Fees for Marina and Campground to Increase

At the next Committee of the Whole Meeting (CoW) on December 6, staff are reporting that they have reviewed current fees for the Marina and Campground and are proposing increases so that they continue to cover costs. Most of the proposed Marina increases are around 3% but campground increases range from 2% to 11% – more details below and links to Staff reports. I understand that separately Staff are undertaking a comprehensive “User Fee Analysis” and these increases are interim (for 2022) pending the results of that study. User fees include Development charges, Parking, Transit, CCC fees and others as well as Marina and Campground. A report on parking fees was provided at the November 15 CoW but was referred to the Transportation Advisory Committee, DBIA, and Waterfront Working Group for review and comment. The next step on parking fees will come to Council at their January 24 CoW meeting.

Marina

Marina Manager Julie Behan-Jones reports that Marina fees are intended “to cover projected operational and capital costs” and are reviewed annually but she says:

Community Services Staff recognize that the User Fee Analysis will provide a clear concise direction to design future budgets moving forward.

Until such as time as the analysis is complete, staff recommend the attached is approved in order to provide sufficient revenues to cover operational and capital costs for this budget year and to enable staff to begin finalizing contracts and invoicing effectively for the start of season.

There are four categories of fees: Seasonal, Transient, Services and Storage. The proposed fees are available via the links below. Note that fees for boat docking are on a per foot basis. For example Seasonal serviced docking goes up from $66 to $68 – that means that a 30ft boat would be $2,040. A daily serviced dock would go up from $1.90 to $1.95 or $58.50 for a 30ft boat. Two more examples: the fee for storage of boats 30ft or over goes from $690 to $700 and the fee for a daily launch ramp (including parking) goes from $11 to $13. See the Staff report below for the full list or the Town’s web site for current rates (see links below).

Marina Budget highlights

  2019 Actual 2020 Actual 2021 Budget 2022 Budget
Revenue
  Transients 102,913 113,720 145,000 155,000
  Seasonal 279,144 112,199 280,000 295,000
  Storage 43,169 51,487 40,000 40,000
  Fuel 167,913
(cost 142,716)
156,100
(cost 137,958)
190,000
(cost 158,141)
220,000
(cost 176,000)
Total Revenue 702,759 485,661 767,040 821,415

Expenses

  Salaries and Wages 244,766 257,450 269,666 299,960
  Materials 284,837 297,087 386,541 402,400
  Contracted Services 46,191 37,521 39,900 59,600
  Transfer to/from Reserves 126,965 -106,397 70,933 62,455
Total Operating Expenses 702,759 485,661 767,040 821,415

Campground

Sign at Entrance still calls it a Trailer Park

As well as fees for erecting a tent or parking a trailer, there are fees for services such as firewood and sanitary station. Then there are fees for transients (daily, weekly or monthly) and seasonal. These in turn vary with services provided: Hydro (H), Water (W) and Sewer (S). A premium is charged for waterfront lots.

Rate Highlights

  2021 2022 proposed
Transient Waterfront H&W&S $60 per day $64 per day
Transient Non-Waterfront H&W&S $49 per day $50 per day
Monthly Waterfront H&W&S $1,500 per month $1,664 per month
Seasonal Waterfront $4,200 $4,500
Seasonal Non-Waterfront $3,350 $3,500
Tent Area $43 per day $44 per day

Weekly rates are 6 times daily rates.

The 2022 budget shows $330K revenue and $261K cost for a net profit to the Town of $69K. See the debate on whether we should even have a Campground at this recent post here.

Council approved these proposed increases, but they will need to be ratified in the Regular Council meeting on December 13.

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Johanne
10 December 2021 12:25 am

I used to be a boater when Rochester people were crossing often. Expensive sport and I can’t complain. This marina is nice but small and not equipped for repairs or serious lift. Later on my captain and I were too busy and rented crew and a top notch Windjammer in Maine for 18 years and made lots of friends. Now Trailers! This is a give away. I dislike this camping in the most mature tree area of our park. It is used by strangers and some studies approuved my distaste for it. We are a special quantity sharing this opinion. Just read the studies you all paid for them!
It will always look like a second class town defending its basic services paying topToronto taxes enjoying amenities. Trailers should be relocated. It was wonderful when I created the oval rink at this spot. Let those people use our restaurants, beach, shops, european food store, and OUR park (we want it back !) without outsiders shacking in it. Let our own businesses rent their luxurious studios and rooms by the month. Don’t compete with them. Let our businesses make a living. Trailers are far from the vision of La Riviera!
Some town lost income could be recuperated with summer sports like roller blades(by the music) or dancing with experts giving a demo near the frink and viewers buying limonade. The boardwalk will start looking like a real summer promenade and a meeting place.

