Waterfront Study Finally Accepted by Council

The vote was delayed a month to give time for further public input and as a result, there were four delegations on the subject at Tuesday’s Council Meeting.  Each project would have to come to Council for approval at the time it was intended to go ahead so most councillors felt that approving the plan did not mean they were approving each project.  But the wording was contentious; Suzanne Séguin wanted to include words that specifically barred expanding the West Harbour even though such wording could later be over-ruled.  Both public presenters and Councillors felt that the study was generally deemed to make good recommendations with the exception of expansion of boat slips into the West Harbour and buying a Travel Lift.  Both these issues generated a lot of disagreement.

Issues raised by Delegations

See their full presentations in Links below

Colin Bromley – Cobourg Resident

  • There were no discussions or recommendations regarding Ontario Lake Level fluctuations (The consultant later said that this was outside the scope of the study and they did not have expertise in this area)
  • There was not sufficient information regarding necessary supporting information to fully understand the reasons for some recommendations – e.g. there is no costing of the lost opportunities at the Trailer Park
  • Putting repair of Monk’s Cove as a low priority so that it is derelict for 13 years is “not appropriate”.

Jeremy Fowlie, Head Coach of Cobourg Dragon Boat and Canoe Club

Jeremy questioned the case for more slips and that there are other alternatives.  He also wanted a proper survey done – e.g. a question on the ballot at a Council election (Town Clerk Brent Larmer said that it would be too late at this election but Gil suggested maybe it could be added in 2022).

Harold Wontorra, Cobourg Resident

Harold gave detailed reasons why the Boat Lift ranking should be #62 and not #4.  He also said that a boat lift would make Cobourg the only Marina to have one without boat repair services.

Lisa Rundle, Spokesperson, Preserve Our Heritage Harbour (POHH)

Preserve our Heritage Harbour Demonstration on June 28
Preserve our Heritage Harbour Demonstration on June 28

Her only objection was to the “Expansion of the Marina into the West Harbour and the proposed acquisition of a Travel Lift” She pointed out that the November 22, 2016 Request for Proposal for the Waterfront User Needs did not mention revenue generation so how then did it become a standalone objective and the overriding feature of the consultant’s final report?  She disagreed with the Director who said there was a: “clear understanding of what the majority of residents want for their waterfront”.  She said: “Perhaps he can explain why the wishes of the majority of residents were completely ignored.” (Dean Hustwick later said that “Revenue generation was always one of the objectives”.) At right is a photo of a recent demonstration by POHH.  More here.

Response to Objections

Both Director Dean Hustwick and the Consultant gave detailed reasons in response to the objections.  Download Dean’s full 18 page memo below with detailed reasoning – but his top level comments were:

  • The intent was never for Council to debate each recommendation
  • A large number of people support the recommendations – Dean’s implication is that it’s only minorities who object.
  • The definition of a harbour is that it’s a safe harbour for boats.  ALL boats matter.

The consultant also said that the delegations represented a small minority of the community.

  • He refuted many of the statements given by objectors (for details see the consultant’s presentation in links below)
  • The majority of the public support maximizing the use of the harbour
  • 100 slips is a 14% increase and not likely to cause conflicts e.g. between dragon boats and others
  • Some of his comments about harbour space assumed more dredging.

Mayor Gil Brocanier commented that there are often two sides to decisions before council: the logical side and the emotional side.  If there were a ballot at the 2022 election, voters could decide whether the marina should be taxpayer supported or should it be self-supporting.

In the end the motion to adopt the report was modified to include the requirement that “major recommended projects will require public consultation before final determination.”  The motion passed six to one with Suzanne Séguin against.  There was general agreement that because an action was in the report did NOT mean it was going to be implemented.  Each project will be decided separately and would be subject to public scrutiny and input.


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Wally Keeler
15 July 2018 9:43 am

“The City of Kingston’s Waterfront Master Plan set a vision for its waterfront. And with the participation of many people and organizations, residents will be swimming along Kingston’s waterfront for years to come.”


Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 July 2018 10:25 am

Indeed they will….without boat-lifts, winter storage and unwanted marina slips. Strange how Thinc’s solution for Kingston’s two world class municipal marinas did not include these three MUST HAVE facilities. It seems that for Kingston, Thinc based their recommendations on what the the people wanted instead of what Town staff wanted.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Bryan
15 July 2018 11:15 am

One musn’t overlook the Kingston population of amost 130,000 .while Cobourg is family size.of 19000 ?
I noticed by attending WFDP consultation meetings that Cobourg is referred to as a city by the consultants quite often.
I wonder if that is an idicator of their mindset when determining projects for mostly revenue driven council desired projects.
It begs the question of how many other small waterfront town councils hire expensive consultancies to tell them what is best when there is enough local expertise in their town to be utilised for what is better for rhe town if they’d only listen to them.
Much safer though to hire out of town “experts” .
Possibly “it was the advice of experts ” that takes rhe blame if plans go pear shaped rather than the council.
The latest wheeze of the WaterPark fiasco is a perfect example of incompetency by the town council in their haste.
One can not fail to notice after two failed attempts by the consultants (Shoreplan Engineering ) in the past to exploit the waterfront that they were replaced by the latest group of consultants .
I suppose with the town’s hope that a new approach with new faces but same recommendations would be successful.
A repeat of the town’s goal of expansion by a different name etc ….Same goal, same familiar pitch with another huge cost to Cobourg taxpayers.

