Town Hall Meeting – mostly about the Beach

Communication is good and in these difficult times the only way to have a Town Hall meeting is online.  Using Zoom, MPP David Piccini and Mayor John Henderson co-hosted a meeting tonight for Cobourg residents to ask anything about Covid-19.  I counted 20 questions and up to 71 participants and, no surprise, most questions (12) were about the Beach closure with the majority in favour of closure or if not, wanted assurance that social distancing could be enforced.  There were also questions about wearing of masks and a couple of other items – see below.  Mayor Henderson referred most questions to the decision making that will come out of the Council meeting on June 29.  I did not hear any new beach issues but below is a summary.

Summary of Questions

Most answers by Mayor John Henderson

Q. What’s happening about getting a Go service to Cobourg?  A.  Work continues, the first step was getting the Go-Train to Bowmanville and that has been announced.  Next is a petition.

Q. We should allow residents on the Beach.  A. this will be covered in the report at the Council meeting on June 29.

Q. How can social distancing be enforced and why the change of mind?  A. Refer to report that’s coming.

Q. Normal behaviour on the beach is not conducive to social distancing so the beach should be closed.

Q. Has there been a risk assessment report re the beach opening as required?  A. This will be done by the emergency planner.  Q. Will this be made public?  It seems not.

Q. What’s being done about people not wearing masks?

Q. Why open the beach to non-residents  A. There has traditionally been no restriction on beach usage.

Q. Development (e.g. a hotel) is being held up  A.  Please contact Mayor by email.

Q. Councillor Chorley’s original proposal made sense – weekdays only, 2 sessions, morning and afternoon. A. Refer to report that’s coming.

Q. There will be a problem controlling visitors.  A. “This is a theme coming forward”.

Q. The beach should be open.

Q. What’s being done about migrant workers who come to Cobourg?  A. That is being addressed and employers have been doing a good job.

Q. (By a particularly vulnerable senior). What would you do if there was a case?  Why change? Why open to everyone?  It’s irresponsible and incomprehensible.

Q. The beach should be open but if so, what would you do about masks and enforcement?  And people should look in their hearts, is beach closure a prejudice issue?

Q. Brookside should be used to house the homeless   A.  A complicated issue and is being investigated.

Q. A beach closure should err on the side of safety – so beach should be closed.  But since it’s a natural resource and not the exclusive property of Cobourg, if it is open it should be open to everyone.

Q. The beach should be closed and secondly, is everything being done by stores/restaurants to enforce the rules?  A. Most seem to be doing so.

Q. A query about how decisions are made.

Q. What’s happening with infrastructure – it’s needed for development and is lacking.  A. The asset management plan being developed will help with this.  The Province is working with the Federal Government to help with funding.

Q. The Emergency Control Group meetings are not open to the public but there should be at least one citizen rep who could report back and perhaps offer expertise.  There would also be more buy-in and knowledge on how decisions are made.  A.  Experts are pulled in as needed.  No other similar groups have a citizen representative.

The Mayor commented that he receives numerous emails and phone calls including from families wanting the beach open for their families.  But he deferred a decision to Council on June 29 and did not indicate which outcome he favoured.  I noted that several Councillors were participating on the Zoom call.

The meeting went for about two hours.

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Joka faulkner
28 June 2020 3:07 pm

beach should stay closed …you made that decision till Aug 31 …you fenced it…now stay with that…the people who come from out of town should go to their own beaches …they don’t use the downtown for spending money…so don’t see what the issue is here…

Melanie duras
28 June 2020 1:54 pm

Who is paying for the 200000to 300000$ that it will cost to open the beach and why do the tax paying property owners have to pay for the pleasure of non-residents. The property taxes in co no outgoing are already extremely high.

Lynn lynn
27 June 2020 5:53 pm

I am wondering how the town defines the word transient trailers. A walk on the boardwalk shows the front row of trailers with a lot of decks and planters which are items not normally associated with nomadic RVS. Appears some have moved in for summer? ????
The back row of trailers have no patios or flowers lacking the look of long term permanency
Shows on Covid site that trailer park would only be transient ????
Anyone else confused.

Reply to  Lynn lynn
27 June 2020 6:36 pm

Of course there have also been trailersRV’s from out of province staying overnight in the Marina Parking Area. Do they pay a fee?
Can anyone enlighten me as to why that is happening?
Thank you

26 June 2020 11:34 pm

The hardest thing of all is trying to wrap one’s head around the reckless stupidity that has been taking place in parks, beaches, and at other outdoor gathering spots (no social distancing AT ALL). And still, to this day, so many people who refuse to wear masks, or just can’t be bothered.  

