Council Discuss Impact of Covid-19

Most of the topics at Monday night’s Committee of the Whole Council meeting were about changes in Cobourg brought about by the virus pandemic.  To start with, the agenda was expanded by three last minute additions. One was about cancelling yet another event and the other two were about the obviously large impact the pandemic has on the budget. Since the Waterfront Festival has been cancelled and the Highland Games were postponed to August, it was clear that the Canada Day Parade would also get cancelled – and that’s what happened.  Council action on the financial impact consisted of quick verbal reports from Department Directors on the status of their Capital projects plus an agreement to hold a Special Budget review meeting in May.  This would look into what might need to be cancelled, changed or deferred.

Cobourg Council meeting - 6 April 2020
Cobourg Council meeting – 6 April 2020

The quick review of Capital projects indicated that purchase orders for many projects had already been placed or they were tied to grants from the Provincial or Federal Governments.  Major projects would require Council approval before any money was spent so the review did not mean a whole lot.  I would think that the Operational budgets would be more critical and Interim CAO Ian Davey said that Department Directors were already reviewing these.

But there was a long debate on the original motion to cancel the Canada Day Parade because the first draft included a requirement to also install a fence to stop beach access until the end of July and maybe longer – this was primarily aimed at visitors on hot summer days.  The motion was soon divided and the parade cancelled with little debate.  But most councillors were unhappy with the idea of fencing the beach.  Concerns included:

  • What kind of fence – snow fence or event fence?
  • People can just climb over the fence
  • Since walking on the beach in groups of less than five is allowed (with social distancing), how would these still be permitted?
  • It’s not needed – the police can stop groups – already two people have been fined ($750 each)
  • What’s needed is better signage – not just an exhortation to maintain social distancing
  • It might be needed in June, July and August but not in April or May.

It was recently announced that the Marina and Trailer Park would remain closed until May 29 and to better align with this, in the end Council agreed that no fence would be built with a review by May 29.

But the debate did highlight the confusion about access to parks like the beach.  Town Clerk Brent Larmer explained the laws and regulations:  Congregating in groups of more than 5 is not allowed and social distancing must be maintained; use of facilities like tennis courts and exercise equipment is not allowed but walking through a park is certainly OK.  So walking on the beach and boardwalks is allowed.  It’s not clear if the Police fully understand this distinction.

Since this was a Committee of the Whole meeting and not a special meeting, all the Senior staff were in attendance (see image above) although apart from Interim CAO Ian Davey, they had little to say except for the review of their Capital projects.

Council did discuss other issues – stay tuned to this site for details (or watch for emails).

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Frenchy
9 April 2020 4:05 pm

Hey Observer, look what the Town of Cobourg is suggesting we do to help while away the time during this pandemic.
https://www.facebook.com/TownofCobourg/photos/rpp.141213526045766/1487959264704512/?type=3&theater

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
9 April 2020 6:56 pm

My computer tech advised never to click on links provided by someone you don’t know – they may not have been diligent in ensuring the site was safe and without virus. By-the-by I notice you often get 3 upticks – do you have multiple devices?

John Draper
Admin
Reply to  Observer
9 April 2020 7:46 pm

It’s a graphic showing what the Town is mandating (and not) about Parks. It’s now on the Covid-19 in Cobourg page – click link at top right of this page.

jimq
Reply to  John Draper
10 April 2020 10:35 am

Cobourg now says beaches are parks and ok to go through or walk your dog etc. Port Hope and the Province of Ontario say NO TRESPASSING on beaches.

Observer
8 April 2020 6:39 pm

John – As visits and voting is all recorded behind the scenes it would be a good idea if all people who vote are recorded and displayed as to their vote and displayed by their user name. If visiting the site without a user name anonymous could be displayed as some people have personal interest such as people vested by employment in the area discussed. What do you think?

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
8 April 2020 6:43 pm

Why would it be a good idea?

