Development News

Plans continue for expansion of housing in Cobourg with two projects getting attention at Monday’s Council meeting.  The biggest expansion in the long term will be in the North East with thousands of homes planned starting with 1700 at the north end of Brook Road (see link below).   This is expected to one day require a new interchange on the 401 near Nagle Road.  Preliminary work includes an Environmental assessment which will start soon (maybe Spring – stay tuned) and include a public meeting.  A smaller more immediate development will be at the south end of Brook Road at 425 King East where 27 Townhouses will be built.  This is still in preliminary stages but at some point, a public meeting will be called to get feedback.

Other Development News

Separately, I understand that the Foodland (Sobeys) store expansion is currently not moving ahead and the Loblaws store proposed about 14 years ago near Strathy Road has not progressed. There’s some land in that area (just south of Walmart) that’s on sale at around $3.5M;  maybe Loblaws is selling?

And on the subject of commercial properties for sale, I see that the Millstone bakery including the building is up for sale at $1.25M, Marca’s is selling the business for $150K and Meet at 66 King is up for sale at $1.55M – including the building and 3 stores.  I could not find any listing of the vacant (parking) lot on Second Street – the most recent asking price was $2.8M.  It’s either been withdrawn from the market or been sold.

Housing Construction

Currently some high end houses are under construction on King West (Cedar Shores), some condos are being built on Hibernia (Harbour Breeze) – due for completion late this year – and of course New Amherst and others continue.  The average resale price of homes in Cobourg is currently around $455K and it seems that most new homes start at around the same.

The townhouses might be a little less but won’t be on the market for a couple of years at least.

Below is a preliminary plan (click to enlarge).  The land is described as “a 1.58 ha (3.90 ac) parcel, with 88.61 m (290.71 ft.) frontage along King Street East. The site has been vacant for approximately twenty years, and was previously improved by a motel.”  Currently there are no buildings on the lot.

425 King East plan
425 King East plan

Links

Update from Cobourg’s Planning Department – Feb 28, 2019

Responding to my query, Director Glenn McGlashon provided an update:

Many people have been enquiring with our office as to the status of the Enclaves of West Park Village being developed by the Vandyk Group. The following information been conveyed to these interested parties, and is based on our latest up-to-date information:

Vandyk was granted pre-servicing approval by Council in the Spring of 2018 to construct the underground infrastructure and rough grading on the site, of which approx. 90% is complete but on-site work has halted now for a number of months for reasons unknown to the Town.

One possible reason for this delay may be related to the announcement in October by Metrolinx and the Provincial Government that Vandyk Group has been awarded a significant proposal to re-build the new Mimico GO Station as well as develop mixed development above and on land surrounding the station. This project may have pre-occupied Vandyk’s time and resources. Refer to the links below:

https://toronto.citynews.ca/2018/10/25/metrolinx-mimico-go-station/

https://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2018/10/ontario-partners-with-business-to-build-new-etobicoke-go-station.html

In January, 2019, after making an enquiry with Vandyk, I received an e-mail from Mr. Sherman Chan, Vandyk VP Acquisitions and Development, explaining that Vandyk is progressing with the fulfillment of outstanding subdivision conditions and hope to finalize construction of the pre-servicing work and register the subdivision in the coming months. Thus, it is hoped that things are beginning to move again. You may wish to follow up with Mr. Chan at schan@vandyk.com.

I trust the above helps shed some light on the status of the Enclaves of West Park Village development.
Glenn J. McGlashon

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Denis Sulistio

I received a call couple weeks ago that Vandyk will be cancelling the enclave project. Did anyone else receive similar message? I am puzzled as This is contrary to the news above

Martin Caprani

I’m one of the buyers sitting spinning my thumbs waiting to get into my new home this coming Sept it will be 3 years… Funny a friend told me it would be at least 3+ years as they were almost 4 years before they took possession. Looking to move in before the doctor takes my drivers away because I’m too old to drive , but for your info I’m only 69 LOL 😂

