About a year ago, with Covid-19 not on anyone’s mind, the Town of Cobourg staff were trying to follow the Strategic Plan that was approved in early 2019 (see links below). The soon to retire CAO Stephen Peacock issued a work plan that gave staff direction on how the Strategic Plan translated into actual actions – see the link below for my detailed report on this and a copy of the Strategic Plan. But given the disruption caused by the virus, maybe it’s time to review the key actions. These include a Town wide CIP with a housing strategy, creating an action plan for Climate, review organization re Economic Development and Tourism, develop an Information Technology (IT) strategic plan and many detailed initiatives. Although some of these have been done, many have not.
Stephen has not been around to direct the actions and interim CAO Ian Davey is holding down two jobs so it’s not surprising that the emphasis seems to be on maintaining the status quo and responding to the Covid-19 crisis. But let’s look at some of the more ambitious goals/actions.
|Work||Time Target||Current Status|
|Town Wide CIP – to allow the Town to provide subsidies for affordable housing anywhere in Town||March 2020||Report posted on Cobourg News Blog – 3 July 2020 – CIP may possibly be completed in time for funds to be allocated in 2021 budget.|
|Establish a Youth Advisory Committee||Jan 2020||No action or progress|
|Investigate the creation of additional heritage conservation districts as outlined in the heritage masterplan – Initiate and Carry out studies – RFP||July 2020||Not started|
|Create a Climate Action Plan with input to 2021 budget||Sept 2020||Not started|
|Review and improve the financial performance of Town operated facilities – including Memorial Arena||End 2019||No report|
|Repair and rejuvenate the East Pier – Prepare engineering plans and tenders||July 2020||Engineering work has started.|
|Develop an information technology strategic plan||Aug 2020||Tender results from contractors in January 2020. No contract awarded.|
|Work with transit authorities in the area to integrate transit services, including accessible and active transportation services – Tender west Northumberland integrated transit study RFP||Dec 2019||No progress|
|Review feasibility of expanding Northam industrial park||July 2020||No report|
|Review the mandate of Town’s Economic development department||TBA||No action or progress.|
|Consider creation of Town Arts, Culture and Tourism division||Late 2019||Maybe idea was rejected? Or maybe this is called Community Services? No report.|
Note that the “Current Status” is what is visible – there may be work happening which has not yet been reported to council. There are more actions on Stephen’s list – the above are highlights.
However, we have had action on items not on the list:
- Harbour Safety Review (Aquatic Safety – Take 3)
- A contract to restore the Stone Portico entrance to Victoria Hall was awarded.
- Kerr Street is being built from Division to D’Arcy
- The Planning Department is busy with multiple developments
- Outside recruitment for a replacement CAO has proceeded and is nearly complete.
- There have been many actions related to the pandemic – notably cancellation of all events and closure of the Beach until August 31.
There are also some new actions mandated by Council and listed under Unfinished Business on each Council meeting Agenda.
Here are some highlights as shown in the Council meeting on 27 July (some items omitted):
|Unfinished Business Item||Meeting Date||Department/ Division||Deadline Date|
|Terms of Reference regarding a social planning and/or Community Development Advisory Committee, regarding affordable housing.(Originally due 25 Nov, 2019)||28 Jan 2019||Legislative Department||Sept 14, 2020|
|Traditional Land Acknowledgment Statement to be read at Council Meeting||13 May 2019||Legislative Department||Sept 14, 2020|
|Staff Report on Innisfil Ridesharing Transit Model||27 Jan 2020||Legislative Services/ Public Works||Sept 14, 2020|
|Motion – Flood Reduction and Mitigation Strategy||27 April 2020||Emergency Management||Sept 14, 2020|
|Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy||29 June 2020||Legislative Services||Aug 24, 2020
Dec 7, 2020
My conclusion is that we badly need two things:
- The end of the pandemic (at least the beach will be open Sept 1 – or maybe not pending a decision by Council at their next meeting)
- A CAO to be hired so Ian Davey can focus on money issues.
We also need the Strategic plan to be revised – or at least reviewed.