Should the Town Buy the Brookside property?

At tonight’s regular Council meeting, Council received a memo from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee which recommended that Council “consider making an attempt to acquire the Brookside property as a community benefit”.  Although this memo was terse, it was triggered by a letter to the Committee by member Richard Pope who included more rationale as well as some suggested uses for the property.  It’s hard to know what the property might be sold for by the Province but at a cost of $40,000 per acre, the reported 70 acres would cost $2.8M.  (The $40k figure is based on recent sales at Lucas Point Industrial Park).  Since at least some of the land is described as being in a flood plain, the cost might be less and some of the land may have limited use.  There would also be a significant cost to re-purposing the land.  Even so, Richard’s ideas are at least worth discussing.

Text of Richard Pope’s letter to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC).

As we know from the Parks Master Plan, Cobourg is underparked. This situation will only get worse as the town doubles in size with the huge developments planned on our east side.

There is very little park area around Brookside. There is the tiny Optimist Park to Northeast, tiny Molly Baker Lane to south, and Coronation Park, which is small. There is little parkland north of King Street in east half of Town.

Strathmore
Strathmore

Brookside is large, unspoiled property with many old trees and an open creek running through it. It is in an ideal spot for a Cobourg park.

It has several beautiful heritage buildings still standing and in good shape: Strathmore House (photo at right) and the grand stables on Cottesmore.

It is up for sale by the Ontario Government. The Town has a chance to acquire this. There will not be a second chance. If the town were to acquire it, there are many ways it could be used. For one example, much of it could be a park and Strathmore House could house a class restaurant and the Cobourg Art Gallery (d. Hampstead Heath and Kenmore House).

If we do not acquire it, developers will and we will have to sit and watch what they do to it. Mr Piccini has suggested affordable housing for the site. While Cobourg, of course, needs affordable housing, the Town owns the Tannery lands which would be ideal for it, and people also need parks. Surely our goal is to keep Cobourg as nice as it is or better it, not to sit back and watch opportunities missed.

Question: Should PRAC stress the need to act to Council and should PRAC make a submission (as some of us already have) on Mr. Piccini’s website?

Council Reaction

The memo from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and report by Coordinator Emily Chorley did not include anything from Richard’s letter but his comment that it could include parkland and that there was a lot of scope was mentioned in response to a question from Councillor Adam Bureau.  It was noted that the survey is still open on the web site of MPP David Piccini. (Some members of PRAC submitted comments but there was no official PRAC comment)  Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin said that we have no idea of what the price might be and what the Province wants to do with it.  Emily Chorley said that it was still very early.  The motion put by the Advisory Committee was passed 5-2 – with Suzanne and Brian Darling opposed.

At the same Council meeting, a motion was approved to establish an Ad Hoc committee to review options re possible surplus Town land for affordable housing.  This was discussed at the April 19 Committee of the Whole Council meeting as reported here. This committee would include a member from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee – it would seem that a discussion on Brookside (and for that matter the Tannery lands) would be relevant.

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Peter S
7 May 2021 1:42 pm

The Plan for the Tannery Lands was put forward in 2009. It’s now 2021. There is still no work happening and no decision about what will happen. It’s all just proposals and discussions. Government moves at such a slow place that many of us will be dead long before anything is actually done with this vacant land. If they buy Brookside the same thing will happen. They probably should buy it, but only if they are going to actually do something with it before we are all dead … and I say that as someone who isn’t even that old yet!

Last edited 2 days ago by Peter S
Cynthia Reyes
5 May 2021 9:50 am

Is this being discussed as a Northumberland County Centre? Yes, it’s in Cobourg, but surely if it’s part of a vision for the county as a whole, it becomes even more important, and more needed? Would love to hear the reasons why this would/wouldn’t work.

Jackie Tinson
2 May 2021 11:05 am

Jack’s idea is hugely exciting – an arts centre anchored by a superb community theatre. With at least two stages (The Firehall and Strathmore) it would attract people for the weekend and not just for one evening, benefitting all aspects of the hospitality sector. Many add-ons would be possible, such as those suggested in earlier comments. Does Council have the courage to take this on? It could be their legacy project.