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
8 April 2020 6:45 pm

So good ideas would not be sabotaged by people of vested interest or malicious voters who would soon become apparent. I always consider an idea before voting not who is making it.

Observer
Reply to  Observer
8 April 2020 6:50 pm

Well there you go – a down vote! Secrecy in voting by someone who does not want anyone to know who is making the vote.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
8 April 2020 6:55 pm

That was me just as a joke. You might be taking this whole thumbs up/down thing a little too seriously. Who cares?

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
8 April 2020 6:59 pm

No I’m not – this is a blog of what people contribute Frenchy – not a blog of meanness against people voting simply on a name not an idea.

Dubious
Reply to  Observer
8 April 2020 7:24 pm

Aren’t secret ballots a fundamental part of Canadian democratic traditions?

John Draper
Admin
Reply to  Observer
8 April 2020 7:40 pm

The comment system is supplied by a vendor and I have no access to that code – only some options like vote or not, vote icon etc. What you suggest is not possible without re-coding which I am not able to do. Besides, I think people (including me) like it the way it is.

Observer
Reply to  John Draper
8 April 2020 9:13 pm

Your technical reasons are quite valid John – of course it waters down the vote reasoning though. I have seen down votes on people simply asking a perfectly good question without even a comment. The wisdom of the votes seems faulty and means little. Anyway it does give people a forum.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Observer
8 April 2020 10:20 pm

If you consider that the votes are meaningless then simply ignore them.

Merry Mary
8 April 2020 3:11 pm

It is hoped that Council discussed Fires and a Burn Ban for this municipality, given that the province is in a State of Emergency. Hopefully, this ban would also apply to the whole County, please.

Dubious
Reply to  Merry Mary
8 April 2020 3:22 pm

Cobourg council has no jurisdiction over the rest of the county. A burn ban is imposed if there is a high probability of creating an uncontrolled fire. There has been considerable precipitation recently. What is your reason for wanting a ban?

Merry Mary
Reply to  Dubious
8 April 2020 4:40 pm

Not everyone uses caution. A story about an uncontrolled fire in Alnick/Haldimand Township at todaysnorthumberland.ca reminded me of the impact to respond to these types of emergencies. Another reminder for me happened yesterday afternoon when I walked past an open-air fire burning debris in a home’s backyard with the unpleasant affects of the smoke felt for two blocks.

Dubious
Reply to  Merry Mary
8 April 2020 5:20 pm

I also dislike the smell of burning leaves but I don’t see the relation of desiring a burn ban to your comment that the province is in a State of Emergency.

Merry Mary
Reply to  Dubious
10 April 2020 4:37 pm

There was more in the comment than the unpleasant affects of smoke, and nothing about burning leaves.

Observer
Reply to  Merry Mary
8 April 2020 6:57 pm

I understood fires in ones backyard are not supposed to be legal. But then we have become a very premisive society. Afraid to speak up – recall the tent city in Toronto. Read the book so many people that were not willing to contribute – Ask not what my country can do for me but what I can do for my country.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
8 April 2020 10:40 pm

Backyard fires are perfectly legal in Cobourg.
https://www.cobourg.ca/en/my-cobourg/Fire-Prevention.aspx
Click on “Open Air Burning”

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
8 April 2020 11:18 pm

by approved permit otherwise subject to fine. And states not encouraged.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
9 April 2020 12:03 am

At the risk of you accusing me of nitpicking… can you provide a link to back up your claim that you need an “approved permit otherwise subject to fine”?
Where is it stated that it (outdoor fire) is “not encouraged”?
Read the Town of Cobourg by-law # 058-2012.
This is why we should get to the bottom of things with facts, so that information is complete for all and not just rumour, or “my brother-in-law told me, or from someone’s opinion or interpretation gleaned from reading between the lines.

