East Pier and Campground report

At the Committee of the Whole Council meeting on June 24, Director of Community Services Dean Hustwick asked council to hire the Waterfront Plan consultants thinc design “to conduct public engagement on design options for the East Pier and Campground”.  That is, to do some preliminary design and ask the public what they would like.  But Councillor Emily Chorley said that there should be a public meeting in September 2019 which would narrow the options before any money was spent on designs.  Emily moved that this should be done with results presented to Council no later than November 4, 2019 and the work could be included in the 2020 budget.  Detailed designs would then follow.  Her motion was deferred to the regular Council meeting on July 2.  Several options were presented for the East pier plus some needed upgrades to the campground.

East Pier Options

Emily Chorley
Emily Chorley

Here is a summary of options suggested by Shoreline Engineering who reviewed the problems with the East Pier plus the recommendations in the Waterfront Plan.  The full report from Dean is available in the links below.

Option 1 – Closed to Traffic and Naturalization
This option considers naturalization of the pier for use as a park space. No vehicular traffic – pedestrians only. No removal and launching of boats in the marina and no midway at the Waterfront Festival.  Settlement would still occur so regular maintenance would be required by Town staff.  No safety concerns. Cost of Construction: $440,220.

Option 2 – Replace Top Fill Material
Top 1 metre backfilled and surface repaved. Settlement mitigated but not eliminated – access to pedestrians and small vehicles only. No Midway or “lifting operations” (presumably boats). Cost of Construction $1,091,420.

Option 3 – Piled Deck
Add a stable concrete deck using a steel piled foundation with a span of 10m in width and the entire length of the existing pier. Suggested for the west side of the existing pier to allow movement of boats in and out of the marina. No restriction for use of this deck. The remaining foot print of the pier could be naturalized for pedestrian access, as described under Option 1 above. Maintenance would be required on the East side where there would be a naturalized park area. Construction Cost  $3,795,660.

Option 4 Light Vehicle and Naturalization
A combination of Option 1 and Option 2. It includes a 10m wide paved area on the west side of the pier as described in Option 2 and the naturalization of the remaining area to the east as described in Option 1. This option allows for light vehicle use on the west paved area and pedestrian only traffic on the east park space. The park space would include a paved pedestrian pathway. An implication of no Midway or boat lifting. Construction cost  $719,180.

Dean’s report said that in addition to the above, the Waterfront Study also required enhancements of $1,031,000, as outlined below, plus $104,000 in planning and engineering costs.

4.2 Seating/lookouts $145,000
4.4 Charter boat and deep water docking $130,000
4.3 Pedestrian walkway $380,000
4.6 Food concession/restaurant $20,000
4.8 Seasonal closure of pier to motorized vehicles (signage) $1,000
4.9 Electrical upgrades and pedestrian lighting $250,000
5.4 Accessibility enhancements (from East Pier to Victoria Beach) $105,000

It seems that Staff will now present these options at a Public meeting in September.

In addition to the East Pier, there were some upgrades proposed for the campground but for the campground, Dean’s report simply listed the recommended projects in the Waterfront Study:


Based on the Waterfront Plan recommendations, Campground improvements were estimated to cost $911,000 plus $92,000 in planning and engineering costs:

6.1 Service upgrades at campground (water, sanitary and electrical) $200,000
6.2 Beach/campground interface improvements $435,000
6.3 All season: extend camping season, introduce all season cottages and host special events $150,000
6.4 Washroom building upgrades at campground $50,000
6.5 Registration system upgrades (online) for campground  
6.6 Increase campground rates and revise policies  
6.7 General landscape improvements at campground $25,000
6.8 Provide multi-use trail connection around campground $51,000

Both East Pier and Campground changes would be presented at the September Public Meeting with the intent of reducing the number of options.


This plan will need to be confirmed at the regular Council meeting on July 2 but Dean Hustwick has provided a new memo essentially repeating his earlier recommendation that a consultant be hired to help with the Public meeting but more importantly, that preliminary designs be prepared before the Public meeting so that the Public know more precisely what they are commenting on.  In addition, if preliminary designs are not done before November 4, budget estimates for 2020 could be wrong and construction could end up being delayed into 2021. This is on the agenda for discussion at the July 2 regular Council meeting.


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Walter Luedtke
1 July 2019 10:00 am

comment image
Belleville Pier Patio and BBQ
Only in Belleville, you say?

