At the risk of flogging a dead horse but hopefully providing a summary and “last word” on the subject, it’s worth reporting details about a memo from the Sustainability and Climate Change Action [Advisory] Committee (SCCAC) that was provided to Council at the last Council meeting. The Committee was strongly supportive of providing sidewalks everywhere in Town. This year will see a sidewalk built on Abbott Blvd against the wishes of some but not all residents on that street. I will attempt to summarize SCAAC’s reasoning plus the history of the issue plus where Councillors and staff stand on the issue. In the future (that’s what we used to say before “going forward” became fashionable), deciding whether to construct a sidewalk will be only a budget issue and where to construct will be decided by the approved priority plan.
In June 2017 Council decided to approve a sidewalk on Abbott Boulevard but some local citizens objected. After much debate, Council decided that a formal policy and plan was needed and meanwhile no new sidewalks were built. The first version of a sidewalk plan made a sidewalk on Northwood drive top priority but on 25 June 2018 Donna Woods made a delegation to Council where she objected to this. Her comments were taken into account and a revised Plan was finally produced in October 2019 (see links below) – and surprise, Abbott Boulevard was now number one.
Here are the top five:
|Street Name||Location / Road Section||Estimated cost|
|Abbott Blvd.||From Coronation to King, from Lakeshore to Coronation, from Coronation South to Coronation North||$133,600|
|D’Arcy St.||From Elgin to Nickerson||$20,800|
|Hayden Cr.||From Burwash East to Burwash West||$66,000|
|Heath St.||From William to Burnham||$42,600|
|Densmore Rd.||From Division to Otto, from Otto to Birchwood||$ 83,000|
Once again some residents objected. Notably Kevin Burt made a delegation to Council and James McGrath wrote to Councillors (with a copy to Letters to the Editor) but Councillor Darling said he’d received 20 emails from people disappointed that the Abbott Blvd sidewalk did not go through. And further: “I think we’ve hashed this out pretty good”. Staff made it clear that the decision was not theirs to make. Director Laurie Wills said “we were asked for a priority policy, not whether there should be sidewalks or not”. The Transportation Advisory Committee approved the revised plan.
Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin and Councillor Emily Chorley wanted further consultation with residents but Council voted 5 – 2 to proceed with the sidewalk on Abbott Blvd.
Although the contract to proceed with the sidewalk is now approved and work has started, the Sustainability and Climate Change Action Committee was asked by Cobourg’s Transportation Advisory Committee and a Cobourg resident what the SCCAC position on sidewalks was. They provided that as correspondence to Council at their meeting on April 26.
Download their seven page statement below (or here) but in essence they say that sidewalks are more healthy and that they are safer. SCCAC strongly supports Cobourg building more sidewalks within its existing communities as quickly as it can. They also want the Town to clear snow on sidewalks.
It is time to give pedestrians treatment equal to that given to cars; in fact, given the Climate Emergency, active transportation infrastructure and maintenance/snow removal by Cobourg should be given priority over cars.
Some people don’t want sidewalks and some do but in a democracy, we elect councillors to represent us and make decisions. The majority of Councillors have decided to add sidewalks to all streets and have chosen a process to choose which sidewalks are built first. This process does not require consultation of residents of streets where sidewalks are planned but simply approval (or not) of the budget. Short of further revision of the process, not approving the sidewalk budget would simply defer the build for a year. But given the drawn out process for approval of the sidewalk priority plan, further revision of the process seems unlikely. It also seems that objections will get no support from advisory committees.
- Final Plan (pdf) which shows Abbott as #1
- Sustainability and Climate Change Action Committee (SCCAC) statement
Recent reports on Cobourg News Blog
- Council Meeting report – Feb 23, 2021
- Cobourg Citizens Lobby Council – Feb 19 2021 – includes links to earlier documents
- New Sidewalk Priority Plan – 11 October 2019
- Sidewalk Priority Policy Questioned 26 June 2018 – Donna Woods questions first Policy
Notification by Town – 3 May 2021
Abbott Boulevard Sidewalk Construction begins May 3, 2021
The construction of a concrete sidewalk on the east side of Abbott Boulevard, from Lakeshore Road to King Street East will commence on Monday, May 3, 2021 and will take approximately one (1) month. This project is being undertaken to expand the Town’s pedestrian network. During this period there may be minor lane disruptions and parking on the east side of Abbott Boulevard will be limited during construction, as the work progresses.