How clever of the town to pass the expansion /boat lift issue final decision on to the new council instead of their deciding.

Maybe it was because “the horse was dead ” supposedly by this council ,yet it appeared as a priority in a consultation commencing in 2017. Makes one wonder

NO still means NO no matter how one wants to interpret it.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bill Thompson
15 July 2018 12:36 pm

“…there is enough local expertise in their town to be utilised for what is better for rhe town if they’d only listen to them.

Those unnamed experts who allegedly know what is better for the Town need to lobby for Council and convince the people of Cobourg the rightness of their causes.

What needs to be done is more economic exploitation of tourists in all seasons to increase revenue to help the Town pay for the restoration of the east pier instead of loading it all on the backs of Cobourg taxpayers.

Reply to  Bill Thompson
15 July 2018 2:40 pm

It does seem that Cobourg has hired more than enough consultants. I imagine that the amount spent on the “experts” has certainly added up over the years. I may be wrong, but I get the impression that these consultants are individuals who do not live in Cobourg. Why is that? Generally, don’t the residents who have lived in the the town for years know what’s best for Cobourg? Also, the “city status” label is a little hard to swallow. Why would anyone want the charming town of Cobourg to be given that status ? Is that what’s in Cobourg’s future? I personally hope not.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Susie-Q
15 July 2018 2:52 pm

Generally, don’t the residents who have lived in the the town for years know what’s best for Cobourg?

Good point Susie-Q. Generally, those residents that were born and raised here know even better what’s best for Cobourg than those who have lived here for mere years and those pesky consultants who don’t live here at all. That’s the hierarchy.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bryan
15 July 2018 2:37 pm

It seems that…”

But, you are not entirely certain that Thinc based its recommendations on what the Kingston people wanted, whereas, in Cobourg, you imply that Thinc decided not to go with the people of Cobourg, in spite of all the surveys, but to go with a handful of unnamed Town staff. Really? Why would Thinc do that? Ridiculous theory.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 July 2018 4:58 pm

Considerably less ridiculous than your theory. Consider the evidence: slip expansion in the west harbour has been turned down twice by council under pressure from the residents of Cobourg. At the public meetings and through the survey, Cobourgers indicated that slip expansion in the West harbour was not acceptable.
So why did Thinc recommend it?
What is your theory Wally, Please explains why Thinc recommended slip expansion in the West Harbour when they knew the public is against it.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bryan
15 July 2018 5:45 pm

I have no theory and don’t claim to have one in this particular instance, however I do recognize the unsubstantiated fiction that you put forth that the marina expansion is a Town staff project. Why would Thinc jeopardize their integrity by submitting to that sort of thing. I’m not making an accusation against Town staff, you are.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 July 2018 10:42 pm

Open your eyes and your mind. If the public doesn’t want slip expansion in the West harbour and has clearly indicated that on two prior occasions, why would Thinc recommend it. The answer is that they were getting strong pressure from some other source.
Who could that be?
Staff or Council….take your pick.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bryan
15 July 2018 11:14 pm

You already picked your choice — your accusation is Town staff. My mind is open and clear, but you have failed to present a cogent argument to support your contentious accusation that Thinc was controlled by Town staff. Put up some evidence instead of insubstantial theories.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 July 2018 10:01 pm

From your link:
“Sewage pollution once disconnected people from the waterfront. Now Utilities Kingston provides real-time monitoring of sewage overflows. This data helps people decide when it’s best to swim.”
Is this just bad reporting or does the City of Kingston still dump raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
15 July 2018 11:11 pm

Of course they do. They just monitor it and inform the citizens of the bacteria count. So?

Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 July 2018 11:34 pm

I just thought it odd that in 2018 some one was still doing something like that. And to be so accepting to this act (“Of course they do”) seems strange to me.
Does our town do that and would we/are we so accepting of the fact?

6 July 2018 9:21 am

If you ask me the implementation of “The Consultants” was a waste of money in the long run. Every suggestion by the consultants will have to go thru public consultation. We are now back where we started. Everyone in this town knows what the most important projects are and we have sufficient talent in out town whether citizen or staff or council to figure it out in the long run.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  cornbread
6 July 2018 10:54 am

Not enough time to have a survey to get public response to such an important decision ?
If the will is there it would happen.
This is only July ..the election is in October !
Is everyone aside from Clr Seguin that weak willed that they are reluctant to stop this repetitive waste of time not to mention the cost?

Convenient memory loss by the council obviously.
Do they not remember the Shoreplan consultants TWICE tried the same “public consultations” about marina expansion with the same result?
Does the town think that their taxpayers are really that naive that they can peddle the same old incorrect information out and get a different result.
Everyone has heard I’m sure of the term “battle fatigue” .
Is this another town strategy to wear down public resistance to this unwanted expansion so they give up ?
Third time lucky?!
No means NO !

