Strategic Plan Public Meeting

On Monday April 8, Cobourg will have a public meeting to accept comments from residents about the proposed Strategic Plan for the next term of council – 2019 to 2022.  Basically, the Strategic Plan lists what the Council hopes to achieve although it does not specifically address budgets.  Council spent a good day and a half in February developing the plan – see the report in the link below.  Since then, the Town’s web site has had the plan available for comments.  The Agenda for Monday’s meeting lists 35 written submissions. I have listed all of them below (including links) plus a summary of each.  Many of them object to even thinking about adding boat slips in the West Harbour, some ask for actions that are not within the Town’s jurisdiction (e.g. garbage issues) and others have unrealistic expectations (e.g. railway underpasses on Brook and D’Arcy).

Mayor- John Henderson
Mayor- John Henderson

At the meeting chaired by Mayor, John Henderson, verbal submissions will also be accepted.  There is no provision for a debate by Council on submissions – that will happen at the following Committee of the Whole meeting on April 23 when additional public submissions will also be accepted.  Final approval is scheduled for the regular Council meeting on April 29.

Written Submissions with Summary

Link goes to full submission on Town’s web portal. A summary is also provided (note that a summary does not always do justice to the full version!)
Note that “quotes” indicate a direct quote from the submission. The addition of “(sic)” indicates that the quote is not a mistake – what is shown is what was provided.

