Council Receives Report on Canoe Rental Trial

At the Council’s Committee of the Whole (C.O.W.) meeting on 15 May, a motion was moved by Emily Chorley and passed 5- 2 to look into details of a trial by Green Canoe outfitters (GCO) to move their Canoe and Kayak Rental summer business from the Beach in front of the Breaker’s Motel to the Cobourg main beach.  The move would not be large since they would remain at the far eastern end of the beach but they would be in the jurisdiction of the Town instead of on waterfront owned by Breakers Motel.  Staff were concerned that they would not have time to do a full review but they managed to report in enough detail and define enough conditions to allow a decision to be made.

Green Canoe Outfitters
Green Canoe Outfitters

The town consulted with the YMCA since they provide lifeguard services on the beach.  A large number of questions and concerns were raised including:

  • Additional buoys/ropes will need to be purchased by GCO and installed. Town and Coastguard may have to install items as a motorized watercraft may be required for this task
  • GCO must provide the Town with a detailed operating manual
  • Swim tests required of each participant as per recommendation of the Lifesaving Society
  • Two certified lifeguards required to be on duty
  • All staff must participate in 22 hours of mandatory emergency training provided by the Town/YMCA and paid for by GC0 at an approximate cost of $2500
  • GCO must bear the cost of a minimum of $5 million in liability insurance and list the Town and the YMCA as additional insured parties

The Emergency planner was also consulted and added:

  • Risks of this proposal are the same as the floating playground;

For full details see YMCA MOU at link below

The Town advised GCO of all requirements and they responded with this:

We would first like to thank all the parties involved in very quickly assessing the feasibility of Green Canoe Outfitters operating a rental kiosk from Victoria Park Beach. After careful review of the expectations and requirements as described in the documents from the YMCA and the Emergency Planner, we will be respectfully declining to move forward with our proposal. Should we choose to bring this proposal forward in the future, we will allow sufficient time for an appropriate risk assessment of the operation independent of the precedence set by the floating water park.

Again, please share our gratefulness with the other parties and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Town of Cobourg on future endeavours.

So this won’t be happening.


Print Article: 


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

A lot of references to the floating water park plan.
If the water park project was subject to the same thorough scrutiny by the YMCA and town staff, then this makes sense. But, I don’t remember hearing that water park staff would have to go through 22 hours of emergency training at a cost of $2,500.00, or that each participant would have to pass a swim test. I don’t remember the subject of additional ropes/buoys and that they might have to be installed by the Coast Guard or town staff. I do remember that the playground folks had trouble recruiting enough lifeguards, but were they subject to the same ratio of 1 lifeguard for every 10 patrons? If so, I missed that part too.

manfred s
Reply to  Frenchy
4 years ago

there’s always the possibility that those issues you refer to Frenchy, were not issues that needed to be addressed because, being an apparently good-sized water-based venture, they were already taken care of as part of their business plan and policies. I can only surmise that we are not appraised of every small detail when something like this comes forward. That’s what Staff look after, isn’t it?

manfred s
4 years ago

while hesitant to chime in on this issue, there are a couple of things that need to be said. First, it’s no wonder that municipalities take the measures they do with such proposals, given how often we hear comments from the ‘gallery’, like “they should have seen that coming” or “with all that high-priced help you would have thought they’d account for such possibilities”, when something goes awry, as they are so wont to do. Staff are doing exactly what we expect of them. If a proposal doesn’t hold up under full scrutiny and appropriate diligence, perhaps that’s all the more reason to take prudent precautions. This is not a commentary on Bart’s proposal, rather a commentary on the criticisms being leveled at Staff for their thoroughness. Secondly, it seems innocent enough to look at any proposals as one-offs but the first one opens the doors to another and another and potentially any number of proposals for use of public open spaces for commercial ventures which generally are better avoided in such unique and special public spaces. Any future refusal of a commercial proposal could raise claims of unfair treatment once the first one gets approved. Potential legal challenges are Not something to look forward to, but rather be prevented and avoided. Some sound forward thinking.

4 years ago

Such a Cobourg thing to do, pile on red tape to prevent a small business owner from bringing a service to the public. What a joke! 22 hours and $2,500 in “emergency training” and $5 million in liability insurance….

Shame on those who participated in the deliberate and concerted effort to derail an idea….same group who poo-pooed the Beach Bar I assume.

Reply to  rob
4 years ago

Yeah, what does the YMCA know about the lifeguard business anyway!
Perhaps a group of informed, public-minded citizens, like yourself, can come forward and underwrite the venture.
Thanks for pointing out that there was and is a plot by Council to beat up on small business owners. Please look into the matter further!

Walter Luedtke
4 years ago

It should have been obvious from the start, that running the rental business from a public, supervised beach would make all the difference.
However, Councillor Chorley, who is such a stickler for ‘proper procedures’, went ahead anyway with her motion.
Another waste of Staff and Council time.
Time get down to real business like East pier, affordable housing, sustainability, downloading and cuts by the Province etc.

Miriam Mutton
4 years ago

All the parties involved seemed to be reasonable and cooperative in the research and review of this matter. Unless matters have changed substantially in the last few years, part of Councillor training is to learn that municipalities have been considered as having ‘deep pockets’ when payment for damages are awarded in a lawsuit situation even if there was little fault on part of the municipality. Care with respect to the protection of the public (and taxpayer) interest is definitely warranted. No doubt the business operator also wants to be confident. Summer fun at our popular beach is a simple pleasure at heart. As suggested by another poster, there appear to be examples of agreements by other municipalities that could serve as templates. Also important is the carrying capacity of the beach area … just how much, people and activities, can be packed into the area.

4 years ago

This isn’t Rocket Science other Towns & Resorts Like Bracebridge , Huntsville and DeerHurst
have operated all sorts of recreational and water craft rentals for decades from right off the town docks and beaches to hidden away spots . Borrow a page from their rental agreement and indemnification clause / contract and get on with it This is no more problematic or riskier than serving Liquor at the beach / park
or allowing the water slide etc they looked into

Illo Neri
4 years ago

I hope the town develops policies which allow independent operators to provide more opportunities for recreational activities at the beach.