At the end of a long council session that went until well after 10:00 pm last night, Council had a long debate on whether there was too big a risk in NOT proceeding with the Water Park which might result in getting sued versus continuing with what some councillors saw as a project that was not popular with citizens. The vote was close at 4-3. This may need to be confirmed at the regular council meeting next week but the decision was quite clear. The reason that the Council meeting was long was because there were a large number of delegations – these will be the subject of a future post or two. One of the delegations was by John Hill, a retired lawyer, who pointed out the risk of the liability of children who “trespassed” on the Park and then got into difficulties.
But on the other side, there was the risk that cancelling the project would end up with the Town getting sued for breach of contract and this would not be covered by insurance.
The recommendation on the Agenda was to receive the report from Dean Hustwick for information – summarized here – but Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin moved an amendment as follows:
Whereas there is no support in the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan for the playground and
Whereas no contract was negotiated or signed or security deposit provided and no floating playground was installed in 2018 and
Whereas there is no guarantee that additional lifeguards can be hired by ATL in 2019 and
Whereas council acknowledges the inherent risks and dangers that may cause injuries and possible deaths to participants as outlined in the liability release of waiver claims and drafted by Summer Water Sports and
Whereas the Town of Cobourg could possibly be held liable for any injury or accident occurring on the floating playground and regardless of the insurance policy of the provider
Now therefore be it resolved that Council direct the Director of Community Services to notify ATL Distributing that the Town of Cobourg will not be installing a floating playground at Victoria Beach in 2019. And as there is no signed agreement to terminate, relations with ATL Distributing be discontinued.
Councillor Brian Darling wanted to proceed because we should honour the previous decision by Council and because he was concerned about the possibility of being sued. He pointed out that we don’t worry about the liability of dangers on the beach when there are no lifeguards.
Adam Bureau said that the extra revenue gained would be used up by the extra costs related to garbage collection and patrolling – he also pointed to a parking problem.
Aaron Burchat said that there are always risks and that if it does not work out, it could be removed after two years.
Mayor John Henderson said it was a “delicate position” – in the original vote in April 2018, John voted against the project.
Nicole Beatty said she was “against the product” but was concerned about a lawsuit so wanted the project to go through.
Emily Chorley said she had researched the park mentioned in Dean’s report that was on a big lake – Whoa Zone at Whihala Beach on Lake Michigan – and found that there had in fact been problems when there were high winds. She also said that the public seemed to not want it.
The voting was 4-3 to kill the project with the voting as follows: