New Coast Guard Building Approved

At the Committee of the Whole Meeting on Monday night, the development agreement for the new Coast Guard building on the east pier was approved. That means that work can start soon: two months are needed to award contracts then demolition of the existing buildings would be done in November/December. Construction of the new building would be done over the winter so that the new facility would be ready for the boating season. Weather permitting, this would be April/May but could stretch into summer. Directors Glenn McGlashon and Dean Hustwick said that this work would not clash with other work on the east Pier.  Dean clarified that East Pier work would be in two parts – repairs and enhancements – and is subject to availability of funds as decided in budget deliberations.

Coast Guard New Building
Coast Guard New Building

The time line for the East Pier is that costing is expected by February 2021, tender documents would then be issued, then (subject to Council approval) the earliest work could start would be late summer – after the Coast Guard work is completed.

If any option gets implemented that area will look really different.

The Coast Guard Building design has not noticeably changed since first proposed and shown at an Open House on February 13, 2020 with about 20 people attending.  Briefly, “the new building includes a two-storey residential module and a single storey garage and workshop. The parts of the building are linked by a single storey connection that accommodates an office and ancillary functions.”  The reason for the re-development is that “the existing buildings have been deemed outdated and unsuitable for modern use and operation by the Coast Guard. The detached workshop is uninhabitable due to health and safety issues.”  The new buildings are designed to “enhance the visual appeal of the area.”


Given the prominent nature of the site, the form of the building is both domestic in scale and feeling, while conveying a modern professional image for the Canadian Coast Guard. The roofline is treated as a sculptural element, with triangular forms suggestive of abstracted sails. The simple form will be legible and easily identifiable, even from a distance. It will serve as a marker for boaters and as a visual boundary between the beach and harbour areas. The design is intended to harmonize with the character of Cobourg’s Heritage Waterfront.

Glenn commented that although Cobourg’s Harbour is a Heritage Harbour, the architect deliberately avoided a faux heritage look [my phrasing].  (If it’s genuinely old and Heritage, that’s good – pretending to be Heritage is bad.)

The building will be to the Passivhaus standard which means that the building will consume 80% less energy than a conventional building, and will rely primarily on sun-shading and high insulation levels to remain cool in summer months.

Although the project was approved, final approval is subject to approval at next week’s regular Council meeting.


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Mr. Maynard
15 September 2020 12:02 pm

Looks great! Can’t wait! The interior ought to be light and airy with all glass. Now if only those ugly fences could be removed. (Why are fences necessary?)

Doug Weldon
15 September 2020 11:45 am

First of all, thank you for the regular information on our lovely town, Mr. Draper – a job always very well done. I’m sitting at our lovely cottage – Tranquility Bay on Eagle Lake. We’ve been here since late May but will soon return home. John D. thanks for keeping me up to date.

Secondly, some of you (a few) seem to have purchased dictionaries that only include negative words. Perhaps Coles at the mall would have a positive dictionary. Check that out. Life is full of negative issues, you don’t need to turn even the simplest issue into a negative. Let’s see: An old run down mundane facility is going to be torn down and replaced by a new, small building that some architect has applied a little character too. Seems ok to me.
Oh and the taxes thing. we have all paid them since we started to work … and our parents before us and their parents too. I will go so far out on the limb to predict that that will continue on into the future. So sad. BUT, I think everyone here knows that. If you have a significant financial issue to discuss then go ahead but, could the every day pointless bitching stop?

Thanks in advance to anyone who pays attention to my request. Oh, and Environment Canada says our Fall will brighten up and clear up for some time. Get out and enjoy a walk.

The Doug

Reply to  Doug Weldon
16 September 2020 7:07 pm

I checked Coles and they have lots of those dictionaries at half price. Apparently they haven’t been big sellers😉

15 September 2020 9:54 am

…the form of the building is both domestic in scale and feeling…

I suspect that is intended to be: “…domestic in both scale and feeling…”

Reply to  JimT
15 September 2020 2:46 pm

JimT – I hope this was intended to be a bit of a tongue-in-cheek comment…

15 September 2020 9:01 am

So, lose another season without vehicular access to east pier and another season of traffic gone wild at the marina,
How much longer can you drag this out,.?

15 September 2020 8:36 am

Just plan modern hope there is Solar built in — So I would assume now that planning agrees FAUX Heritage look is out
there will no longer be any need to stand in the way of redevelopment of sites
such as Sidbrook and Park Theater etc

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Sandpiper
15 September 2020 9:27 am

“The proposed building design is intended to integrate into Cobourg’s Heritage Waterfront, and address the Federal Government directive for all new buildings to be Net Zero Carbon Neutral ready. Accordingly, a Passivhaus design approach is being adopted for the residential wing and connecting breezeway. The garage will be open to the elements for extended periods of time, and therefore a more conventional construction method is proposed for this wing.”

