in itself has the effect of muting any resistance, partially because the only one with deep enough pockets is also the proponent who has everything to gain and is willing to pay what it takes to get the results they want. We can see the reason why… Read more »

Ken Strauss

A few somewhat random comments regarding what you wrote:
Voting the scoundrels out of office is really the only recourse that the residents have to punish the guilty after a bad decision. What else can be done?

The Ontario Municipal Act says that Council must represent the people. The Walmart rezoning was apparently the will of the people so why did they do wrong?. Cheaper toilet paper is important!

Of course the residents should be involved in any revision of the OP and, as you may know, I am active in trying to get good decisions from Council. What more can I do?

You mentioned that decisions should be considered “without special interest pressure being applied as the review takes place”. I believe that you and several others intervened at the OMB, a supposedly impartial body. From my research your arguments were not persuasive. Are you suggesting that the OMB staff AND local Councillors were bribed or at least unduly influenced by Walmart?

manfred s

Ken, creating an unfounded ficticious scenario such as yours and then saying ” I’m puzzled why you feel that those outcomes would be preferable to the current situation.” when no such preference has been stated, indicated or suggested is what we call a “red herring”.

Ken Strauss

You previously mentioned that the Strathy Rd. location was rezoned to commercial. Perhaps I misinterpreted your earlier comments but it seemed to me that you felt that the rezoning was not the ideal path. I apologize if you thought that the rezoning was beneficial.

The wisdom of Wikipedia says that “A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue.” My comments were not intended to mislead/distract but to explore a likely result had a rezoning decision not occurred. I often find it useful to examine past decisions with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight.

manfred s

not to put too fine a point on it, but your 20/20 vision may not be quite as acute as that. You still say “explore a likely result had a rezoning decision not occurred” which is only one of several other outcomes envisioned by the creators of the OP at the time. Your use of “likely” suggests a probability level far greater than it had in reality and other more probable scenarios would render your extended outcomes very unlikely. I think using hindsight to examine issues does little to cast a predictive light on a looming question which has a unique set of circumstances defining it. Past outcomes are not very indicative of future ones for several reasons and basing current decisions on past outcomes is fraught with risk, failure and most likely, unexpected outcomes. I think this discussion is a good example of all of the above. What is clear are the results (of some erroneous decisions) which we are experiencing today and looking for remedial actions to correct those results. If we could only learn from escapades such as this we would do much better in the future. I think sometimes it takes unpopular (at the time) decisions… Read more »

Ken Strauss

My 20/20 comment was more related to not making the same mistake twice. After a decision with bad results one should consider if some information was overlooked that might have altered the decision. Was the wrong decision made because of ignored information, known unknowns or unknown unknowns (to paraphrase a recent politician)?

I still haven’t seen any suggestion regarding a reasonable alternative to building Walmart and Home Depot on Strathy Road.

manfred s

and you won’t from me, Ken, because I’m not privy to their criteria. It’s up to them to find their locations and do it within the framework established by the municipality, not to simply bulldoze their way through it, putting their perhaps unique needs ahead of the municipality’s. If they choose to take the easiest way, and it violates the OP, they should have to wait until the next round of updating of the OP to make their case for changes like everyone else should. What’s the point in paying experienced consultants to do the review and revision if we can just let special interests do it all for us, and by extension, why do we need a planning department in that kind of scenario? Just charge the developers for the privilege and authority to write the plan in the first place. While there’s a degree of pragmatism in that, Ihope you see the ridiculousnous in those proposals, and if you do, why doesn’t that inform your present stance?

Ken Strauss

Since you mentioned it, there seems little justification for paying for consultants to produce an OP or Waterfront Survey or…

I’m unsure how my “present stance” relates to a rezoning done 20 years ago. I’m just trying to understand the options that were then available and why the decisions were made.

In my opinion, saying that an obviously flawed OP doesn’t provide for a Walmart so we can’t have one for five or twenty years is absurd. It is made even more ridiculous by Ben’s implication that many/most in Cobourg were in favour of the rezoning. Surely the self-serving interests of a few downtown merchants should not be of significant importance in any decisions.

By the way, where was the indignation and the will to resist regarding the recent rezoning on College Street and in New Amherst? From what I have read on this blog they had far less popular support than for adding a Walmart.

manfred s

speaking only for myself, those issues were very local ones and didn’t pose a widespread threat to the future health and well-being of the central core on the whole. Opposing for the sake of opposing is not my cup of tea. In the case of Strathy Road, I felt a responsibility to get involved, deeply involved, because I have a loyalty to the ‘mother ship’ through whose healthy existence I was able to earn my living. When the future of that health was under threat of permanent damage, it was incumbent upon me to step up to object to a flagrant abuse of the planning process that was about to inflict such damage. Such was not the case for the two examples you cite. Oh, and by the way, that was one instance where the course of events indicated to me that the fix was in. Anyone who attended the OMB ‘hearing’ would know what I’m talking about and most likely agree with my sentiment.

Ken Strauss

Please allow me to summarize:

You did not seriously object to the College Street rezoning because it set a precedent that would only affect the character of housing in the town’s Heritage Districts. Besides, only the residents who were directly affected were opposed; others were unaware of the importance and apathetic. The flagrant abuse of the planning process and the obvious benefit to relatives of elected politicians did not move you to action.

You strenuously opposed the Walmart rezoning because it might be detrimental to a few downtown shops that would have to compete on a level playing field with no artificial barriers to the entry of new merchants. The support of many Cobourg residents was not important because the Walmart rezoning would adversely impact downtown merchants, was a flagrant abuse of the planning process and was only beneficial to most residents.

Or did I miss something?

Wally Keeler

Your argument is a flagrant abuse of equivalency.

Ken Strauss

I presented no “argument” but only a recitation of facts. Which do you feel are untrue?

Wally Keeler

the issue is not facts but equivalency.

Ken Strauss

So you agree that my facts are correct?

Wally Keeler

Nope. “downtown shops that would have to compete on a level playing field ” that field being Walmart. Hardly level at all. And this still aside from your flagrant abuse of equivalency.

Ken Strauss

I have no idea what you mean by “flagrant abuse of equivalency”. Would you please explain?

