Predictions for Cobourg – 2019

With a new council, we can expect that there will be new stuff happening in Cobourg in 2019 – but much of it is predictable based on what’s happened in 2018 and what people have said.  John Henderson, our new Mayor, can be expected on Tuesday at the Levee to talk about his plans for more transparency and better communication but what else will the new Council bring?  Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin will no doubt shake up the budgeting process since she will be responsible for Finance; Emily Chorley will be concerned about Council’s “procedures” (she made a presentation on this in 2018 – see links below);  I would expect Nicole Beatty to have a focus on events and Brian and Aaron will not do anything much different from 2018.

Vacant Store - Renovation in Progress
Vacant Store – Renovation in Progress

Last Years’ Predictions
But first let’s look at some of my predictions from this time last year (link below).  Note that I prefaced them with the comment “they are based on the way things are going now – and that could change”.

  • The report was finally issued on the Waterfront Project and caused a stir but no action has been taken (as predicted) pending allocation of funds in the budget process which starts with a public meeting on January 14
  • Tannery Project – A consultant’s report was expected to be released but instead there was another progress meeting.  
  • As expected, there has been little visible “Vitalization” of Downtown except the $53,000 renovations of the old Sarby’s building (photo at right – work in progress with new window/doors.)
  • As expected, it was announced that the idea of merging the YMCA with the CCC was not going to happen. At $25M it was too expensive.
  • Venture 13 was successfully launched.
  • Nothing happened on Victoria Square – no grants were received for it from Ottawa or Queen’s Park
  • Rainbow Cinema did not expand at Northumberland Mall but there was a surprise announcement of a new owner.

Predictions for 2019
Note: Most posts on this blog do not include my opinions but it’s hard to make predictions that are fully objective.

  • The Cultural Plan will be released.  It will no doubt list what we already know – that we have lots happening with lots of groups – but it will struggle to say anything new or point in a direction that has a consensus.  It will likely say that the Park Theatre should not be resurrected and not mention what to do with Dressler house.  I’m not expecting a useful result but I’m hoping I’m wrong.  If anything useful comes out of it, it will primarily come from the steering committee of citizens although others have been interviewed by phone.
  • Northumberland Mall will be transformed – mostly becoming more like a big-box centre with outside access and will not have Condos despite rumours about condos coming.  Rainbow will also add screens and Metro will renovate.
  • Suzanne Séguin will start the budget process for 2020 much earlier so that it will be in place when the year starts instead of partway through.
  • A Q & A session in some form will be started in Council meetings.
  • Money for overhauling the East Pier will be budgeted and tenders let.
  • A travel lift for the marina will not be bought by the Town although it may get suggested again.
  • The large empty store opposite the Town Hall (most recently Sarby’s) will finally be rented sometime in 2019 but Downtown will still struggle to be truly bustling.
  • There will be no Busker Festival but there will be plenty of downtown events.
  • The WaterPark will finally arrive off the main beach in summer.
  • The Park Theatre will not re-open although the owners may look for permission to turn it into Condos.
  • The Tannery vacant lot will stay vacant.
  • There will be a reorganization in Town staffing with at least one senior person retiring or leaving.

The next Post will likely be reporting on the New Year’s Levee in Victoria Hall at 2:00pm on Tuesday, 1 January 2019.  This should include the Mayor’s view of what will happen in 2019.


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12 February 2019 8:59 am

Going forward with the future of Cobourg development I have a question. What is happening to the West Park development just west of Canadian Tire. Everything was going along great and suddenly for the last few months the site has been in limbo. All of equipment was also removed. Has the development gone bust? Are we (New Amherst residents) left with this eyesore in out back yard?

