Cobourg Citizens Lobby Council

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.

Marina Finances

Ted Williams
Ted Williams

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.

Wheels Transit

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.

Links

Related Posts on Cobourg News Blog

Related Documents

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.

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Cobourg taxpayer
24 February 2021 4:36 pm

Regarding Wheels Transit if the current contract says drivers don’t have to help passengers get on the bus then rewrite the contract. If there is union involved that’s likely the problem.
The Marina financial statements have never been transparent. Who pays the town for the use of electricity (when it’s not underwater) garbage removal, sewage and water? Are town marina staff salaries from the marina fees or are they town employees? The Marina is heavily financed by the town and no staff member is able/willing to give details. I expect the campground finances are the same.
I live in the east end of Cobourg on a street with no sidewalks which is heavily used. Pedestrians do not always walk facing traffic, often 2-3 people beside each other with dogs on long expandable leashes. I would love a sidewalk ( we are seniors). I have no problem shoveling. The biggest issue is dog poop but that occurs now anyway a sidewalk would likely worsen that problem but pedestrians need to be on sidewalks for their safety.

Just Wondering
22 February 2021 7:03 am

This site is great for being kept aware of what’s happening in Cobourg. It is very unfortunate that the majority of comments have degraded to the point of pointless arguing between a couple of individuals, as evidenced by both of the topics mentioned here. Please make your point once, if others offer a differing opinion, please accept it and move on. We don’t need to “listen” to needless bickering.

Sidewalk Club
21 February 2021 7:22 am

Dear anti sidewalk folk. You sure are an interesting bunch. Clearly none of you are raising young children, nor do you appear to care for elderly walking on the roads, those with special accessibility needs, and the safety of your neighbours. You seem to be happy with your neighbours walking on a road in town that many people drive well over the speed limit on with NO sidewalks. You say no one has reportedly been hurt or injured – is this the only good reason to install a sidewalk? Thankfully none of you have ever been councillors, mayors or decision makers for a community. On to the next established PRIORITY road in town to fight over the sidewalk install. What a legacy the anti sidewalk folk will leave for the next generations of our community.

Ken
Reply to  Sidewalk Club
21 February 2021 5:38 pm

…Hear..Hear!

Informed
Reply to  Sidewalk Club
22 February 2021 1:17 pm

There should be little consideration to people living on Abbott Blvd as to whether sidewalks should be installed. People come and go and the same people wont be there 1,2,5,10 etc years from now.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
22 February 2021 2:02 pm

I don’t know of any rental housing on Abbott. As a teen I played with other teens on/from Abbott. They were designed for the nuclear family. Mortgages paid over many years. Many remain family digs. I doubt there is any significant turnover of family homes every year, or every other year, or even five years. Regardless, it is not good policy to be so cavalier with the residents of any street that they be given “little consideration” to things that affect them personally.

Informed
Reply to  Wally Keeler
22 February 2021 9:24 pm

5 have been listed and sold in the last year. Spending taxpayers money should be based more on need,safety and costs and and not petitions alone. That was my point and my opinion.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
22 February 2021 10:18 pm

Cobourg citizens deserve much better than a “little consideration”. That’s my point.

Bryan
Reply to  Informed
23 February 2021 12:15 am

Informed:

Need? Abbott Blvd residents don’t seem to have a need
Safety? No evidence of a safety benefit for Abbott Blvd
Cost…$150K+… could be better spent elsewhere

Why do you discount resident preference and public engagement?

Informed
Reply to  Bryan
23 February 2021 10:04 am

I dont. In my opnion the last two points you made should be more heavily weighted than soley making decisions based on the preference of those living on the street. Im neither for or against sidewalks.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
23 February 2021 10:29 am

Hello, we’re the govt and we’re here to help you rip up your front lawn, cut down your mature family-planted trees, and put in a sidewalk that you better keep cleared or else! That’s called “little consideration”.