By “level playing field” I mean that government gives no preference to any business. If Walmart takes customers from downtown merchants due to a better product selection, lower prices, more appealing stores or other reasons that is what free enterprise is all about. With online shopping and better stores in nearby towns attempting to delay the establishment of new stores will always fail. Customers are the losers when governments attempt to preserve uncompetitive shops by restricting new entrants into the market.

manfred s

see Ken, you’re still stuck on the assumption that this was about Walmart. As long as you ignore the key fact, your argument is and will continue to be flawed.

manfred s

…and by the way Ken, I don’t see any attempts by those competition-fearing businesses to prevent any other businesses from locating in the locations designated by the town for such businesses. Something that kinda undercuts your argument in another way as well.

manfred s

oh, and one more thing, Ken, would you give us your opinion, with respect to your description of a level playing field , in a scenario where one or maybe two small independent “merchants” were to ask for a rezoning of employment lands to facilitate their relocation to reach a different market. Again, in your opinion as it pertains to that level playing field, what would their realistic chances of success be?

Ken Strauss

In my opinion planning terms such as “employment lands” are misleading. Shouldn’t anywhere that people work be considered employment lands?

Everyone should have the right to request a rezoning. The rezoning request should be decided based on factors that directly affect neighbouring properties — increased traffic, noise, noxious odours, etc. The possibility that other town businesses might encounter more competition should be irrelevant. I have no idea regarding the probability of success but I suspect that factors such as friendships, inducements and familial relationships might be relevant to decisions made in a small town.

Ken Strauss

Let us move away from considering traditional retail.

What if a young dentist wanted to open an office in Cobourg and there were no vacant property zoned for medical uses? Assume that the town’s only dentist is currently downtown and allowing a new dentist north of town would negatively impact his practice. Would it be acceptable to apply for a rezoning of employment land or should she just wait until the new OP with more medical properties came into effect? Or perhaps she should establish her family and practice in Port Hope? Why? How does this situation differ from Walmart?

manfred s

for the ‘nth time, Ken, while you seem obsessed with Walmart, a singular case, I’m talking about rezoning, perhaps permanently, of an entire significant area that the Town felt would be best served by an Employment designation. Your ‘dentist’ scenario actually runs smack into the problem caused by the Strathy decision. “What if a young dentist wanted to open an office in Cobourg and there were no vacant property zoned for medical uses?” Why can you not see that the Strathy decision served to create the situation you now use to make your argument. That decision did not replace the lands, lost as Employment use, anywhere else, thereby reducing available Employment lands in a variety of locations, something the OP is trying to do. Your contention in this scenario, that there are no permitted locations available, is such a strrretch that it shouldn’t even be considered. Now if you had stipulated ‘no permitted locations that the dentist preferred’, that changes the argument and the response would be, yup, make your submission during the next revision. In the meantime, rent an existing location that allows your intended use, a situation that would respect the Town’s well thoughtout plans until you can… Read more »

Ken Strauss

I hesitate to reiterate my previous but still unanswered points:

The possibility of insufficient employment lands has not become an issue in the 16 years since the rezoning. There are still ample sites available in Northam, Lucas Point, etc. That fact is an irrefutable example of a flaw in your argument.

For a viable “super store” you need a large site with ample parking and, ideally, easy access from Hwy 401 for non-Cobourg shoppers. Other than the tongue-in-cheek (?) suggestion that Walmart and Home Depot could have built in the harbour area, where should they have built?Saying that Cobourg residents should forego cheap toilet paper until a new OP comes into effect is not a reasonable answer.

manfred s

while the terminology is perhaps a bit obtuse, it’s important to know what the terms mean, Ken. It might be helpful to brush up on it sometime. As far as zoning goes, it takes into account, among many things, location. Quantity is not a good replacement for location, and once again, that’s what this is about, location. You just keep asking “where then” and I’ll keep saying ‘ how the hell should I know?’ Just look at the damn map to see where the town says they want that type of development, that’s what it’s for. But of course, that didn’t suit the developer so ‘damit, we’ll just make them change it’ becomes the solution of their choice. I’m saying that’s wrong, and there is a process to deal with such issues, other than straight out bullying and threats. I don’t give a damn if we have a ‘Walmart’-type store, as long as it plays by the rules like the rest have to do. Let them find their spot on the map and go at it, but stick to the script that all the others have to follow. Am I getting through the ‘walmart haze’ yet? Whatever comes now, I’m… Read more »

Wally Keeler

You wrote, “flagrant abuse of the planning process”. Please explain.

Ken Strauss

Consider Mr. Draper’s report at https://www.cobourgblog.com/news-2018/school-rezoning-meeting-gets-heated/ In my opinion holding the required public meeting on day 119 of a 120 day process is just one example of flagrant abuse. There are many more similar recent abuses.

Wally Keeler

Flagrant abuse suggests intent. Could as well be incompetence. Or oversight. Or … Why is it that you are inclined to impute nefarious motives and intent to Town activities?

MANY MORE FLAGRANT ABUSES?

Gotta ‘drain the swamp’ of those flagrant abuses.

Wally Keeler

“By “level playing field” I mean that government gives no preference to any business.”

Aside from that single point, there is no level playing field, very far from it. Let us note that your initial use of level playing field was done with a very wide brush.

No pref to any business? Including time-limited tax breaks to entice a business to locate in a particular place. Would I support Toronto setting up a team of skilled city staff to lobby Amazon to set up their hdqtrs in Toronto; yes.

Ken Strauss

Yes, there are evil policies everywhere and I am opposed to all of the unlevel examples that you note.

Wally Keeler

Municipal staff who act together to entice a business to Cobourg is evil? What kind of religion is that?

Ken Strauss

If every business in Cobourg were to receive the same benefit I would not object. I assumed that you were contemplating a one-time “locate here” bonus — reduced taxes for the first year, free water or something similar. Such is unfair to the existing businesses and perhaps prohibited by Section 106 of the Ontario Municipal Act.

I hope that clarifies my position.

Wally Keeler

So our tax-paid Mayor picks up the telephone from his office and calls the head honchos of Amazon to inform them of the benefits of locating in Cobourg is evil?.