The past few weeks have been fun, though.  People got to share blankets in the park; towels at the beach and lively conversations in packed bars (which also means they shared bathrooms). Meanwhile the case numbers kept climbing up while other important matters dominated the news, and our attention.  And here we are today.  Places set to open within days, have reversed course.  Just look at Florida with almost 9000 new cases of infection, today alone, and an alarming surge of infections in young people.  A lesson (I hope) to their fellow fun-seekers.

We’ve been lucky here in Cobourg, but 20 people did become infected. Let’s not forget about them and just hope and pray they have all recovered or will recover. Unlike the U.S., the media in Canada have enough respect for people who are suffering not to stick cameras and microphones in their faces.
I hope the Cobourg beach will remain closed, at least until August 1st, and even then to be opened with extreme caution, unless things have become much worse, in which case keep it closed indefinitely.
We are in for a hot July. It isn’t going to be easy, but I beseech the Town of Cobourg not to open the beach for at least a few more weeks and to keep a very close watch on this virus and what is happening in other places.  Let’s not be among the experimenters, because according to current statistics, they took a chance and lost.  

Reply to  Audrey
27 June 2020 8:59 am

Meanwhile the case numbers kept climbing up (not so)

Reply to  greengrass
27 June 2020 9:35 am

Total Cases in Ontario:

May 5 – 18,300
May 23 – 25,040
May 29 – 27,210
June 8 – 31,000
June 25 – 34,310

Last edited 2 years ago by Audrey
Melanie duras
Reply to  Audrey
28 June 2020 1:59 pm

I thoroughly believe with the last comment. Cobourg is a community of mainly retired vulnerable people and needs to be protected by its council. The beach has been closed for this long do let’s keep it for the rest of the summer.

25 June 2020 2:35 pm

While this is just my opinion, given how Town Leadership are handling the beach issue along with other matters, the tax payers and residents of Cobourg deserve much better leadership than the “Whack A Mole” handling by council of the town that Currently exists

Last edited 2 years ago by Rational
Reply to  Rational
25 June 2020 9:50 pm

“Whack A Mole”
Heh, heh, heh

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Rational
27 June 2020 8:06 am

What many people seem unable to understand and therefore benefit from, is the opportunity to debate an issue without going off the deep end. This includes more than half who use this and other blogs created by John. The “Whack a Mole” comment posted above by Rational and endorsed by Frenchy is typical and another reason it should be mandatory to use your full name. For the sake of all of us who deeply care for this wonderful Town and all we have to share, GROW UP!

Reply to  Keith Oliver
27 June 2020 8:17 am

I endorsed nothing. I thought it was a funny comment and shared my chuckle.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Frenchy
27 June 2020 8:25 am

The purpose of your pathetic comment is obvious and discussing. If you’re sincere you could at least apologize both to Council and to us!

Reply to  Keith Oliver
27 June 2020 1:02 pm

Geez, not too often I agree with Wally, but you do appear to be self-righteous and belittling.

Reply to  Keith Oliver
27 June 2020 2:06 pm

Pathetic? Disgusting?
Speaking of without going off the deep end…

25 June 2020 1:38 pm

The following question asked of Toronto Public Health (TPH) ‘….if there have been any cases of Covid-19 arisen from the crowding of Trinity Bellwood Park event ….”.

TPH response “…With respect to the large gathering of people at Trinity Bellwood’s Park a few weeks ago, this is a situation where we monitor reports and trends that might suggest a common source of infection. At this time, there has been no evidence of a cluster or increase number of cases linked to this incident.”

Further from TPH ” ….COVID-19 continues to circulate in Toronto and Ontario with ongoing community spreadThis means that everyone should be aware that COVID-19 may be circulating in many different places and locations. COVID-19 is most commonly spread from person-to-person through close, prolonged contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets, which is why it is important for everyone to practice physical distancing, wash hands often, and stay home if feeling unwell or sick.” This doesn’t even include those who are asymptomatic (i.e. have the virus, can spread the virus but are showing no typical sympthoms of the virus).

Anything less than closing the Beach is a risk: Risk borne by Council and Staff (with attendant political and financial impacts); Risk of health impacts borne by Citizens. Not one more person should die due to a decision that wealth is more important than health.

Merry Mary
25 June 2020 12:33 pm

It appears that Victoria Beach is not closed. CTV (news at noon) just highlighted a segment on a group of males surfing on the waves of Lake Ontario at the Beach.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Merry Mary
25 June 2020 1:23 pm

Nobody told them it was closed. Cobourg has told no one else that the beach is closed. It’s called messengering. So now the news media is proliferating the message that it is open. Council incompetence combined with a lack of imagination begets this.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
25 June 2020 4:05 pm

Every major Toronto radio station, along with the local Toronto/Peterborough TV stations, all reported on their newscasts of the closure of the Cobourg beach the morning and throughout the day following the announcement.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Wally Keeler
25 June 2020 5:49 pm

A friend of mine and I were sitting out today when five young women walked by with their picnic gear etc. on their way to the beach.
We got their attention and informed them that the beach was closed which was a complete surprise to them.
We did tell them the park was open so they continued on.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
25 June 2020 6:33 pm

Council members top flip flopping around. You voted to close the beach and fence it off. You also posted signs at the entrance to Cobourg. Now council is considering opening the beach again. Make up your mind!
The cost of posting signs is not cheap. You are costing the town $$$! Get your act together!