Gerinator
29 April 2021 10:46 am

The CCC is not a model we want to duplicate. If left in Municipal hands it will linger in ‘stakeholder hell’ for years & without a firm plan to utilize. If left with the Province they might decide to turn it over to a Costco, guaranteeing the demise of Town entrepreneurs. Buy the property, maximize the zoning options, then FLIP IT.

Gerinator
Reply to  Gerinator
3 May 2021 9:45 pm

Okay, okay you don’t like the above idea. I’ve a better idea. Love the Letter to the Editor (recent May 3rd) from Geoff and Penny Anderson. As I was reading this Letter I’m seeing Niagara on the Lake – no offense to London intended but that’s my go to. We’ve often ‘pined’ for that model. Well here is our chance to start on that path. The Anderson remedy makes sense and we should do it HOWEVER quickly, with purpose and with an overall plan to get-r-done. Is there a task force/project team assigned that doesn’t include ‘shareholder-hell’ or ‘analysis paralysis’? Hopefully the 7 down-thumbs with be reversed.

Jack
29 April 2021 10:41 am

I was on the committee that put the cultural plan together and the committee that looked at developing the market square into a pedestrian friendly area for the arts. The plans were extensive but are on the back burner: no money, no plan no incentive. As the President of Northumberland Players I dream about a time where the residents of Cobourg have their own performing arts centre. I’m sure Stratford or Shaw would be so envious of this property. It is beautiful and close to the beach. I don’t think we need a strictly professional theatre. I am biased of course, but what is wrong with being the best community arts centre in the country. It could be the home for all aspects of the arts. Yes culinary would also fit. A partnership with post secondary institutions for costume design and construction etc. would help finance the facility and the community would have a creative space. A destination for tourists is what the Town wants to hear. I get it. If the Arts Centre was unique, that is a teaching and creative centre for Canadian Plays I can imagine writing programs housing new Canadian Playwrights where they can workshop plays and perform new works ,the community theatres and musicians can work side by side, then the facility would be a destination point and people will spend time in the Town all year round. This engagement of Cobourg’s local artists and volunteers with the creative process would be unique to the Province and Canada. Cobourg could be known as the creative centre for Playwrights and musicians in the country. Because of the size of the property, the plan could start off modestly and have room for expansion. I don’t understand why the Town would consider giving up property in their town.… Read more »

Jackie Tinson
28 April 2021 8:15 am

Very important that the Town not miss the opportunity to acquire the Brookside property. Too many opportunities have been missed in the past. Many ideas have already been put forward regarding how to fund the enterprise. The community would come together around this innovative project.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Jackie Tinson
28 April 2021 9:26 am

Just like some of our politicians claimed that the community would “come together” to fund the CCC when it was first proposed? Does Cobourg really need another $1M+/year albatross?

Bryan
Reply to  Jackie Tinson
28 April 2021 11:24 am

Other than a park, what would the Town do with Brookside?
You suggest the community would come together around this project. Just like the CCC perhaps. The public funding for that fell way short and the Town had to take out a mortgage to fund it. The debt service is about $275K per year and runs for another 10 years or so.

Cap’n John
27 April 2021 8:28 pm

The Town should pay close attention to the many impressive ideas for the future use of the Brookside property that have been suggested in this blog.
This is an important debate, and the decisions made will impact Cobourg forever.
It will be a defining moment for the Town.
We need strong leadership in this process.

Pamela Jackson
27 April 2021 6:35 pm

I would urge the Town of Cobourg to do everything it can to acquire this property. As many readers have pointed out, the potential uses are limitless and all would add something special to the town. Make an aggressive move, don’t be swayed by namby-pamby indecision, the town has already lost past opportunities to do the smart thing. Act before someone else swoops in and the property is lost to the town forever.

ben burd
27 April 2021 12:46 pm

My take on one aspect of the discussion. When public assets are available as a result of disuse then in most cases they are offered to public entities, School Boards and Municipalities first for an offer.
In this case market value should not be applied if the Municipality buys it as the property will still stay in public use.
Cobourg as the host municipality of Brookside should get a discount on the property because of the loss in “cash in lieu payments” currently received by the Town as compensation.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben burd
27 April 2021 9:14 pm

Ben, I think that you overestimate the amount. According to the most recent budget the Payment in Lieu for Brookside is only $3,100! In fact the total of all PiL money to Cobourg is only $31,210 and the majority of that comes from the OPP station.

