Two Contentious Waterfront Decisions

Currently, each summer, Green Canoe Outfitters (GCO) rent out Kayaks and Paddleboards from the beach in front of the Breakers Motel but Bart Spiewak of GCO asked Council at Monday’s Committee of the Whole for permission to move west and position themselves on Victoria Park Beach.  They would want a kiosk not unlike the new lifeguard stations so that they could house their equipment.  They would cover all costs and offered a 10% revenue share.  Given the contentious rejection of the Water Park just 2 months ago, approval seemed unlikely.  But Councillor Chorley suggested a trial this year followed by a full, open procurement process in 2020 and said that the situation is different.  She moved a long detailed motion (details below) and after debate, it was approved.

Green Canoe Outfitters
Green Canoe Outfitters

Photo at right is from Green Canoe Outfitters Facebook – Sept 3, 2018

Councillor Chorley’s motion (slightly abbreviated)

That Council permit GCO to locate their seasonal kiosk on Victoria Park Beach for Kayak and paddleboard rentals for a trial period from June 28 to September 2, 2019, (that staff) draft and negotiate an MOU between GCO and the Town that includes the size and location of the kiosk, operating hours, permitted promotional signs and Flags, required insurance coverage, and details of the financial Agreement and payment schedule … and present to Council for final approval by June 3rd 2019 … and report on the trial by November 25 2019  And the report to outline an open application process for the provision of Kayak and paddleboard rentals from Victoria Park Beach in 2020 pending the success of the 2019 trial period.

The biggest concern was whether the June 3rd date gave enough time.  Dean Hustwick and Stephen Peacock were very doubtful given issues of safety, liability, lifeguarding/YMCA as well as the fact that this does not follow standard procedures.  However, CAO Stephen Peacock said that Council could waive procedures if they wanted to.

Brian Darling said that approval should be postponed to 2020 to allow proper process to be followed and he was supported by Mayor Henderson.

Emily Chorley said that during the trial, the kiosk would be temporary – possibly a tent and liability would be no different to what’s already been there in recent years.

In the end, Emily’s motion carried 5-2 with Henderson and Darling against.

Licensed Canteen

Later in the meeting, Nicole Beatty requested that staff report by June 3, 2019 on options to operate a licensed waterfront patio much like was done in 2018 adjacent to the canteen.  But Mayor Henderson and Deputy Mayor Séguin pointed out that there was supposed to be a report on the success or otherwise of the 2018 “trial” but that was never done.   Both Séguin and Henderson wanted a “breather” this year to allow proper process to be followed.

It also appeared that the DBIA was unhappy with the fact that they had no opportunity to participate.

Nicole proposed an amendment to remove the option of Town Staff operating the Canteen and specifically open it up to third parties. Other amendments were made but were unsuccessful and in the end the motion was NOT approved.  So there will be no licensed courtyard canteen this year although probably there will be in 2020.


Water Park Voted Down – 20 Feb 2019

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17 May 2019 2:20 pm

Am I getting this right?
The Licensed Canteen was canned because the renewal was not according to ‘proper process’.
The kayak and paddle board business move was allowed even though it was not according to proper process’.
Deputy Mayor Seguin flip-flopped, voting against the Canteen, but for the paddle board move.
Strange huh?

New to Cobourg
Reply to  Albert
17 May 2019 2:42 pm

You have it right, Albert!

16 May 2019 8:36 pm

Hey, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed going down there to enjoy a cold beer outdoors, music, the beach… what’s not to love? I had fun and was entertained. I enjoyed being, and bonding with, locals and tourists, and I felt good about the sense of community culture.
I was just wondering what happened to all the profits?
Coburger pointed out that the overhead had to be extremely low, no food expense and with average or above drink prices, they must have made money. If they didn’t make any money, why would they want to do it again?
So… how successful was it, and where is our share?
Where else can someone run a profitable business on rent free town property with no reporting of financials?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
16 May 2019 10:26 pm

Were there any complaints from the charities?

New to Cobourg
Reply to  Frenchy
17 May 2019 9:52 am

Yes, LFFLG should file a report. I am sure the entertainment, staff wages, staging, liquor license, security, rental of equipment and bar supplies would all affect the overhead of running a licensed beach bar. Why do it again? Because people had fun, locals and tourists enjoying the beach together.

