In 1995, Cobourg started to light up Victoria Park at Christmas time. However, in 2015, the DBIA thought that it did nothing to get people into the Downtown area so they were moved to Rotary Park and the Esplanade. It was also said that the lights were damaging the trees although they were added to a few trees in Rotary Park. On the Esplanade, there were no large trees so trees were brought in. But many citizens thought the lights had been better in Victoria Park so in January 2019, a citizen Ad Hoc committee was formed to recommend what should be done. Called The Christmas Magic Ad Hoc Committee (CMAHC), the committee is composed of Bruce Moore, Ron Hyatt, Julie McCuaig, Jane Frost, Dale Randall and Rosella Cornaviera with Councillors Adam Bureau and Emily Chorley plus non-voting staff members.
They have had four meetings and reviewed several reports from staff and will be providing their recommendations to Council at the Committee of the Whole meeting on September 3.
The committee considered and decided:
Victoria Hall: The lighting up ceremony should continue to be outside Victoria Hall
Rotary Park: Including Rotary Park with the skating rink should be continued. The photo above right was taken in 2018 (credit Rick Miller).
The Esplanade: “Unlike Rotary Park, there are no natural trees for lighting on the Esplanade. The site is not as visible as Rotary Park and is not as accessible. Its proximity to the Harbour poses a risk to young children. The Committee was told that the DBIA does not oppose a discontinuation of the lights at this site.”
Victoria Park: Staff have acknowledged that lights could be placed in a manner that minimizes any stress or damage to the trees and grass in the park (e.g. flood lights, projectors, solar lights). Returning lights to Victoria Park during the Christmas season would draw people to the park, which would be a boost to tourism at that time of year. The park is accessible to everyone. The lights could be placed in a way and at a time that does not interfere or disrespect any groups or events (e.g. Remembrance Day).
The DBIA did not oppose the idea of relocating the lights from Esplanade to Victoria Park so long as lights remain in Rotary Park for the lighting-up ceremony.
- The recommendation is that lights should remain in Rotary Park but instead of on the Esplanade, they should be installed once again in Victoria Park (photo right is from December 2007).
- The lights around the outdoor rink should remain lit until late February.
- Victoria Park lights should mostly be removed in the first week of January (since they are Christmas lights) but some lighting should be maintained after January 7 so that the Park has some lighting through to late February.
Although this is subject to approval to Council, since representative citizens, the DBIA and Staff approve the changes, it is likely to be approved.
- Lights on for 2018 – 24 Nov 2018
- Councillors were busy at their first meeting of 2019 – 11 Jan 2019
- Report by CMAHC Committee – includes comments about budget.
Update – Sept 4, 2019
At their C.O.W. meeting, Council agreed to all the above. An additional recommendation about funding downtown lamp post lights was deferred.
Update – Sept 9, 2019
At their regular Council meeting, Council ratified their decision at the C.O.W. – so the above is official