Last edited 9 months ago by Johanne
Old Sailor
6 December 2021 11:27 am

I am boater, but I am not a Cobourg seasonal boater. Regarding proposed Cobourg mooring and winter storage fees I would assume that the Town has surveyed the rates charged by the marina’s in Whitby, Newcastle and Trenton to make sure Cobourg rates were comparable. Rates and services provided by marinas are market driven. And many long time Cobourg seasonal boaters have already left Cobourg for other marinas.

Cap’n John
Reply to  Old Sailor
6 December 2021 11:53 am

I agree rates should be market driven, but it is sometime difficult to make an “ apples to apples” comparison of rates and services offered.
My boat was in Cobourg for many years, but recently went to another Marina. There are 8 former Cobourg boats at my new marina, and I believe they changed because of better water, marina services, location, etc. In all cases, they say paying significantly more that they paid at Cobourg.

Cap’n John
6 December 2021 11:11 am

Doubling fees without providing added value is not a fair or sensible approach.
Many organizations, when faced with significant infrastructure or other capital needs, will assess a one time fee to users.
There may be ways to do this that would be fair to boaters and campers, and provide the Campground, Marina and Harbour with new capital for necessary infrastructure improvements that will benefit everyone.

Bryan
Reply to  Cap’n John
6 December 2021 3:49 pm

Cap’n John,
A “special assessment” may work in a condo where the residents (users) are owners and have an investment to protect. The “boaters” are customers. They have no investment to protect and are free to take their business wherever they choose.
The issue with the campground is that the Town chose to use the campground surplus for general purposes instead of allocating the surplus (or most of it) to a reserve for future repairs. These repairs and the timing were known, but the Town chose to not build a reserve.
The harbour situation is similar. The town knew from the time it “bought” the harbour from the Feds that there were needed repairs. The Feds even chipped in $400K in cash for these repairs. It is unclear what the $400K was used for. The Town apparently put off making any major harbour repairs until it became critical. Minimal (if any) reserves were funded.

As to the marina fees: some marinas have lower fees, or better facilities, etc. Port Trenton is a good example. Big (but seriously under used), new and shiny. It is also significantly subsidized ($1.27M in 2020) by the local property tax payers. Port Whitby is self sufficient, as is Cobourg (just barely)

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Cap’n John
6 December 2021 4:47 pm

Cap’n John, what does “fair or sensible” mean in the context of the trailer park? The trailer park is a place to vacation that includes a nice view; it is not fundamentally different from any other trailer park. Do you suppose that the Colasante’s trailer park near Belleville sets fees because they are fair or sensible? Of course not! They charge the amount that maximizes their profit. Their cost is $1720 per month — 15% more than Cobourg — plus additional charges for WiFi or more than two adults. They are already sold-out for 2022.

Maximizing profit should be Cobourg’s sole objective when setting fees.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
6 December 2021 10:09 pm

Ken

Once again comparing apples and oranges.. Colasanti’s Trailer Park and Marina is a for-profit private enterprise on Wellers Bay, just a short boat ride from a Provincial Park with a sandy beach. It offers a laundry, fish cleaning station and heated swimming pool, etc.

The challenge facing Cobourg Council is to try and cover costs while keeping the trailer sites, camp ground, boat launch and docks financially accessible to as many people as possible. Without knowing all the details and the debate that took place, it seems to me that Council has done a reasonable job.

Your statement … “Maximizing profit should be Cobourg’s sole objective when setting fees.” … If put into practice, would soon exclude many and in the case of our waterfront, turn it into an exclusive conclave of the well-to-do, condominiums, etc, similar to what has happened at Kingston.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
6 December 2021 10:29 pm

Keith, I should have been clearer:
“Maximizing profit should be Cobourg’s sole objective when setting fees for tourist attractions. There is no duty to make attractions accessible to as many visitors as possible.