Ken Strauss

Don’t be ridiculous! Extolling the benefits of Cobourg is fine and what he should be doing. Providing special benefits that are not available to any local business is not acceptable.

manfred s

Ken, my good man, you certainly don’t need my approval to summarize what you think. But such summaries are just that, what you think and indeed not necessarily an accurate summarization just because it’s what you see and conclude. In another vein, what you see as some folks allowing a precedent is really a stretch. There is little if any evidence to suggest that, whatever was decided in the case you cite, would impact future decisions in a way that would materially alter those decisions or affect the results. But it is a good stab at trying to attach some kind of guilt upon those that did not participate. In fact, those that did participate appear to be doing so because of the impact they perceive any decision would have on them personally. There’s nothing wrong with that and in fact quite understandable and expected. As for this part of your summary, “might be detrimental to a few downtown shops that would have to compete on a level playing field”, the “might” part should read ‘would’ (as shown by the studies employed) and can now be more accurately seen and understood as ‘will definitely’, precedent or no precedent, period. Yes,… Read more »

Rusty Brown

Attractions that do not bring in income to offset their costs are a no-go in an operation that is apparently already marginal or running at a loss. People will still shop at Walmart and such where they get most for their money. There probably aren’t enough potential shoppers in this area needed to support an Ikea or Costco.
Amusements, pinball galleries and bowling alleys generally attract just mall rats, and don’t bring in enough income to justify their costs. Mall rats don’t have money to spend.

Strike

Don’t let the Tuesday 70 plus bowling seniors hear you say that, and yes we do have the money.

Ken Strauss

There probably aren’t enough potential shoppers in this area needed to support an Ikea or Costco.

Unfortunately you are probably correct. A pity!

Elaine

Not true. Those of us who like shopping at Costco are traveling to Peterborough or Oshawa. While there we are eating lunch at a local restaurant and picking up items at other stores out there. That money could have stayed in Cobourg. Also, Belleville folk are traveling that far for their Costco fix; they could come here. Just a thought. Also, it would mean jobs for the young uns. Also, with all the new homes being built we do need more than Tuggs (which I love) to supply home furnishings. My first choice is downtown Cobourg for shopping but more often than not I have to go further afield and I combine that with my Costco fix.

Rusty Brown

So what? A few dozen people who now go out of town for Costco doesn’t comprise enough of a customer base to build a whole big box store here. Those places need a huge customer base: more than our semi-rural area can provide. Same as for Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse, so many special places that can’t justify setting up business here.

Celeste

Maybe it’s because Costco and Ikea are these huge corporate conglomerates that compete with everything else in sight?
I would love to plus-sized boutiques like Penningtons or Addition Elle occupy the space that was once occupied by Zellers. It would definitely bring more jobs to our local economy.

Ben

IIRC these stores did have a place in the mall but left because of lack of trade.

Rachel

They should axe the mall, build a condo and then stores at the base of said condo.

Rusty Brown

They already have stores there. Just add a condo or two (which may well be in the works already), rather than “axe” existing structures and rebuild, which costs big bucks and is a huge, unnecessary waste of capital.

perplexed

Yes lets all go to the Mall again
and there goes the Down Town What a revolving door
yet so many of Cobourg s finest even on my street make that Bi monthly run to COST CO

damit

Down town is killing itself, the rents are killing business. Greedy landlords that do not care about empty stores as they seek out the highest of rents. Red tape from the town is holding up business owners from opening. Permit after permit, the barriers to entry is near impossible.Until that can be figured out bring on the mall.

rob

I wonder who will surface as the “Make Cobourg Great Again” candidate during the election…

Damit

I think Cobourg is great, hence why I moved here. It just needs to improve on a few things. Maybe “Make Cobourg Greater”

manfred s

probably the one with the weakest or thinnest platform, Rob.

Wally Keeler

SHAKE COBOURG AWAKE CAMPAIGN; aka election selection.

manfred s

unfortunately “selection” is not even appropriate in the case of the election of our next Mayor, which to me, is a troubling situation. Perhaps we need to “shake” it up more vigorously next time to see what falls out of the ‘candidate tree’. I think acclaimations are a poor solution to choosing the leaders of a community, regardless of the suitability of an only candidate for the highest office. Leaves a bitter taste of ‘apathy’ lingering throughout, and no indication of the level of satisfaction with that candidate.

Wally Keeler

“...we need to “shake” it up more vigorously next time to see what falls out of the ‘candidate tree’.”

How do you propose that be done?

manfred s

“Shake Cobourg Awake” is your metaphor and I exounded on it a bit. Whatever you were thinking would be my answer to your question. That’s why I used quotation marks, Wally.

Wally Keeler

How do you propose that be done?

manfred s

… and you know this how, Damit? Property tax alone can be upwards of $500, and reach well over the thousand $ mark, PER MONTH! Fire and liability insurance is significant, hydro, water, sewage and heat (older commercial premises are expensive to heat) are a major hit to the bottom line, and all have nothing to do with the landlords, in many cases. These are all uncontrollable costs as well. Exactly to which permits do you refer, and specifically what red tape are you talking about? Your complaints deflect the discussion from the one issue that affects pretty much all the businesses, viable customer counts. Without that, none of what you cite as deterrents means much at all.

Walter L. Luedtke

Yes Manfred, I was wondering about this permit business too – “red tape from Town”.
Probably freely invented, like much of what is posted here.

manfred s

maybe ‘Damit’ is referring to Heritage permits that are required to make changes to the facade, but they certainly don’t interfere with start up or act as a “barrier to entry”. That’s all that comes to mind at this point though, Walter.

Damit

I am not referring to that.

manfred s

Ok. Just saw your post below. I’m not following you on your connecting Downtown to the problems you cite because it seems to me that these requirements are either County- or municipality-wide and not limited to the downtown. Besides, in starting a new venture, there are any number of one-time costs that need to be factored into the business plan before a final decision to proceed can be made. If that scuttles the plan, it has little to do with the particular issues you raise.

Damit

I did, you can read it.

manfred s

occasionally one could be writing a response to another’s comment while a relavent comment is being posted at that same time, making that next comment seem pointless or unnecessary, as it happened here. My apologies, Damit.

Damit

No problem.

