Town and County want Input from Residents

Both the Town of Cobourg and Northumberland County are using online surveys to solicit input from residents.  Participation is not especially high but in this Covid-19 era, how else can input be obtained?  From my experience, live Town Hall meetings don’t have a great record of success anyway – typically 30-50 show up at Town meetings and around 10-15 at County meetings.  Does this mean the majority of citizens don’t care what is decided or do they have faith in councillors or perhaps Municipal staff?  The County use one day Zoom sessions as well as surveys while the Town uses “Bang the Table” software to do surveys lasting several weeks.  The topics covered range from how to design the East Pier (Town) to asking for comments on their Elgin Street subsidized housing project (County).

Recent and Current Surveys

In order of date launched.  Click “Title” to go to relevant municipality page.  Click “About” description to go to relevant Cobourg News Blog page – if available.

  Title About Launched Type Status
County Community Safety and Well-Being Plan Priorities to improve Safety 17 Jun 2020 On-line Survey Closed
County Northumberland County Archives and Museum New Archives/ Museum 17 Jun 2020 On-line Survey Closed
Town Body Worn Cameras Police Cameras 23 July 2020 On-line Survey Closed
Town Service Delivery Review Review Town’s Services 11 Aug 2020 On-line Survey Closed
County Financial Framework Survey Financial Priorities 13 Aug 2020 On-line Survey Closed
Town East Pier Design review 4 Sept 2020 On-line Survey * 2 Oct
Town Affordable and Rental Housing CIP Process Review 9 Sept 2020 On-line Survey * 5 Oct
County Northumberland Next: Official Plan Update Official Plan 15 Sept Zoom – 28 Oct Pending
County Elgin Park Re-Development Subsidized Housing 29 Sept Zoom – 15 Oct Pending

* Scheduled close date – may be extended.

Municipal Engagement pages


Town and County public Meetings listed here.

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Greg H
5 October 2020 2:45 pm

I tried to join the East Pier survey, but it needed so much personal information and then it didn’t work even after 3 attempts.
I guess that the people who design these surveys are overly picky about their requirements.

Reply to  Greg H
5 October 2020 7:02 pm

Maybe somebody should start a Facebook page where local taxpayers can state their genuine candid feedback about such matters.

Reply to  Greg H
6 October 2020 10:44 am

That’s a shame – I was able to access the survey with relative ease. Normally my computer issues reside somewhere between the keyboard and the chair…. 🙂

Reply to  Greg H
7 October 2020 7:38 am

Yes I agree the real facts need to get out there — I think its all about Filtering and Censoring to achieve the response and the Goals & Political correctness they want to achieve .
There has been quite a bit of that lately . on this site as well as others .

5 October 2020 9:17 am

Looks to me that these “surveys” are just another waste of money in this town…just like many of the costly consultants reports done by big city people for our town.

5 October 2020 8:43 am

I find these opinion surveys are self serving and purposeful the questions are slanted to achieve the desired out come .
Many time s I have found that I can not complete the survey and it will not allow me to either complete or submit my responses . This is usually a purposeful method that can be built into a survey that is simply triggered should you not answer a question with a simply yes or no that may achieve the desired out come or direction they wish the proposal to demonstrate .

4 October 2020 5:41 pm

The major problem is with the electronic version of the Town Hall meetings is that the content for the surveys are concocted by the consultants or the whizkids in the communications dept.. Most options are basic and appeared to be dumbdowned just look at the latest one for the Pier. We were asked which option did we choose. I do not like any of them and would answer none of the above. Would my opinions/options be taken into account when there are three options already baked into the survey.

I have been to, and chaired, many public meetings of the Town Hall type and they appear not only to disseminate information and gather opinion but give accurate feedback to the Councils of the day. Options are given, opinion is expressed and all is recorded.

When one considers that most of the public meetings are designed to tick off a box on a consultant’s Gannt chart one realises just how meaningless most of them.

And don’t even start me of on the most useless of them all – “Open Houses”

Last edited 2 years ago by ben
Reply to  ben
5 October 2020 10:48 am

…or Gantt Chart, possibly.

Cobourg taxpayer
4 October 2020 1:53 pm

In the 17 years we’ve lived here I have attended innumerable municipal meetings and workshops and county workshops as well. I fill out every survey I can and have made many presentations at these events. My perception of my input is, that in almost every case but one, my suggestions have been ignored as seems to be the case with many other members of the public who share my views such as the CTA. Fiscal responsibility and intelligent use of our tax money is number one and I almost never see this happening. I was one of many voices who spoke for a senior’s centre many years ago even though I am still not a senior today. Look what we got: a hockey palace where town staff does not have the wherewithal/ ability to turn off the ice maker. I have listened to so many presentations fighting for the Dragonboaters and Canoe and Kayak club and I am so happy for them that after 4 long years they finally are allowed to continue operating. Members of the public asking for protection of west beach: shot down by Dean and council. More transparency of Holdco and LUCI requested by the CTA: shot down. How long have the taxpayers of Cobourg been saying no to more boat slips and no to a travel boat lift. Yet both keep raising their ugly heads every couple years. I requested to speak at county council and was told no as it was not an item on the agenda. It also appears on the county website to be near impossible to contact each councillor individually and all emails are now scrutinized by county staff first. Why is that? Doesn’t sound like democracy to me. So how to get more people to fill out surveys: listen to… Read more »

Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
4 October 2020 2:38 pm

Cobourg taxpayer,
you are right on so many of your statements.
I have just recently really tried to listen and learn about our municipal governance and have learnt quite a bit from this site.
The one topic that sticks out to me is this LUSI/ Holdco debacle, how can our municipal leaders justify hiding senior management wages and the day to day business affairs??
We as citizens do own this company don’t we?
Please don’t give up your/our fight!

Reply to  Leweez
5 October 2020 12:55 pm

Not sure about that Ownership the share holders ??
Show Me as they say !

Reply to  Leweez
5 October 2020 1:42 pm

Yes Leweez, the Town of Cobourg owns HOLDCO and its subsidiaries LUI and LUSI. However, because HOLDCO, LUI and LUSI are each corporate entities, they govern their own affairs for the most part, subject to shareholder direction.
The Town is a shareholder in HOLDCO only, not LUI and LUSI. HOLDCO owns those. As such, the Town, not being a shareholder in LUI or LUSI, has no direct say in their affairs.
HOLDCO and LUI have no employees, therefore there is no compensation to report. All of the employees reside in LUSI.

Financial and other corporate reporting requirements are set out by the Ontario Business Corporations Act. The act requires financial reporting but not compensation disclosure. The various accounting/financial reporting standards boards do have compensation disclosure requirements for those that exceed the specified thresholds.
LUSI does not.

The North Bay Ratepayers Association has had some success in getting North Bay’s “LUI & LUSI” to provide financial and other information.

Perhaps HOLDCO/LUI/LUSI reorganization/policy/reporting is something that the new CAO may take on.

Reply to  Bryan
5 October 2020 4:51 pm

We as citizens can only hope

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
4 October 2020 4:14 pm

In Cobourg, surveys are used as a weapon to fight public opinion and common sense. Consider the infamous Waterfront Needs Survey. The survey was not about “needs” but rather “desires” of a few. Our surveys offer grandiose plans with no indication of cost. There is never an available multiple choice answer of “Stick to the basics and lower our taxes”.