On August 31, all candidates in the upcoming Municipal election were asked seven leading questions on hot topics – this is the first in a series of posts giving their answers (see link below for other questions and more about the candidates). Candidates were asked to keep their responses short; if they did not, their submitted text has been abbreviated. The first question on the list asked about the West Harbour. The recent Waterfront study made recommendations about the harbour including expansion of the Marina into the West Harbour. The issue has been the subject of a lot of discussion in the Town (as judged by comments on this blog) and by Councillors. The position of those running for election varies from “no expansion” to “let’s have a referendum”.
It so happened that today (September 22, 2018) was also the date for the annual Dragon Boat Festival in Cobourg’s West Harbour. The event occupies the West Harbour and brings visitors to Town although most competitors are local. The Festival features competitive races with the final race making a long circuit around the whole harbour. Cobourg participants (including the Survivor Thrivers) can often be seen practicing at other times.
The photo at right was taken in 2002 when the event was blessed with more sunshine (click to enlarge or close).
|John Henderson (acclaimed)
|I stated in 2014 that the West Harbor must address the concerns of all stakeholders including the Walking Clubs, Survivor Thrivors, Cobourg Dragon Boat and Canoe Club, Willow Beach Naturalist and the Cobourg Yacht Club. This defined area also supports the United Way Campaign-Challenge the Dragon and other related community events such as the Cobourg Waterfront Festival. It needs to be equitable in terms of how the west harbor and lands are used. I would not support harbor expansion based on my above comments.
|It is possible to increase revenue without changing the footprint of the west harbor (no new boat slips west of the centre pier). An innovative focus on fiscal management will enable the town to maximize usage (revenue) without the use of tax dollars.
Using the Waterfront User Needs Assessment and Detailed Design Plan, we will look at evidence-based and smart decisions for making the existing marina sustainable without adding more slips to the west harbour and without a taxpayer funded boat lift.
Early in the new term of Council, I will put forward a motion to prevent any expansion of the west harbour for the next four years.
|I promise to steward the Cobourg Waterfront by nurturing its natural assets. I do not support the commercial development or expansion of the West Beach; however, as Councillor, I am committed to assuring that vibrant tourism, cultural, recreational and economic opportunities continue to thrive and contribute to our progressive future as a waterfront community.
|I do not support expansion of slips into the west harbour. I would like to investigate other options for reconfiguring the east harbour to potentially add more slips there, as well as converting some of the transient slips to seasonal. I believe we need to consider such changes, and possibly increase rates, in order to maintain profitability for the marina going forward, without having to sacrifice the natural west harbour.
|I am not willing to expand the marina if it effects the user groups or other businesses that use the west harbour. I would like to see it stay natural and protect the Eco system.
I would protect the West Harbour by opposing Marina expansion west of the Centre Pier. The people of Cobourg clearly expressed their opposition to marina expansion in 2015 and again in June this year.
|I feel this question is a red herring for the next Council. The Waterfront Master Plan recommendations suggest this topic be dealt with in year seven of the plan. The current condition and possible repairs to the east pier, some dock replacement and even centre pier repairs may push this topic further into the future. It may not even be dealt with in the next two terms of Council. People tend to be polarized on this issue. Therefore I would ask for a referendum on the next election ballot in 2022 so all citizens of Cobourg will make the decision.
|Karl Vom Dorff
|Sustainability and preservation of the West Harbour – no expansion. Yes to: Cobourg’s Dragonboat & Kayak Club, the Yacht Club & Marina, environmental sustainability, tourism – a symbiotic yes to all, without expansion or increasing property taxes. The East pier’s disintegration should be prioritized.
|My understanding is there is no rush to make a decision on this for the next term of council. Put it to a referendum vote in the 2020 municipal election. Obviously, the protection and preservation of the west Bay Area is essential for recreational use. I would not support an expansion that takes away from the natural recreational water area and would adversely affect many community groups and users
|I support protection of our harbour as a multi-use harbour and important waterfront asset belonging to all citizens of Cobourg. I do not support expansion which requires additional restrictions on public use or limits opportunities for flexible programming. I do support optimization and good design.
|My position on the marina expansion into the west harbour has been very clear, the people of Cobourg have repeatedly said they don’t want it and it’s time to listen to the people. If Council does not agree that this is the case, they should consider putting this issue to a referendum and have the public once and for all settle this matter.
Note: Candidates listed in last name alphabetical order.
The next question to be answered is “Are Tourists good for Cobourg? Look for new posts with Candidates answering questions every day at around 7:00 pm for 7 days. Or if you can wait, the next morning by email at 8:00am. Posts on other subjects will continue.
- Municipal Election Page with comprehensive information about all the candidates in the upcoming election. Includes bios, campaign policies, web sites etc. Also includes how to vote and questions for candidates.
- Waterfront Study finally accepted by Council – 5 July 2018