Reply to  Janice
25 June 2020 11:10 pm


Joka faulkner
Reply to  Janice
28 June 2020 3:10 pm

Totally agree…stop wasting money and time on this…keep it closed!!!!!

Reply to  Wally Keeler
25 June 2020 11:08 pm

fake new’s ?

Reply to  greengrass
26 June 2020 7:12 am

No, it’s fake news.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Wally Keeler
27 June 2020 7:44 am

Before you start belittling others and especially our democratically elected Town Council which is one of the best I’ve experienced and testified before in the 21 years I’ve lived in Cobourg, know that there are large “Cobourg Beach Closed signs posted at the 401 entrances to Cobourg. With other beach openings in guestion, I’d say it’s up to the potential user to contact the Town and find out.

Last edited 2 years ago by Keith Oliver
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
27 June 2020 11:53 am

Your self-righteous scolding and belittling of me is boring.

Fact Checker
Reply to  Merry Mary
25 June 2020 3:56 pm

On the day, the beach was closed. The water is not. The Town has no jurisdiction on the water. The surfers could launch off the East Pier or the harbour beach. No violation.

Reply to  Fact Checker
25 June 2020 4:50 pm

Good for them and so they should….

Reply to  Fact Checker
25 June 2020 6:18 pm

Actually the property lines of a number of lakefront lots extend well out into the water. The waterline in most cases is NOT the end of private property. In Ontario there is NO right of transverse along the waterfront.

Reply to  Kyle
29 July 2020 12:35 am

“property lines..number of lakefront lots extend…NO right to traverse…” Zero context re: pier. Strictly for disclosure & accuracy, the following for anyone’s perusal: Truth be told, the pier is in fact federal property & anyone wishing to enter the water from said land is permitted to do so. To further good citizenship and in keeping with the municipal status quo, standing under the by-law not to jump off the pier may also be adhered to and one is still able to enter the water without touching so much as a toe on the sand or on anyone else’s exalted misconception of submerged property ownership as it pertains to Federal waters. Anyone who has vested interest in enjoying the water knows how to legally and safely enter. For those who do not realize, nor care, they get told by word of mouth when either an indiscretion or blatant disregard takes place in front of aforementioned parties. Surfers, paddle boarders, the photography/ film industry connections, press reporters, local sporting goods retailers and other local economic gains had by said sport enthusiasts legally accessing the waters off Cobourg’s shore offers nothing but positive influence for the town. This has already been hashed out with town council back in 2016 /17 resulting from an incident where a father and son were surfing beside the pier when an overzealous student lifeguard and a town by-law officer accosted the pair and ordered them (screaming) out of federal waters without legal ground to do so….(the pun writes itself in this case). The father placed his crying and scared little boy in the car with the radio turned on, put the surfboard on the roof racks, then, and only then did the dad finally speak to the security guard/ by-law officer. Suffice to say, the words were choice… Read more »

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Amanda
29 July 2020 8:19 am

Amanda, you assert that the pier is Federal property. You might find the documentation of its transfer to Cobourg of interest. See

Last edited 2 years ago by Ken Strauss
Beach walker
Reply to  Merry Mary
25 June 2020 5:27 pm

My daughter, a Toronto resident, informed me, a Cobourg resident that the beach was closed before anyone in Cobourg told me.

Merry Mary
Reply to  Beach walker
26 June 2020 8:17 am

My Toronto Family and Friends also told me of the Beach closure awhile ago through Global and CTV networks’ reports, so I was wondering if yesterday’s video was supplied to at least CTV, at noon only, in order to further incite the issue in Cobourg?

25 June 2020 11:22 am

“The Mayor commented that he receives numerous emails and phone calls including from families wanting the beach open for their families.” How many called, emailed, texted to keep the beach closed, Mr. Mayor. I wrote about my concerns to the Council and only one had the courtesy to reply and that was the Deputy Mayor. The others have not bothered to communicate back.

Last edited 2 years ago by Gerald
Reply to  Gerald
25 June 2020 12:05 pm

Same experience here, only DM Seguin replied. They are all here on this blog every day, so if they don’t have time to respond to everyone individually, how about doing a courtesy gang response here?

