Cobourg’s Christmas Decorative Street Lights

Called Curly Q’s and added to light poles downtown, these lights have been a feature of downtown for the last few years in Cobourg.  At the budget sessions for this year, Councillors removed their support for them but at last night’s Council meeting, Councillor Adam Bureau asked for them to be re-instated.    He said that the Ad Hoc Christmas lights committee and the DBIA both liked the idea.  Adam’s motion said: “since it gets dark earlier in the winter season the Curly Q’s add more light to our beautiful Downtown and will add additional safety and a better atmosphere for Tourism, but most of all for our residents”. The DBIA also said they will contribute $9,000 towards the cost of renting the lights for the season but wanted the Town to pay the remaining $16,000.

Adam Bureau
Adam Bureau

But the move to do this was late so needed some unusual actions.  Adam said that to meet timeframes, the whole issue needed to be decided at the same meeting but the Agenda item was simply to place a Notice of Motion.  This would normally mean that the next Committee of the Whole Meeting (in this case on October 15) would consider the motion. But Adam [file photo above-right] is getting more savvy and asked for a suspension of rules so that his motion could be considered straight away.  This required a two-thirds majority and with Brian Darling absent, that meant 4 votes.

The motion to suspend did pass so it was debated immediately.  Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin did not agree with the idea of going around the budget decision so voted against the change.  Councillor Emily Chorley asked where would the money come from?  Adam suggested the Holdco reserve but Emily wanted to use funds that were allocated to something else but were unused.  After some debate and input from Interim CAO/Treasurer Ian Davey, it was decided to take $10k from the now available CIP funds and $6k from money allocated to a fence at Donegan park that no longer needs that amount.  In the end, the motion to spend the $16K passed so Cobourg will have its Curly Q’s this Christmas.

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3 October 2019 12:09 pm

No money could be used elsewhere
Who is downtown ??? Who is downtown at night?? show me the numbers.

Reply to  Donna
3 October 2019 12:17 pm

My wife and I go downtown at night… restaurants and for walking.
We enjoy Cobourg and all it has to offer.
We also enjoy the festive lights at Xmas season.

2 October 2019 2:47 pm

Who needs Christmas lights if you can pain the snow green?
Green is the Grinche’s favourite colour.
Sets the tone for a Downtown Cobourg Christmas.

2 October 2019 2:09 pm

Why do we need extra Xmas lights? Not many people downtown at night during the winter months let alone Xmas.

The town would be better off if they painted those jutting out curbs with reflective yellow paint so drivers would not hit them on poor visibility nights. I’m surprised the town has not been sued by a motorist not totally familiar with King St.

manfred s
2 October 2019 1:36 pm

Is that amount for 1 year or a multi year commitment?

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  manfred s
2 October 2019 3:27 pm

$25,000 annually of which the Town is being asked to comtribute $16,000 is what I understand from the report.

Paul Pagnuelo
2 October 2019 12:12 pm

$25,000 annually to rent Christmas lights for the exclusive use of one part of Town. This is what happens when elected officials think of tax dollars, Holdco dividends and interest payments as free money. Nobody gives it a second thought.

I’m disappointed with this rush to shovel yet more unnecessary money out the door. The budget was set and approved and unless there is an emergency spend, these sort of frivolous requests should be prohibited. This last minute, knee-jerk reaction is not good governance or prudent fiscal management. Perhaps another lesson for Budget 2020.

The Town needs to learn how to do more with less. Surely our professional staff can come up with a solution that is permanent, pleasant, accomplishes its goal and is reasonably priced.

Christmas and New Year’s is that time of the year, when many I know prefer to look beyond the commercial aspect of giving. I, for one, would like to see all of us reach out collectively. Feeding the hungry and bringing a smile to a child on Christmas morning has far more impact than hanging another tawdry Curly-Q from a lamppost.

Come on Cobourg let’s do something different this year.Together with so many great organizations who work to help the less fortunate, let’s make Christmas 2019 about caring for our community and not about how many lights we hang.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Paul Pagnuelo
2 October 2019 1:46 pm

“Come on Cobourg let’s do something different this year.

That’s a big ask, Paul, but let me offer an inexpensive ‘something different’. Buy a spray bottle. Fill it with water and diluted food colouring. Stand by until a completed snowfall, then go out and make snow angels. Colour the angels with food colouring. This can be carried out in the front yard of your home and in any public park, especially. It provides an opportunity to get the kids outside, and you inner kid outside, to socialize, multicolourfulism. Not just for Christmas, but throughout the winter.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 October 2019 2:39 pm

There is no need to restrict the painting to parks. The slow snow clearing by downtown merchants would provide ample opportunities to spray paint snow angels on the sidewalks.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dubious
2 October 2019 4:24 pm

I’ve done exactly that a couple of times. Went all out one night and made a couple dozen angels along the William Street viaduct using pink.

Cobourg needs creativity, not more whining.

Paul Pagnuelo
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 October 2019 4:31 pm

And compassion.