1 January 2019 12:13 pm

I doubt the Park theater will reopen — Now that the Town Sold off the only parking lot with close proximity to service such a venue or any commercial venture of that size ., and if construction of a newly proposed condo building were to happen in which case the town suggest we might receive back a underground parking lot in return It will shut down the existing lot for a good 2 or 3 yrs while construction is taking place Besides we only need so many theaters before one of the competition would go under I see many of our fellow Townies at the new show in Bowmanville where they make a day of it . and parking is plentiful and paved

31 December 2018 5:06 pm

“Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin will no doubt shake up the budgeting process since she will be responsible for Finance”

Hmm I have understood what people think is broken about the budget process. What is broken is the ever rising, inflation creeping rises in the taxation. With the addition of the “assessment bonus” the actual rate of spending averages 5% each year. Surely it is time to take up every politicians promise and adopt ‘zero based budgeting’ that would be a shake up!

Just remember the last DM to promise low taxes (come on down Stan Frost) never did really make an appreciable difference in the lowering of taxes. It is easier to talk a good deal than implement one.

Well perhaps this DM will succeed where all of the others have failed – the taxpayers deserve someone who can.

Cobourg Person
Reply to  ben
31 December 2018 7:31 pm

I personally don’t believe the approved tax increase is the issue and DM Seguin never promised a tax break. The lack of communication and input from citizens concerning the budget process has been the concern. A concern that DM Seguin has said she will address. I can accept a 5% increase in taxes if I know specifically the reason for the increase and if there was some actual planning (ie: no more random third-party reports).

I also believe that DM Seguin is going to address the lack of financial reports (budget vs actual). I’m curious to see if that gets accomplished in 2019.

Reply to  Cobourg Person
1 January 2019 9:38 am

Tell me how DM Henderson failed to communicate with the public on his budgets? Any failure here is the way the public failed to respond to his appeals at the public budget meetings, after all how many people actually went to any of his meetings?

Cobourg Person
Reply to  ben
1 January 2019 12:46 pm

Tell me how former DM Henderson succeeded in communicating with the public on budgets. The fact that the Town’s budgets are on a calendar year and on January 1, 2019 there has been no public budget sessions is indication of failure within the budgeting process.

Conducting minimal engagement with the taxpayer at the end of the budget process and then claiming the taxpayer lacks interest because they don’t attend is a senseless argument.

manfred s
Reply to  Cobourg Person
1 January 2019 5:16 pm

there is nothing to prevent anyone from being involved in the budgeting process at any point. Just because there is no “public venue” throughout the entire process does not prevent anyone from contacting the DM, or any other member of Council for that matter, about their concerns at ANY time! You don’t need an audience to do that if your concerns are legitimate and your input is relevant to the process. Wanting to sit in an audience waiting for someone else to do the talking is what some perceive as being involved, I’m guessing. It’s not. If one has concerns, questions or even just comments, pick up the phone and make contact.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  manfred s
2 January 2019 7:59 am

As simple as that; good advice, Manfred. It’s amazing what gets done when one steps up to the plate. We live in greater freedom than any time in history; so use it.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Cobourg Person
2 January 2019 10:15 am

“The County attempted to get the public interested with public budget meetings in June but attendance and participation were pathetic. Five came to the open house and one completed the online survey.” Cobourg Blog, December 2018.
An example of openness, transparency and public input, no?

Doug Weldon
31 December 2018 1:33 pm

“A travel lift for the Marina” I made a smart aleck comment about the boat lift last year when it was the big issue in Cobourg politics. You might remember, I stated that since I was also a Cobourg tax payer I wondered if some Cobourgers would volunteer to come up to my cottage in Northern Ontario to help lift my boat out of the water. I got the most “Likes” that day but sadly no one actually volunteered. ha Well a suggestion. At Eagle Lake we cottagers are more numerous than the year round residents of our Township so we can’t expect a lot of financial support from the twp. A group of cottagers has operated for a number of years. ELCA, the Eagle Lake Conservation Association often gets the volunteers out to build boat ramps,clear invasive plants and set out marker buoys. We have some pretty good plans for the next few years. A few small government grants but all volunteer workers. The township shows up with trucks and workers, anything they can do to help. So back to the Cobourg Boat Lift. IF… I had a sail boat I would be looking at forming a work group. Decide what we want and can afford. Probably a less expensive compromise could be found. Then approach all boat/harbour users to pledge financial support – so much each year for 5 years. You might be amazed how much is raised. Then extend the fund raising to others in the community. Offer sail boat rides to the locals who aren’t fortunate enough to own a boat. I’d love to see a piece of Lake Ontario. Do a day long event and finish with a Bar B Q with maybe a dance band at the Band Shell. Charge a fee and have… Read more »