Maria Porter

That’s really informative news,this helping people to know,
Thanks for sharing

Walter L. Luedtke

comment image

The “Golden Girls” of Port Perry!
After hearing about a group of four seniors in Port Perry, who faced municipal roadblocks during their move to renovate and share a home, Progressive Conservative MPP Lindsey Park brought forward a private members’ bill called the Golden Girls Act.
“Ontario doesn’t need legislation to exempt seniors from municipal bylaws and zoning regulations primarily designed to restrict or ban rooming houses. Ontario needs politicians, at all levels, to embrace shared housing in all its forms — including rooming houses.
The benefits of shared housing that are so obvious for the Golden Girls of Port Perry — from reduced costs to a strengthened social network — are equally true for other groups of individuals.” Toronto Star

Wally Keeler

This was a choice of area youths who decided to rent a house with four bedrooms as their starter residence while they looked for jobs, or attended college/university. This often happened with Cobourg young people over the years, hooking up with someone in Toronto as a stepping stone. Of course, the household eventually dispersed in raising their own family. Shared housing like the Golden Girls or anyone young or old, should always be an option.

Miriam Mutton

Home sharing is a good idea on many levels. As a young professional I had the opportunity to buy a house . For the first five years I house shared with one or two other young professionals and university co-op students with local placements. Because we all worked and were still mobile in our careers, were young and each had our own rooms, we were not terribly fussy about decor … and we managed to share a fridge and stove. The revolving door aspect of a new house mate with each co-op term took some time to get used to. However, the extra income helped me pay down a 25 year mortgage in about 14 years.

And as pointed out above, getting older makes it even more important to maintain a strong social network. But it is personal … some thrive in company, others cherish solitude and space.

Kevin

People have to live somewhere but there are lots of people that cannot afford these new homes. For months I have seen lots of help wanted signs around town. Most of these jobs are near or at the low end of the pay scale. Unless a buyer has a significant down payment there is no way they will qualify for a bank mortgage to buy one of these homes while working at the available jobs. Higher paying jobs in Cobourg will help some. For those that do not qualify, a significant part of the population, lower priced homes or rentals are needed. There is a small article in the Globe and Mail (Mar. 2, page A21) that there will be something in the next federal budget ‘to help make home ownership more affordable’.

What is really needed is more rental housing for the people that can fill the available low paying jobs. Some people are not qualified for higher paying jobs and/or able to manage owning a home. There is nothing wrong with renting. What is wrong is that there is nothing to rent.

Abby

If there are or will be so many residents with ties to Toronto or who simply want to go there more frequently, isn’t it about time for a Go train or Go bus to service Cobourg. VIA is wonderful but just a bit pricey for most.

Kavleen Kaur

Thanks for sharing this amazing post.

Ben

If it is true that the latest OP says that there is a potential to infill 11,000 inside the present boundaries why are we allowing urban sprawl and new infrastructure that will be bought and paid for by developers BUT they will not maintain it present taxpayers will!

Infill should take precedence but will we have Councils who demand it. I cannot wait to see just who financed the campaigns of the successful candidates!

To sum up infill good urban sprawl bad

Walter L. Luedtke

Chuckles!
We have a Councillor who strenuously opposed the conversion of 395 College Street from two (2) to five (5) apartments on the grounds that it would be a mortal threat to the neighborhood.
To whit: “The proposed five rental units could impact the neighbourhood’s quiet, residential character with increased noise, traffic, parking congestion, and the potential for transient tenants (AirBnB rentals, sublets or short-term rentals).
The Town has not conducted a traffic study or considered the wider impact of this proposed development. Increased traffic could impact school children, older residents, and local pedestrians – particularly at the intersection of College and University.”
Her efforts found support from a large group of NIMBYs and propelled her onto Council.
While the Province encourages ‘densification’ and ‘infilling’, it also supports Heritage. Those two policies are incompatible.
There won’t be much in the way of getting more people into the downtown while the Heritage folks want to preserve Ye Olde Cobourge in amber or aspic.

manfred s

and there we have the dilemma of reconciling conflicting objectives which require the creation of policies that will actually allow them to coexist, Walter. That requires skilled politicians with a sense of fairness and inclusive compromise, something that is hard to find. No wonder politics is such a messy business that doesn’t come easily to most. That’s why it’s also important that Councilors explain their votes on all non-routine decisions, something that doesn’t happen regularly now but should.