Bill Thompson
6 July 2018 9:04 am

This issue must become an election agenda item in October( not in 2022 as recommended by the mayor outgoing )

We heard the statements against expansion from the present council during their election campaign and yet this same issue re-appears once more during their term (only adding a $3/4 million boat lift this time).
How did that happen again after it being declared dead by this council for their present term in office.?
This attempt once more has to be recognised by the public for what it is …a town strategy to wear down any opposition to their plans through apathy and “it’s a done deal anyway” mentality.
We must make sure it is dead and buried this time permanently so please make your voices heard on election day, otherwise our most precious natural asset will go the way so many others .
There is no going back if their plans are allowed to take place.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Bill Thompson
6 July 2018 9:25 am

“In the end the motion to adopt the report was modified to include the requirement that “major recommended projects will require public consultation before final determination.”

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
6 July 2018 1:19 pm

A good modification.

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
6 July 2018 6:32 pm

They should change “public consultation” to “public decision”…that way we don’t get railroaded by council.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bill Thompson
6 July 2018 1:19 pm

“We must make sure it is dead and buried this time permanently…”

Permanently is a bit too much. It imposes a current decision onto future generations. Why not just leave it to eternal vigilance and the cumbersome democratic process. Enough people clamour in opposition each election will likely maintain the policy of hands off the harbour.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Wally Keeler
6 July 2018 3:00 pm

Of course it does not include future generations however
they can decide for themselves in their time but we’re dealng with the here and now.and denying the possibilities of the harbour being strictly for boating which gradually appears to be the town overall goal.
Why keep repeating the same scenario each time as it’s all about town’s relentless pursuit of “revenue” as the measure of success not quality of life for the people who live here.
Does anyone these days, looking around at different waterfronts not recognize that so many have already become gated marinas instead of open water /nature vistas for the public and wildlife ?
Off subject a little but consider what Cobourg has “achieved”so far relative to the beach and park.with the complete nightmare of our overcrowding and parking problems and more to come.
Quality of life should be the priority not turning the town into another costly generic overcrowded playground like so many have become.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bill Thompson
6 July 2018 3:59 pm

Democracy requires that the people constantly clamour for what they want. It very much is the same scenario, election after election. I like it that way. But permanent? Nope! Not a chance. Thank you for turning your back on the permanence.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bill Thompson
15 July 2018 2:46 pm

“...we’re dealng with the here and now.and denying the possibilities of the harbour being strictly for boating which gradually appears to be the town overall goal.

STRICKLY FOR BOATING. Includes yachts, paddle boards, canoes, dragon boats, kayaks, sail boats, sail boards, etc., etc. Is this the Town’s overall goal? Good for them. A harbour strictly for boating is a good thing and the people of Cobourg are doing exactly that.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 July 2018 6:14 pm

A harbour strictly for boating do not require over 100 boatslips with accompanying $2/3 million dollars for a boatlift that would spend fifity weeks of the year in storage as an eyesore in the harbour ,the construction of a groyne,and rails for its operation.not to mention the obstructive view of the open water harbour for those who live in the condos overlooking it.
Dragon boaters ,young kids taking sailing lessons out on paddle boards ,kayaks canoes etc.being considered a part of “boating” is a bit of a stretch comparing them with yachts ,sail boats and motorized craft etc, with their support required.
The most overlooked issue of course is the harbour wildlife sanctuary in winter ,and nature hardly mentioned in the consultants’ recommendation while not much comment from the town of that omission.
The priorities of the town are very obvious and yet the same old rationale keeps reappearing even with a town council in its final months in office.
Let’s hope the new council shows more genuine interest in actually listening to its constituients as this one has only gone through the motions to check the box,while carrying on with its

5 July 2018 3:27 pm

Monks Cove is definitely the new elephant in the room with $2 million repair price tag!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Durka
15 July 2018 8:10 pm

And tourists should be better milked for the $$$ to help pay for those repairs instead of putting the entire load on the backs of retired taxpayers.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 July 2018 9:43 pm

First of all, I don’t think we should be using the term “milked” when we talk about the financial benefits tourists and our visitors to Cobourg, bring us. If they get wind of that, they might feel used more than welcomed.
Second, remember that visiting family you met and boasted about spending over $200 at Walmart? Just how much of that money, and what path would that money take, to get filtered down to a project like Monk’s Cove restoration?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
15 July 2018 11:08 pm

The Walmart is only one instance of many. The goal is to extract as much money as we can from tourists to assist in paying for repairs to the east pier instead of dumping the entire cost to to the taypayers of Cobourg. Your faux concern about milking on this blog is misplaced because tourists do not read this blog.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 July 2018 11:45 pm

How do you know that tourists to Cobourg don’t read this blog?
Whether that example of tourists spending money at Walmart is one of many or a singular instance, tell us how much of, and how, that money gets trickled down to repairs to Monks Cove (or the east pier)?

Reply to  Wally Keeler
16 July 2018 12:13 am

“putting the entire load on the backs of retired taxpayers.”
Shouldn’t the non retired taxpayers contribute too?