Reply to  New to Cobourg
17 May 2019 11:15 am

Well, if they are losing money doing it, they won’t be able to do it for very long.

Klaus Schroeder
16 May 2019 6:36 pm

And so we wonder why it seems to be so difficult to attract new business and entrepreneurship to our community. Thank goodness there is at least some youthful thinking on council.

Jim Thomas
Reply to  Klaus Schroeder
17 May 2019 2:00 pm

My thoughts exactly.
Cobourg – Ontario’s “no you can’t” town.

Walter Luedtke
16 May 2019 1:45 pm

Council decisions seem to be all over the place.
Maybe they have really run out of breath and it’s only May.
No trial period for the Waterpark, but for these flimsy plastic toys as pushed by Councillor Chorley.
Chorley had researched a Waterpark on a big lake and found that there had been problems in high winds.
What about these paddle thingies in a high wind and town liability?

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
16 May 2019 1:57 pm

Surely the assumption is that since these are being rented out by somebody who sells the products professionally and also has their own company’s interests at heart, they’re capable of ensuring renters understand the safety procedures, and deciding when the weather is too inclement to safely rent them out?

Why would the town be liable any more than the town would be liable if somebody bought food from the canteen that turned out to be bad?

Walter Luedtke
Reply to  Dan
16 May 2019 2:22 pm

It’s a matter for personal injury lawyers.
If someone has been injured while paddle boarding, it is important to investigate the matter just in case he/she is entitled to compensation that will cover medical bills and any other costs associated with recovery. Examples of negligence that can result in paddle boarding accidents include the following:
A lifeguard fails to notice a paddle boarder in distress and fails to reach him or her in time to prevent a severe injury or death by drowning.
A paddle boarder is injured due to a lack of warnings about dangerous conditions, such as when a lifeguard fails to warn of an incoming storm.

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
16 May 2019 2:30 pm

Okay and what about any of those is changed by simply moving GCO’s existing rental setup from one end of the beach to the other?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dan
16 May 2019 2:36 pm

It is proposed to be moved from private property to Town property. Liability was the deciding issue for the Waterpark, so it should be applied equally for the small craft users.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
16 May 2019 2:45 pm

I’d be surprised to discover that renters signing waivers of liability wasn’t already part of the standard process for him, but it’s worth at least asking him first to be sure.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dan
16 May 2019 3:25 pm

Signed waivers to the waterpark did not meet liability standards; so they won’t meet them for paddle boats etc. Rules and regulations should be applied equally.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
16 May 2019 3:39 pm

So what is the current liability if somebody rents a paddleboard from private property, goes out onto the lake (into which their private property doesn’t extend) and then has a mishap inside the portion of the water that our lifeguards monitor?

16 May 2019 1:02 pm

In 2018 when Emily Chorley vehemently opposed the conversion of 394 College St. she accused the Town of Cobourg of not following proper procedures (among other things). Yet, Councillor Chorley has no issue with overriding the Town’s purchasing policy and recommended the approval of GCO’s proposal. I shudder when I imagine the outcry if Mrs. Chorley was not on Town Council, opposed the GCO’s proposal, and Town Council ignored their own purchasing policy.

Dave Moore
Reply to  CobourgPerson
17 May 2019 8:46 am

The Council seems to be all over the board on decisions, except when giving themselves a raise….

16 May 2019 11:00 am

I am so sorry to see that the courtyard will not be operating. I enjoyed it last year, brought out of town guests and saw many folk having a good time. Heaven forbid we should have a good time! Guess I will be taking my out of town guests to Peterborough, where they know how to utilize their waterfront!

Two cents worth
16 May 2019 10:30 am

The beach bar was very well attended last hot summer and it’s a shame that we will not see it again this year….it gave the beach a loveky ambiance to just sit out and listen to
music and hear the lapping of the waves…almost like you were somewhere tropical..

Walter Luedtke
16 May 2019 9:28 am

Last year’s Council boldly went where no Council had gone before: wine and beer and a view of the beach!
And that was wayyyyyyy too far.
This year’s Council does transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, stakeholders and ‘proper process’ to the point of paralysis.
Kudos to Councillor Beatty for trying anyway!

