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.
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?
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.
- New Employer coming to Lucas Point 29 March 2021 – a report on land being sold at $40K per acre.
- Possible Town Land for Affordable Housing 16 April 2021 – includes comment by Glen McGlashon that Cobourg does not have enough Parkland.
- Brookside has Closed – 12 February 2021