Info regarding Passivhaus:

15 September 2020 8:25 am

Who gets to pay for this Federal Building? Certainly Cobourg should not be on the hook for this or is it…we build it and the Feds pay rent for the building and the land it occupies?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  cornbread
15 September 2020 9:11 am

Here’s your answer:
“In accordance with the lease agreement between the Municipality and the Federal Government, the Federal Government is granted full, free and exclusive rights of access, occupation and use of the lands, and buildings and structures situated thereon, as specified in the Lease, more specifically the t-pier within the harbour basin and the fenced in property west of the beach, south of the municipal parking lot, north of the main pier and save and except for the asphalt corridor leading to and from the parking lot onto the main east pier. The Lease also specifies that the Lessee (the Federal Government) shall abide by the rules, regulations and by-laws of the Municipality and other governing bodies, and shall not construct any buildings and structures on the subject lands without obtaining Page 19 of 78 3 5.0 approval from the Lessor (the Municipality), approval of which shall not be unreasonably withheld. The Federal Government is responsible for the ownership and maintenance of all buildings, structures, facilities and property and all liabilities associated with the development, use and occupation of the subject lands.” 

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  cornbread
15 September 2020 9:13 am

You do through your federal taxes. The Town does not pay for Coast Guard costs. Why would you think it does?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  cornbread
15 September 2020 9:33 am

“…we build it and the Feds pay…”

There is no guarantee that “we build it“. It will be tendered, and if a Cobourg contractor is worthy of building it, then “we” get to build it.

Bill Thompson
15 September 2020 8:24 am

At what cost for a characterless ,generic and oversized edifice for a service that is operated how many months of the year?
A blight on the landscape.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bill Thompson
15 September 2020 10:59 am

A Blight?! “… the design of the building and its site is responsive to the need to preserve the natural environment and provide for careful stormwater management The roofline is treated as a sculptural element, with triangular forms suggestive of abstracted sails. The simple form will be legible and easily identifiable, even from a distance. It will serve as a marker for boaters and as a visual boundary between the beach and harbour areas Cladding materials on all modules will be light colour cement board shiplap panels, installed as a vented rain screen. Sloped metal roofs, with overhangs and drainage system will be provided throughout. A robust structural steel armature for the rain gutters will be provided to create a durable, low maintenance solution. Lighting will be LED. The attached garage wing design will take on a more conventional approach, using a structural steel frame, with steel stud back up wall, topped by a translucent, insulated panel system above. The translucent panel will provide diffuse, uniform natural light, and superior thermal performance on the south elevation. Conventional glazing will be provided on the north elevation. The garage door will also be a translucent, upward bi-folding pre-manufactured hangar door, to provide maximum flexibility for manoeuvering (sic) the boat trailer into the garage. Four large mature birch trees, one mature willow tree, and three smaller birch trees provide shade during the summer, as well as visual screening from the adjacent public realm, and are proposed to be retained and protected during construction. Additional landscaped beds and similar softscape plantings will adorn the front of the building, and four Autumn Blaze maples will be planted around the north section of property. The existing chain link and wood rail perimeter fencing is to be replaced with black metal picket fencing, set back from the… Read more »

Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 September 2020 11:10 am

Here….here, Wally! I totally agree!
Cobourg…soon to be the ‘jewel’ of Ontario!!!

15 September 2020 1:30 am

Based on the artist’s renditions, I like it.
A welcome change.

Reply to  Frenchy
15 September 2020 10:22 am

I like the building design also. And based on the up/down vote ratio for your comment Frenchy (almost equal at time I write this) the architect and team who designed the building have hit the right note for innovation, boldness and statement for a public building’s other purpose as functional art and reflection of culture of the time. When public opinion is split down the middle it is very exciting … I hope it is even better when built.

15 September 2020 12:30 am

“The roofline is treated as a sculptural element, with triangular
forms suggestive of abstracted sails…” Oh, give me a break!

…intended to harmonize with the character of Cobourg’s
Heritage Waterfront.” Does anyone really believe this puffery?

“legible”? “visual boundary”? “domestic in scale and feeling“? It all sounds like a description of the Emperor’s new clothes to me.

I despair.

Reply to  JimT
15 September 2020 11:07 am

Jim!…..have a look at the new ROM in Toronto! I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of the NEW architecture, all around us, but it’s the sign of the times!
Also, I don’t think that a structure, that looks like a Victorian Era building, would be correct either!
As a former construction worker, anything that makes work for people is a good thing!
Lets hope that what ever it looks like, will fit in with our ‘new pier’!!

Reply to  Ken
15 September 2020 12:33 pm

Please, please don’t remind me of that awful carbuncle on Bloor in Toronto. One of the few things these days that really makes my blood simmer. And now we will have this sharp, pointed object in our midst to gaze at as well.

I despair.

Last edited 2 years ago by JimT
Reply to  JimT
16 September 2020 7:54 pm

Ill look at it but wont spend much time gazing . There are other issues to despair if you must.