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
9 April 2020 6:02 am

You’re welcome to look it up just as you suggested I do under Town of Cobourg Open Air Burns. You are aware of where to find it – briefly it states as you know **Responses to unapproved open air burning incidents can result in a minimum charge of $410.00 (plus H.S.T). Additional costs may also be levied, depending on the personnel/equipment required. ** You sure are taking this seriously Frenchy after others called you out on your phone call confirmation and you asking people to take your word for things.https://www.cobourg.ca/en/my-cobourg/Burn-Permits-and-Burning.aspx#

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
9 April 2020 6:22 am

Frenchy – you better get busy!! Was reviewing other posts, so many not providing links!! You’ld better get after them all just like you do me and tell them too. You’ll be very busy.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
9 April 2020 10:19 am

Bring it.
How do you like all your up votes?

Informed
Reply to  Observer
9 April 2020 6:51 am

Open air burning= yard waste.
Rec. Fire=campfire=permissible

Observer
Reply to  Informed
9 April 2020 7:05 am

Permit for Open Air Burning required, Rec Fire stated as grill or barbeque for food. Open air chimneys suggested to be treated as Open Air Burning. Haven’t provided link as I have above to Frenchy for this. To clarify for all that are thinking of burning leaves, yard waste in their backyard.

MiriamM
Reply to  Observer
9 April 2020 9:19 am

https://www.cobourg.ca/en/resources/Fire-Department/RECREATIONALFIRE.PDF

Note, among other things, the requirement for a 10m (33′) clearance from any building, structure or other combustible objects.

Informed
Reply to  Merry Mary
8 April 2020 9:02 pm

Burning brush and leaves in a field is different then having a small recreational fire in a fire pit in the backyard.Big difference

Frenchy
Reply to  Informed
9 April 2020 10:11 am

Correct, and isn’t that where Observer started on this thread?

“One of the most frequent questions we are asked is:
Is it legal to use chimineas/small fire bowls in Cobourg?
The “easy” answer is yes, it is legal to use them, but the following guidelines/conditions must be adhered to. Failure to comply with the requirements of By-law 058-2012 – A By-law to Regulate Open Air Burning Within the Town of Cobourg can result in charges with fines.
Article 2.6.3.4. of the Ontario Fire Code states: “Open air burning shall not be permitted unless approved, or unless such burning consists of a small confined fire, supervised at all times and used to cook food on a grill or a barbecue.” It is the opinion of the Office of the Fire Marshal that the use of outdoor fireplaces (i.e. chimineas) should be classified as open air burning and treated as such.
Please refer to our Recreational Fire Guideline for further information.”
Click on the link (Recreational Fire Guideline) for a .pdf file of Town of Cobourg’s communication on Recreational Fires and Outdoor Fireplaces.
No permit required.

Informed
Reply to  Frenchy
9 April 2020 11:05 am

Please forward him the fog horn leg horn clip. He took it from me😁

Merry Mary
Reply to  Informed
10 April 2020 1:13 pm

What if it is not a small recreational fire in a fire pit, yet in a backyard?!

Eastender
7 April 2020 6:28 pm

Just the other day, tennis players at Coverdale site.
And people jammed in bus shelter at King E. across from H.S.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Eastender
8 April 2020 5:26 pm

None wearing face masks, I bet. I guess they didn’t get those “Made in China” facemasks that Frenchy and Walter extolled the glorious reciprocal generosity of the Communist Party of China. What fools!

Mr Draper posted about The Virus on March 11, 12, 13, 19 and 20 and not once was the issue of facemasks raised. The advice was distancing and staying home and washing hands only. Not until March 22 was the issue of facemask raised, and it was by me. I engendered 15 thumbs down. Now all of the health authorities recommend face masks in addition to hand washing, distancing and staying home.

I went to Shoppers this morning and people still don’t know what a face mask is. Duh!

John Draper
Admin
Reply to  Wally Keeler
8 April 2020 5:37 pm

Can anyone tell me where I can buy one or more? I can’t sew and don’t have material or implements to do so. I’m sure I’m not the only person in this boat.

MiriamM
Reply to  John Draper
8 April 2020 5:45 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/06/how-to-make-no-sew-face-mask-coronavirus

This article is interesting about a no-sew mask, non-medical version.