Walter L. Luedtke

Excellent point, Manfred. Political leadership and the ability to find that compromise are more needed than ever.

Keith Oliver

Walter There is no contradiction between heritage preservation and a more compact urban form, intensification, etc if the design is right. Like so many issues facing us as change accelerates, one problem is finding a definition of the key words that everyone agrees to. At the moment for Cobourg they are “sustainable”, “culture” and “heritage”. For me “heritage” is not a religion, nor are heritage buildings in this case, holy relics. We should preserve then when we can by putting them to appropriate reuse. What is important about heritage buildings is what they can teach us about the application of human scale, the value of limiting the choice of material. They also teach us about applying human scale to the design of streets and other public space between buildings. Growth and development is unresistable … the trick is to preserve the human values so evident in our built heritage and ensure their application through well thought out development policies. As you know I tried to get TVM to change its original design for its 7 storey condo opposite the Legion on Orr St. Only partially successful. Although 12 feet lower and all the glass removed it will still be grossly… Read more »

Walter L. Luedtke

Thank you Keith for your thoughtful reply. I am sure that we agree that we want to keep Cobourg on a human scale. And thank you for all your work on Sifton-Cook.

manfred s

Keith, I don’t think we can actually ‘build’ new yet ‘heritage’ infill or densification. Perhaps it can be ‘seen’ as ‘heritage like’ and it might blend into a heritage neighborhood but it’s certainly not heritage in the true sense. I think Walter is closer to the reality when he says they are incompatible in and of themselves. However, I do agree that the language used in connection with heritage matters is important and needs to have a consistent and universal meaning if there is going to be a full understanding across the board. By the way, I don’t understand what you mean by “human scale” as it should apply to “densification”, something that could be far removed from what we might think of as heritage.

Wally Keeler

Heritage requires conformity to a set of criteria. Heritage sometimes requires us to drive into the future while our eyes are fixed on the rear view mirror. Make the future look like the past. Is it called neo-heritage?

In terms of “human scale” my only reference is to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, when he returned from exile in the USA to home in Moscow, and he wrote longingly for the human scale of European cities, citing that their buildings are not higher than 4 or 5 floors. He hated skyscrapers because he said their presence socially belittles us.

“Human scale” may be a buzz phrase or specialist jargon. It does seem to be a malleable phrase, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I suspect that its meaning would reveal itself if one immerses into the conversational dynamics of blandscape planning.

Wally Keeler

I have no doubt that when you were lobbying against Mr Sub, I’d be beside you in support. Since it was built, I have come to frequent it, mostly so that I could have a cheap coffee and read the National Post, which was not available at other downtown restaurants that provided the Toronto Star or Globe & Mail. But once I began, I noticed how big the windows are, and the result is bright natural light washing the place and providing a wide vista of the main drag all year round. Sometimes the cop shop across the street provides interesting entertainment. Often emergency vehicles turn south to the geriatric wards south of Albert St. It’s a busy intersection full of Cobourg life. It’s a great corner office for my laptop and grant-free poetics

The exterior of the building is ludicrous for that location. It belongs with all the architectural splendor of Northslumberbland Maul.

manfred s

you’re right on all counts Wally. Keith fought long and hard to prevent the freakish 2nd floor from desecrating the rest of our downtown streetscape but to no avail. The dumb part is that the developer would have done anything that was specified by the town. The location was too valuable to relinquish to anyone else who most certainly would have deferred to the Town’s development standards, even if they were more in keeping with our historical streetscape. It just made no sense to allow that 2nd floor as it is.

Jim Thomas

OP? What’s an OP? Please don’t make us decode your posts in order to understand them.

manfred s

Official Plan

Dice

Just what the town does Not need. More homes demanding services, that we do not have the infrastructure to support.