Rusty Brown

“Letters that cross in the mail”. Back when we actually wrote letters.

Elaine

I believe know which business you are referring to here. They have been hitting road blocks with permits for way too long. Council has knocked them down too many times and yet, they have so much to offer and I wish them well.

damit

They have a lot to offer this town, something exciting and new to the downtown. It has been nothing but a nightmare for them, dealing with greedy landlords that make deals then go back on them to the Town putting up roadblock after roadblock.

Wally Keeler

I know a landlord that was taken to the cleaners by a start-up. They wanted a slew of modifications, which the landlord began to implement. After 8 or 9 months, the start-up abandoned the project just like that. The landlord failed to make an air-tight agreement and now has no means to pursue a recovery. The Town granted all the permits needed for this failed project. The building was sold, and the new owners have run a successful business there for several years now.

Damit

I know from direct conversations with business owners that are dealing with both town officials and landlords. I also know of some very new landlords in town that are working with new business owners and charging very good lease rates and will be opening soon. This has been worked out as they do not want to see their own investments sit idle. The red tape is tied into permits from the building dept. Example, for the simplest of plumbing jobs, requirements are being asked to provide detailed plumbing drawings and surveys costing thousands for the small business owner. To run a water line for a hand washing station, that is crazy. As someone who has worked in government for one of the largest cities in North America I can tell you that the building permits needed can quickly crush new start ups. In my experience vast majority are nothing more than cash grabs. While one dept will tell you one thing another will tell you something else making your head spin. My complaints do not deflect anything, my complaint is simple, downtown is its own worse enemy. Downtown can not look outwards and say no one comes here because of… Read more »

Walter L. Luedtke

Plumbing permits are issued by the County of Northumberland to ensure compliance with the Ontario Building Code Act.
And it is the County that does the inspection.

Damit

A plumbing permit is one thing, asking for detailed plumbing survey came directly from the town.

Damit

Besides the point, of who is asking for permits/surveys the end result is the same on the business.

Walter L. Luedtke

Sorry, again the surveys and plans are required by the Ontario Building Code Act, 1992.
Has nothing to do with the Town of Cobourg ‘crushing’ new start-ups.

Damit

Got it, I will email Cobourg buidling dept asking them to change their website as per Walter.

manfred s

again, these are among the potential challenges that face every start-up in any location, and have to be anticipated in any sound business plan, if the business owner is actually doing their due dilligence with care. If the venture begins on a hill of complaints about those challenges, it doesn’t bode well for a great deal of success on the road ahead.

Damit

I agree however, as a former building inspector I can assure you that the inspector has a massive amount of power and discretion. For example I can see a plumbing line and ask what the intention for it is. Answer: we want to run it to a hand wash station. I have two options. Ok I will be back in seven days to inspect before you close up the walls. Easy fix, or, I want a full survey and drawing. This can incur a cost of $1500, never mind loss of time on the job. It is things like this happening in town that are delaying businesses from opening. I won’t go into too much detail but I know of one business owner in town that is currently delayed due to such problems.

manfred s

fair enough Damit, but I’m reluctant to take from this that this is a common occurrence and affects an appreciable number of business start-ups as opposed to being a very limited number of cases. But, then again, I could easily be wrong. Nevertheless, I take it that in this instance it hasn’t stopped the plan to proceed to an opening in the future, and in that case, the argument about such situations being a recurring or significant impediment to new businesses locating downtown is diminished to some degree.

Damit

Are you sure about that, talk to the Cobourg buiilding dept, they may tell you otherwise, as they clearly state on their website their own staff conduct inspections.

Walter L. Luedtke
Walter L. Luedtke

I have had a look at both the requirements for a plumbing permit and a building permit as on the town website.
You can download the applications yourself.
For some reason, the link that I posted got moderated.
None of the requirements for these permits are specific to Cobourg. but apply to any municipality in Ontario as required by the Ontario Building Code Act.
So much for your ‘red tape from Town’. Pure invention!

rob

Walter – the guidelines/requirements/processes and the administration of such by the local officials are very different animals….much the same as the police officer who pulls you over and has the full authority to issue the $250 ticket plus 3 demerit points or can choose to downgrade the charge to a $50 ticket and a stern warning with an angry face. Both are lawful but the nature of the process allows for subjectivity and flexibility …. not everything is black and white my friend.

Walter L. Luedtke

Right!
The Town is going out of its way to make things difficult for folks wanting to start a business downtown,
Do you belong to the CTA?
Sounds like it.
All a big conspiracy!

manfred s

ohhh Walter, you surprise me, now who’s trotting out their well-established animus with unrelated references, ie., the CTA?

rob

Walter – its not a conspiracy and I have no interest in or tolerance for the CTA. In case you haven’t learned this over your many years (and I say this respectfully because you are considerably older than me) there are individuals out there who rather than removing barrier towards progress, impeded it. Perhaps it doesn’t align with their core values, vision for the community or personal beliefs (or maybe they are just a-holes who can’t make reasonable decisions without consulting a policy manual). This is a fact, not fake news, not an lluminaty conspiracy theory … and get this, some of them reside in our town and may even have influence over decisions being made at Victoria Hall.

manfred s

can’t, and wouldn’t if I could, argue against that possibility (maybe closer to probability), Rob. Kinda makes me think of the Sheriff, the big rancher, the town big-wig or the rich businessman of old, who called it “my town” and wanted to run the show to their own liking, often to the detriment of many others. Things probably haven’t changed all that much, just maybe a bit more secretive. Walter would probably label me a conspiracy nut but I do agree with you on this.

Walter L. Luedtke

Manfred, do you have any evidence of this ‘secretive’ stuff happening in Cobourg right now?

rob

Walter – read my comments below to Miriam who has already, in my opinion, disclosed her personal bias towards what will be a completely legal consumable good…now imagine the barriers that could be put up if I were interested in this type of business. She has already referenced what would have to take place (her opinion) before it could be considered within the Town….

