CIP grants and Loans for 2019 announced

The intent of the Downtown Community Improvement Program (CIP) is to provide money incentives for the upgrade of Downtown properties so that Downtown would become more attractive and prosperous.  The first grants and loans were in 2016 and they have been disbursed each year since then. (See reports below).  For 2019, there will be only one intake (instead of 2 in previous years) and the budget decreased from $150K to $75K.  In addition, there will be an increased focus on larger projects like the one in 2018 at 35 King (Cheslers) which added new apartment units.  Another criterion is high leverage – that is, where the total project costs a significant multiple of the amount granted.  Note that the cost to the Town consists of grant dollars, plus loan admin and interest costs.

1 King East
1 King East

At the committee of the Whole meeting on September 23, staff will present a report with recommendations for several projects that add residences and improve facades.  Twelve applications were received; six were ranked more favourable but all were recommended.  Many people have pointed out that one of the best ways to vitalize downtown is to have more people actually living there so projects that add or upgrade residential units are particularly beneficial.

The total CIP  grants and loan costs come to $115K which is $40K higher than the budget allocation. The $40K difference will be funded by a grant from the Provincial Government under the “Ontario’s Main Street Revitalization Initiative”.

The largest grant was to a project to add 5 residential units to the second floor of the building on the South-East corner of King and Division (photo above right).

Applications summary

The first 6 of those listed below were ranked more favourably by the CIP committee.

Location Grants / Loans Project $ Details
1 King Street East. (TVM Group) $37,080 Residential Grant and Building Improvement Grant $630,535 Conversion of vacant upper floor commercial space (was Billiard hall) into 5 residential units
38 Covert Street (Lee)
Cat & Fiddle
$24,000 Residential Grant and Building Improvement Grant.  $25,000 Building Improvement Loan and a $40,000 Residential Loan $229,500 Convert 2nd floor dining room to apartments; Add extension on the west side to house accessible washrooms on the ground floor and a new dining room.
52 King Street West (Kest and York)
Recently “Sarby’s”.
$12,340 Façade Improvement Grant and Building Improvement Grant $83,000 New sign and repairs; note that half has already been leased to a Pharmacy
5 King Street West (Bowman)
$8,655 Façade Improvement Grant and Building Improvement Grant $37,069 Converting to offices for Schmidt Law Legal Services and upgrade second floor residence.
23-29 King Street West (Copeman-Kessler) $8,455 Façade Improvement Grant and Building Improvement Grant. $35,360 Re-habilitate the 2nd floor to allow the expansion of the current business (Creative Collective), improve the Facade
2 King Street West (Reidrev/Verdier) $7,540 Study Grant and Building Improvement Grant [reduced to ~$2500 for study grant only] $79,762 Preparation for adding residential apartments on the second and third floor at 2 King Street West / 239-243 Division Street plus a roof upgrade.
77 Albert Street (Lee)
Historic Jail
$6,255 Façade Improvement and Building Improvement Grant $67,800 Building renovations
Less Favourable
322 George Street (McLachlan)
Private Residence
$2,715 Façade Improvement Grant [not approved] and $6,942 Façade Improvement Loan $13,884 Repair Heritage Windows
Less Favourable
112 Orange Street (Brown)
Private Residence
$890 Façade Improvement Grant [not approved] $9,119 Upgrade Trim and Eavestrough
Less Favourable
275 George Street (Panaitescu)
Private Residence
 $845 Façade Improvement Grant [not approved] $4,924 New Window
Less Favourable
80 King Street West (Molen)
Cobourg Coffee House
$775 Building Improvement Grant [not approved] $8,721 Upgrade siding and insulation at rear
Less Favourable
6 King Street W. (Reidrev/Verdier)
$450 Façade Improvement Grant. $4,500 Façade improvements
Less Favourable

the above text has been corrected from the original.  The second six applications were viewed less favourably but were recommended by the CIP committee.  The original said the second six were not approved. 23 Sept 2019

Update – 23 Sept 2019

Councillors did not approve all the recommendations – Suzanne Séguin was unhappy that grants were being given to private homes and that the rear of a building was being improved. Adam Bureau was unhappy that a roof was being repaired with grant money – see changes in red.  

Update – 30 Sept 2019

The above as modified was finally approved at the regular Council meeting on Sept 30.  The final total was $104,735 – less than the $115K approved.  Most of this difference was then spent on decorative Christmas street lights.