Durka

What infrastructure are you referring to?

Ben

How about more resources – plows, labour and other equipment to maintain more KMs of roads.

Durka

Which would be offset by a larger tax base obviously…

Ken Strauss

The requested grant to support only one aspect of culture, the Art Gallery of Northumberland, is about the same as the annual cost of snow clearing plus road maintenance. Perhaps our priorities are misplaced if we can afford culture but not roads?

Wally Keeler

Do you feel the same way about the literary cultural institution of the Cobourg Public Library?

manfred s

it seems that all of this really takes us back to what we believe and want the purpose and responsibility of municipal government to be. Otherwise, without that compass, we’re just running in circles trying to satisfy ‘impulses’ and wish lists and collecting enough money to pay for it all, without a true sense of purpose.

Ben

And why should existing residents pay for this increased tax base when only the new parts of Town will benefit.

Durka

Any reason given for Foodland not expanding?

Keith Oliver (please use full name)

Cornbread is right. Unfortunately it’s a “chicken and egg” situation. Jobs will come if there is a reliable, educated population looking for work while reliable dedicated workers will come if there are Jobs that will stay. With the exception of good quality reasonably priced housing Cobourg has the bàsics of a high quality of life for all, Major problem is housing not just for low income folks but FOR All. Building more single family homes and condos is not the answer. Council should offer developers incentives to build a mix including rentals. What ever happened to housing coops? like the one at James East and John Street. Need to understand why capitalist free market supply and demand systemm has failed, get interested parties together, find out what incentives are missing. Is it possible to set up a new development model that will satisfy the obvious unfulfilled remand? If Cobourg could figure this one out we’d have the key to growing the town in a intelligent Manet and attracting both good jobs and more middle class families. By the way one indicator of Cobourg’s unhappy state is that according to Stats Can our population has the highest percentage over age 65… Read more »

Ken Strauss

By the way one indicator of Cobourg’s unhappy state is that according to Stats Can our population has the highest percentage over age 65 and lowest percentage of middle age of any town in both Ontario and Canada.

What do you feel is wrong with having many retirees in town? They bring pension money from outside instead of merely recirculating local earnings. Rather than doing it themselves, retirees purchase services — snow removal, yard care, medical — which enables many profitable business opportunities. The crime rate among seniors is lower than that of the general population. Having a concentrated demographic means that the town can specialize recreational offerings to meet the needs of a less diverse group. Building single family homes rather than rental or coop increases the tax base. Seniors have time for volunteer work. Why is this an “unhappy state”?

manfred s

crusty dodlers behind the wheel, for one, Ken lol

Deborah OConnor

The last thing we need is more affluent seniors from the city. My opinion is based on the smug arrogance and demanding attitude demonstrated by so many of them so far. They have no respect for the rest of us or our town’s unique history. Perhaps they need to be quiet and listen to us for a change. BTW I am a senior too, one who prefers diversity and a healthy group of young people in our midst. They are our future and we need them.

Keith Oliver

Ken … Like every other complex mechanism we don’t really know how healthy human settlements work except to say that variety and subsequently choice in every thing seems to generate the best results. The older demographic doesn’t shop for the same items as the younger, ànd in general spends much less, their civic interests are much different, their social life is different, if retired from Toronto that’s where they go for their doctor, dentist, financial advisor, serious shopping, to get together with friends. Coming from Toronto they drive up the cost of locàl housing, etc. In my experience they’re grumpy and conservative even if they were rebellious in the 60s … and they are uncomfortable with change. They are an important part of any town but in Cobourg way out of proportion.

ken strauss

I agree with Manfred and I never denied being grumpy!
It is interesting that Deborah mentions new senior’s lack of interest in our “town’s unique history”. I don’t recall seeing her at a Cobourg and District Historical Society meeting in my ten years of work with that group. Does she belong to the Victoria Hall Volunteers? Does she support the Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre? Why am I reminded of stones and glass houses?