For the record, I don’t like or use the stuff….maybe in university but “I didn’t inhale…” 🙂

Walter L. Luedtke

Hahaha Rob – actually I am looking forward to the weed gummy bears.

manfred s

Walter, if I had any hard evidence, it wouldn’t be secretive, would it? I have my suspicions of past activities but they will have to remain just that. I won’t raise alegations without hard evidence to support them. Sorry Walter, no smoking gun to offer up.

damit

Maybe leave the comfort of your home and take some time to talk to a start up business owner, spend some time with them and see how easy the town makes it for them.

damit

Good points, totally lost on Walter.

Walter L. Luedtke

Right!
I should think that applications for building permits and the requirements therein are identical across Ontario.
They are based on the on the Ontario Building Code Act, not on the whims of a Town Building Department.
If you feel that Cobourg heaps extra red tape on downtown start-ups, some sort of fix must be in and that is a conspiracy.
Not long ago, perplexed told us the opposite freely invented story – that the Town told the Fire Department to go easy on Downtown landlords in their inspections. It was not true either.

Rusty Brown

“Greedy landlords that do not care about empty stores as they seek out the highest of rents…” doesn’t make a lot of sense. A store that sits empty earns no rent at all. An astute landlord would reduce rent to encourage somebody, anybody to move in and start paying rent.
More likely, there aren’t enough customers down town with any buying power to support a full array of stores, and astute business persons know they can’t make a buck down there without customers.

Damit

This is simply not true. I can tell you of one landlord who had a lease agreement signed, then under advise of his lawyer changed it last minute and increased the rate, the deal was scraped and the store sat empty for another six months.

manfred s

mmmm…if the lease had already been signed, how could it be altered after the fact?

Walter L. Luedtke

Anecdotes are like that.

Damit

Because the person that signed into the agreement felt it better to walk away then to get into a legal battle with this landlord. Although he knew he would win. He walked away and secured a new building that is currently ground to a halt due to permit issues. How about listening to something Walter rather than being a smug git.

Walter L. Luedtke

Doesn’t take brave folks like you who hide behind anonymity to get to the personal insults.
Meanwhile, keep going with your unsubstantiated, anecdotal attacks on Cobourg town staff.
All anecdotes about an unnamed individual and an unnamed building,
Social media are like that.
Homes of the Brave.

manfred s

um, I think you might be aiming your barbs at the wrong poster, Damit. I asked that question, not Walter.

Damit

Yes Manfred I know you asked the question and I had no problem with you asking it as you did so in a respectful manner. Hopefully my answer provided you with some idea of why that deal fell apart. Going forward I will do my upmost to conduct myself better and not to allow the pure smugness of Walter to irk me. He has the ability to get under ones skin with his go to of claiming everything is a just a made up conspiracy. As stated in my original post I love this town and have no reason to hold a grudge against town staff. What I am stating is based from conversations I’ve had with recent start ups in town.

Walter L. Luedtke

Hahaha!
Go forth and sin no more.

manfred s

I guess that’s the thing about this blog, or any other such forum, opinions are freely shared but not always seen as only an opinion and not necessarily a statement of fact. An opinion is neither wrong nor right, but merely a point of view. Too often, as a response, we see a baseless slagging of these opinions instead of just getting an opinion that simply differs. Personally, I like to see a variety of opinions being expressed, and when appropriate, a criticism of any erroneous information, as opposed to the criticism of the individual, who really is entitled to their opinion, whatever it may be. That doesn’t entitle anyone, though, just to screw around with the facts and call it an opinion, in my view anyway.

Damit

I agree, in such a forum almost everything is opinion based. Some will not listen to anything unless court documents are provided. Makes you wonder why they even bother?

Wally Keeler

What’s a git?
The Urban dictionary says:
1. A completely ignorant, childish person with no manners.
2. A person who feels justified in their callow behaviour.
3. A pubescent kid who thinks it’s totally cool to act like a moron on the internet, only because no one can actually reach through the screen and punch their lights out.

4. someone who don’t gitit?

Walter L. Luedtke

Hahaha Wally!
Never been called a ‘git’ before on this blog.
Turns out it’s Brit gutter slang, like ‘berk’ or ‘rotter’ or ‘gammon’.
So I deduced that Damit is a native English English speaker.
None the less, he still needs help from a high school graduate on how to use hard words like then/than properly in a sentence.
Elementary Wally!

manfred s

Walter, I find my predictive text feature itself often needs correcting but sometimes I miss bits and makes proofreading a must. Trouble is, I get lazy and forego that step occasionally, sometimes to my to my subsequent chagrin!

ben

Actually Walter the nearest noun to ‘git’ is ‘wanker’ another undefinable word but everyone knows when one is spotted.

Walter L. Luedtke

Hahaha Ben, of course! But just remember that this is a family blog!

Miriam Mutton

The Northumberland Mall location seems unique among regional mall type designs with regard to walking distance proximity to adjacent neighbourhoods. West Park and New Amherst are both designed on the idea of new urbanism, compact urban form, attractive walkable streets and homes with front porches.

I hope the new mall owners also consider making the outside area of the Mall, especially nearest the building, more attractive to pedestrians, cyclists and transit users, and include a green landscaped parkland strip along the building edge. If New Amherst Boulevard is destined to be a main street, why not carry on the theme and ‘main street’ that huge parking lot into a village centre which could include residential. The existing slope is a challenge.

And, some residents in this part of town have told me they feel more connected to downtown Port Hope than to downtown Cobourg. The travel route seems easier.

cornbread

Perhaps he new mall owners can get a grant from the Cobourg Slush Fund to accomplish this new dream. When will reality set in?

Miriam Mutton

Cornbread, are you suggesting the idea can only happen if prompted with injection of public money? In fact, ‘main streeting’ – a form of refreshing traditional big box development style especially for existing developments – has been around for years. Two basic ways it happens … initiative by the mall/big box owners in response to maintaining/enhancing their consumer market and/or requirements by municipal planning and urban design authorities at time of site plan agreements for development or redevelopment.

Walter L. Luedtke

Miriam.
It’s the same old Cornbread line which he repeats ad nauseam.
This is what he wrote about the Northam report:
“If you ask me, there is too much smoke and mirrors in this town…it’s like the old boys club…profits\dividends\reserves\slush fund…call it what it is…extra money for the insiders to hand out…been going on for years.”
Writing a well-reasoned reply is futile here, but thank you for trying.