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Canuck Patriot
23 September 2019 3:49 pm

Taxpayers have been fleeced long enough with this CIP project and others like it. Time to wind this money pit up and get building owners on King St. and the downtown CIP area picking up the tab for their own repairs and renos. It has accomplished nothing in terms of truly reviving downtown.

Health, safety and building code inspections and perhaps a By-law requiring landlords to properly maintain their properties is one answer. Sticking taxpayers with the tab for the negligence of landlords is simply a symptom of a previous Council who had no respect for seniors and hard working people who live paycheque to paycheque.

One can only hope that our new Council sees the wisdom this evening of ending this shameful giveaway.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Canuck Patriot
23 September 2019 4:17 pm

Great suggestions, Canuck Patriot!
I don’t think that any additional bylaws are required. Bylaw 2017-0060 is pretty clear and says, “Every Owner or Occupant of land shall keep land free and clear of all refuse, debris, and waste of any kind.” with appropriate penalties under the Provincial
Offences Act. Also, the town can recover any costs for cleanup.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
28 September 2019 5:47 am

Come have a look at the corner of Tremaine St. & Tremaine Terrace (easy side)). Several complaints made officially to the town officials about junk/refuse laying about, now a broken down car on front lawn for. months…and still no action.

Reply to  cornbread
28 September 2019 8:03 am

What I have seen various times is that Town Leadership (who provide direction to Staff) do not enforce By-Laws that are there to support residents/tax payers. Town Leadership appear to look the other way – which is not what they were elected to do.

Reply to  Rational
28 September 2019 9:32 am

Town Leadership seems to be MIA.

Downtown Business Owner
Reply to  Canuck Patriot
23 September 2019 6:58 pm

There are more than enough bylaws downtown choking out small business owners and stalling progress. Don’t be so quick to paint all owners with your short sighted brush. A thriving downtown increases the value of all home values for Cobourg by making it more attractive to out of town home buyers. And by the way, downtown business owners pay a ton in taxes and levies. Perhaps become informed and support them instead of condoning all of us based on what you think you know about a few.

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  Downtown Business Owner
23 September 2019 7:11 pm

We all pay a ton of taxes and fees. I don’t ask taxpayers to fund the maintenance and upkeep of my home. That’s my responsibility. What’s choking out small businesses is high rents. If you haven’t applied for a CIP grant or loan, I commend you. The current state of downtown is not affecting housing sales or prices. The market is doing well and doesn’t rely on taxpayer handouts.

Reply to  Canuck Patriot
23 September 2019 8:16 pm

As a small business that was choked out by high rents, can confirm.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Downtown Business Owner
23 September 2019 10:52 pm

Downtown Business Owner, I’m unsure to whom your comment is directed. How do I benefit from higher home prices? I have no plans to sell and move from Cobourg. Plus, Council is very concerned about affordability of housing so your goal of increased house prices is directly opposed to Council’s goal.

21 September 2019 1:23 pm

Giving Lee more money ? ?

Walter Luedtke
21 September 2019 10:17 am

comment image
Another main street, Coburg, Germany.
A pedestrian zone with shops and apartments.
Here a valid CIP lets Cobourg Council to spend money in order to get more people living downtown.
That is a sound and worthy policy objective.
But as seen below, the usual carping about parking, traffic, noise etc gets an airing.
CIPs are used across Ontario, but there seems to be a demographic here that believes people wanting to live in apartments are weird.
Real people live in sprawling subdivisions with “yords” that are expensive to service.
The same folks who complain about high taxes hate the idea of infilling where services already exist.
Go figure!

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
21 September 2019 11:31 am

I agree 100 % Walter– and I too have been to Cobourg Germany and many Scandinavian countries as well with lots of family still there and a Son in Poland that left Cobourg Ont in search of viable employment Engineering Garbage burning power plants . That do work to International standards and more .
But the Canadian Cobourg Mind set of Our local Council and younger generation has no clue of how to develop that live work community and the mind set / lifestyle that goes with it — its just a Buzz Word like sustainable .over used with no idea as to where it applies .
Not only that the European life style and apartments are designed completely differently compared to what will be going up here more of the same . Efficient , functional ,space saving and with proper Garbage / & Recycle / Compost facilities with in the structure Hot water on Demand sys. have been in existence for yrs over there . Over here the builders think its an unnecessary expense so they put in rental Electric Hot water tanks as they are cheap probably electric heat as well meter it and the Tenant pays even the rental cost in their local PUC bill.
We need building codes and standards that promote a correct form of building thats both efficient and cost effective thus long term affordable for all Don’t just tell every one they are building affordable housing that can’t be backed up build housing that is affordable over the long run as well .
Also would you have a tenant no Car requirement or policy to live here ?