Old Sailor
Reply to  Ken Strauss
7 December 2021 8:58 am

Ken

Based on your assertion of “Maximizing profit should be Cobourg’s sole objective when setting fees for tourist attractions”, why do we bother keeping the Art Gallery or Marie Dressler Museum open?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Old Sailor
7 December 2021 9:12 am

Perhaps the expenditures are based on the incorrect assumption that residents actually visit these places? Wasting $175K ($20 per Cobourg family every year) on the AGN is absurd.

Many are struggling to pay their rent and put food on the table. Why is the AGN so important? Aren’t there better uses for the money?

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
7 December 2021 11:00 am

Ken

Almost all your comments to do with matters related to Cobourg and Council decisions have to do with money. You seem to have no appreciation for the shared not-for-profit physical and cultural assets that bring citizens together, enhance the quality of their lives and create a unique identity for our historic Town.

Take away the AGN, Marie Dressler Museum, Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre, the Historical Society, the many Arts Groups, cultural events at Victoria Park, etc, etc, etc, and all that’s left of Cobourg is a point on a map.

Concerned about property taxes, the most regressive and unfair form of taxation ever invented? … Give the Town Tax Dept an extra couple of hundred dollars a year to help reduce the financial burden property taxes impose on those struggling to put food on the table. You can probably afford it!

Last edited 9 months ago by Keith Oliver
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
7 December 2021 12:17 pm

Keith, it is interesting that you mentioned a variety of cultural/historical groups in Cobourg. You neglected to mention that the funding for the AGN is many times the taxpayer support for all of the other groups together. And the other groups have many times more participants than the AGN.

For example, the Cobourg and District Historical Society gets no actual taxpayer funding (in normal times they get a reduced charge for using an otherwise unused meeting room in Victoria Hall). Throughout the pandemic the Historical Society has provided free presentations on Cobourg history via Zoom, they host a website on Cobourg history and they publish a monthly newsletter on historical topics that is available to everyone.

The AGN gets $175K of our tax dollars every year even though they were closed for a year and had no events and no public communications. Do you consider that reasonable?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
7 December 2021 1:17 pm

Mr Oliver
Your sanctimonious suggestion that Ken Strauss “give the Town Tax Dept an extra couple hundred dollars” presumes that Mr Strauss is not generous. Do you have any idea how many man hours of volunteer work that Mr Strauss has provided to the Town’s cultural assets? Do you have any idea what philanthropic work Mr Strauss has done? Of course you don’t.

I highly appreciate Mr Strauss’s numerous contributions that concern $$$ to this forum. He performs a great (free) service by providing his managerial and organizational skills. In the service of profit, of course.

He belongs to the team that generates wealth, not the humourless and sanctimonious team that coercively distribute that wealth. Mr Krauss is a wonderful check to prevent profligate foolishness.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Wally Keeler
8 December 2021 10:10 am

Wally

My response to Ken had nothing to do with his personal time spent in support of various community projects but with the fact that almost all of the substance of his criticism is based on money spent not benefits received.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
8 December 2021 10:35 am

Mr Oliver “all of the substance of his criticism is based on money spent not benefits received.”

Untrue. His $$$$$$ comments invariably relate to benefits. He questions; are these benefits worth the expense or is there another way to accomplish the same thing with less $$$$$? It falls under the adage of bigger bang for the buck. Efficiencies. Finding a savings here or there frees up $$$$ to be spent on another community benefit. `Mr Krauss is performing the function of civilian oversight, of civilian participation in municipal govt. He has admin skills that he provides freely to the benefit of the community. I wish there were more citizens like him. He helps to keep the profligate in check. You should thank him instead of sanctimoniously admonishing him.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Wally Keeler
8 December 2021 11:54 am

Wally

My comments re Ken seldom if ever stating his criticism of costs without mentioning benefits still stand. His is a very Libertarian point of view.