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Doug Weldon
31 December 2018 1:52 pm

I support your suggestions.

There is a sign-burdened weathered post next to the boat ramp, with downward lights illuminating the ramp. It is topless. Nothing could be more appropriately whimsical than a birdhouse replication of the Marina, designed for two bird families, on top of that post.

I hope the Cobourg Marina and Cobourg Yacht Club will insist that the trash cans for their location will not be as trashy looking as last year.

My suggestions are very inexpensive to accomplish.

Old Sailor
Reply to  Doug Weldon
31 December 2018 10:28 pm

Re hauling out and launching boats in Cobourg the thing is that the town owns and operates the marina. Not the boaters. And you can’t just get a few friends to come down from Kelly’s and lift 25,000 pound boats or to remove 60 foot masts from sailboats.

The marinas’ role is to organize and run the launch, haul out and storage of boats. It is not the role of the boaters to do that. Boaters pay fair market fees for those services. Boaters don’t personally finance equipment purchases like travel lifts. The marina do that.

If boaters in Cobourg had to buy their own travel lift there would be no boats in the water. None. That might be a good strategy to get rid of all the boats – if that is the end game of the town.

Reply to  Old Sailor
1 January 2019 12:25 am

The marinas’ role is to run a marina and rent slips and services.
I have a 37 foot boat and the marina I stay at doesn’t do anything for me except rent me a slip. I accept that.
The (different) marina where I take my boat for haul out – storage – spring launch, run their own show. I, as their boating customer, certainly do finance their equipment purchases and labour. That is what my winter fees are for.
I don’t mind paying my fair share for the services I get, but I do mind paying for a share of the services that Cobourg Marina customers receive.
Tell you what, they subsidize me, I’ll subsidize them.
Did you read Doug Weldon’s post above?

Old Sailor
Reply to  Frenchy
1 January 2019 11:28 am

I did read Mr. Weldon’s post. My point is that boaters do not buy travel lifts. The boaters in Cobourg are not a close knit group nor do they all belong to CYC and it would be impossible to organize them collectively. I have a trawler on Lake Ontario and do not keep it at Cobourg marina. I haul out at a marina that has a travel lift. I still feel that if the Cobourg marina filled all its slips, stored all its boats in an expanded yard it might be able to afford a travel lift with the increased mooring, storage, haul out and launch fees. But the marina is a political hot potato, not run as a normal for profit business.

Reply to  Old Sailor
1 January 2019 12:20 pm

Is it a privately owned marina or did the good townsfolk pay for that travel lift where you haul out?
“if the Cobourg marina filled all its slips, stored all its boats in an expanded yard it might be able to afford a travel lift with the increased mooring, storage, haul out and launch fees.”
When they come up with a good business plan and verifiable proof that they can do that, then I’m all in.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Frenchy
2 January 2019 10:24 am

Could you tell us which marina you use for haul out?

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
2 January 2019 10:28 am

I’m not sure why that might be relevant and I’m not sure if you are asking me or Old Sailor, but I use (privately owned) Harris Boat Works for haul out.
Want to contribute to my fees?

