Council Decides on East Pier Consultation Process

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.

Dean Hustwick - Town's Official photo
Dean Hustwick – Town’s Official photo

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.

Nicole Beatty Against
Aaron Burchat Against
Adam Bureau For
Emily Chorley For
Brian Darling Against
John Henderson For
Suzanne Séguin For

Approved Motion

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.

Other items

  • 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.

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Frenchy

With all the talk about council matters on here, it seems strange we haven’t heard anything about the motion Cllr Darling brought forward asking for the Integrity Commissioner to investigate a leak of information from a closed June 3rd meeting (perhaps regarding the hiring of a contract employee). Our Deputy Mayor wouldn’t even read the motion and both her and Cllr Chorley abstained from voting on its passing.
Seems a little odd to me. Anyone else?
Some info on it here. http://burdreport.ca/

John Draper

Off the topic I will be reporting on this when there’s more to say. Your comment says about all there is to say at this time. Please, let’s not discuss this here – wait for some more actual facts. Facts are better than speculation.

Miriam Mutton

“But Suzanne compared the situation to the Victoria Square project where $100K was spent on detailed Engineering with no end result.”
Actually there were several results. First the project’s fourth, final and largest phase is ‘shovel ready’, meaning ready for construction when funding is available. And, much of the expense is underground. For example, replacement and greening of infrastructure. Second, the overhead utility wires (with poles due for replacement) along Albert Street through VS were placed underground as a result of a strong advocacy role by Victoria Square Committee (VSC) member and Mayor Brocanier and also CAO Peacock. Third, the Rotary Club of Cobourg wanted a flagpole to commemorate Canada 150. It was newly hired Director Hustwick who suggested at a Council meeting to send Rotary’s request to Council’s own Advisory Committee, the VSC, for comment as the proposed location was a major gateway to VS. Good news for the community who ended up with not one but three beautiful flags. VS has been built in bits pieces over the last twenty years with significant volunteer fundraising and much dialogue. And, who makes the priority and funding decisions?

Ken

I’m hoping the ‘Feds’ will throw in some money, no matter what the outcome!?

manfred s

this project has two possible directions to go, repair what’s there and leave as is or replace what’s there with a new concept. Both of these options require engineering work, but of different sorts. The first direction requires initial engineering study to determine what’s needed to make the repairs only, while the second requires after-design (conceptualization) engineering to determine what’s needed in that case. These two studies are not interchangeable and have little in common. If the first direction is on the table, the requisite engineering will have to be done, regardless of what comes with the second direction possibilities and choices. One engineering report won’t suffice. It’s almost a certainty that the first direction will be on the table after a public consultation process takes place so doing that engineering report is a virtual necessity, regardless of the outcome of a public process. Delaying that straight forward basic-level report makes no sense, and it will be a necessary component of any larger, in-depth report that would be required if the second direction prevails. Splitting the engineering studies into two steps is the clear indication. I think it’s time to take that step first, and asap.

Merry Mary

Any way, any time, Engineering is inevitable. I thought that I had already read an Engineering Report on the East Pier?

manfred s

me too

Lyle

What has been done with all the other engineers reports/ consultants reports on the east pier that have been created over the past few years, this saga has been going on for years, maybe look in the basement of Victoria Hall or the bottom drawer of their desks for the old ones, if not then keep asking for more new ones and perhaps you will get the answer u want

Bozy

Walk on it we require an engineering report! Drive a car on it we require an engineering report! Develop the pier, we require an engineering report! So let’s leave that to the end, makes total sense! Here we go again playing darts blindfolded!

Almost Old Codger

I am pleased that Emily, Adam the DM and the Mayor continue to make logical decisions, on this and other issues. They are resisting pushes to make rapid decisions to commit to courses that can have unintended consequences. A well informed council is much better at making logical decisions on local issues than expensive consultants from aways.

Also kudos to John Draper for his amazing efforts to keep us informed.