Seth
20 February 2021 3:00 pm

Thanks to Ted, the ACC and Kevin for contributing and speaking up!
It’s interesting to see how Cobourg is spending money, especially since we are in a pandemic. When I think about it, the Marina is and has been an important part of Cobourg – from a historic and cultural perspective.
Building new sidewalks, kind of a waste of money – especially now.
If the Town really wants to spend, why not take the sidewalk funds and give them to the Marina.
Win – Win!

Leweez
20 February 2021 1:21 pm

The reason Lakeshore Drive/ Road will not see sidewalks is because there is no storm sewer on this street, hence the reason for the ditches.
Abbott Boulevard is the most easterly street in Cobourg that can have sidewalks without installing storms sewers and curb and gutter,as it is already in place

Mark
Reply to  Leweez
21 February 2021 11:07 am

In my mother’s place in Toronto , she has no storm sewers , or curbs but they have ditches and sidewalks
it is road , ditch, than sidewalk

Last edited 2 months ago by Mark
Leweez
Reply to  Mark
21 February 2021 1:27 pm

Unfortunately on Lakeshore to do this you would end up with a sidewalk on private property.
unless you want to relocate the hydro poles

Ken
Reply to  Leweez
21 February 2021 5:37 pm

…and lets not forget there is a 66 foot road allowance….should be lots of room?!

Marian Boys
20 February 2021 11:51 am

I agree with Ahewson – Lakeshore is a busy street – all kinds of traffic and on 1 side we have a dirt path and a ditch for pedestrians. Why is Council not interested in upgrading this busy Arterial road? The amount they will spend on a sidewalk (that residents don’t want, but will have to pay for and maintain) on a Residential street would go far in making Lakeshore safe.

I am also concerned about the damage a sidewalk would do to the trees lining Abbott Blvd.
These are healthy, mature shade trees, many with surface roots extending to the curb. The roots provide trees with moisture and nutrients – if damaged, those trees could die. How can Council assure the residents that those trees will survive?

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Marian Boys
21 February 2021 3:24 pm

How about the putting in the odd speed bump..(silent policemen),not only there ,but a few other well known speeding hotspots ?
Cut down those speeding stretches which are well known not to mention the noise!

Constance Mealing
Reply to  Bill Thompson
21 February 2021 11:22 pm

We could use some of those on Ashland Drive.

Wally Keeler
20 February 2021 9:29 am

I commend Ted William’s presentation to Council, concise and to the point.

Gerinator
Reply to  Wally Keeler
20 February 2021 11:30 am

What you said – ditto.

JimT
Reply to  Gerinator
21 February 2021 10:49 am

AKA “Hear, hear!”

Wally Keeler
Reply to  JimT
21 February 2021 11:33 am

Merriam Webster:  “marked by brevity of expression or statement free from all elaboration and superfluous detail.”

Note: accuracy is not a feature of concise.

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
20 February 2021 11:40 pm

Your reply is satire, right? Or do we have to guess?

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
21 February 2021 12:03 am

Councillor Darling mentioned that Ted commented several times that “he thinks his numbers are accurate”how concise can you get?

SW Buyer
Reply to  Frenchy
21 February 2021 12:26 am

Given his minimal understanding of finance and accounting, I find it strange that Clr Darling would comment on Ted’s presentation.
Clr Darling’s frequent tactic is to “shoot the messenger” rather than constructively comment on the message/information presented. He points out the slightest flaw in an effort to dismiss the entire presentation and denigrate the presenter.
Clr Darling rarely has any data/analysis to support his statements and whatever data/analysis he does presents is generally fluffy.

I believe Ted made a reasonable effort to present accurate information about the marina reserve based on publicly available information. If the numbers are not accurate, the fault is more than likely the Town’s for publishing erroneous and misleading information.

Last edited 2 months ago by SW Buyer
Frenchy
Reply to  SW Buyer
21 February 2021 9:30 am

Talk about shoot the messenger…
You’re ready to dump Darling when it was Ted who kept repeating that his numbers might not be accurate, up to date, or even relevant.
Concise… sheesh.