  • Public Submission – March 22, 2019 – the public is telling council to drop the subject of expanding boat slips into the west harbour. “Counsel (sic) is simply not listening”. Supporting small businesses in Cobourg is “a worthwhile goal for sure”. But “some staff at city hall are rude unwelcoming and unhelpful when approached for information or assistance.”
  • Public Submission March 25, 2019 1) There is no mention on becoming more resource-aware. This includes a better waste disposal program, to include increasing recycling and composting rates. 2) I’d like to see a goal which urges the town to review more stringently our taxes. Illo Neri
  • Public Submission – March 26, 2019 “We need to connect to the GTA in a better way. You, our city counsellors (sic) need to strike a deal with go transit to get the go bus out here.”
  • Public Submission – March 26, 2019- 2 “Go bus to Peterborough for trends students and Fleming students & for Durham region.”
  • John Cairns – “Perhaps more cost centers should be put on a ‘Fee’ basis for those that use.”   This would include the beach, Victoria park and the dog park. Transit busses should be smaller and fares increased;  close underused parks.  Get new employment opportunities with better than average paying jobs. The team should work on doing the “need to do” not the “nice to do”.
  • Elizabeth Healey – Improve governance of fishing; “I am greatly pleased to see Affordable Housing is on the agenda”; wants attention to downtown vitalization; “no more condominiums please!”
  • Valerie Thompson – “I would like to see a detailed youth program” e.g. “fun interesting skateboard park … safe interesting cycle track/path … a climbing wall … pickleball courts for young people”. “More needs to be done for the more active … senior and youth”
  • Nic Crigger
    • The plan is a laundry list of 26 ‘priorities’ that seem disjointed and hard to measure. The town needs to get better at doing the things it already does, and/or decide what not to do. The Town should not focus resources on a Culture plan – first fix the recreation program.  Basic recreational programs are not advertised well, not setup properly in the online registration system, not run well, or the customer service staff are not providing very good registration support.  
    • All funds available to the Town should be used wisely with transparent accounting. 
    • “That is not a strategic plan. Please produce a responsible, strategic plan of 4-6 specific and measurable outcomes.”
  • Judy Smith – Glad to see the emphasis on sustainability and developing the climate change plan.
  • Douglas Syrota
    • Re-invent 1st Street (now a little used lane) as a bright paved walkway leading from Downtown to the Harbour and Beach. Flags, Food Trucks, etc.
    • Speed up the development of Kerr Street as a crosstown street from Brook Street North to New Amherst
    • Lease and pave Albert Street Parking Lot, provide low cost metered parking with some landscaping
    • Encourage patio culture along King Street with Bright Umbrellas etc.
    • Remove derelict sales trailers
    • Too many rooming houses and empty storefronts on King Street East
    • It’s time for a railway underpass on D’Arcy and Brook Street North
    • Create a recreational Path along Cobourg Creek linking Elgin Street to Peace Park and the West Beach Boardwalk
    • Cobourg has a history, and plenty of Heritage Buildings from the 19th Century, but emphasize some modern architectural daring on new buildings.
    • Emphasize culture. People who spend money on culture also like restaurants, bars and cafes
    • No strip Malls, unless they accommodate affordable housing above or within the Parking areas. Giant parking lots are a waste of land.
  • Paula Hacking
    • Under the category of “People” the word “Social ” could be modified to be “socio-cultural “.
    • “A climate action plan that helps manage risks i.e. flooding, or breakdown of current infrastructure should address not only the protection of natural assets AND ALSO Cobourg’s existing physical assets”
    • Developing policies that create costs in “engineering ready development lands” is not necessarily viable
    • Tourists don’t necessarily want to spend money when visiting places …. Maybe it is best to preserve Cobourg and its beauty for the people who live here.
  • David Blakely – Metrics could be improved;  assessing of current situation is not accurate;  plan needs to talk to ways to help those on social assistance; why do many local professionals live elsewhere?
  • Andrea Storm – I am disturbed that the draft strategic plan includes additional boat slips in the west harbour.
  • Bruce Bellaire – Should mention active transportation;  surprised to see another review of the expansion of boat slips into the west harbour.
  • Christine Young – Absolutely against expansion of the marina in to the west bay.
  • Colin Junkin – I support this plan – my main concern is with available transient slips in Cobourg we keep it at a way higher # than average than anywhere else on this lake which means less slips for permanent. Why? What is the practical reasoning?
  • David McDowell – “I am not in favour of expansion plans for the Marina to the west beach. This will be a disturbance to migrating birds and public access to the beach.”
  • Francisco Sanchez – Expansion of boat slips into the west harbour should be removed from the Draft Strategic Plan
  • Frank Godfrey – Please, no more talk of marina expansion into the west harbour. Please put an end to this Trojan Horse.
  • Hugh Watson – There should be guidelines to control the activities of “Developers and Contractors (who) do not provide any consideration for the residents who live here and pay taxes.”
  • Kevin Siblock – The environmental and recreational impacts do not reflect what 4 people in our household want in a town.
  • Kristine Siblock – “Please do not expand boat slips into the west harbour. This natural space is part of what makes our harbour front special …. Please don’t expand into the natural space to satisfy the boating visitors.”
  • Michele Peterson – Expansion of boat slips into the west harbour would require more dredging so funds must be allocated to assess the impact of this on the marine environment and health of Cobourg residents. Dredging might also impact Blue Flag Beach certification.
  • Nick Brideau – “Not a good plan. Remove the pier and expand to the east.”
  • Rhonda Brough – “I do not support the plan of the expansion of the harbour at ALL I feel that you need to listen to what the community is saying.”
  • Robbie Hamlin – “Dont (sic) expand the marina”
  • Suzanne Saman – “I don’t agree with the boat slip expansion into the west harbour. Keep that space open for non motorized recreational sports and for the wildlife.”
  • Vivian Vandenhazel
    • Much of plan sounds lofty and pie in the sky idealism.”
    • “I do not believe the town needs to hire staff for arts, culture and tourism.”
    • “…. Town of Cobourg staffing continues to grow at a rate out of proportion to population growth which provides the tax base to pay for additional staff. (how many event planners does the town currently employ?) A Cobourg day is an excellent idea to see what staff do.”
    • “Spending by the town concerns me: empty transit buses, why isn’t a passenger van used?, the cost to run the CCC concerns me, the rebuilding of roads/intersections within a few years e.g. the intersection on Division near No Frills, the proposal to rebuild the road behind city hall and putting in more stages and the continuous hiring of consultants such as for this study.”
    • “With so many new Town of Cobourg staff can’t someone run a workshop like this?”
  • Winston Emery – The Bicycle Action Committee supports some aspects of the plan such as prioritizing “biking, walking and public transportation to mitigate climate change effects.”  When exploring “the feasibility of enhanced sidewalk snow clearing”,  “clearing of arterial bike lanes and multi-use paths” should be added.  The document considers culture as an industry or commodity but misses the dimension that “culture” is also an ideological construct – for which education is key. Yet no reference is made to public education in “Programs and Prosperity” strategies.  “Overall, while we find much to support in the Plan, given the urgency of environmental sustainability, housing and physical and mental health, we wonder about the reasons for according priority to technological communications improvement”.
  • Gigi Ludorf-Weaver
    • Add sustainability to Vision and Mission Statements;
    • instead of referring to economic growth, refer to resilience;
    • the housing strategy does not mention the work already done on the Tannery property;
    • more detail is needed on what is meant by a municipal youth program;
    •  to implement “Encourage healthy lifestyles across all ages”, will the town work to make “the major roads bike friendly? Will Town develop cycling tourism maps?”;
    • citizens should be advised about what is involved in food that has been genetically manipulated;
    • Pesticides such as Round UP should be banned;
    • boat slips should not be expanded into the West Harbour;
    • we have a responsibility to embed sustainable thinking in every single municipal decision.
  • Gordon Hunter
    • Cobourg has a litter problem. Solution – posted signs indicating litter fine, min. $100 to $500.
    • Northumberland Forest x-c ski trails would help with “Four season Destination” but trails need to be groomed. Solution: fee box in parking lot.
    • Emergencies: Evacuation signs to identify route.
    • Growth in senior sector. The only part of the CCC that is in constant use is the walking/running track. Institute a $2/day user fee. Put proceeds toward an outdoor paved pathway system.
    • Arts & Culture. One central website where we can find current entertainment in town.
  • Ian McKelvey – I think that adding more boat slips is not a good idea.
  • Jennifer Mckelvey – Against expanding boat slips and suggests the open harbour accommodate “non-motorized aquatic activities for example: stand-up paddle boarding, dragon boating, swimming, kayaking and canoeing. Set up a rental station and invest in the equipment mentioned above.”
  • Jeremy Fowlie – No expansion of slips into the West Harbour. Leave it alone for all to enjoy.
  • Georgina & William Hagemeyer – “We do NOT support marina expansion or … expansion of boat slips into the west harbour recommendation contained in the waterfront master plan. This is the worse idea ever. You seem to be only thinking of the boaters and the $$$$ what about the rest of the population who just like to go and have some quiet time at the west harbour. We are very disappointed with this decision . Please open your hearts.”