Last edited 11 days ago by Ken Strauss
ben burd
Reply to  Ken Strauss
28 April 2021 6:42 am

Ken I don’t care what the amount is Cobourg deserves compensation and a severance package!

They have underpaid for years – they owe us the market rate for taxes.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben burd
28 April 2021 9:21 am

Severance packages are usually determined by the amount of lost income. For perspective, the $3100 lost each year is a rounding error in Cobourg’s budget — perhaps a week’s pay for a single fire person. Also, have you considered who would be funding your “severance” package that “they owe us”? Look in the mirror!

ben burd
Reply to  Ken Strauss
28 April 2021 5:28 pm

Quite frankly Ken the way Doug Ford has been handling the budget these days any more revenue to him, in the form of payment for land that we own, would be a waste. He is sitting on $6.9 billion of money transferred from the Feds which he has yet to spend, he doesn’t need any more.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben burd
28 April 2021 7:11 pm

Ben, why are you attempting to move the discussion from Brookside and the lost PiL to something entirely different? But, I’ll bite if Mr. Draper is willing to indulge…

Do you think that all provincial property should be given to towns to do with as they like? In any case, $6.9B is a pittance compared to the $350B of debt accumulated from previous spendthrift governments. Perhaps you should be more concerned about the accumulated debt than about a small amount not yet spent.

ben burd
Reply to  Ken Strauss
29 April 2021 6:44 am

I know you are not going to like this answer Ken but at the low cost of money these days Governments can finance at a rate where inflation and growth of GDP can pay for the carrying costs. Cheap money we should be using it to refinance our debt and lower overall costs!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben burd
29 April 2021 8:45 am

Canadians are currently living far beyond their means. Ontario’s debt is estimated at almost $59,000 for every man, woman and child in our province and our debt is quickly rising. That huge debt doesn’t include personal debt on mortgages, car loans and credit cards.

Do you believe that interest rates will be at the current historical lows forever? For what term can our debt be refinanced — 10 years, 25 years or maybe even 30 years? Do you think that the savings in debt service should be used for repayment of existing debt or are you comfortable adding yet more debt for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to deal with? In my humble opinion austerity rather than profligacy is the only moral choice.

Gail Rayment
27 April 2021 12:14 pm

There are two major components to the discussion of the future of Brookside/Strathmore. Firstly, all the green area around the front of the main house, and the land alongside the creek, should be preserved as public parkland for the Town. There is little in the way of parks for the east end of Cobourg, and a whole lot of building going on. Then – what to do with the existing structures, both old and the new ones built when Brookside was set up. It would, IMHO, have been helpful to have had an open day when Cobourg citizens could look around the property and assess what is there. However, we know that it has been set up as an educational institute with (enforced) residential accommodation as well as classrooms. So it would seem to be the ideal site for a trade school. I see at least two possibilities. One, as a culinary institute. Every year that we go to the Shaw Festival we put some time aside for a meal at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. This is located just off the QEW and some twenty minutes from both Niagaras. Here embryo chefs are taught their trade, and practice by serving meals in an excellent restaurant. Presumably Brookside/Strathmore already has a major kitchen for feeding both residents and staff, and there is a splendid dining room in the old house that would make a perfect restaurant. My other suggestion would be as a school that would train young people with the practical skills in woodworking and masonry necessary for maintaining and restoring heritage buildings of which there are many in Northumberland County. Would the County be interested in helping to sponsor either of these suggestions? Just take down the fencing, or at least reduce it, before inviting prospective students… Read more »

Bryan
Reply to  Gail Rayment
27 April 2021 1:39 pm

Gail:
The CFWI is part of Niagara College and provincially funded.
Perhaps the Town should “encourage” the province to transfer Brookside to Sir Sandford Fleming College or Loyalist. The college could then build a campus and offer a variety of courses including the culinary arts.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Bryan
27 April 2021 2:04 pm

I know from personal experience during my school days that the Culinary School in Stratford helped the community tremendously. Not only does an institution like that attract students, but it also attracts tourism and supports culture, the arts, local restaurants (not to mention helps staff local restaurants) as well as the B+Bs. There is a similar model that helped put Niagara on the Lake on the map. Brookside, from what I know would be oversized for just a culinary program, thus supporting several trades or a cultural centre that revolves around hospitality and training.