SW Buyer
Reply to  Frenchy
21 February 2021 10:20 am

That’s Ted….honest to a fault.
He should take a page from Darling’s book and just BS his way through without regard for the accuracy, timeliness or relevance of his statements.

M Jonez
Reply to  SW Buyer
21 February 2021 10:23 am

Can you provide proof that the town is “publishing erroneous and misleading information” on financial statements?
Sounds like a slanderous statement.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  M Jonez
21 February 2021 11:36 am

Does the pseudonym have proof that the Town is “publishing erroneous and misleading information”?

SW Buyer
Reply to  M Jonez
21 February 2021 11:43 am

M Jonez and Wally:

I didn’t say that the Town is publishing erroneous or misleading information. I said “IF the numbers (Ted’s) are not accurate…..”

I suggest that you read twice and understand before commenting.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  SW Buyer
21 February 2021 12:14 pm

 If the numbers are not accurate, the fault is more than likely the Town’s for publishing erroneous and misleading information.”



SW Buyer
Reply to  Wally Keeler
21 February 2021 12:55 pm

Thank you for confirming my point.
I said “IF” and “more than likely“.
Both are subjective and conditional
Both are speculative.
Neither indicates an absolute or certainty.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  SW Buyer
21 February 2021 1:02 pm

In other words you comment in fog language.
However you did attribute it to the Town

Last edited 2 months ago by Wally Keeler
Ahewson
20 February 2021 6:50 am

Imagine fighting tooth and nail against…a sidewalk. Good on council for approving it. Too much time and energy has been spent on that issue.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Ahewson
20 February 2021 9:02 am

Perhaps too much money is being wasted on sidewalks that are not needed and not wanted.

Ahewson
Reply to  Ken Strauss
20 February 2021 10:32 am

Drove down Lakeshor Drive this morning, spent the whole drive dodging walkers and their dogs. Turn onto Coverdale, everyone is safely on the sidewalks. Exhibit A.

JimT
Reply to  Ahewson
20 February 2021 10:40 am

Seems to me that those streets were laid down back when the automobile was King and we all drove big, flashy “chrome boats”. Walking was out of fashion so there was no point in building sidewalks because they wouldn’t have been used.
Times have changed.

Last edited 2 months ago by JimT
Downtowner
Reply to  Ahewson
20 February 2021 11:15 am

Walked down Abbott Blvd many times. Love the streetscape, which will be destroyed by sidewalks. Seldom every met a car. Agree with Ken, that too much money is being wasted on sidewalks.

Last edited 2 months ago by Downtowner
MiriamM
Reply to  Ahewson
20 February 2021 11:32 am

Welcome to the east end, Ahewson. For decades people have shared the street, pedestrians and vehicles. In fact, it would be strange not to find people walking on the paved part of the street.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  MiriamM
21 February 2021 11:39 am

Shinny does not happen on sidewalks; it happens on streets. CAR!!!

Kevin
Reply to  Wally Keeler
22 February 2021 7:39 am

That brings back a few memories. In more recent years I was in the car on Cottesmore as kids moved to the side.

ben burd
Reply to  Ken Strauss
20 February 2021 11:27 am

So what will you and the pennypinchers say when someone is injured by having to walk in the road. Pay us now or later when they win the lawsuits!

CiW
Reply to  ben burd
20 February 2021 12:11 pm

I’d say ” why weren’t they paying attention “? There’s nothing wrong with walking on the street, if you face the traffic and pay attention.

Bryan
Reply to  ben burd
20 February 2021 1:15 pm

Ben,
According to the Abbott Blvd residents, there have been no pedestrian accidents on their street and there has been no data/studies presented by you or other pro-sidewalkers to counter this argument.
Compare that with CFO Davey’s statements to Council that many of the insurance claims (settlements) against the Town are on account of sidewalk accidents.
So Abbott Blvd accidents: 0, Town sidewalks: not 0
As for “…Pay us now or later when they win the lawsuits!….” Cobourg Taxpayers are already paying for these lawsuit settlements and you are advocating more sidewalks (at a substantial cost) which may well result in more sidewalk accidents and liability payouts.