16 May 2019 9:21 am

As for canoe/kayak rentals on the beach…west end of the beach, not West beach…great idea! Hurray!

16 May 2019 9:15 am

Cancelling the beach bar is a sad decision. It was fun to enjoy a brew and listen to music while still near the beach. It seemed quite popular. And why wasn’t there a report on the results of the 2018 season? What would qualify someone or some group to run the canteen? Why wait another year to make a decision? What needs to be done to make it happen this year?

Reply to  abby
16 May 2019 9:24 am

It was amazing. Great music, sunset, food and a cold beer or a glass of wine. What a screw up allowing this to die on the vine.

Reply to  Gil
19 May 2019 10:22 pm

Who screwed up?

New to Cobourg
Reply to  abby
16 May 2019 11:20 am

Talk to Mayor Henderson and Deputy Mayor Seguin. They are the ones wanting to wait another year. And as for operating the canteen please put a bid in for it next year when the town is looking for a new operator!

16 May 2019 5:28 am

“They would cover all costs and offered a 10% revenue share.”

Well, maybe this “revenue sharing adventure” will work out for us.
How has our other “revenue sharing” adventures worked out down at the beach?
• the beach canteen sharing profits? We were lucky to even get our minimum rent out of those guys (albeit late – both years), and we were stuck paying the HST.
• the beach bar/patio that was supposed to generate some shared profits with us and to support charities – no financials on that project. I guess we’re out the rent on that space too. Wonder if those charities ever saw any of that cash?
Who negotiates these deals on our end? Don’t forget the HST on the next one. Ha.

Montana DesJardins
Reply to  Frenchy
16 May 2019 11:04 am

Frenchy, it’s clear to us that you are upset about this. We are so sorry to see this.

We welcome you to join us for coffee or tea so we can personally review this “revenue sharing adventure” with you and go through our finances as we have done with the town, specifically, Ian Davey of the finance department. We might be able to clarify some misunderstanding and shed some light on the process. Feel free to call me directly at 905-269-1614.

We had an incredible time working with Local Food for Local Good and bringing such an incredible and special experience to downtown Cobourg’s beachfront.

We look forward to welcoming the next operator of the beach canteen and enjoying the value they will surely bring to our community.

Have a beautiful day and we look forward to your visit should you come by.

Montana DesJardins

Deborah OConnor
Reply to  Montana DesJardins
17 May 2019 7:08 pm

Good try at massaging Frenchy and all the locals. Trouble is we don’t want a massage, we want a proper financial report as required in your agreement with the Town. What’s the hold-up?

Reply to  Deborah OConnor
17 May 2019 9:53 pm

You’re right Deborah OConnor…. SHOW ME THE MONEY!

From the staff report to our town on June 11, 2018:

“The budget will be finalized between the two partners Local Food For Local Good and the Town of Cobourg with full event budget disclosure required from the event organizer pre and post-event.”

“An event tracking system will be in place for each event and a post-event evaluation will be submitted by the event organizer as per the event contract.”

It’s been suggested to me that it might be up to Local Food for Local Good to supply that report. If they have, I don’t think our Mayor or Deputy Mayor know about it.

“But Mayor Henderson and Deputy Mayor Séguin pointed out that there was supposed to be a report on the success or otherwise of the 2018 “trial” but that was never done.”

Fact Checker
Reply to  Frenchy
18 May 2019 12:57 pm

Several observations Frenchy:
This event occurred in 2018 under the watchful eye of Mayor Gill.
Assuming budgets, financial and event evaluation reports were produced and filed with the Town, did staff bring them forward to Council?
If not, did Council, as part of its oversight function follow up with staff?
I suggest that you as the CAO, Parks director and Town Clerk about this.

16 May 2019 4:15 am

I would love to run the beach bar, seems like a pretty sweet deal. No significant capital costs, washrooms in place, fencing up, great set up count me in. Oh wait councillor Beatty and her friends want to run it…
her advocacy seems like confluct of interest. Maybe town council did the right thing to make sure this is handled properly.

Reply to  Coburger
16 May 2019 10:49 am

Coburger – nice try to muddy the water….