Reply to  Paul Pagnuelo
3 October 2019 12:39 pm

And a healthy dose of common sense.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  MCGA
3 October 2019 1:09 pm

Common sense is just that – common. BORING.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
3 October 2019 11:19 pm

Then good sense, which is far less common; and, as such, far less boring.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  MCGA
4 October 2019 1:46 am

that is good

2 October 2019 9:43 am

Would purchasing the lights be less expensive than renting? With the lights owned there would be no further rental costs. The Town Maintenance Department would install and take down. As Town staff are paid an annual salary there would be no additional labour costs.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  Rational
2 October 2019 9:59 am

I think you have a good point. And downtown lighting is on the low side in any case and although the curly q features are Christmassy the previous ones had a cold white light. Better to have a friendlier warm white colour of light. And it would be nice to see extra decorative lighting that could stay up all year round and then add some additional colourful pieces (fill the hanging and standing planters in place of flowers?) during the winter festive season.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
2 October 2019 6:52 pm

Coil an LED strip down each lamp post along King Street and downtown Division Street. Power it from the street lamp and attach a small data-receiving device for wireless signals. The LEDs are programmable and multicolourful. Colour the street according to season or event; green for St Patrick’s Day; orange for Halloween, Red and white for the Canada Day weekend. A year round installation; none of this put up / take down decorations year after year. Let the AGN and schools combine to teach art students how to program the LED Streetscape as art. Select the best student project once a year. Save and accumulate the projects for retrospective possibilities.

2 October 2019 9:01 am

$25,000 to rent lights? Really? I don’t understand why this would even be considered.
It is very disappointing to hear that the people we elected would use this large amount of money for cosmetic purposes when there are so many needy people living in Cobourg. That sum of money would certainly buy more than enough turkeys etc. on Christmas Day to feed the people who are struggling to put food on the table.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Smalltownlover
2 October 2019 9:22 am

$25,000 to rent lights? Really? I don’t understand why this would even be considered.

Exactly! I’m also disappointed that a new Councillor would suggest using the Holdco Reserve (a slush fund from a stealth tax on our electricity bills) for another frivolous purpose. How quickly we return to the ways of the previous administration!

Reply to  Ken Strauss
2 October 2019 9:43 am

I assume neither of you have Christmas lights or any decorations whatsoever? All goes to charity?

Reply to  Durka
2 October 2019 9:53 am

Not $25,000 worth! Most of our decorations are hand me downs from family. And yes , we do give money to charities.

Walter Luedtke
Reply to  Ken Strauss
2 October 2019 9:59 am

I feel your pain, Ken.
You would think that your recent CTA presentation on Holdco and Stealth Taxes to Council’s Committee of the Whole made more of an impression.
Perhaps more support from the CTA membership – was it 7 or 8 in the gallery? – would have helped.
And you are right, more CTA executives should have run in the last election, because this new crop of Councillors are just same old, same old.

Reply to  Smalltownlover
2 October 2019 10:25 am

Totally agree Smalltownlover.
Why does the Town treat the downtown property owners as sacred cows? They get preferential help to repair their property (CIP) Now the Town is to spend $25K to help pay for a seasonal retail promotion.
Would the Town consider decorating Elgin W in front of the Mall and Canadian Tire?
How about Division, from University to the rail overpass?
Maybe the four corners at Division & Elgin?.
The property owners in there areas pay Town taxes as well. But they’re not sacred cows and so don’t merit the handouts and freebies that the downtown sacred cows get.

If the downtown property owners and merchants want to spiff up King W in the belief that doing so will attract business, then go for it…on their nickel. Isn’t that what the DBIA is for?

Perhaps the reluctance to fully pay for the lighting is an admission by the downtown merchants that this is a poor investment and they don’t get their money back in increased sales and profit.

New Cobourg Res
2 October 2019 8:44 am

Being a new Cobourg resident, I would like to know what DBIA is? Also, being that the holiday season is such an important time of the year in towns that encourage and rely on tourism, why aren’t the requirements and accompanying budget planned well in advance? Cheers!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  New Cobourg Res
2 October 2019 8:58 am

Being a new Cobourg resident, I would like to know what DBIA is?

Perhaps reading the material at will assist.

New Cobourg Res
Reply to  Ken Strauss
3 October 2019 10:27 am

Thank you Ken. Now that I’ve read about the DBIA, it’s a private enterprise of merchants that contibute money for the good of their respective businesses. It’s nice that they contribute $8,000 but yet the taxpayer is on the hook for $16,000…..Doesn’t make sense to me to go back into the budget that was peviously set. Mr. Bureau seems to have been a bit underhanded here. Pretty much forcing a quick decision with “my” money. This should not be allowed unless it is for an emergency or perilous situation to our town.
While I understand Christmas is an important time of year for businesses in a small town, all of the budgets should be complete well in advance AND finalized. If the DBIA then wants to add, the extra $$ should be on them.
Not cool Mr. Bureau!!

2 October 2019 8:22 am

The lights are an important item during the Christmas season. As a resident I am always proud of the way our town looks during the cold dark evenings. I am always proud to show our downtown to visitors and the stores need any additional draw during the cold slow months.

1 October 2019 6:57 pm

I just came over here to get away from Wally’s nuclear rantings ramblings run-ons regurgitations ruminations rodomontades, etc.

Reply to  Frenchy
2 October 2019 8:46 am

John – Unrelated personal shots like this weaken your fine reporting service.
Is there a way to prevent or remove it/them?