Coast Guard Plans a New Building on East Pier

The current Coast Guard building on the East Pier is on land owned by the Town of Cobourg but leased to the Federal Government for use by the Coast Guard.  It’s in two parts: 1) Search and Rescue Station buildings and 2) a concrete pier to the west where the Coast Guard boat is moored.  The Coast Guard proposes to demolish and remove the current buildings on the east part and build a new, 486 m2 Coast Guard marine Search and Rescue Station building in their place.  An application for site plan approval to accomplish this will be submitted to the Council’s Committee of the Whole on Monday.  The new building will include a two-storey residential module and a single storey garage and workshop. The parts of the building are linked by a single storey connection that accommodates an office and ancillary functions.

The site plan application includes an artist rendering as shown in the picture.

Coast Guard New Building
Coast Guard New Building

No time frame is specified but it comes just as public hearings are planned to get input on the future of the East Pier.  As reported here (Highlights from busy council meeting 1 August 2019), online consultation is planned for “mid August” (that has to be soon) and then a public meeting will be scheduled at the CCC in September.

East Pier changes were covered in the Waterfront Study and made urgent by problems with the structure caused by high lake levels in 2017.

In response to the structural problems, Consultant Shoreline Engineering was hired and prepared a report which listed options which were made public at a Council meeting on June 24.


Memo – Notice of Complete Application – Document on Town Web site.

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manfred s

Maybe we should examine what it is that our focus on our heritage, wherever we want to look, is really all about. Just paying some sort of homage to heritage seems aimless unless there’s a clear purpose or intent. If we look at the greater “harbour area” we will recall what was essentially an industrial complex which included large vessel loading docks, huge oil tanks, rail spurs and yard, railroad storage sheds, better described as very rough warehouses, and of course those famous coal piles. That, my friends, is our harbour’s heritage. Is there some well arguable reason that says we need to ‘enshrine’ that heritage in a large and significant way as to define what we now want that area to be? Of course, it is very clear that this heritage is what helped to make Cobourg a prominent port and town on Lake Ontario, and by extension, an important part of the province’s history. That story should be told and preserved for a very long time. But, should it define our future? The Coast Guard station (installation) is not a long lived one in the history of our harbour. Yes, the feds owned the whole thing not that… Read more »

Wally Keeler

Very good points Manfred. I was thinking of an art installation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the removal of the coal piles that young boys enjoyed climbing and running down with a rooster tail of coal dust following them. The art installation would be one coal pile in Rotary Park for two months, celebrating our lost heritage. Of course the pile will have to be maintained to prevent coal dust wafting into the trailer park and beach. It would provide the younger generation with a piece of local history, when Cobourg’s heavy carbon footprint was fueled by coal.

There’s also the heritage of the east pier as a lover’s lane. When the heritage harbor was industrial, there was occasional rendezvous’ to the outer end of the pier towards the lighthouse. There were no passing yachts, and it was largely secluded. Generations of born Cobourgers know the advantages of a wonderful waterfront to inspire fruitfulness and multiplication. Now that is heritage.


There you go with that “born Cobourgers“ thing again.
You don’t have to be born here to know the advantages of a wonderful waterfront that inspires romance. I wasn’t born here but I know, and have taken advantage, of Cobourg’s waterfront for some fruitfulness, networking and frolicking (no multiplying). That’s OK, isn’t it?


My family moved here when I was 2, do I count as a real member of the town or did I miss out?

Wally Keeler

“There you go with that “born Cobourgers“ thing again.” Get it accurate. I wrote, “Generations of born-Cobourgers.” There will always be individuals who disparage and condescend to those who were born here; they don’t like certain facts of life when they arise, sticks in their craw. Now why should I care? Should I be ashamed or embarrassed of being born in Cobourg? Should I keep it secret so as to save the fragile sensibilities of those who were not born here? Should I hide the facts of my life experience in Cobourg during my childhood? Whether you or anyone else likes it or not, if I feel like mentioning the fact that I am a born-Cobourger, I will do so at my leisure. If it will sooth your soul, I believe to the core of my being that anyone who resides in Cobourg shares the exact same rights as I have, no more, no less. So anyone who suggests otherwise, that I think a born Cobourger is better or superior to one who moved here from outside, is a liar. Frenchy claims he had “taken advantage, of Cobourg’s waterfront for some fruitfulness, networking and frolicking” How boringly prosaic and unromantic.… Read more »


That sounds nice, but the lady I was with was real, not imaginary.


I just read about the roles and responsibilities of our Coast Guard on their website. They are not in the business of adhering to some vague heritage aesthetic, or having their operational facilities
conform to what tourists may like or dislike. The CCG most certainly know what fits their requirements. So get a quick approval and get it done, thank you.