Links

Draft Strategic Plan
Council Plans New Direction – 14 February 2019

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Deborah OConnor

MEMO to all the “immigrants” from the city who have made Cobourg their home: Cobourg is NOT a city, it has retained its designation as a town. As in “Town of Cobourg”. We have no “city hall” and no “city officials”. Every time I see a comment containing either of those two phrases it tells me it’s not a “real” Cobourgian making it.

And another thing: if you’re going to stay here longterm it’s important to understand the difference between the Town and the County and what roles each level plays in local governance. Hint: each County is set up differently so the division of responsibility is different in each. How Peterborough County operates is not the same as how Northumberland does it.

Yours affectionately, etc…..

Dubious

And another thing: if you’re going to stay here longterm it’s important to understand the difference between the Town and the County and what roles each level plays in local governance.

Considering the numerous comments regarding Cobourg providing affordable housing there are many who don’t understand that this is a County and not a Town issue. Even some who have lived in Cobourg their entire lives are confused.

Ben

The electorate decided that it should be a Cobourg issue in the last election. The County runs a program but the Council in Cobourg decides whether to do more – they have decided to do so.

Frenchy

Tell us Deborah OConnor, what is a “real” Cobourgian?
Do you have the same attitude about “immigrants” when it comes to “real” Canadians?
You sound like “you know who”.

Ben

Obviously not you Frenchy, the description is Cobourger!

Frenchy

Obviously not Deborah OConnor either, I was quoting her!

Walter L. Luedtke

comment image
Good to see housing put on the front burner.
Read the story in Northumberland News about the couple who bought 5 downtown properties properties and is revitalizing them.
https://www.northumberlandnews.com/news-story/9262933-revitalizing-cobourg-s-downtown-1-building-at-a-time/
The Downtown Cobourg Vitalization Action plan has money to support exactly this endeavour.
But.
Ashley Purdy, the communications manager for the Town of Cobourg, has said council has not granted final approval for the CIP program yet, but said that $75,000 is being proposed for 2019.
That is a 50 per cent decrease in funding available for projects when compared to the $150,000 that was approved in 2018, which resulted in seven recipients being granted funds.
Driving with one foot on the gas and one on the brake.
It will also be interesting to see how getting more heritage districts set up and more apartment housing downtown will play out.