GailR
Reply to  Bryan
27 April 2021 2:20 pm

I like that idea, Bryan,

Dunkirk
Reply to  GailR
27 April 2021 4:24 pm

As a reference point, in addition to Niagara— back in 2017, Conestoga College opened a Culinary School(with associated mgt + supply chain etc courses). The total funding was $43.5mm….see link…..a key piece to get the concept off of the ground and attract public funding was private community funding as well. Not a small amount of money…..Obviously, the Province funds staffing on an ongoing basis as well…
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/andrew-coppolino-conestoga-college-1.3945174

Fullerton
27 April 2021 10:19 am

It would be great as parkland for the town, walking trails and to use Strathmore, a historical home for public use, Art gallery would be great along with the current one in Victoria Hall, fine dining too a possibility, a local museum. The town of Cobourg needs to reclaim the land and not let it go to developers! We need more green spaces in the town, other than Victoria park and to save what is left of historical homes and properties within the town limits. So many have gone, Fitzhugh properties, Northumberland Hall and East House lands to developers! The Mess estate and woods was sold to developers, at least, limited housing.

A shame that the Woodlawn was sold to a Recovery program. IT is a historical property that was great for fine dining and staying at in a prime location!

cornbread
27 April 2021 9:54 am

Play the “Waiting Game” with the Province and get the land for free…Get David P. on our side…buy him lunch somewhere in a few weeks.

Dunkirk
27 April 2021 9:51 am

Of all the possible uses, the idea of Cobourg needing another park comes as no surprise. The fact that taxpayer money is required to provide it, doesn’t surprise either. Sad. We struggle as a community to even develop, execute a plan and maintain the parks we have, No?. (The number of cocktails it took one of us to come up with the term ‘underparked’ might be a better question…)
We need a plan at the site that replaces the 100 living wage jobs that the Province took away.
We need an idea that generates tax revenue for our Town that hasn’t been getting rec’d from the Province.
As property Owner, The Province and our MPP should shoulder 100% of the burden of coming up with a solution to these issues. As a community we should hold the province to that in next year’s election. What about the 2 biggest Ministries? Education & Health care. Expansion of health care services? What about Long term care? What about a Community College/Skills training? What about PPE or Vaccine production?
Our MPP should be presenting ideas to Council….that provides jobs, municipal tax revenue and community growth and development.

Sandpiper
27 April 2021 9:42 am

Well if Realism were to come into play $40,000 per acre less the E C area of no value to a Builder This is wishful thinking .
Yet a good investment Considering the fact that the land next to the YMCA sold for over $275 K per acre 4 yrs ago and the land on Brook Rd N with no services to it recently sold for over asking of $100 K per acre . at the Train tracks.
But as we all Know it will cost the Tax payers plenty as the Town has yet to realize a profit
from any thing it operates and Cobourg still has 1 of the Highest Property tax rates in Southern Ont. Art Gallery , Museum , Affordable what all existing money pits .
Besides Parkland is something 5 % of every new development & Developer that comes
to town has to pay or contribute to . Where have they all gone or was it just $$$ contributed and used to support and maintain our existing parks . No More Expense and needless Job creation for town employees .