Joka faulkner
30 June 2019 3:52 pm

Just leave the pier as it is ….is it really that important to drive or have a midway on there?
You know who will be paying for this!
Shame on people who refer to trailer park as trash….they all take very good care of their places and we don’t need a hotel there!
There are more important things to work on e.g. how to bring businesses into town and fill the empty spaces downtown!

Reply to  Joka faulkner
1 July 2019 5:57 am

Leaving it as is could lead to a total failure of the whole structure. Not really an option.

Miriam Mutton
30 June 2019 11:02 am

I agree with Ben’s view of the pier and would have services that could be attached to and closed off, not unlike the marina and campground, in order to max flexibility of use of the platform. The pier is a major piece of infrastructure. To compare, what would it cost to rebuild it entirely in today’s dollars? It is essential to having a protected harbour. Cobourg is unique with regard to communities with harbour facilities beyond being a small craft facility. I also hope that photographers, like Pete Fisher and Ted Amsden, share their wintertime and storm photos of the pier and environs as part of the public consultation process. Aesthetic improvements only would be a waste of money. Anyone expecting a manicured parkland with grass, trees and flowers take a look west … naturalizing means it will look more like the west pier headland. An asphalt path? Would anyone put new asphalt pavement over a shifting base full of voids?

And, the campground deserves to stay for many reasons including a role as eyes on the beach, a form of community security. I see the trailer park as a multi-use space used in all seasons in different ways.

30 June 2019 10:36 am

Well put Ben. Let’s take it further though. Move that eyesore trailer park over to the old Cobourg West High School football field. We don’t need trailer trash in the downtown core. The waterfront in Cobourg with the beach, the pier and the harbour is a gold mine if it were properly developed. It would revitalize the downtown area. Don’t put a patch on it. Surely someone on this council could show a little leadership and vision on how this asset could be utilized and make this city a true gem on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Anyone ever thought of a Casino. That should raise a few comments.

Reply to  Paul
30 June 2019 11:09 am

Trailer Trash? Seriously? Even aside from the fact that characterizing the tenants who set up there for the summer this way is hilariously inaccurate, that level of disrespect for your fellow man is a little problematic.

Fact Checker
Reply to  Paul
30 June 2019 12:14 pm

As the Town doesn’t own the CWHS field, how much should the Town spend to buy it? Then there’s the cost of installing utility services and roads.
Your trailer trash comment is totally inappropriate and ignorant. About half of the VPC’s “residents” are your fellow Cobourgians. I’m sure that they will be pleased to learn that you hold them in such high esteem.
The cost of some of the “land yachts” might surprise you. They cost as much or more than some (many?) of the boats in the marina. The monthly VPC fee (waterfront full services) is slightly higher than a comparable marina slip fee.The VPC doesn’t offer a seasonal rate like the marina, so a 4 month stay at the VPC costs about double the cost of a seasonal marina slip.

Reply to  Fact Checker
30 June 2019 4:05 pm

On one thing we agree … that is a trailer park on valuable piece of property is not a very sound business decision.

Merry Mary
Reply to  Paul
7 July 2019 7:51 am

How valuable is that portion of land? Why is the only emphasis on its value placed solely on a business decision? Trailer Park has my vote of approval.

Reply to  Paul
2 July 2019 9:26 am

Trailer trash?

30 June 2019 8:26 am

Again we are faced with pragmatism instead of vision! The options have been put forward by beancounters – “what can we do at the cheapest cost to shut the whiners up!”

If any of these options are adopted we miss a huge opportunity to revitalise the very place that attracts people. The option of commercialisation has to be considered even if it is struck down later in the discussions.

Nowhere do we get the option of rebuilding the Pier with a serviced opportunity for the restaurants and booths that should be there if we are to maximise the potential for the Town. Installing services for buildings, whether we use them now or not is a no-brainer. If the Pier is to be dug up and stabilised how much does it cost to put water and sewage pipes in at the same time?

What’s that old saying “If we do the job do it properly!”? These options are only lipstick on a pig – we can do better than that, after all we have the money (Holdco and Northam funding) let’s spend it and make this a job that lasts one hundred years.

30 June 2019 7:10 am

Surely option 4 is the best? Most people either want naturalization with walking paths or the ability to drive on it. This accommodates both and at a great cost. One downfall I suppose is no Midway could go on it but I don’t think we should be designing it for 3 days of the year. Organizers I’m sure could find other great ways to utilize the pier. I’m not familiar enough with the boat lifting operations to discuss the importance of needing the pier for it.

