Dragon Boat and Canoe Club Dilemma

At tonight’s Committee of the Whole Meeting, Jeremy Fowlie of the Cobourg Dragon Boat and  Canoe Club (CDBCC) had a simple request – let us have our own space and let us move the mast racks out of our space into the Cobourg Yacht Club space.  The mast racks are meant for big masts and are not suitable for storing our canoes and kayaks. But along the way he spoke of other problems – he said that the rules and requirements keep changing so it would be good if an MOU could be drawn up to spell out exactly what the rules are.  Jeremy felt that although things had been previously agreed, suddenly he was told that he could no longer do certain things (e.g. use electricity) and he wanted the agreement in writing.

Shannon Murphy
Shannon Murphy

It turns out that although there may be some elements of fact in his assertions, it has recently come to the attention of staff – pointed out by Emergency Planner Shannon Murphy (photo above right) – that there are safety violations with the children’s classes and other activities.  Details were not provided but Director Dean Hustwick said that the situation is really complicated and that we need to fully consider the health and safety issues.  Reports are being prepared by Shannon and others that would better help with understanding.

In addition, it was said that for at least some of the time, the area being discussed was recently subject to floods (under a foot of water) so perhaps the area is not suitable for the CDBCC activities and should be moved.  Another concern was that if thunderstorms are threatened, children would move into the Marina building but staff felt that the Marina building hallway was not the best place to conduct classes.  The building has no “assembly” area.

Dean said that it was a much bigger issue than moving mast racks.

But Shannon said that despite the CDBCC cooperating, there were still serious outstanding issues and they expose the Town to risk (liability).

Emily then asked “Why did this all come up just when Jeremy made a presentation?”  The vague responses implied that there was no connection.

Emily made a long motion that asked for an MOU to be developed and that the CDBCC should work to resolve the safety concerns with the implication that there would be no halting of canoe, kayak and Dragon boat activity or children’s classes in the meantime.  The MOU would come to Council September 23.

Here is the Motion (final version):

WHEREAS at the Committee of the Whole on July 22, 2019, Council considered a delegation from Jeremy Fowlie, Cobourg Dragon Boat and Canoe Club (CDBCC), for information purposes;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council authorize the CDBCC to move the mast racks from the small compound to the Cobourg Yacht Club (CYC) compound where they can be utilized by the CYC (pending written agreement from the CYC); and

FURTHER THAT Council authorize the CDBCC to use the small compound exclusively year round and that Council endorse the club’s current activities and programs from that location; and

FURTHER THAT Council instruct staff to formalize the CDBCC’s current daily operations by drafting a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that includes:

  • Extending the lease of the small compound from the current 6-months to 12-months per year, with the additional 6-months charged at the current rate;
  • A description of the infrastructure permitted within the small compound to support the CDBCC’s activities and programs, including boat racks, electricity, storage and light shelter;
  • Access to parking and the marina building for washrooms and use during inclement weather;
  • Basic health and safety requirements; and

FURTHER THAT a member of Council be present during discussions between the CDBCC and Town representatives when drafting any terms and conditions for the CDBCC compound and programs; and

FURTHER THAT current CDBCC programs and activities are permitted to continue while the MOU is being drafted; and

FURTHER THAT the draft MOU be presented to Council for final approval by September 23, 2019.

Adam Bureau asked why was a Councillor requested to be present during discussions and Jeremy said that it was because previous unwritten agreements had been “forgotten”.

Finance Director Ian Davey was concerned with the risks if unsafe activities were to continue.  CAO Stephen Peacock felt that the wording of the motion allowed staff to make sure that safety items were being addressed since it instructed staff to meet “basic health and safety requirements”.

After discussion, Emily’s motion passed 3-2 (Emily Chorley, Adam Bureau and Suzanne Séguin in favour; John Henderson did not vote; Aaron and Brian were against; Nicole Beatty was absent).

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Paul Pagnuelo
24 July 2019 12:51 pm

What are the serious unresolved issues that Emergency Planner Shannon Murphy claims exposes the Town to liability?

Reply to  Paul Pagnuelo
24 July 2019 5:32 pm

Come on now Paul – spell it out – you can kill just about any activity imaginable with the threat of liability problems. Just say the word and the activity is dead. The more important question has been raised already why now and without consultation. After all it seems that Mr Hustwick is the law around here, cross him and pay the consequences! No love lost here between the two sides it seems.

Cobourg Resident
Reply to  Paul Pagnuelo
24 July 2019 7:05 pm

Ms. Murphy should study real emergencies such as flooding rather than persecuting the Dragon Boaters on the direction of Mr. Hustwick.
I heard a rumour that Dean is now seeking alternate employment opportunities as a consequence of disrespecting Council.

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  Cobourg Resident
24 July 2019 8:13 pm

If the rumour you mention is true, Cobourg residents will be celebrating in the streets.