Dubious

Walter, I agree that it is challenging to defend the indefensible such as your Holdco slush fund.

rob

Miriam where do you stand on the subject of the beautification of the East Pier and forever prohibiting vehicular traffic from it. Of course “forever” is a relative term….

Also where do you stand on the issue of legal recreational cannabis sales within the Town of Cobourg?

Miriam Mutton

hi Rob, Good questions.Please contact me if you would like to discuss further. Maybe off topic for this thread so I will be brief. On the first, the east pier is a great platform like a stage. I am also one of the people who believes that the harbour will continue to need a functional east pier into the future. As a platform the first thing I would like to see is programming throughout the seasons. For example, yes to regular vintage car displays and some car parking at times to enjoy the view, yes to collection of food carts and art displays in fair weather, yes to amusements like a travelling midway and other lighting displays for festivals, yes to movable furniture including planters and seating for music and theatre performances … I am sure there are plenty of other ideas for ‘pop-up’ attractions. The programming could invite ideas from citizens too.Maybe, some trees or shade structures close to the shore area only. The east pier can be a hostile place in winter. Beautiful too with crashing waves. I certainly would like a walkway to the lighthouse in summer. The view back towards the shore is fantastic. The east… Read more »

Rusty Brown

Seems to me that there is a wonderful opportunity to build a deck along the east side the East Pier over the existing limestone blocks overlooking Victoria Beach. A few poured concrete posts for footings and lots of planks and you’ve got a place to lounge, snack, sip and take in the sun and the view. Assuming it would survive the winter.

rob

Miriam Thanks for indulging me and yes I recognize it was way off topic. I appreciate you wading into the East Pier topic in a frank and honest way and I also understand your clear reluctance to do the same on the topic of cannabis. I would suggest that cannabis is a far less contentious issue than the pier and probably requires far less consultation with the public – yet you didn’t mention public consultation, only soliciting the public for programming ideas (that’s quite different). The pharmaceutical company, which has taken over the old Kraft plant has already announced its intention to open a retail outlet as soon as legally able to do so. So to a point made earlier about the red tape in Town, subjectivity and the barriers to progress and business development, I think this is an example of one. You can currently purchase peripheral cannabis related merchandise are several local convenience stores without any public consultation and yet you suggested the continuation of vehicular traffic, public programming, midways and structural improvement to the East Pier without any mention of the public and consulting with them ….. this may be because the retail sale of cannabis, for… Read more »

Miriam Mutton

Rob, I did invite you to contact me if you wished to discuss either topic further. Again, this thread is about the Mall.

rob

Thank you for the invitation Miriam and I may take you up on the generous offer. I was trying to illustrate a point to a contributor or two…

Phyllis brown

Long overdue. Can’t wait to see how this comes along. Terrific

manfred s

one train of thought not yet explored here is the relationship among the focus on consumerism, the level of productive activity and the availability of a consistent and viable workforce or labour-pool. The lion’s share of comments here addresses the consumption aspect, retail supply and demand, but seems to ignore the production side, the commerce of industry and white-, pink-, and blue-collar employment. Our demographic seems to be shifting towards an older, leisure-focussed one and away from a full-time, actively employed one, contributing to the GDP, and by extension, more disposable incomes. The economic cycle is distorted and as such, impedes the economic health of the community, which further impacts its attractiveness to the very forces that are essential to maintain a progressive balance and a strong and healthy town. As a town-on-the-whole, I think we need to direct more of our attention and energies towards the companion issues rather than remain so focussed on the consumer side of the problems that affect us, and restore some balance to the planning process.

rob

Manfred – Thanks for this. Your post was a pleasure to read however by the time I got to the end, I realized I had no idea what you were talking about or where you were going with it…

manfred s

hahaha … you’re probably not the only one that finds themselves feeling that way, Rob.
My point should boil down to the realization that some of the ‘problems’ we talk about here with respect to commerce stem from factors not directly part of those ‘problems’. My point is that we need to stabilize the central core before we seek to open new challenges that will certainly spawn yet more problems. If we are dealing with heretofore perpetually unresolved issues already, the temptations to be distracted from them by new challenges simply takes energies and resources away from solving those boring existing challenges that no one can any longer clearly identify and envision pragmatic solutions for, basically feeling at a dead end with that. If that’s a boiling down, just imagine what I started with in my head, lol.

rob

The chatter on this blog and throughout town has been largely negative as it pertains to the mall…its empty, lacks quality and quality of choice, stores can’t afford to stay, etc… This mall has been on life-support for a decade at least. The mall concept has changed and is continue to evolve but it is not dead (yet). Anyone travel to the USA and visit a Tanger outlet location lately? How about the Dixie or Vaughn Mills? They are pack with hungry shoppers searching for great deals and eager to hand money over – of course ecommerce has had an impacted but bricks and mortar are alive. I’m not suggesting Cobourg will become the outlet centre of the east but there is potential out there. Also, given Cobourg is the Retirement Feel Good Town, as some would suggest, a well managed and well outfitted physical mall with inside and/or outside stores should be supported. We have already seen some investment in the outside store concept on the mall property with PaulMac’s and Napa…Boston Pizza, Staples and the LCBO included as well, although not as recent. Personally I would love to see a metro conversion from the existing metro store to… Read more »

Ken Strauss

Personally I would love to see a metro conversion from the existing metro store to their discount banner, Food Basics.

There is already a No Frills and a Walmart. Why force shoppers to The Independent in Port Hope?

rob

Ken – because outside of the Fresh-to-go and deli that metro store is poorly patronized…if consumers still want to pay 2 1/2 times more for standard products, they can still shop at Foodland 24×7 AND they are expanding. The new Food Basics stores are very nice!

The “Mall” will require an anchor – since they lost Zellers and Sears they haven’t had one…

Ken Strauss

Standard products can come from Walmart or NoFrills but in my experience your 2.5 times number is a considerable exaggeration of price differences. The Metro meat department is good and has helpful butchers and their fish is often OK. Metro has the best cheese selection closer than Herma’s. What is NOT needed is another bargain store with a poor selection and few quality products.

rob

I agree Ken…we definitely do not need a store with either poor selection or quality. BTW the exaggeration is intentional to make the point that generally metro Cobourg is not busy – I will conceded it is business on Monday evenings when people need bag tags. The non-discount retailers have priced themselves out of business in towns like ours and elsewhere. I don’t buy the butcher argument as those who are employed in the meat department aren’t butchers – they are simply taking a cut off a primal or sub-primal – go to Leclerc’s if you want a butcher.