Miriam Mutton
15 May 2019 3:09 pm

What did Council’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee have to say about these two proposals?

15 May 2019 2:57 pm

Perhaps Seguin and Henderson should have popped into the Beach Bar last year – they wouldn’t have need a ridiculous report to validate its success. What a joke! Clearly lobbied by the DBA – I’ll remove the “I” for Improvement because not approving the beach bar certainly didn’t improve anything.

Reply to  Rob
16 May 2019 7:04 am

How successful was it?

Reply to  Frenchy
16 May 2019 7:23 am

Frenchy, ask anyone who attended… was well received, and a success.
My wife and I enjoyed having a beer, glass of wine … the beach…
Only drawback was fencing all around perimeters.

Reply to  Pierre
16 May 2019 8:22 am

It was supposed to raise some money for charity and split some profits with the town. So, how successful was it?
“Drink sales will be used to cover all events’ costs and net proceeds will be shared 50/50 between the Town and LFFLG.”

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
16 May 2019 12:09 pm

Have there been any complaints from any charities?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Pierre
16 May 2019 12:08 pm

It was successful in terms of being well-received and attended. It was successful in achieving fun and entertainment. It was successful in bringing people together (locals and tourists) and bonding. It was successful in terms of community culture. There is always an individual who doesn’t value any of that, but only the precise dollars and cents.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
17 May 2019 10:01 pm

If I didn’t know better, I’d say that last year you were looking forward to the town getting that cash too.

A little premature on the “More money, money money”, eh Wally?

“Wally Keeler
“Drink sales will be used to cover all events’ costs and net proceeds will be shared 50/50 between the Town and LFFLG. The Town’s share will “help support the maintenance and improvement of the waterfront. … The Town will also get their usual cut from the canteen (50% of profit when it’s more than $20,000 per year)”

Wow, more revenue for the Town from Victoria Park enterprises. Love it when tourists spend their money to Cobourg’s monetary benefit. More money, money money.
12 June 2018″

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
18 May 2019 1:19 am

Are you suggesting that there was NO MONEY MADE FOR ANYONE?

Reply to  Wally Keeler
18 May 2019 7:30 am

I have no idea if anybody made any money. It appears that at least the Mayor doesn’t know either. I’m simply curious as to “How successful was it?”
Even Deborah OConnor wants “a proper financial report as required in their agreement with the Town. What’s the hold-up?”

All caps? I thought that was only for the hysterical.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
18 May 2019 1:39 am

Oh Frenchy, did you post another childish gotcha quote that is not in conflict with anything you have asserted on this thread?

Twice you asked, what about the charities? Twice I asked if any charities had complained? No common courtesy of a reply. In any event, none of the lengthy quote of mine makes any issue concerning charities. The cork just dropped from your gotcha gun.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
18 May 2019 7:43 am

Sorry Wally, I didn’t realize you’re a courteous type guy who expects people to answer questions directly.
I have no idea if any charities complained. I’m more curious about the town’s cut. If I read in a report that the town’s cut was $10.00, then I’ll assume that the charity made that much too (according to their 50/50 agreement).
Turns out there was only one charity involved (Local Food for Local Good), and they were the ones running the show. If they didn’t make any money, who have they got to complain to? They might have presented a financial report, as required in their agreement, but it would appear that the Mayor or Deputy Mayor don’t know about it.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
18 May 2019 12:57 pm

The thing of it is that your 12 June 2018 quote of mine that you posted above was nothing more than a gratuitous gotcha with no purpose whatsoever. It’s a waste of time, just to satisfy your chronic animus towards me. Your use of my quote missed the entire barn.

Reply to  Rob
16 May 2019 8:35 am

What a disappointment. Bureaucracy over fun. Way to go council!

Reply to  Rob
17 May 2019 9:44 pm

Hey Rob, are you referring to the “ridiculous report” that both parties agreed to in this adventure?

“The budget will be finalized between the two partners Local Food For Local Good and the Town of Cobourg with full event budget disclosure required from the event organizer pre and post-event.”

“An event tracking system will be in place for each event and a post-event evaluation will be submitted by the event organizer as per the event contract.”