Last edited 2 years ago by Frenchy
Reply to  Frenchy
25 June 2020 2:59 pm

I sent a message supporting the limited reopening of the beach and received responses from all of them.

Reply to  Rob
26 June 2020 12:44 pm

I received only 2 responses back but I do not support limited reopening. I guess they only respond when they agree with you.

25 June 2020 8:49 am

Beach / Beach — Beach there has to be more to Cobourg Politics than the Hot Potato on the Beach The Town sure like to create issue with the locals as a method of misdirection and avoidance of some real areas of conversation .

I would like to have heard more about the hold up of the Hotel the new Long term care facility
and other developments . Apparently we have lost a lot of Jobs as a result of the Lack of infrastructure Yet here we have Councilor Darling spending a couple of $$ million on some meters he thinks need to be replaced Rather than addressing and dealing with some real long term issues here . But all this will be lost in a E mail to the Mayor rather than a public Town Hall
It would be nice to see how our tax $$ are really used

By the way I concluded that the locals want the Beach kept closed other than for Coburgers this yr with good reason

Reply to  perplexed
25 June 2020 9:58 am

Deputy mayor wanted option one, replace one thousand meters but Darling was persistent and now four thousand meters will be replaced. You would think that the councillor in charge of finance, budget, should be listened to more closely, she was defeated.

Reply to  Wendy
25 June 2020 10:13 am

Wendy, rational people would listen to the finance person. Reach your own conclusions about rationality of our Councillors.

Reply to  Wendy
25 June 2020 12:25 pm

Perhaps some math genius should do a cost/benefit/payout analysis on parking meters. Where do we have 4,000 meters??? in this little town??

Ken Strauss
Reply to  cornbread
25 June 2020 12:52 pm

Water meters. Not parking meters.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
25 June 2020 3:46 pm

Thanks Ken…I’ve been away…what’s wrong with our current water meters??
Mine works ok and my house is 30 years old.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  cornbread
25 June 2020 4:28 pm

Your current meter is probably perfect and will continue to work for many years. According to Lakefront Utility Services (LUSI) a hundred or so meters are inaccurate so their solution is to replace 4000 of them for a cost of about $2.3M. The cost of replacements will be added to everyone’s water bill. On Monday, Council decided that increasing the cost of water in a time of severe economic hardship is a good idea and approved wasting $2,300,000 without any serious discussion.

See for my delegations to Council and other information on water meters.

New Cobourg
25 June 2020 8:32 am

Well, that was a meeting about “nothing”. While listening in to this last night, I noticed the theme by the Mayor, seemed to be in how many different ways can I deflect and not answer the question presented. Now, as I read John’s report, there are about 3 actual answers to the 20 questions posted. As for our current largest issue, the beach status, all was referred to the 29th.
Why hold and host these meetings if you’re not prepared or willing to give answers to questions posed.
Knowing full well the majority of the questions would be about the beach closure / opening. If you don’t want to deal with a topic, at the beginning of the meeting, you should state all beach questions will not be addressed until after the 29th.
Mr. Mayor, you must have great balance, as you sat on the fence perfectly through all of those beach questions!

Reply to  New Cobourg
25 June 2020 10:09 am

That’s what I too observed. Pretty pathetic “Town Hall”. Yes, it’s hard to figure how the mayor can balance on the fence without a backbone.

25 June 2020 8:13 am

My opinion?

Keep the beach closed and the GO train as far away as possible.

Reply to  CiW
27 June 2020 8:21 am

Even GO bus service at appropriate times for those who work west of Cobourg would eliminate some traffic on the 401.

25 June 2020 12:55 am

John, do you happen to know if this was recorded for YouTube so those of us who couldn’t make that time slot work can view it?

John Draper
Reply to  Frenchy
25 June 2020 8:06 am

I don’t think it was recorded.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Frenchy
25 June 2020 8:11 am

Zoom normally allows recording by any participant to their local disk drive. For this event I got a message that “Recording prevented by moderator” or something similar when attempting to record. I did capture the chats if anyone is interested.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
26 June 2020 9:26 am

David Paccini’s Facebook page shows a link of the Zoom call for the Town Hall. I haven’t look at it but I assume it is the full meeting call.

Reply to  Rational
26 June 2020 10:19 am

Just takes you to the Zoom meeting that is over. Nothing there.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
25 June 2020 11:10 am

China keeps good Zoom records, but they don’t share.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
25 June 2020 9:02 pm

They shares a virus a few months ago. No matter why or how it happened it has had a major impact on our lives well beyond the decision about out beach.

24 June 2020 10:47 pm

I wonder how many emails and phone calls the mayor got from residents to keep the beach closed? I sure hope they are looking at the other beaches that are having major problems from opening up too soon.