Reply to  Durka
30 June 2019 11:11 am

They put the Midway over at the Lions Pavillion this year and it looks fine, works fine, and doesn’t shoulder out any of the previously existing Waterfront attractions. The free vendor area is pretty sparse this year, so extending it into the space where the Midway is wouldn’t even have benefited anybody.

Old Sailor
30 June 2019 6:18 am

Wondering if a cost benefit analysis has been done on the proposed $911,000 of improvements to the campgrounds. Will campers give the town a 5-7 year payback through fee increases or will this be a Cobourg taxpayer cost alone?

Reply to  Old Sailor
30 June 2019 7:01 am

Yep. Let’s see if there is as much uproar with these land yachts as there is with ones on water.

That campground is an eyesore, shouldn’t be there. The people in this town can’t think logically, the campground has been there for a long time and it is all they know, so they feel it must stay, that’s it, that’s the argument.

I brought this argument out before but let’s pretend the current campground was parkland and a trailer park was proposed on it. Who in their right mind would think that’s a good idea? Next to no one. So why are we extending the life of this thing? Because people are scared of change?

I would develop the very northern portion of the trailer park for year round revenue, it would be tucked in behind the buildings already existing, it wouldn’t be blocking anything as the view is already blocked. The southern portion would become parkland for the whole town to enjoy, the view coming down Divison would be a beautiful vista of parkland, the beach and water, currently it is a view blocking fence which could be taken down. This is where campground supporters lack imagination. Really take a look at the end of Division and ask yourself why some of the best potential sight lines in Cobourg are blocked by a giant fence compound housing trailers?

Get some kind of vision people, once again, if that trailer park wasn’t there currently would you think it’s a good idea to put one in?

William Zeran
Reply to  Durka
30 June 2019 8:26 am

All lots are not the same size so the small trailers get stuck In the middle of 2 large trailers who pay the same rate. Not fair.

Reply to  Durka
30 June 2019 9:34 am

I agree with everything you have said here Durka. I voiced these ideas a few years ago at a council meeting and have lived with the label “Elitist” since then.There is no forward thinking in this town only those who know “it has always been that way”. The trailer park should be moved and a park with year round washrooms and a coffee shop would be awesome!

Reply to  Durka
30 June 2019 9:35 am

I agree – tax-producing retail/business on the North-side; lakeside public park on the South-side.
Very good point – if that area was a public lakeside park now, who would recommend converting it to a 5-month RV park and a 7-month vacancy?

Fact Checker
Reply to  warren
30 June 2019 12:27 pm

Tax producing retail/business?
Are you proposing that the Town sell the north side?
Also, a seasonal stay at the VPC costs about double the fee for a seasonal boat slip.
The 7-month vacancy also applies to the marina

Reply to  Durka
30 June 2019 11:13 am

I’d just like to point out, that from the “Nobody in their right mind would agree to it now” front, if they had never existed previous to today, and you proposed a -library- as a concept for a new thing, you would be laughed out of the room as well. This doesn’t actually support the argument against the trailer park.

Fact Checker
Reply to  Durka
30 June 2019 12:28 pm

The public engagement sessions regarding the East Pier and VPC are scheduled for this September. I trust that you will be there to show everyone the brilliance of your plans

george taylor
Reply to  Durka
16 September 2019 8:35 am

rumor is that the land was donated many years ago to be left a campground for in perpetuity ?

Fact Checker
Reply to  Old Sailor
30 June 2019 12:34 pm

Old Sailor,
The VPC has made a profit over the past 10 years ranging from $100K to $175K per year. This profit has been used by the Town for various purposes and has NOT been allocated to a VPC reserve fund. It is time that the Town paid the “campers” back by making some long overdue improvements to the VPC

A cost benefit analysis……heresy. That’s not the Cobourg way.

Old Sailor
Reply to  Fact Checker
1 July 2019 9:07 am

Fast Checker
Roughly 5 years ago an independent look was made of how the town accounts for the campground expenses. It was noted that many of their expenses like managing salaries, and general town grounds maintenance expenses were charged to marina operations – understating marina results.

The only benefit I see in keeping the campground is that turning it into a park would just increase the area used by GTA summer exiles at their free provincial park. That result would be no benefit to Cobourg residents.