CIP for Affordable Housing in Cobourg

Cobourg’s first Community Improvement Plan (CIP) was created for downtown and has resulted in annual grants and loans to Downtown businesses wanting to spruce up their premises.  But if it works to allow subsidies for upgrading Downtown buildings why not create one to legalize subsidies for affordable housing?  At their Monday Council meeting, Council approved the award of a contract for the preparation of a Town-wide Affordable Housing CIP at a cost of $65,185.  In his supporting memo, Director Glen McGlashon said that “the CIP would provide a legal mechanism and various incentive tools authorized under Section 28 of the Planning Act to help stimulate the provision of affordable and rental housing in the community.”  In addition to being affordable and for the rental market, the intent is to encourage exemplary and sustainable design.

The reason given as to why this is happening is because the current Strategic Plan includes a goal to “create a housing strategy that is in alignment with the County of Northumberland’s Housing Strategy”.

The contract will be awarded to MacNaughton Hermsen Britton Clarkson (MHBC) Planning Limited, in association with SHS Consulting.

Scope of Contract

The RFP required:

  1. The preparation of a detailed framework and/or implementation plan to provide a wide range of incentive options, or tools, for the Municipality to offer to private sector organizations in exchange for the provision of affordable and rental housing that meets the needs of all residents in the community; and,
  2. The preparation of a detailed framework and/or implementation plan to provide incentive options which encourage the private sector to champion and incorporate exemplary urban design, universal design and sustainable design measures into new development and re-development proposals, and to stimulate brownfield re-development, in the municipality.

The plan will be called the “Affordable & Rental Housing Community Improvement Plan (CIP)“.

Public Engagement

The contract includes a requirement for a “formal Communications and Public Engagement Plan” which is expected to begin in mid-September and conclude in March of 2020. No doubt that will include a survey on Engage Cobourg and a Public meeting at some point.


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Meya Tootoly
14 September 2019 7:13 pm

“sustainable housing”
sustainable to who? the poor? the old? the sick? the lazy?there’s a lot of sustainable housing around all ready in all major cities and are abused by the very people they are provided for. So why do we have to provide a whole new area for this? Why can’t the different layers of government provide people with special needs apts in clean all ready in use bldgs. These people can all do something to help pay their way with the upkeep, ie. cleaning,painting,grass cutting what ever they can do to pitch in, in turn giving them a feeling of pride that they are not living off hand outs. I don’t understand this NEW thought process that everyone is entitled to a house!!! This isn’t the Opera show, everyone can’t afford a house or the up keep of one, so lets re think this whole issue and come up with a better idea. I am not in favor of building a slum area. I moved to Cobourg to get away from this, not to help finance more affordable housing. Lets focus on bring in more “sustainable businesses that will in turn provide higher paying jobs.

Cathy Jewitt
Reply to  Meya Tootoly
15 September 2019 10:34 am

High paying jobs coming back to Cobourg? That’s just not happening. A few in the $20 range, maybe, but they’re few and far between. Most commute west or east.

Cathy Jewitt
14 September 2019 3:37 pm

One needs to be making at least $23 an hour to afford a “decent” apartment. Many in northumberland county don’t earn that much, myself included. There seems to be a real disconnect between all levels of government etc to find real, viable solutions to affordable, accessible, sustainable housing in the area. It’s not a dirty word folks, everyone needs and deserves the right to good housing. I encourage all levels of government, developers, contractors, real estate agents, and rental agencies to come together to find viable options to assist all of our members of our community, because right now, for a good number of people, it’s just not working. I know of an empty building on king street, already equipped with elevators that would be perfect for apartments.
Denmark, and Sweden have addressed the correlation between good housing and health, why can’t Northumberland County? There are lots of options out there that other countries have adopted like small home communities, co home ownership, just to name a few.

13 September 2019 3:14 pm

Do we know how successful (or not) the current CIP program has been? It seems to me that without that metric how do we know we aren’t doubling down on a failing scheme. Also what does ‘affordable’ mean? If memory serves in a past blog there seemed to be a series of broad definitions of affordable. It seems to me that as we move away from this originally intended downtown-revitalization-tactic a risk of increased ‘fuzziness’ in what constitutes a successful utilization of tax payers money will be the result.

Reply to  gerinator
13 September 2019 7:36 pm

“The Province of Ontario defines affordable housing as the least expensive of: 1) a unit for which the rent does not exceed 30 per cent of gross annual household income for low and moderate income households; or 2) a unit for which the rent is at or below the average market rent of a unit in the regional market area”

Assuming they’re using the provincial definition.

Reply to  Dan
16 September 2019 4:03 pm

Thanks for providing the above definition. Seems sensible, hopefully the Staffers and Council buy into it.

Walter Luedtke
12 September 2019 10:07 am

Building up: How Barrie’s community improvement plan helps …
Through this CIP, the city was able to approve grants to assist in the development of 35 affordable housing units and two “significant” …
Affordable housing study suggested for Niagara Falls
City staff suggest an affordable housing study be done for Niagara Falls and for it … The Region is examining its CIP programs and incentives.
Could All Parts of Mississauga End Up with Affordable Housing?
Let’s face it: when it comes to affordable housing, Mississauga simply … According to city staff, a citywide CIP for Mississauga would target the …
Yeah, but what do those municipalities know?