Totally agree. Jerk them around and they will leave and go to one of the many waterfront ports that would welcome their proposed building with open arms. Having a Coast Guard base is a huge perk to a community as they provide local services that would be a big cost cost to provide with out them being here.


I like it.
I didn’t notice it at first, but now that Miriam has brought it up, the ideas of wings seems to suit.

Keith Oliver

The rendering of the proposed new Coast Guard station shows little or no respect to its location in a heritage town at a location which played a critical part in Cobourg’s history and development into the Cobourg of today. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. Whoever the designer was should be given a year off with pay and sent to learn more about the responsibility of architect’s to design with consideration for defining local values, (in this case the heritage-values) of the community that is local to the project.
One of my most memorable travel experiences was seeing Berlin and Warsaw after WWII and the way competent architects blended new building with the old (many of which were rebuilt as duplicates of those heritage structures destroyed). Cobourg is not Berlin. Our heritage, built or cultural, is only a fraction of that represented within those two great cities, but it’s ours, it’s important and we need to defend it against barbaric onssaults like this. Council do your duty and challenge the design.


Barbaric? Really? Not everybody thinks trying to keep downtown looking like the 1880s is good or desirable. Nor is that building in any of the heritage districts. You want to keep enforcing making Cobourg look old out of a belief that this makes it quaint or attractive, by all means, but keep it to the clearly defined zones for it.

Greg H

The picture of the proposed Coast Guard Station seems in keeping with modern trends for maritime buildings in that is plain and practical, but with interesting angles. A look at photos of the renowned Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland will confirm this.
The heritage of the coast guard is not with the Victorian buildings in Cobourg, the coast guard’s heritage is with the sea. The coast guard’s main purpose is to save lives in difficult circumstances, it is not to look “pretty”.
I am sure that the new coast guard building has been designed to be suitable for its purpose, and in my eyes that makes it ideal.

Keith Oliver

Fogo Island Inn is a wonderful piece of modern architecture on a location overlooking the sea at the northern most tip of Newfoundland. It has a lightness and appeal all its own, but Fogo is not Cobourg. Buildings if designed by a competent hand can achieve many things … remind us, or at least acknowledge, the past at the same time as they satisfy contemporary needs. That’s what the “adaptive reuse” of heritage buildings is all about … a happy compromise. Not that long ago the lighthouse keeper livedon the pier, a customs building was located near by. (See Bartlett’s 1840 sketch of the Town from the pier) Immigrants who were Ill when they arrived were quarantined in a nearby building which eventually lead to Cobourg’s first hospital. There are an infinite number of possibilities when contemporary building are designed to accomodate modern functions while at the same time incorporating built-heritage values. Putting aside for a moment the encouragement offered by bird lovers, there is alot to investigate before the flight of fancy we are being presented with should be taken seriously.


What is so historically or aesthetically appealing about the current Coast Guard Station?

manfred s

nothing in particular, but if you want function, it fits the bill.


Apparently not any longer.

manfred s

Perhaps a structure reflecting an iconic maritime image such as a “giant lighthouse”, in the manner of ‘the Big Apple’, the ‘Big Nickel’ and the ‘Canada Goose’ in Wawa, would add some tourist flavour, and still be a functional installation. Then, if and when the Coast Guard ever relocated, there would be some excellent opportunities to develop a great tourist attraction, seeing as how the town has attempted to hitch itself to the tourism wagon.

Merry Mary

The rendering is just as unappealing as the structure for Cobourg’s Train Station.


Really impressed with the heritage look, how about adding a 8 foot fence around the perimeter as it couldn’t look more out of place


New “heritage” looking buildings often look fake like Disneyland. We don’t need to be stuck in the past. This building is not on King St.


Preserving the old buildings as long as they are sound and can be kept up to code is one thing. Forcing any new development, even that outside any heritage district to try and duplicate that look is entirely another.


I wish the design had more of a coastal aesthetic, but that’s just a personal preference


I really hope the Coast Guard does not get red taped to the point they change locations. That would be devastating.

Merry Mary

Given the compromised foundation that is the East Pier, they might relocate or might the Federal Government actually assist with its required repairs?

Miriam Mutton

Merry Mary, I was thinking the same thing. I am hoping the investment in the Coast Guard facilities would also mean Federal interest and partnership in the rehabilitation of the east pier as integral to Coast Guard services and to ‘harbour of refuge’ infrastructure on the lake. And in good weather times, the pier would be a great platform which the community can enjoy in a variety of ways. As for the design of the new building, I think it shows promise. I like the suggestion of the design as a bird in flight.


All depends on the material used. In the rendering it almost looks like a tin can shed, but at least the shape is appealing. This is a very high profile location so hoping the town really pushes for quality.