Doug Weldon
27 April 2021 9:40 am

Brookside. I was a teacher at Brookside for 2 years. Walked the property a number of times. I believe that at the back of the property a wooded area continues all the way to Elgin Street following the Brookside Creek. The railway crosses right behind the brookside property. I suspect that Brookside creek continues back to the 401. A stretch of wooded land that cannot be developed follows the creek to the north. Not sure where this creek gets its start. A pathway alongside Brookside Creek would require a marked crossing or a raised walkway to cross the rails. A raised walkway/ bridge would be an excellent safe crossing and open up a protected walk for all residents north of King St. Many, many new homes are to be built all the way to the 401 in the next few years. This pathway would connect to the existing path from the CCC that connects D’Arcy St to Brook Road. This would create an excellent path network in the woods that links all of the eastern side of Cobourg together. Imagine the use such a path would get from the new homes that will be squeezed into all the freshly bulldozed neighbourhoods. People living south of King St down to Lake Ontario would no doubt be eager users of such a pathway. I bet fundraising would soon pay for some of this parkway development. I would be glad to help with that. But the best advantage of all this would be a safe walkway for all of our young people travelling back and forth to Gummow and Cobourg Collegiate HS. Currently students travelling back and forth to these schools have to run the gauntlet twice to get to their homes to the north. D’Arcy St is the only thoroughfare that any… Read more »

Doug Weldon
Reply to  Doug Weldon
27 April 2021 10:02 am

I couldn’t type another word. But I wanted to say: we could have another town slogan; “Come And Walk The Path!” could be a great promotional line for those from the west who are looking for a more out of doors existence. With some effort we could have an excellent path system in our beautiful town. Well worth every nickel for the enjoyment that, could bring to everyones life.
A little vision could go a long way.

And on my D’Arcy St sidewalk horror. Have you ever looked at the front of the little subdivision between Lakeland Multi Trade’s factory and the CCC. Have you seen anything worse in Cobourg than the mess these people must look at all along their stretch of D’Arcy? They pay taxes too. But I guess sidewalks are only meant for brand new and old ‘stock’ neighbourhoods. D’Arcy St from King to Elgin is the longest open run of any street in Cobourg – without a 4 Way stop or Street Light. The 2 traffic circles have beautiful trees in the centre that block all drivers view of any crossing pedestrian on the other side. Cars roll through and speed up. A dangerous street and a main route for our children to get to school. This should be fixed. now!

ben burd
Reply to  Doug Weldon
27 April 2021 12:38 pm

Have you seen anything worse in Cobourg than the mess these people must look at all along their stretch of D’Arcy? “

These houses have been waiting for the 2nd lift of asphalt for over twenty years – so what about it the Town of Cobourg!


Old Sailor
27 April 2021 9:35 am

I support the idea of additional parkland for our growing community. But I have two concerns. One concern is that I would not like the parkland to become another financial drain on the town’s annual operating budget like the CCC. My second concern is how would we prevent the parkland from becoming Toronto’s new free provincial park? In that instance, every parking area and residential street in the east end would get filled with GTA spend nothing visitors’ cars – just like around our Victoria Beach area in the summer. We have already donated our Victoria Beach and parking to Toronto users. Let’s not give Toronto a new parkland to take over as well. No doubt there is a good solution to this conundrum.

Doug Weldon
Reply to  Old Sailor
27 April 2021 9:46 am

There are many great trails around Cobourg. We walk them often and meet an occasional few other walkers. When I rifle their pockets I have found them all to be from Cobourg. Ha.

Conor
Reply to  Old Sailor
27 April 2021 9:48 am

Old sailor I don’t know what you are smoking in your pipe but you sure hate anyone other than people from Cobourg. Wake up and realize that out towners do spend money in Cobourg.

Doug Weldon
Reply to  Old Sailor
27 April 2021 10:11 am

My brother was CAO of Richmond Hill and on every provincial/ municipal council for 30 yrs. He stated that every town with a good beach has all the same complaints. Enjoy what we have and make the best of it. Can you imagine being from Wasaga? Don’t even think of calling it Wasaga Beach!

Irene
27 April 2021 8:58 am

Yes I believe the town should buy it. Maybe then a portion could be sold for building affordable housing or rental building! Is the a map of the land to see., maybe even an aerial shot?👍😊

Sandpiper
Reply to  Irene
27 April 2021 9:44 am

Affordable housing come s with affordable land , services , and no Red Tape planning

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Sandpiper
27 April 2021 2:15 pm

Totally agree. You can’t have affordable housing when you are building on expensive land. And then, the planning department expecting consultants for everything from traffic to sound to lighting – many things that are not relevant to our community members who don’t have a roof over their head.

