Van Dyke Homes Development Plan

Monday’s Committee of the Whole Council meeting was long but included several key decisions.  The hottest and most contentious issue was whether to proceed with approving the development by Van Dyke Homes next to Canadian Tire but it wasn’t the only issue.  The others will be reported later this week – but given the intensity of feelings of neighbours on Carlisle Street and the quite long debate in Council, let’s try to understand the issue.


The land in question is adjacent to Canadian Tire with a commercial frontage on Elgin Street.  The intent is to build 62 townhouse units and 10 semi-detached units with access via a loop accessed via a single road from Carlisle Street. The residences would have only pedestrian access to the commercial buildings facing Elgin although access for emergency vehicles would be possible – see previous articles in links below for more details.

The general concerns of nearby residences are:

  • Increased traffic
  • Drainage problems with the site.

In 2013 VanDyk applied for Official Plan and Zoning changes and Site Plan Approval which were approved.  But the approval expired in 2019 when work was not started although all homes were sold.  Therefore VanDyk re-applied in June 2020 with the understanding that once approved, they would deliver the land, complete with site plan approval, to a “reputable Builder”.

Public Meetings have been held including one on September 29 and reported on this site (see links below).

At no point were any local residents happy and at Monday’s meeting two residents were scheduled to make presentations objecting to the idea.  Linda Wittenbols was unable to be on the Zoom call so Donna Woods presented for both.  Although they were aware of traffic studies that declared traffic to not be a problem, they said the study does not reflect daily life in the neighbourhood.   They also pointed to drainage problems.  Donna quoted multiple people who said that Councillors represented them and not developers.  Donna’s presentation included a large number of attachments – see links below.

Planning report

Director of Planning and Development Glenn McGlashon wrote a long memo and gave a verbal presentation that recommended approval of the development.  He said that the plan met Official Plan requirements and the Province’s intensification targets.  He also said that a new Traffic study found that there were no concerns with traffic issues – even with further expansion.  Glenn said that speeding was a social issue and should be addressed with policing.  The drainage concern was real but would be addressed by using fill to raise the level of the land so that drainage would be to the north and ultimately carried by existing pipes.

Councillors asked a lot of questions – mostly about development details but Brian Darling asked when would the developer be able to appeal to LPAT.  Glenn said that the 120 days allowed for a decision had already elapsed so technically an appeal is already possible.

In the end Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin asked for a recorded vote and when the measure was put to a vote, it was approved 5-2 with Suzanne and Councillor Emily Chorley against.

Glenn was clear that this is the first of several stages of approval.  It’s likely that local citizens will continue to object – so stay tuned.


Planning report by Glenn McGlashon


  • Linda Wittenbols
  • Donna Woods – a single pdf including her 14 attachments – these include 4 pictures and 7 letters from other residents

Previous Reports

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Liz Taylor
9 December 2020 1:09 pm

Sitting back on this one but I note the starting price was $269,000 and these same units are now selling for $450,000. and all the proposed unbuilt units are sold, despite a builder yet to be selected. A handsome profit for the people that bought these units at such a lower price.

Last edited 1 year ago by Liz Taylor
SW Buyer
Reply to  Liz Taylor
9 December 2020 1:58 pm

I believe the original purchase agreements were cancelled. A new builder is not likely to build for the original $269K price and leave $181K on the table for the “original” owners. The “new” builder(s) will build at current material and trade rates and sell for the suggested $450K, hopefully making a profit.

Liz Taylor
Reply to  SW Buyer
9 December 2020 2:04 pm

I was talking about the prior projects SW. The $269,000 models built previously are now on the real estate listings – the owners asking $450,000 on resale. I believe I saw somewhere in the presentation by Donna Woods there was a brief mention of citizen complaint that the new homes being built start at $500,000.

Reply to  Liz Taylor
14 December 2020 10:36 am

How would you propose to pay for this development if you were to take over the project and had a deficit? A property cannot be put up for “resale” if a “sale” has never been completed. The cost to build and develop increases as each year passes– 2013 to 2020 is a long time. Delays for years and years make previous plans unfeasible. Unfortunately, the reality is that market prices have almost doubled in recent years as have development charges and fees per unit. Does the Town of Cobourg or the Province have the funds to make up the shortfall? Efficiency is the real issue; the unending layers of red tape and lack of transparency mean that Cobourg is closed for business and closed to development. This will keep happening in and around Cobourg until the real underlying issue has been addressed– the gross mismanagement of infrastructure and resources.

Liz Taylor
Reply to  Lee
26 December 2020 3:36 pm

Lee – I would be very interested in accessing development and fees per unit charges progressively from 2013. Could you help me out and provide a year-by-year link?

Todate reported on the project have been citizen concerns regarding provided parking, sewer drainage issues, safety concerns with road access structure, traffic complaints and lastly briefly mentioned the increase in price for the new homes.

And yes the market has gone up greatly! To buy a home today …. I know someones grandaughter who dreams of just that for her growing family, years of the past – a returning war vet could after a few years buy a family home with his wife with a large lot. Stay at home mums. One breadwinner. I think there is more to the rising prices and market. Economics – too many dollars chasing too few products.

Liz Taylor
Reply to  Ken Strauss
26 December 2020 10:32 pm

Thank you Ken – Lee had reported the fees were doubled since 2013. I asked for a link which you have kindly provided.
I also found other less complex reports on development fees and although they have increased they have not doubled.

Last edited 1 year ago by Liz Taylor
Liz Taylor
Reply to  Ken Strauss
27 December 2020 6:52 am

Additionally Ken In my readings of all that subject matter I discovered a Cobourg By-law that was passed in 2020 stating development fees will be indexed yearly. So in future they will increase each year.

Last edited 1 year ago by Liz Taylor
Liz Taylor
Reply to  Lee
27 December 2020 7:48 am

Lee – unfortunately you have misread my comment – I stated the PRIOR houses, the first original ones currently in West Park built NOT the new ones selling for $450,000 formerly sold for $269,000. I will leave it up to you how you would manage the new project.

ben burd
8 December 2020 3:14 pm

Councillors asked a lot of questions – mostly about development details but Brian Darling asked when would the developer be able to appeal to LPAT. Glenn said that the 120 days allowed for a decision had already elapsed so technically an appeal is already possible.”

So once again the lateness in the planning process has given the developer the ammunition he needs to go to the LPAT – a faster and more developer friendly revamp of the OMB.

Remember folks this happened with the Legion condos as well for the very same reason – tardiness of the Planning department.

It is time for Council to review the activities of the present Director of Planning and ask why the rights of the Citizens to review planning proposals within the legislated timeframe have been severely compromised.

Fool me once my fault, fool me twice it’s your fault.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben burd
9 December 2020 11:32 am

Thanks for bringing that up Ben. The first instance could have been an anomaly, but even so, it was also a learning lesson. Was a lesson learned? The second instance indicates a possible systemic problem. The result is that it leaves Cobourg residents vulnerable to unscrupulous developers.

Reply to  ben burd
9 December 2020 8:04 pm

Yes and Brian Darling is fully aware of the Sanitary sewer issues and lack there of
In fact Barry Thrasher former head of Engineering Knew all about this before he retired
and still no one has addressed the sanitary and storm water issues plaguing home owners and developers BBBut he can certainly go out and Buy $2 Mill worth of New Water Meters from Neptune and completely ignore real issues of the day and blow the roof off affordable housing dreams