Reply to  Doug Weldon
1 January 2019 12:30 pm

The Concept of boating and boat owners having their personal passion and hobby supported and subsidized by the private sector and Tax payers is crazy . Why not lease out the Marina to a Professional operator that would be on a Triple net lease with no burden to the Town or it citizens
I will bet you we will come out farther ahead financially and if the operator deems there to be enough demand and revenue return to justify a boat lift then I am sure they will provide it
or another viable option . Obligation gone problem solved and we still own it .

Rusty Brown
Reply to  sandpiper
2 January 2019 2:09 am

A travel lift would be a monstrosity that would spoil the look of the whole waterfront. Same goes for a purpose-built shed to hide it in. We spent too much effort de-industrializing the waterfront to start reversing the process now.
Pictures at:

Reply to  Rusty Brown
2 January 2019 1:48 pm

If they get one, why not store it in the storage compound they have now when not in use.
Pretty sure they wouldn’t go ahead and get a huge 100 or 150 ton lift. Would they?

manfred s
Reply to  Frenchy
3 January 2019 10:15 am

I still think the trailer park could be made to serve as a seasonal winter storage compound (as opposed to long term storage of unused vessels and equipment occupying prime summer use lands)

Reply to  sandpiper
2 January 2019 12:13 pm

Some of us non-realtors don’t know what a Triple net lease is. So please.

Reply to  Frenchy
3 January 2019 9:14 am

And here I thought it had something to do with fishing.

manfred s
Reply to  sandpiper
2 January 2019 9:26 pm

the thing is, Sandpiper, many “specialized activities” are subsidized by the taxpayers at all taxation tiers. Community pools, ice rinks, playing fields, wilderness trails, parkland and the like, not to mention the favours extended to pro sports through multi-million dollar venues built with taxpayer dollars to entice franchises to locate in chosen markets, all enjoy some form and level of subsidy so why would ‘sailing’ or boating in general be singled out for exclusion? (btw, I’m not a boater)

Reply to  manfred s
2 January 2019 9:34 pm

Community pools like where the whole community is welcome to enjoy it? Or the ice rinks where all are welcome with public skates and the Frink? Playing fields where anyone can have a pick-up baseball or soccer game? Wilderness trails and parkland that are free for everyone to enjoy?
You got me at the pro sports venues. Not too many of those in Cobourg though.

Reply to  Frenchy
2 January 2019 10:22 pm

Forgot to mention manfred s, I was thinking of buying a golf membership this year at the Mill. Problem is, I’m a little short of cash and don’t have enough for club storage, so I wonder if you or Old Sailor or Walter would like to chip in a few bucks towards it or maybe give the course a bunch of dough for maintenance or capital purchases so they could lower their fees?

manfred s
Reply to  Frenchy
3 January 2019 10:09 am

hey…don’t misunderstand me, I don’t like it either but just wanted to be objective and put it out there. With boating you do need a boat so there’s an inherent ‘qualifyer’ at play, as with golfing you need clubs (guess you can rent in both cases) but these venues are as accessible as the ones you offered (obviously doesn’t apply to private enterprises like a golf “club”). I also don’t have a dog but have to subsidize a dog park. Of course fees are involved, to maintain the venues I presume, but the opportunity for access is there. I too feel many end up paying something towards providing pleasure of few but the argument remains, I think, whether I like it or not.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  manfred s
3 January 2019 10:15 am

Hmmm Manfred, does this blog have a policy about ‘soliciting’?

manfred s
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
3 January 2019 10:28 am

don’t know, Walter, but might be something who’s time has come, lol. Frenchy’s requests (which are probably in jest yet illustrate the subsidy mentality,) really go some distance in explaining why people feel the way they do about “subsidizing” the pleasures of those more affluent than themselves. I don’t want to make more of it than the tongue in cheek that it is but it does help to delve into the underlying factors.

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
3 January 2019 12:27 pm

Are you referring to the Marina that you asked me for the name of Walter?
If you have a question about soliciting on this blog, you might be better off to ask John Draper, not manfred s.