Ken Strauss

I do frequent Leclerc’s. That said, make friends with the butcher (wannabes as you term them) at Metro and they will cut you a decent piece of meat. Not the same as Cumbrae’s or McEwan’s or Whitehouse in Toronto but still quite tasty and at a much lower cost.

Jade

I work and still cant buy from metro so there for I need no frills and any other discount stores. I say bring it on

Wally Keeler

Nice insight into the lifestyles of the well-to-do. Many pensioners, single mothers, unemployed, low wage workers, etc, require such frill-free grocery stories and other discount stores. Unfortunately, there remains a social stigma to such stores, and to the people who frequent them.

GailR

The new owners might want to look at putting in a small food court again. I don’t know who the owners were when they chased the food vendors out, and what their rationale was – to keep Boston Pizza happy, maybe? I know that the little Chinese eatery was turfed out before their lease expired. I wouldn’t see this as competition for our downtown restos although it probably would be for the chains on William St. And I think people would go in for a quick lunch and then see something they liked in a store window.

Rusty Brown

I would be very surprised to learn that anyone goes to the mall for a bite to eat and then decides to do a little shopping while they are there. Food courts are there just to satisfy the hunger that occurs while shopping and discourage the shoppers from leaving, and nothing else, as I understand it.

Damit

I can not really think of anything that they could do to make the mall worse. Something needs to be done, I do enjoy going to a mall, but like most go to the OC. Other than Xmas to take the kids to see Santa there really is no need to go. As for its impact on downtown, well that’s for downtown to figure out. Downtown should not be considered, until we get landlords that are fair and charge decent rates. When rental rates are lower on Queen street Toronto than they are on King in Cobourg, you know there is a problem.

Walter L. Luedtke

This is a vote of confidence in Cobourg as a well-governed town with potential.
These folks at Timbercreek look a bit daunting: “The Directors, Officers and Principals of Timbercreek have proven experience, established reputations and extensive contacts in the commercial real estate and mortgage lending, capital markets and asset management communities.”
And then on Strathy Road you have Smart Centres, their competition: “SmartCentres® directly manages all operations of our 100% owned shopping centres in-house. This approach enables us to continue to create value, not only for our shareholders, but it enables our tenants’ retail spaces to thrive.
One such tenant is Walmart, which anchors 115 of SmartCentres’ shopping centres. With a highly visible presence in Canadian retail, Walmart helps generate significant volumes of customer traffic, further strengthening SmartCentres’ presence in markets throughout the country.”
So Downtown is up against these folks with a bunch of volunteers and a couple of staffers. Obviously, no contest, unless public money is used to level the playing field – a bit.
The recent CIP grants are a necessary step in that direction.

manfred s

Walter, at the risk of sounding recalcitrant, I’d like you to expand on “well-governed town with potential”. Perhaps we’re confusing “well-governed” with well-managed. As for “potential”, I think that EVERY municipality has a certain amount of potential, and it requires skill, courage, resolve, self-confidence and vision to extract the benefits that such potential offers. I don’t see today’s Cobourg as exceedingly well-governed, or possessing the courage and all-important vision, or any more potential than what one would expect to find in any other municipality of a comparable size and location. That may, in part, explain why Cobourg clearly shows signs of it’s struggle to compete with other municipalities, for the resources that fall short of being able to meet the demand for them. I’m not convinced that one important thing, the courage to tailor its economic plans and actions to its circumstances and current and apparent future prospects is either there or budding. Such a ‘conservative’ approach to meet its considerable challenges keep present day Cobourg’s prospects in the ‘also-ran’ weight class. One example of that theory I would offer is the way we deal with Heritage matters, which seem to hamper progress rather than stimulate and encourage it.

Old Sailor

Timbercreek may have acquired Northumberland Mall at a discount via a mortgage default not via a long thought out acquisition process. As their specialty is in financing the development of properties and managing them good things should happen for the mall.

A tip of the hat to the tenants who have stuck it out at the mall through a tumultuous period. Hopefully they will participate in the benefits of a facelift.

Car Guy

Maybe the new owners could entice ‘Telsa’ to open a branch car store! Wouldn’t that be an attraction……just a thought!

rob

Charging station at least!

Another small Town fan

They should start with the outside – parking and other asphalt areas are atrocious… and dangerous

Greg H

Cobourg’s biggest pothole, next to Staples has already been paved over, together with the surrounding area.

Small Town Lover

Good news. I think residential units would be a great idea especially for seniors. Perhaps have a senior center in the Mall as well. Let’s face it Cobourg is a retirement go to town and there will be more of us moving here. There is a long waiting list to get an apartment in Legion Village so the need is there.

manfred s

essentially, your inclination is to have a satellite community, removed from the town core. In time, that is the way things happen but is Cobourg evolved and developed sufficiently to make it the best plan at this time? Expansion, while often the easiest, quickest and therefore preferred one, is rarely the most beneficial course of action, particularly when the central core is under tremendous pressure, such as our’s is. Stabilization is always the first step in the healing process and premature expansion really gets in the way. Let’s stabilize the central core before we divert crucial energies to premature expansion once again. It’s painfully clear what the last spate of expansionist thinking has produced in the way of economic impact. It certainly didn’t produce the ‘benefits’ that were paraded out to help seal the deal. That, my friends, has turned out to be a huge chunk of baloney, or more accurately, BS.

Ken Strauss

It would be an even worse mistake to allow the destruction of our neighbourhoods with retirement homes and other projects in order to attempt the resuscitation of a dead downtown.

manfred s

that certainly is one way of looking at it, Ken. But what then do you say to those trying various ways to do just that, a restoration or, if you will, a vitalization of the downtown? These folks see it as a problem that needs some kind of fixing and seem at their collective wits’ end on what to do.