Reply to  Paul Pagnuelo
25 July 2019 9:44 am

Here is someone who wants the facts in the reports by Shannon Murphy and others before forming an opinion.
That kind of thinking will never do on this blog.

Sandra Rose
23 July 2019 9:48 pm


For the last several years we have sat down at the lake watching our grandchildren. It is so nice to see the youth of Cobourg enjoying the water. We have had great pride in seeing many of the youth working so hard, yet never complaining. What a shame it would be if this were to be taken away.
We have followed our grandchildren to many compitions in various locations. During these the children from Cobourg have represented their town with pride. How difficult it must be for them to see the others at the events have beautiful clubhouses with great amenities. Yet these Cobourg youth give it their all to win not only for themselves but their Town.

Kim Bennett
23 July 2019 8:53 pm

My daughter has been a member of the club for seven years. She thoroughly enjoys it and takes great pride in representing her community and town at regattas. The children that are in the club are some of the kindest, hardworking, and determined youth. They are on the water in early May and everyday in the summer from 9-1. They are not causing trouble around the town like some youth are. They represent their town with pride and wear the Cobourg name proudly. I have been to many other communities for regattas some of which are smaller then Cobourg and they have beautiful clubhouses and town support. I ask as a parent why as a town can we not support such a great program? We seem to be very focussed on supporting other teams around the community. I am sure it would never be an issue for a hockey or soccer team. As a club we have never asked for any town funding we have ran our program by volunteers and fundraising. As far as the safety concerns that have been brought up in the seven years my daughter has been a member I have not witnessed one injury. I ask where is the towns liability when a hockey player gets a concussion or a soccer player gets a broken bone. I also feel it necessary to share with the community the Marina’s perspective of the program. They as someone else stated do not like that we are using the water and are doing everything they can to make our use extremely difficult. What I am asking you to do if you are reading this is come and see our hardworking athletes on the water and support them, spread the word that we are here to stay and that we… Read more »

Canuck Patriot
23 July 2019 8:07 pm

It’s evident that a targeted effort is underway by certain Town staff to shut down the Dragon Boat and Canoe Club. What better way to expand the Marina into the West Harbour than to make life miserable for its current users.

Why is it that Councillor Darling always votes for what Director Hustwick wants? And why does Councillor Burchat, a man of no words at Council meetings, always take his cue from Councillor Darling when it comes to voting? It’s painfully obvious to those who are regular Council watchers.

And where is the leadership that our Mayor should be showing on so many issues? It’s time to show some respect for Cobourg residents and to put a stop to the grandiose plans of a bureaucracy that is out of control.

Thank goodness for citizens like Jeremy Fowlie who actively work to make our community a better place to live and for Deputy Mayor Seguin and Councillors Beatty, Bureau and Chorley who consistently strive to work on behalf of the best interests of their constituents.

Reply to  Canuck Patriot
23 July 2019 8:11 pm

HERE…HERE….I agree!

Walter Luedtke
Reply to  Canuck Patriot
24 July 2019 9:33 am

Councillor Darling was re-elected with the second-highest number of votes last fall.
His supporters trust his prudence and proven competence in his professional as well as his political career.
His supporters also respect his confidence in the professionalism of Cobourg’s civil servants who in this case try to minimize the risks of liability suits for Cobourg’s taxpayers.
There are, of course, folks who suspect ‘the grandiose plans of a bureaucracy that is out of control’ and who hide behind lofty pseudonyms in this blog.
But they congregate in a different part of the pasture.

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
24 July 2019 8:32 pm

Councillor Darling was re-elected with the second-highest number of votes last fall.

Big deal.
Doug Ford won with a strong majority, as did Justine Trudeau. Heck, even Donald Trump won the Presidency of the USA. Would anyone deny that these three are lousy leaders?

John Draper
Reply to  Frenchy
24 July 2019 9:13 pm

Please – let’s stop here. This is not a forum to have a political debate other than Municipal.

Cobourg Resident
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
24 July 2019 9:25 pm

Have you watched a recent Council meeting? It is obvious that the bureaucracy is out of control.

Walter Luedtke
23 July 2019 1:14 pm

Uh Oh!
Safety and health problems and Town exposure to liability issues.
Sounds a lot like Councillor Chorley’s paddleboard initiative that went nowhere for the same reasons.
Councillor Chorley is always on the lookout for secretive wrongdoing on the part of Council and Staff.
Therefore her question “Why did this all come up just when Jeremy made a presentation?”
Seems to have been pure coincidence.
Or was it?

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
23 July 2019 2:43 pm

Maybe she should have voted yes to Dean’s water-park, marina expansion and boat lift.

23 July 2019 9:32 am

Not sure why the mast racks aren’t in the boat storage compound where the boats are stored for the winter? That seems like a logical place for them.