My comments on costs vrs benefits is based on the model that money raised from property taxes raised from the community-as-whole should be directed by Council to the benefit of the community-as-a-whole and not priced out of reach for anyone. Subsidies from higher levels of government follow the same model. The role of government in a free enterprise economy is to keep the “playing field level” for all.

Money is irrelevant to quality-of-life when secure housing, food, health services and access to basic public amenities is assured. Cobourg Council strives to do this even when it could use the excuse that “affordable housing” is the mandate of the County.

Again, my critique of Ken’s comments stands.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
8 December 2021 6:17 pm

My comments on costs vrs benefits is based on the model that money raised from property taxes raised from the community-as-whole should be directed by Council to the benefit of the community-as-a-whole 

That seems reasonable. An obvious corollary is that money raised from property taxes should not be wasted on tourist attractions; insofar as possible only Cobourg property tax payers should benefit from our tax dollars. Implementation possibilities include higher (perhaps $75 or more per day) charges for visitor parking near the beach, free or low cost parking passes for residents, higher trailer park fees for all, higher marina fees for non-residents, additional fees at the CCC for non-Cobourg users including those from Hamilton Township, Do you agree, Keith?

Johanne
Reply to  Keith Oliver
10 December 2021 10:18 am

When people travel and find out educated streetscapes, art galleries, art shops, specialty shops, cleanliness, promenades (boardwalks), meeting places are making people of all ages happy, we return to those places. Balancing your budget should not be affected, or a joy killer, if well run the first time. This is not a new notion as we all know. Let’s not confuse our decisions of quality of life and good administration. People are not a cash register!

Last edited 9 months ago by Johanne
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Old Sailor
7 December 2021 12:52 pm

Note that it is the Art Gallery of Northumberland, not the Art Gallery of Cobourg. One of the AGN’s community projects was organizing Cobourg Youth to decorate the trash cans for Cobourg Parks. This kind of project is to be encouraged.

I highly recommend the operation of Critical Mass in Port Hope. This is an exceedingly creative artist collaboration that conducts its projects in the public domain and engaging community participation. They turned Walton Street into a water slide one year. They made giant woodprints using Behan’s ‘steamroller in front of Town Hall, every post-holloween they host the final display of Port Hope’s pumpkins, thereby collecting the entire Town’s pumpkins in one place. The Town of Port Hope does provide assistance, not to the extent of Cobourg to the AGN. The little Station Gallery is easily accessible compared to the AGN sequestered on the third floor of an imposing building.

Critical Mass is run by practicing artists, whereas the Board for the AGN appears less nimble in creating projects that happen in the public domain where people live, work and play. The AGN has the scent of stuffiness. whereas Critical Mass is fresh and nimble.

Insofar as $$$$$$$. the residents of Port Hope get more bang for the their buck in regards of art engagement.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Wally Keeler
8 December 2021 10:27 am

Wally

Interesting to learn about those local grass-roots events in Port Hope as well as those in Cobourg (which include that of yourself and Jenny Duda). As to whether the name of the art gallery in Victoria Hall should include the place names Northumberland or Cobourg, I believe it’s fair to say that when it comes to art at that level which is much more universal … “an art gallery, is an art gallery, is an art gallery!”. Do you not agree?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
8 December 2021 12:38 pm

Disagree.

What do you mean “art at that level” which is “much more universal“?

an art gallery, is an art gallery, is an art gallery!
Who are you quoting here? I Google searched and found that no one anywhere made that comment. Are you making things up? That childish quote does remind me of a fatuous leader who said “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”

I’d take the time to explain to you about art gallery functions and differences, but it was a couple of weeks ago when I asked you a sincere question, you arrogantly replied “Look it up yourself.”

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Wally Keeler
8 December 2021 9:32 pm

Wally

A “fatuous” leader? who stated that “a Canadian, is a Canadian, is a Canadian!”.

Read our Constitution and it’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and find out that when anyone sets foot on the territorial area called Canada they are protected by the Charter.

Canada has become a haven for the dispossessed as America once was. PMs Pierre and Justin Trudeau are to be honoured not denigrated, for their efforts to convert Canada into a post-nation state better able than many more affluent nations to deal with the unknown problems the Future is about to throw at us.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
9 December 2021 7:57 am

What is a “post-nation state“? That sounds like more fatuous nonsense from a pathetically mediocre leader of peoplekind.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Wally Keeler
10 December 2021 11:50 am

Wally

Like everything else in life, what constitutes a “nation” is subject to continuing change.

