The debate on what to do with the East Pier continued at the Regular Council meeting on July 2. There were two sides to the debate. Councillor Brian Darling backed by Councillor Nicole Beatty wanted to have some Engineering done first so citizens could have more details of what was proposed but Councillor Emily Chorley backed by Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin wanted to hold a public meeting before any money was spent on Engineering which might be going down a path that was not wanted. As Emily explained it, there should first be a narrowing of options. Separately, the Town will be implementing a web site using Bang the Table software which will be a way for citizens to comment on Town activity (much like this news blog) and Emily wanted 6 weeks or more of discussion on that platform.
Director of Community Services Dean Hustwick was clearly in favour of hiring a consultant to manage the public consultation process and also wanted some preliminary Engineering done in advance otherwise the only information available for choosing options had already been provided to the public in 1) the Waterfront Study and 2) the Shoreline report on the problems with the East Pier. (See COW report in link below for options proposed). Dean said that “we don’t have designers on staff” so he said that if preliminary Engineering is not done first, all he could do would be to take existing plans by consultants and put them on Bang the Table and present them at a first public meeting.
Emily said that what’s new (to the public) is Shoreline’s report and that’s where the conversation starts. Suzanne said that we “need to know what the public wants for the East Pier … and we need to do this before any money is spent”.
John Henderson asked for clarification as to why the campground was included with the East Pier discussion. Dean responded that the Coastguard are currently reviewing and re-designing their property and are willing to make concessions in keeping with the Town’s Waterfront plan. Also, the East Pier and Campground are closely related.
Dean, Brian and Nicole were also concerned that delaying preliminary Engineering would likely cause an eventual delay of the whole project into 2021.
But Suzanne compared the situation to the Victoria Square project where $100K was spent on detailed Engineering with no end result. She also said that given the amount of money required (repairs plus improvements in the $2m range), the project could be in 2021 or later anyway.
After a couple of attempted amendments, the motion below was eventually passed 4-3 in a recorded vote.
THAT Council receive the staff memo from the Director of Community Services for information purposes; and
FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to conduct a public engagement process regarding the repair/improvement of the East Pier and Victoria Park Campground that includes:
- A public open house, to be held at the Cobourg Community Centre as a working meeting in early September 2019, to provide citizens with the opportunity to review and discuss the options and conceptual drawings in the Waterfront User Needs Assessment and the Shoreplan East Pier Engineering Assessment, and
- The use of Bang the Table (public engagement software) ideally beginning in August 2019 for a period of at least six weeks; and
FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to provide a report to Council no later than October 15, 2019 that includes:
- A summary of the feedback obtained during the public engagement process;
- Recommendations for the nature and scope of East Pier and Campground repairs/improvements based on the feedback obtained during the public engagement process; and
- A request for Council authorization to begin the procurement of engineering or other services to develop drawings, costs and tender documents for the preferred options; and
FURTHER THAT the additional estimated engineering and construction costs be submitted through the 2020 Budget process.
- There was little discussion on the Campground changes but they will be included in the public meetings.
- At another part of the Council meeting, the Events planned by Lindsey Edwards for Summer Social 4 Shelter to be held at the Courtyard at the Beach Canteen for July 26 – 27, 2019 and August 9 – 10, 2019 were approved. These will be licensed events and will be fund-raisers for the Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre. It’s similar to the beach bar idea that happened last year except it’s a fund-raiser.
- Bang the Table is planned to be implemented in the near future and will involve a separate web site or page where the Town presents items that the public might want to comment on. It’s not called a blog but is essentially just that with anonymous comments allowed. It’s apparently been successful in other municipalities – notably Kingston. One difference to this blog is that the Mayor and other Councillors will not just read the comments (like they mostly do on Cobourg News Blog) but will publicly respond. Watch the News Update box for the link when it’s made public.
- East Pier and Campground Report Report on Discussion at Committee of the Whole (COW) Council meeting on 24 June 2019. Includes options proposed by Shoreline Engineering.
- Memo from Dean Hustwick – on Agenda of regular Council meeting on July 2 and referenced in motion
- Waterfront Study Part 1
- Waterfront Study Appendices