Dubious
Reply to  John Draper
8 April 2020 7:22 pm

Didn’t you listen to Dr. Tam? You don’t (didn’t) need a mask.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dubious
9 April 2020 11:03 am
Informed
Reply to  Wally Keeler
8 April 2020 5:58 pm

Wally…I believe people are conditioned to think the people wearing the masks are the ones that are sick. Not that its any kind of excuse. Fyi I gave you a thumbs up 🙂

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
8 April 2020 11:03 pm

I think everyone knows what a face mask is.
Where was your N95 mask made Wally? How many times can you re-use it effectively?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
9 April 2020 11:01 am

Where was your N95 mask made Wally?

Go to my Facebook page and you can see it on me and the labels on the mask, mon petite troll. Questions, questions, are you working as an unpaid agent benefiting the Communist Party of China? Go praise and laud another shipment of faulty equipment from China.

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 April 2020 11:40 am

Couldn’t read the small print – need higher resolution. If it says where it is made on the labeling, can’t you just tell us? What is so hard about that?
And yes, you busted me 007, I’m a secret agent from China, but how do you know if I’m paid or not?
comment image?w=516&h=271

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
9 April 2020 3:38 pm

It came from the United States of America mon petit troll. It didn’t come from any of the shipments of faulty equipment from the Communist Party of China that you lauded.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
9 April 2020 3:42 pm

After all, we do know that you have no moral scruples about publishing confidential government account numbers of other people. That is sick and malicious.

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 April 2020 4:08 pm

Don’t be silly, where could I possibly get numbers of other people’s gov’t accounts?

Observer
7 April 2020 5:16 pm

John Draper – read the article above which states “beach and boardwalk open to pass through walking”, jimq states it is not – can you clarify this with your superior communications as fines will be attached to those found in area and doing things they aren’t supposed to. Please clarify John – thank you.

John Draper
Admin
Reply to  Observer
7 April 2020 8:16 pm

If you don’t believe me, I invite you to replay the You-Tube of the council meeting. I heard Town Clerk Brent Larmer say that that the boardwalk was OK for walking “through” as was the beach. The beach was included as a “park” in the original Provincial edict – like it or not, the Province views it as a beach for this purpose.

Observer
Reply to  John Draper
7 April 2020 9:18 pm

Thank you John, so kind of you to respond so quickly. jimq had raised the question in response to the info provided which I copied in answer to people’s questions with regard to the beach area.

jimq
Reply to  John Draper
8 April 2020 6:16 am

So a Town Clerk can verbally override the Town of Cobourg’s published declaration???
Assume some one is charged (on the boardwalk say, where frequently if crossing paths with others you would get too close), and they decided to fight the ticket. I wonder what the judge would say when the defendant states that he heard through a local news blog that the Town Clerk had said it was ok to be on the beach or on the boardwalk. Don’t you think the judge would accept the Town’s published declaration as the law, and not an individual comments?
We will not beat this killer disease until everyone follows the rules published by the Province and the Town.
Go home – stay home – only go outside when it’s absolutely necessary.

The first paragraph in this post from Pete Fisher verifies – https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2020/04/06/cobourg-police-service-will-enforce-penalties-for-failure-to-comply-with-emergency-orders/

Gerald Childs
Reply to  Observer
8 April 2020 9:38 am

How do you post a link into the comments on this blog? I have a post by CPS that answers all this confusion about walking through parks.