Rusty Brown

Conversely, on the other hand, I see the future of our downtown as being lots of small infill apartment buildings with basic units suitable for seniors. They have a guaranteed income to pay the rent or buy a condo, and form stable, orderly communities that patronize the neighbourhood cafés, restaurants, grocery stores and such because they don’t like to travel very far and don’t own vehicles anyway.

Rusty Brown

“…senior center…”? Is that like a bingo hall?

Jade

This town DOES NOT NEED more senior housing. Over half the seniors here now are from out of town and can buy any place they want. This town needs to start thinking of the real cobourg ppl. Its sick that born and raised ppl here cant find affordable housing,or work for that matter. This town caters to all new outside of towners. Pathetic really. Council never thinks of the born and raised Cobourg ppl

Rusty Brown

ppl ? Is that like “people”?

Durka

So basically the mall is done and we will be left with a big box strip mall. Sounds like a downgrade to me.

Ken Strauss

The possible upgrade to Metro sounds like a huge plus to me. Other than Metro and Dollarama what mall stores do most people frequent?

Durka

I was hoping for an actual mall expansion. It lacks critical mass right now. No one goes now because there is simply a lack of stores. What the mall needs is a lot more stores so people don’t leave town to shop at other malls. The immediate catchment area could support a fairly significant mall, IMO, but everyone goes to the Oshawa Centre because it offers far more options.

Anyways I guess there is no point in crying about it as I’m not the one investing the money but sounds like we are indeed losing the indoor mall to a strip mall.

manfred s

“the immediate catchment area could support a fairly significant mall” If this were indeed the case, Durka, why have those who are in the mall business not chosen to capitalize on that opportunity up to now? After all, they’ve had plenty of time to do just that. I think you’re out in left field on this. Offering options is an expensive proposition and deemed too risky if the market isn’t interested in shopping locally.

Rusty Brown

The mall needs stores but the stores need shoppers. Ones willing and able to spend real money in sufficient numbers to provide consistent support over the longer term.
The stores have done their homework and know if it’s a go or no go for them before proceeding.

Pierre

People tend to like the mall with big box stores….
If that works and creates jobs and good stores…that’s ok by me.
I do shop downtown and would go to mall for something, I can’t buy downtown. Stores like Staples .
I prefer to shop in person rather than online., as commented by one below and support local employment.

manfred s

essentially, it’s all about available market. In today’s world, shareholders want immediate results and the idea of building to a future market is not feasible under those circumstances. If and when the market warrants, they’d adapt and remodel to accommodate it but they won’t go that far now.

Durka

“the immediate catchment area could support a fairly significant mall” If this were indeed the case, Durka, why have those who are in the mall business not chosen to capitalize on that opportunity up to now? After all, they’ve had plenty of time to do just that. I think you’re out in left field on this. Offering options is an expensive proposition and deemed too risky if the market isn’t interested in shopping locally.

You’ve hit the nail on the head with it being expensive and risky, I hoped these investors were willing to take the risk but that is not the case and I do not blame them.

ben

“the immediate catchment area could support a fairly significant mall”

This the biggest lie ever perpetrated on Council’s that receive applications for shopping centres. These applications fail to see that the County of Northumberland has three catchment areas – Oshawa, Peterborough and Belleville. Every study that supports big box stores using the larger catchment area has failed. The Northumberland Mall being the biggest. Of course it was the first to test the theory and Give Stan Poulton his due he tried.

manfred s

Ben, Ben, Ben, whatever do you mean? Market Studies are infallible and therefore are the basis for sound planning and that pot of tax-gold at the end of the rainbow. That’s been proven once again by the Strathy Rd developments. When are you finally going to admit it? 😉

ben

Manfred you must remember the last study by a big developer – the one bought and paid for Walmart’s consultants. That said amongst other things that the Walmart application will use all of the available capacity in the Town for the foreseeable future. In fact it has been so successful that new development has been scared off for the past fifteen years.

manfred s

Ben, my previous comment was tounge in cheek and I thank you for spelling it out for all those who are unaware of what actually happened back then. I’ve alluded to that in many of my comments over the past couple of years. As you have said, the impact of those past decisions has been far more severe than was predicted at that time and then folks wonder what’s wrong with this picture. It’s clearly a case of ‘ we told ya so’.

Greg H

I wish the mall’s new owners and managers well. If they have fresh ideas they can only make it better.

I do not think that a renewed mall is necessarily bad for downtown Cobourg. If both Northumberland Mall and downtown Cobourg do their best they can both prosper. For the past 20 years I have tried to shop downtown if possible, and if not at the mall. However it has become increasingly more difficult. I really do not want to go to Oshawa, Toronto, or Peterborough to shop. If I really loved these other communities I would move there.

If Northumberland Mall and downtown both attract popular merchandisers and attractions they can both benefit us, and our Town.

Ken Strauss

I love Cobourg but it is absurd to shop here unless the stores have what I want at a competitive price. Even the big box stores are losing to online competition. For example, my air conditioner’s condensate pump died yesterday. I checked the price at Home Depot and a replacement was $124. I ordered a comparable, name brand, unit from Amazon for $74.93 including shipping. The replacement pump arrived today and is now happily pumping.

manfred s

“If Northumberland Mall and downtown both attract popular merchandisers and attractions” if this were as easy to achieve as it is to say, why has it not happened and why would it happen now? What has changed that would make this likely now all of a sudden, Greg?

manfred s

What does this development mean for Downtown? My first thoughts suggest yet more challenges in an overpopulated retail landscape, and yet more options drawing consumers FROM Downtown instead of TO it. If new businesses are found to populate an updated mall, they could have been contenders for those empty storefronts downtown and the question at the top of the list would be, why did they not locate downtown? I think the answer to that is already obvious, feet on the street answering the call of the mall.

Dubious

What does this development mean for Downtown? It is another confirmation the existing downtown is not viable. Until the shops in our moribund downtown improve the ambiance and accessibility of their stores, products sold and hours of operation the decline will only accelerate.

Rusty Brown

What are the chances of enticing The Bargain! Shop back down town, now that all the competition has left? Too bad they hadn’t hung on a year or two more, but how could they have known they would soon have the field to themselves on King St.?

Rusty Brown

Lots of parking. Free, too.