The real issue regarding Abbott Blvd, Northwood and other neighbourhood streets is resident preference. The residents DO NOT WANT sidewalks. Why isn’t Council listening to them?

Elections are coming soon and residents are not likely to forget being ignored and dismissed by Council members

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bryan
20 February 2021 6:20 pm

The Abbott Blvd residents will wake up with unnecessarily added responsibilities, shoveling snow. Chapel Street is a historically old street with sidewalks on both sides. After a snowfall, not all sidewalks are cleared in the morning. During baby boomer times children took to the street to walk to CRGummow, same on the way back. A sidewalk can be cleared of snow but slow snow melt in the afternoon freezes and becomes a hazard in early evening. Again it is safer to walk on the street.

Merry Mary
Reply to  Wally Keeler
21 February 2021 5:08 am

Odd, isn’t it, that sidewalks which are owned by the Town (or a Municipality) become the responsibility of the homeowners for snow and debris removal?

Kevin
Reply to  Wally Keeler
22 February 2021 7:13 am

There is a section of Chapel that does not have a sidewalk yet. It is on the list as is the north side of Queen St. In both of these cases it is quite likely mature trees will have to be cut.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Kevin
22 February 2021 8:40 am

Yes. Several have already been brought down by disease recently.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben burd
20 February 2021 6:25 pm

So what will you and the other spendthrifts say when someone falls and breaks their hip while on the sidewalk? My understanding is that the majority of suits involving the town are related to sidewalk accidents.

Liz
Reply to  Ken Strauss
21 February 2021 1:18 pm

Interesting Ken. In municipal employment I received, placed and answered claim letters against the City. People often attempted to sue the City over sidewalk claims. Most claims were misdirected to the City as they should have placed them against the home owner. Some people I knew and their neighbours fought against a sidewalk here, one side of the street did not have one. Reason – they felt their town taxes would go up and second they didn’t want to be bothered clearing the sidewalk. So if the sidewalks are under municipal clearing here it would be the Town that gets sued, if in front of a home the home owner will be sued if not cleared.

Bryan
Reply to  Liz
21 February 2021 5:02 pm

Liz:

Doesn’t work that way. The sidewalks are owned by the Town and are on Town property. The Town is responsible for maintaining the sidewalks in good condition.
A Town by-law may require property owners to clear the snow/ice, but the onus remains with the Town to maintain the sidewalks in good condition.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bryan
Liz
Reply to  Bryan
21 February 2021 5:10 pm

During winter home owners Bryan are required to clear their sidewalks of ice and snow within so many hours of a snow fall. Should they not they are the ones that will pay for slip and falls which was the bulk of municipal claims. Home owners insurance covers such claims of uncleared sidewalks. As far as ill kept sidewalks with large cracks etc. yes the Town is then responsible should someone get their toe caught in a crack and fall.

Bryan
Reply to  Liz
21 February 2021 10:32 pm

Liz:
The Town’s CFO disagrees with you and so do the lawyers. The Town is on the hook, not the residents.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bryan
liz
Reply to  Bryan
22 February 2021 12:32 am

Not if it is a sidewalk not cleared by a homeowner when the sidewalk runs in front of the home. Slip and fall on ice and snow Bryan on an uncleared residential sidewalk. You walk in a grey area Bryan – homeowners can and have been successfully sued for slip and fall.

Last edited 2 months ago by liz
Bryan
Reply to  Ahewson
21 February 2021 11:50 am

Too much time and energy according to whom??
Mr. Burt has skin in the game. Do you Ahewson?
This is really about public engagement and Council listening to (and acting upon) resident concerns.
Democracy is messy, Ahewson. Suck it up.

Ahewson
Reply to  Bryan
21 February 2021 1:13 pm

The initial public engagement was needed and justified. The town went out, did their homework, developed a system whereby high priority areas would recieve sidewalks first, a thought out formulaic process. At the conclusion of that process it was determined Abbott Blvd would be first to receive sidewalks. No point in beating a dead horse, case is closed, time to move on.