Gerald Childs
Reply to  John Draper
8 April 2020 10:10 am

Thank you

Gerald Childs
Reply to  Gerald Childs
10 April 2020 2:27 pm

Two thumbs down for asking for help. Trolls are everywhere.

pdr
7 April 2020 12:35 pm

My continuing thanks to John Draper for this excellent and informative site!

cornbread
7 April 2020 12:20 pm

Fourth St. Park still has cars parked in it and the odd fisherman at Cobourg Creek. Why no barricade for cars set up? And sign saying ” No Fishing “

Frenchy
7 April 2020 10:55 am

Ottawa man fined $880.00 for not just passing through a park with his dog. (I guess he stopped to play fetch or something).
From the National Post:
“In a media briefing Monday afternoon, (Ottawa) Mayor Jim Watson said bylaw officers use discretion when fining, and “observe and are trained to be reasonable.
“Warnings were not working,” he said.
Anthony Di Monte, the city’s head of emergency and protective services, said people are allowed to walk through the park, but not loiter or play with your dog, for example.
‘That’s not appropriate. You should be walking through the park and on your way.’ “

Observer
7 April 2020 10:52 am

Further to your question – Provincial Parks are all closed to April 30 – probably to be extended. See Northumberland News today.

GailR
7 April 2020 9:45 am

My understanding is that, as John says, walking through a park is allowed. No sunbathing, though.

Cobourg girl
Reply to  GailR
7 April 2020 10:36 am

Thank you for the clarification.

Cobourg girl
7 April 2020 8:11 am

It is my understanding that access to the beach and all parks is prohibited by everyone at all times during this pandemic. Is this not true?

Tracy Berry
Reply to  Cobourg girl
7 April 2020 8:24 am

I understood all beaches and parks were closed. Please confirm.

Observer
Reply to  Tracy Berry
7 April 2020 10:22 am

But the debate did highlight the confusion about access to parks like the beach. Town Clerk Brent Larmer explained the laws and regulations: Congregating in groups of more than 5 is not allowed and social distancing must be maintained; use of facilities like tennis courts and exercise equipment is not allowed but walking through a park is certainly OK. So walking on the beach and boardwalks is allowed. It’s not clear if the Police fully understand this distinction. (Paste from above article)

jimq
Reply to  Observer
7 April 2020 1:21 pm

Wrong – not allowed and fines are applicable.

You obviously haven’t read this from the latest Cobourg COVID-19 updates – “Parks & Outdoor Recreational Spaces –

Under the direction of the Government of Ontario in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and encourage residents to stay home, all public or private, outdoor recreational amenities in Cobourg (and across Ontario), including but not limited to sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog park, beach, skateboard parks, picnic areas, outdoor community gardens and park shelters will be closed. Tickets and/or fines will be issued for those who do not adhere to the closure.

Green spaces in parks, trails and ravines can remain open for pass-through access only and visitors must maintain practice social/physical distancing of at least two metres apart from others”.

Observer
Reply to  jimq
7 April 2020 4:35 pm

jimq – better call the Clerk then – that is a direct paste from the article above. Did you not read the above article jimq? I just took a copy of what was reported which states you may walk through both beach and parks – walk through access only. By the by – saw a bunch fishing at the mouth today. Saw one in the park yesterday – when informed it was closed the guy said I’m not from here and kept fishing. There is a sign posted at the opening to the park. Well the town needs money right now – ripe for being grabbed and fined – more money for Cobourg.

jimq
Reply to  Walker
7 April 2020 3:33 pm

The beach is not a park and is off limits. Port Hope just announced the same closure and no trespassing on their beaches as well.

Observer
Reply to  jimq
7 April 2020 4:41 pm

jimq – you were asking about Cobourg. Please read the article. I pasted the pertinent part for you that states in black and white what is allowed in Cobourg and walk access to the beach is what it says. As I said call the Clerk if you don’t believe what he said.

Observer
Reply to  jimq
7 April 2020 9:47 pm

I asked John Draper to clarify which he has – please see his response, I mentioned you were questioning it.

MiriamM
Reply to  Walker
7 April 2020 3:33 pm

From the Ontario government notice (bottom link in ‘Walker’ post above), “Green spaces in parks, trails, ravines and conservation areas that aren’t otherwise closed would remain open for walkthrough access, but individuals must maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres apart from others.”
It is the ‘that aren’t otherwise closed’ part that casts doubt.