At Tuesday’s busy Committee of the Whole (C.O.W.) Council meeting, a number of citizens made their thoughts known on three separate issues: Ted Williams presented some facts and ideas about Marina finances, Kevin Burt had an opinion about the construction of sidewalks on Abbott Boulevard and the Accessibility Advisory Committee wanted to revise the policy and service level for Wheels Transit. Council listened to their input and debated the issues with varying results. The Marina is supposed to be 100% self-funding but it’s not clear that Capital projects are included; Kevin Burt asked why was the Abbott Boulevard sidewalk being done given previously raised objections and the Accessibility Advisory Committee want Wheels Transit to return to a more door to door service.
Ted Williams provided a written submission (see copy below) then explained that if the Marina paid for all costs, then it would pay for Capital costs. (File photo of Ted at right). He expected that this would mean that Reserves would cover past, current and future Capital expenses but that does not seem to be the case. He asked for an explanation and/or that spending cease until it could be brought in line. He also asked for clarification of which items should be covered by Marina users (e.g. docks) and which by the Town (e.g. the Lighthouse). Staff were not able to provide clear answers although perhaps the current development of an asset management plan would help. The recent KPMG Efficiency review pointed to the same issue and suggested that fees should cover Capital reserves. Although neither Ted nor staff mentioned it, it would seem sensible that this policy should also apply to the Campground.
Deputy Mayor Séguin and CAO Tracey Vaughan agreed that this issue should be reviewed. Council then passed a motion by Councillor Emily Chorley:
THAT the delegation from Ted Williams regarding the Marina’s finances be received for information purposes;
AND FURTHER THAT debentured and future capital costs at the Marina are considered during the 2021 User Fees Study, with the aim of establishing Marina user fees that cover both its operating and capital costs.
Abbott Boulevard Sidewalk
In June 2017 Council decided to approve a sidewalk on Abbott Boulevard but local citizens objected. It was decided that a formal policy and plan was needed. But the first version of that made a sidewalk on Northwood drive top priority and on 25 June 2018 Donna Woods made a delegation to Council where she objected to this. A revised Plan followed by a Policy was finally produced in October 2019 (see links below) – and surprise, Abbott Boulevard was now number one. Recent budget deliberations approved proceeding in 2021 (with no new sidewalks being built since 2017) so tenders were issued. At Tuesday’s C.O.W. meeting, Council was asked to approve the award of four tenders including for this sidewalk. But local resident Kevin Burt asked that Council delay a decision on the sidewalk so that residents could “present some safety concerns to the Transportation Advisory Committee”. Because of this and because it is a contentious issue, Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin asked for a separate vote on this tender. However, after a short debate, council voted 5 – 2 to approve the award (Deputy Mayor Séguin and Councillor Chorley voted against). So a sidewalk on Abbott Boulevard will be constructed this year.
The Wheels Transit service is for people with disabilities and it seems that a year or two ago, the drivers would assist users boarding the bus and disembarking but currently, drivers are refusing to do this because it’s not specified in their contract. Users want a return to the previous service and the Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) is supportive of this request. They therefore submitted a revised Draft Wheels Policy for approval. Meanwhile, Council had directed that a winch be provided to assist users but it seems that this upgrade has only recently been implemented and was not considered by the AAC. However, in the end, exactly what was wanted was not clear to Council so the request was referred back to the AAC. Based on clarified requirements, staff would then be asked to determine if implementing the request was feasible with the current service provider contract.
Related Posts on Cobourg News Blog
- Service Levels Review – Final Report – 16 November 2020
- Improving Town’s Efficiency – 18 January 2021 – actions to implement KPMG Report
- Sidewalk Policy Finally Approved – 24 October 2019
- New Sidewalk Priority Plan – 11 October 2019
- Sidewalk Priority Plan – 17 April 2018
Update 22 February
At the following Regular Council meeting, the awarding of a contract to construct the Abbott Blvd Sidewalk was approved 5-2 with both Suzanne Seguin and Emily Chorley voting against. Suzanne and Brian Darling both said that listening to citizens was important but Brain stressed that this should not be just the vocal minority.