Bryan
Reply to  Ahewson
21 February 2021 5:22 pm

Ahewson:

Why is any neighbourhood (street) compelled to have a sidewalk, particularly if the residents don’t want one?
The town has a sidewalk priority plan which is operational in nature; to determine the order of sidewalk installation. It does not have a sidewalk policy that sets out the reasons why the Town should have sidewalks and the benefit to the residents.

This is clearly expressed in the last section (6) of the sidewalk priority plan as approved by Council:

6 Closing and Next Steps
“…..The next steps will be for the Town to develop an official policy for the implementation of new sidewalks in the Town of Cobourg….”

The Town has not yet developed the “official policy” referred to in Section 6: Closing and Next Steps of the sidewalk priority plan.

The case is still open and the horse is not dead.
Time for the Town to do what it committed to do: develop a sidewalk policy.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bryan
Ahewson
Reply to  Bryan
21 February 2021 6:23 pm

You keep referencing that “residents don’t want one”. What is your proof of that? A smattering of people on Abbott do not? A petition where people say sure and just sign what’s infront of them? Who are you referring to?

Many people go on long walks, well beyond their immediate street, do you know all of those people wouldn’t appreciate one? They are a shared infrastructure. Essentially that whole large area of the East end would stand to benefit.

Sidewalks are safer and more pleasant for pedestrians, they encourage people to get out and walk. Obvious stuff really.

Bryan
Reply to  Ahewson
21 February 2021 9:53 pm

Ahewson:
Clearly you did not attend the Council meeting two years ago or so when the Abbott Blvd residents made their delegation. Perhaps you couldn’t get in because the gallery was filled with Abbott residents supporting their delegation.

You wrote “…large area of the East end would stand to benefit…” Please explain exactly how east-enders would benefit. What proof do you have?

You also wrote “…Sidewalks are safer….” Again, what proof do you have. As has been noted before, Abbott has had no pedestrian accidents so how will sidewalks be safer?
Also note CFO Davey’s comments at Council that many of the accident claims (and insurance payouts) against the Town have been on behalf of sidewalk accidents.
So again, please explain how sidewalks are safer.

You also wrote “….more pleasant for pedestrians, they encourage people to get out and walk. Obvious stuff really...” Clearly your unsubstantiated opinion. The stuff of urban myths.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bryan
Sidewalk Club
Reply to  Bryan
21 February 2021 8:06 pm

The horse is dead – it was hit by a car because there was no sidewalk. Honestly though you don’t need to create all of these policies and complicate things. The priority study was done. The list was made. Your fantasy urban community with roads used by vehicles travelling over 50km/h, on a bus route, with the parked cars are BOTH sides of the streets, shared by cyclists, wheelchairs, mopeds, scooters, residents walking there dogs, children walking to school with zero sidewalks makes NO sense.

Bryan
Reply to  Sidewalk Club
21 February 2021 10:25 pm

SC:
The proof that it works for Abbott Blvd is NO PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS.
Further, as noted before, many of the Town’s insurance claims, lawsuits and settlement payouts are on behalf of sidewalk accidents. So please, explain, for Abbott Blvd with zero pedestrian accidents, how are sidewalks safer?

Kevin
Reply to  Sidewalk Club
22 February 2021 7:08 pm

That is a very good point about parking on both sides. We should stop that. How about a demonstration? Could you organize some people from Cobourg to march down Abbott? If they all come and the demonstration lasts 10 hours that is roughly 2000 people per hour. At an average speed of 5km/h 267 people would be on the street at one time. Evenly spread out they would have 2.5m each. I will make sure all the 3 or 4 cars are on one side. Which day is best for you?

Kevin
Reply to  Bryan
22 February 2021 7:19 am

Yes, public engagement is a big part of this. If you talk to residents you will likely hear that many feel they are not being listened to and have given up trying to be heard.