The numbers won’t work at Brookside. There are many much better uses for that property. What a beautiful extension to Cobourg’s east end.

Frenchy
Reply to  Irene
27 April 2021 6:10 pm
Gerald Childs
Reply to  Frenchy
28 April 2021 9:11 am

Thank you, Frenchy. We have lived here only nine years, and I have only viewed Brookside property from King St E. We had no idea it was such a large piece of land. Having this as an asset in the Town would be great.

JimT
Reply to  Irene
28 April 2021 2:01 pm

Once again we have the saintly “affordable housing” euphemism. As Bryan pointed out a while back: all housing is “affordable” to someone. Million dollar mansions are “affordable” to genuinely wealthy folk.
If you mean “subsidized” housing paid for by the county so that low-income types can live in a place they couldn’t possible “afford” otherwise, then call it that.
That prissy “affordable” euphemism had no real meaning. Call it what it actually is: subsidized housing.

Bryan
Reply to  JimT
28 April 2021 7:23 pm

JimT,
Perhaps a better term is “low cost” housing such as Michael Sprayson proposed and the Town rejected. I can see the attraction of “affordable”. It sounds so much better than “low cost”: positive and acceptable without a pejorative taint.
Three cheers for political correctness (PC)

JimT
Reply to  Bryan
29 April 2021 1:14 am

The problem, as I see it, is that too many people seem unaware that someone has to pay for “affordable” housing and believe it is some kind of happy outcome that can be achieved just by wishful thinking.

ben burd
Reply to  JimT
29 April 2021 6:46 am

Surely JimT that someone should be us as a price of living in a caring society!

Kevin
Reply to  JimT
29 April 2021 7:44 am

We do need to be careful of the words we use. Affordable can have different meanings. For the Balder building on University some of the units will be ‘affordable’ using the CMHC definition. The owner will get less in rent in exchange for a low cost CMHC loan (I think). Some affordable housing can be owned by the public or privately. Tenants may pay rent geared to income (RGI). Income can be from work, ODSP, Ontario Works etc. In the case of privately owned units the owner gets a portion of rent from the county to make up for the much lower RGI rent paid by the tenants. Housing coops can work like this but do not have to. For everybody with the right to ‘affordable’ housing there needs to be people with the responsibility to pay for it. What is an appropriate number of subsidized units in a community? Maybe all of Brookside could be subsidized housing but what will that cost those that are required to pay for it? In the extreme case everybody would live in affordable government owned housing. Some countries have tried it.

Phunkeemum
27 April 2021 8:44 am

Buy, yes. Could be a fabulous attraction for the town. Check out what The Opinicon has done in Eastern Ontario – a beautiful restaurant, live music, events such as art shows, farmers market, annual craft show, company retreats (which will become very popular now that some businesses have moved to a permanent work at home model), accommodations/boutique hotel, an ice cream parlour, a bakery and so on.

Kathleen
Reply to  Phunkeemum
27 April 2021 9:27 am

Fantastuc idea, Phunkeemum! Especially since we have lost the Woodlawn as an entertainment venue.

Abby
Reply to  Phunkeemum
27 April 2021 11:23 am

Good ideas here and I like the idea of increasing the walking trails. In Kingston there was/is a centre which rented spaces to those with creative endeavours: artists, musicians, potters, weavers, spinners, photographers, et al. Some did their own work; others taught groups/individuals. Space at home is not always available or convenient. Such spaces at affordable rentals would help solve some of those problems and might attract more artists and artisans to the area. No wrecking this beautiful building and grounds for any reason PLEASE!

David
Reply to  Phunkeemum
27 April 2021 3:36 pm

I agree; the loss of the Woodlawn as a fine dining rendezvous was a great loss especially when you consider what is replacing it. The parkland is beautiful and a restaurant in the current facility on the grounds would add a great attraction for residents and visitors alike. We have an abundance of housing already in the pipeline, especially in the east end.