Walter Luedtke
Reply to  sandpiper
21 September 2019 11:34 am

great post Sandpiper!

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
21 September 2019 11:57 am

one day we will meet

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
24 September 2019 8:39 am

Thank you Walter for the picture of downtown Coburg. It is lovely. I’ve often said to friends that I would love King Street, between Division and Spring, to become a pedestrian mall. I’ve seen it done in many towns and cities around the globe and always to great effect. I am fully aware, however, that the idea would have no support from downtown businesses or town council. It will remain a dream.

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
1 October 2019 9:24 pm

Nice to see that the original version got the spelling of the Town’s name right. The Coburgians appear to be more focused on retaining their history and invigorating their town core than their Canadian cousins. Easy to let things wither arguing fiscal limitations.

21 September 2019 9:39 am

tell me where the justification is for the old pool hall most of the tenants I see coming and going have children
???? and its certainly not wheel chair accessible WHERE IS THE PLAY GROUND other than the side walk
was there a rezoning from Commercial office to Residential ??? When that was office space back in the day
the employees parked by the post office lot and walked But Council saw fit last yr to sell that Parking lot off to a local developer which will be out of circulation for 3 yrs while under construction just like the new build at the Legion and that is only if it turns back into some sort of Limited parking

Reply to  sandpiper
21 September 2019 11:29 am

There is a playground on the beach; a short walk along King East brings you to the biggest and best park in town so far as user friendly goes. Both wheelchair accessible. Free to enjoy.

20 September 2019 9:17 pm

Town Leadership’s strategy (re paragraph 2 above) is incorrect in my view, and adding residential units above store locations is not the answer to revitalizing downtown Cobourg. Leadership appear to be in above their heads.

Reply to  Rational
20 September 2019 10:52 pm

Seems like a win-win-win. Downtown buildings are able to generate more revenue insuring their upkeep, brings customers directly to the downtown, and provides more rentals for which the town is severely lacking. No one said it is the answer, but it could one of many answers.

Reply to  Rational
20 September 2019 10:54 pm

Please define the leadership that you refer to: Staff, Council or both?
As the article notes, this is staff’s proposal. Council has yet to comment on it.

That being said, I think the CIP project has gone off the rails. $350K has been handed out and an additional $115K proposed without any sort of assessment or evaluation of the projects to date. There have not been any success metrics reported to Council to help them evaluate the existing CIP projects.

There is also the ongoing issue of equality. Why should the downtown property owners be given preference over other property owners in town who face the same property maintenance challenges.

I’m sure that the mall, which is one of the Town’s largest taxpayers would welcome a helping hand.

Reply to  Bryan
21 September 2019 2:07 pm

CIP is probably the original idea of downtown land owners getting into the tax pockets of the town’s residents to fix up their run down properties so they can increase their rents or capitalization. No one but me pays for repairs and upkeep on my house. More socialism if you ask me? The mayors want a more beautiful downtown…the landlords hold a gun to mayors heads and ask for help…the mayor gives in and gets the grant money from the residents with increased taxes.

20 September 2019 5:24 pm

Omg cat and fiddle apartments up top?
Is our council sniffing glue

Not a happy camper
20 September 2019 4:26 pm

So much for bringing middle class renters to King St. 1 King East should have a designated spot in front for a police cruiser.

Reply to  Not a happy camper
21 September 2019 9:28 am

Avoid that Corner in the Dark have you seen what goes on at the back of that Building
short of Cigarettes all their shopping is done else where

Reply to  sandpiper
23 September 2019 8:18 pm

A good friend of mine lives in that building. It’s one of the few buildings that is affordable by people who are poor/on disability, and can be funded directly by ODSP. It has problems, to be sure, but characterizing it as seedy when that’s a consequence of other issues of lack of societal support for vulnerable populations is maybe a little much.