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
12 September 2019 12:13 pm

“Everybody else is doing it” has never been a reliable or valid mechanism for decision making.

Walter Luedtke
Reply to  Mrs. Anonymous
12 September 2019 12:33 pm

Do we need a ‘Made in Cobourg” paradigm, because we are soooooo different?

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
12 September 2019 2:31 pm

What the H does this mean or have to do with a town of 20,000 when you compare us to 500,000 to 1 Mil Population ares like Barrie etc that are also much closer to the Border and trade central
Our Taxes are through the roof here as the industrial base was chased out by costs long ago , Our young people & families leave for employment and decent paying jobs and
the Towns debt load is out of control

Deborah O'Connor
Reply to  perplexed
12 September 2019 7:29 pm

Just what border is Barrie close to? It’s in Central Ontario.

Reply to  Deborah O'Connor
12 September 2019 7:47 pm

Deborah, read all of Walter’s original post. I wonder if perplexed might have been referring to Walter’s naming of Niagara Falls Region and Mississauga regarding being close to borders, and perhaps all of those centers when it comes to populations much greater than ours. He did use the phrase ”Barrie etc.”
Confusing, I know, because of Water’s rather confusing and sloppy cut/paste job this time.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
12 September 2019 9:15 pm

Oops, sloppy spelling. Water’s what?

Reply to  Wally Keeler
12 September 2019 11:05 pm

Walter’s. Thanks for catching that.
Content seemed about right though, wouldn’t you agree Wally?

12 September 2019 9:10 am

If you ask me, this new program, again with more consultants is just another method to increase our already high tax rates and increase already generous social programs…some of which goes to private owners that should be paying their own way.

Mrs. Anonymous
11 September 2019 7:43 pm

Why doesn’t the town just declare the whole of Cobourg to be a CIP so they can more easily circumvent laws that we’re put in place to protect taxpayers from subsidizing private enterprises?


Sure hope Cobourg will avoid what happened in Charlottetown:

11 September 2019 6:02 pm

“to provide a wide range of incentive options, or tools, for the Municipality to offer to private sector organizations in exchange for the provision of affordable and rental housing”

Question what can be offered that will entice developers that hasn’t been already offered? The “Tannery Lands” have been sprinkled with tax breaks and grants and still no bites!

“and to stimulate brownfield re-development” Is this a cry to take the “Tannery Lands” at any cost? After all it is a multi-million dollar sinkhole for the Town.

Hate to tell you folks the private sector will not develop low-cost affordable housing there is no money to be made!

Reply to  ben
12 September 2019 8:22 am

I know of 2 groups that have attempted to Buy the Tannery lands as a Tax sale and Post Tax sale
the Town, believe it or not the town did not respond to those offers
The reason some developers are shying away from it is due to the fact the Planning Dept has their own Dream for this property , a mixed use idea that is not compatible to a sustainable quality project . Good Developers that Know how to make the best use and receive a reasonable return on their purchase / investment they don’t want to be told what
the town wants or be forced to put up a project where they are likely to loose $$$

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  perplexed
12 September 2019 11:42 am

Good for the Planning Dept for supporting what the community wants! Much effort by many stakeholders went into the community planning vision for the Tannery Lands and area. Involved were also Cobourg citizens with practical experience and expertise in the building and operating of suitable sustainable quality projects. While it may be true that a good developer does not want to be told what to do, some developers make it their business to recognize signs of the future and start moving towards it. In the meantime, what we need is an interim project on the former Tannery property that could make some money or offer a community benefit to offset carrying costs.

Reply to  Miriam Mutton
13 September 2019 8:12 am

Not Necessarily thats your protected perception speaking
not reality . with out a Profitable project no private for profit builder will touch it
Oh I forgot the Taxpayers and CIP will pay for the short falls and losses

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  perplexed
13 September 2019 8:41 am

Perplexed, you must be referring to my ‘protected perception’ of experience in community planning and development for more than forty years, including working with land developers, municipalities and community organizations. As example of what my earlier post refers to, used to be that most new houses had the garage sticking out way in front of the house. The style even has a name ‘garage face’. Do not see much of that these days in new building. Buyers have other choices. These days we need more types of choice, including affordability.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
13 September 2019 10:59 am

“Garage face” The street that I bike down in the westend is full of those houses and they always appeared to me as pig’s snouts, two garage doors producing two nostrils. Ugly street.

Meya Tootoly
Reply to  Wally Keeler
14 September 2019 9:04 pm

Wally, lets not offend anyone’s choice of style here. At least this street of homeowners provided you somewhere to ride your bike in safety. ;))

Meya Tootoly
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
14 September 2019 10:45 pm

Hi Miriam, what is protected perception. I’ve never heard this before.

Reply to  Meya Tootoly
16 September 2019 8:45 pm

Perplexed appears to be the one to have introduced the phrase into the discourse.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  Meya Tootoly
16 September 2019 11:00 pm

hi Meya, I was responding to poster named ‘perplexed’ who used the phrase. New one to me, too.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  perplexed
13 September 2019 11:12 am

“protected perception” is a new concept. What is a protected perception? Protected from what? Sounds like left-wing gobbledy-goop; safe spaces, protected minorities, etc., etc. Can you provide an example or two of “protected perception?”