Italy did not become a “nation” until the late 1800s. Same with Germany and many other areas of Europe. Some are still in a state of flux. The accepted definition includes common language, ethnicity, mythology, a defensible and well defined border, a centralized form of government, etc.

Canada to begin with is “multicultural” at its core. Read the 1985 Canadian Multicultural Act and its supporting legislation. The Federal Government supports many aspects of ethnic diversity including media and arts and cultural events.

One of our most popular hockey commentators does so in Punjabi. “Diversity is our strength!” is one well accepted statement. In 1972 Pierre Elliott Trudeau famously stated that “… every Canadian is now a member of a minority!”.

90% of Canada’s borders are undefensible with a number of influencial states disagreeing on where they actually are located.

I lived and worked in the US for 26 years. By contrast the US is the quinticential nation, ridged, inflexible, bound by the myth of personal freedom and an “originalist” interpretation of its Constitution, unaccepting of change and now suffering the consequences. An attempt was made several years ago to add an amendment to their Constitution that would entrench English as the official language of the United States.

Canada is not perfect any means but it does qualify as a “post-nation state” which is a result of its ability to constructively respond to change. That’s all I have to say for now.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
10 December 2021 3:40 pm

Exactly what I expected; fatuous nonsense from a sycophant to the mediocre leader of peoplekind.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Wally Keeler
10 December 2021 9:41 pm

Wally

I’ve apparently offended you when all I was trying to do was answer your question and explain why Canada can rightfully be considered to be evolving into a post-nation state.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
10 December 2021 9:48 pm

Keith, the real offense is that your reply didn’t express disgust at the changes noted.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
10 December 2021 6:59 pm

I lived and worked in the US for 26 years. By contrast the US is the quinticential nation, ridged, inflexible, bound by the myth of personal freedom and an “originalist” interpretation of its Constitution, unaccepting of change and now suffering the consequences. An attempt was made several years ago to add an amendment to their Constitution that would entrench English as the official language of the United States.

I’m unsure how any of this relates to marina and trailer park fees but…

I lived and worked in the US for a few fewer years than you so perhaps my expertise is more limited than yours. Regardless, I feel compelled to comment on your ridiculous assertions.

If a country’s constitution is not to be interpreted as written, then why bother with a constitution? In the case of the US constitution there is a well defined procedure for making any amendments desired and I believe that 27 amendments have been approved over the years. What is your perceived problem with formally approving amendments rather than a bureaucrat revising to coincide with current fads?

It is absurd to require that everything be documented in several “official” languages. What is your objection to entrenching English as the official language of the US? 

BTW, “quinticential” isn’t in my OED. What does it mean?

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 December 2021 9:54 pm

Ken

“Quintessential”refers to the subject as being a most typical or most perfect example and I used it to identify the US as one of the best examples of the traditional definition of a “nation” and its inherent lack of flexibility in the face of change.

Kathleen
6 December 2021 8:51 am

$4,500.00 a Season? For a Million Dollar view??? … SMH

Leweez
5 December 2021 5:15 pm

Enough already, let’s be honest, the staff are not experts at this, I would bet that staff came up with these numbers in about 15 minutes.
Here is a suggestion, double the campground and marina fees and see who shows up.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Leweez
5 December 2021 6:32 pm

Precisely, Leweez! If you double the fees and only half of the people show up you get the same revenue but far fewer expenses. Half the trailer park occupants generate half the sewerage, half of the electricity usage, half of the trash pickups and fewer staff required.

Ken Strauss
5 December 2021 5:10 pm

Town Council is happy to raise the levy by 6.3% largely justified by CPI increases. Why the timid 2-3% increase in most marina and trailer park fees? Why the insignificant increase in bus fares? Why no increase in CCC fees? Most of these fees have not been increased for years. Why not increase all fees by the cumulative CPI increase?

George & Marylou Taylor
Reply to  Ken Strauss
6 December 2021 9:57 am

Most Polite People In Coboug!