Art Seymour
Reply to  Phunkeemum
27 April 2021 11:05 pm

The Opinicon is indeed a lovely site but , being on the Rideau River with nice dockage , makes it a big drawing card from May-Oct. I have stayed there overnight on my boat several times so that the kids could swim, etc. I still, however, fully support the Town making a huge pitch to David Picinni with a view of having this property “transferred” from Provincial to Municipal registration asap. Then have our PRAC review all inputs from Cobourg citizens (which already exists) and do an in-depth report and a set of recommendations as to it’s best long term use.

Phunkeemum
Reply to  Art Seymour
1 May 2021 8:47 am

The owner has now winterized (and totally renovated) all the cottages with the aim to make it a year ’round destination. They host snowmobilers, cross country skiers, have chili contests, a pre-Christmas craft show, live music, etc.. There is one large room that caters to company retreats, and other large functions with an adjacent room with a pool table, lounge area with a fireplace and a bar – all very tasteful.

Bryan
Reply to  Phunkeemum
28 April 2021 9:05 am

Phunkeemum, Kathleen, Abby, David and Art:

Please note, the Opinicon is a private business venture. It is NOT owned by the local town or the provincial government. Cobourg should not buy Brookside for the purpose of setting up a business in competition with the private sector.
Other uses may be ok, such as parkland or as an “affordable housing” land bank. Building lots could then be sold to developers/builders to build good housing that would rent (2 brm) for under $1,000. See Michael Sprayson’s comments: https://www.cobourgblog.com/news-2021/possible-town-land-for-affordable-housing

Let the market function.

If there is such a demand for the type of facility you mentioned, why was the Woodlawn on the market for about 2 years without attracting anyone willing to buy it and continue its operation. Did any of those lamenting the Woodlawn’s sale stepped up to buy it.

Last edited 11 days ago by Bryan
JimT
Reply to  Bryan
28 April 2021 2:08 pm

I would like to see some rough figures as to how any builder can build “good housing that would rent (2 brm) for under $1,000.”. I doubt it can be done without massive subsidies from somewhere – probably local taxpayers.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  JimT
28 April 2021 4:31 pm

It can be done — without subsidies. (Although taking advantage of the program through CMHC or Cobourg’s CIP are both useful and motivating incentives).
I’d be happy to sit down and explain it to you but I don’t think a forum is an appropriate platform to do so.

A private developer can build MUCH cheaper than a town can for many reasons. At the same time, it’s the town that discourages those efforts of the developers.

Bryan
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
28 April 2021 4:59 pm

MS & JimT
The Town’s (CIP) and CMHC’s incentives are quite attractive because they more than offset the revenue loss from having some “affordable” (low rent may be a better term) units in the development. In other words, the profit is higher.

Last edited 11 days ago by Bryan
Abby
Reply to  Bryan
29 April 2021 2:38 pm

Bryan, Indeed the Opinicon is a private enterprise and it was not what I had in mind when I wrote my original comment. I couldn’t remember the name of the arts centre…it is the the Tett Centre in Kingston…worth Googling.

CiW
27 April 2021 8:40 am

It’s a wonderful idea,,,,if the town can afford it. It would be a crime to see it ripped up for a housing development.

JimT
26 April 2021 10:30 pm

Repeating here my comment of Feb 13 2021:

13 February 2021 2:32 pm

Brookside is 70 acres? Sez who? I measure it at under 1,300,000 square feet, which is less than 30 acres…

Maybe that was the size of the original tract 1½ centuries ago, before much of it was severed to build the existing housing developments, but if so, that figure is very, very out-of-date.

Last edited 2 months ago by JimT

Therefore, 30 acres @ $40,000. per acre would be a mere $1,200,000., though why grassy parkland would be valued at the same rate as nearby paved industrial suburb suitable for factories is beyond me.

Last edited 12 days ago by JimT
Marie
Reply to  JimT
27 April 2021 9:25 am

I endorse the purchase and hope the Province is not trying to get “market” rates from a lower level of government. After all it is for the people of the province

Pdr
Reply to  JimT
28 April 2021 1:57 pm

Less than 30 acres is correct.