Ben

I wouldn’t question Deb’s commitment to causes just because she stays away from “social” volunteering doesn’t mean that she hasn’t put her time in.

Do you have a Governor General’s “Caring Canadian” award – Deb does!!!!!

I think you owe her an apology Ken.

Albert

Seniors are not consumers, apart from groceries, health services, and presents for the grand-children.
Even their dogs are getting smaller all the time and they buy less dog food.

Ken Strauss

One goal of a sustainable economy is eliminating profligate consumption. Many seniors spend most of their income on presents, services and taxes. Is that bad?

Wally Keeler

Even so it is a pittance towards the overall economy.

Wally Keeler

“What do you feel is wrong with having many retirees in town?” The question should have been; What do you feel is wrong with having the “highest percentage over age 65” in Canada? Cobourg is a national record holder. Ted Amsden is accurate to satirically refer to Cobourg as “Elderville”. COBOURG: a Place to Retire and Fade Away. What an enticement for industry and families to establish themselves here. “They bring pension money from outside instead of merely recirculating local earnings.” Cobourg is not and never was an island unto itself, whereby the locals “merely recirculated local earnings”, until the advent of pension money. What incredible condescending arrogance. Pensioners did not build this town; generations of hard-working families built this town. The pension money is a pittance compared to the outside money brought to Cobourg by working teachers, provincial social workers, federal employees, all high-paying. There is also the income of managers, vice managers, etc of many manufacturing industries that bring in outside money from their headquarters to pay their staff. Rather than doing it themselves, retirees purchase services — snow removal, yard care, medical — which enables many profitable business opportunities. That bloats the service industry which provides low-paying… Read more »

manfred s

because Cobourg is situated on THE main transportation corridor in this part of the province, it is always on the radar when it comes to availability of industrial and commercial and residential opportunities. The drive to ‘build’ more and more is just too strong and lucrative. It also means that in such a trifecta, there is likely going to always be an imbalance with one of these being at the bottom, likely on a revolving basis. Not uncoincidentaly, it’s also unlikely that there will ever be an extended period of balance wherein residential issues are not prominent. As such, demand for housing will never abate so we will always be in a “housing shortage” status. In a capitalist-centred system the only sustained incentive when it comes to perpetually providing more housing is profit for the builders. Unless the public purse is used to enhance other incentives, profit from sales will drive what is built, and that certainly doesn’t put ‘affordable’ housing starts or an ideal mix very high in the incentive column. You say “Council should offer developers incentives to build a mix including rentals.” Such incentives would have to keep expanding in value to keep them relevant, otherwise their… Read more »

Jim Thomas

My own experience after 40 years in The Big City tells me that co-ops and middle class families are polar opposites, though I suppose we could have more of both without being inconsistent.

Wally Keeler

“The biggest expansion in the long term will be in the North East with thousands of homes planned starting with 1700 at the north end of Brook Road “

This will house a lot of families (nuclear = 6800 people) that will drive their children to Victoria Park/Beach each summer FOR THE FUN OF IT. The future is obvious. Interestingly, that was the approx the population of Cobourg when I was born here; Victoria Park has wonderfully expanded in area since then; even the beach has expanded.

cornbread

We need good paying jobs in Cobourg, otherwise the new homes will be purchased by retired people from Toronto and other high priced cities. We need new manufacturing jobs in Cobourg to promote new families.

Frenchy

I thought the grass factory was going to be 1400 jobs, no?

Wally Keeler

Oh balderdash. Really? Those houses will be bought by retired people who look forward to
shoveling snow every winter and cutting the grass? Sure. The houses will mostly be for families and the bread-winners will commute to their high paying jobs whether they are in Cobourg or the GTA.

Russell

What happened to the development beside Canadian Tire, West Park’s newest project. Why did it suddenly stop?

Elmo

With respect to home construction under way, what is the status of the West Park 72 unit townhome project and strip mall on the land on the west side of Canadian Tire? The below ground work was completed 6 month since or more ago and no further work has been done on the property since