Two Councillors hold Zoom Town hall Meeting

Although about 50 registered to join the Zoom Town Hall by Councillors Nicole Beatty and Adam Bureau, there were at most 35 who were actually online. Several people complimented Nicole and Adam on organizing it and would like to have it be a regular occurrence. Most of the questions were not new and subscribers to this blog would already know most of the answers. The most popular subject raised by maybe 3 or 4 participants was the issue of affordable housing but other issues were also raised which indicates what people want to know even if there is little new information to know.  Some just wanted to vent and both Nicole and Adam were clear that they want to know what people are concerned about.

Subjects Raised

Q. Will the beach be open this year?  A. This will be decided in about May. The report on what citizens said in the beach survey is now available on the Town’s “Engage” site. The Parks and Recreation advisory committee will be having a meeting to work on this on March 9. They will then make recommendations to Council.

Q. With Greenbacks closed, are there any plans to rejuvenate Downtown?  A. the DBIA runs programs and in fact although 3 stores have closed, there are few vacancies and there have been 7 grand openings in the past year. Covid-19 has been a problem but “we have made it over the hump”.

Q. Can we have more trees – e.g. at the East end of the Beach in Victoria park? And (separately) why did the condo development south of the recently demolished property not include trees?  A. There is extra money for trees in the 2021 budget and people should attend public meetings held for new developments to push for trees.

Q. What’s happening at the mall?  A. Although Councillors ask the developer, they don’t really know.

Q. What’s happening with the trial sidewalk snow clearing project?  A. Staff are working out details for a possible expansion of existing sidewalk snow clearing.

Q. What happened to idea for outdoor skating at Sinclair park?  A. As described here (halfway down page).

Q. What are Adam’s and Nicole’s 2 top priorities in the next 18 months?  A. A number of items but primarily affordable housing and Nicole wants to know “what kind of Town we want to be”.

Q. Will there be a Waterfront Festival this year?  A. No. There will be a Press Release on this in the next week or so.

Q. Why does the Town allow 3 Cannabis stores Downtown?  A. Actually it’s 4 – there’s one at Strathy Road. And once the Town agreed to permit them (which it has), it has no say – it’s decided by the Province.

Q. With Liberals proposing to allow municipalities to ban handguns, what do Nicole and Adam think about this?  A.  Both don’t like handguns.

Q. What’s happening about possible waterfront dining at the Yacht Club per Letter to the Editor here?  A. Council and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee are considering the idea.

Q. Why not have Town merchandise for sale – e.g. T-shirts, ball-caps etc? A. It has already been available in Vic Hall in normal years.

Q. Has Town  provided input on what should be done at Brookside? A. Not yet. That’s a Provincial matter.

Q. What’s happening with the East Medical building opposite the High school? A. Nothing – pending a review of bylaws (details here). Nicole said that there has been no follow up from the proponent.

Q. Not much is happening on Climate Change actions. A. Actually there has been and Community engagement is coming.

Several people talked about the need for subsidized and low cost housing but I did not notice any actual question (except for concern about transition issues at the County’s Elgin/D’Arcy property.  These concerns should be directed at the County). Both Nicole and Adam were strongly supportive of the Town being involved.

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11 March 2021 9:31 am

Two people on council discussing… transparency is not understood in this town.

Cap’n John
3 March 2021 6:06 pm

I commend Councillors Beatty and Bureau for holding this session.
I would like to see similar sessions held by senior Town staff where they explained strategy, issues and plans, as well as Q& A opportunity for residents.
i envision a respectful, positive, open exchange of information and ideas, not a “ bitch session”.
Delegation to Council is a powerful and effective way for citizens to be heard, but does not provide opportunity for dialogue with Town staff.

3 March 2021 5:24 pm

Cobourg declared a Climate Emergency over a year ago.

Covid showed what happens when there is a declared and perceived emergency.

Climate didn’t show up as a priority in this ‘Town Hall Meeting’.

Q. What are Adam’s and Nicole’s 2 top priorities in the next 18 months? 
A. A number of items but primarily affordable housing and Nicole wants to know
“what kind of Town we want to be”.

Music Lover
3 March 2021 9:28 am

There is lots of discussion about what it happening at the beach and yacht club but not much about the activities at the Victoria Park bandshell. It is my understanding that the Waterfront Festival will be cancelled for 2021, that is unfortunate. Over the past several years Northumberland 89.7 FM has provided free concerts at the bandshell every Wednesday evening, hopefully these concerts will get restarted in 2021, they were always a great evening of musical local musical talent and enjoyed by all.

3 March 2021 9:26 am

My observation is that our town is a reflection of what we spend our money on. Our budget –approved by these 2 Councilors–spends money basically on 3 things: Policing, Parks & Public Works. All other categories pale in comparison. Accordingly–those are the issues that the Town & these Councilors might have the most influence. Beach opening? Absolutely. Santa Claus parade? Sure. Other concerns–not so much. We seem to have decided over time to let other priorities, not be priorities: like Economic Development or Planning. We can see the result of this positioning over the last 3 decades: we haven’t experienced growth; large employers have left; our Community College all but departed; labour participation has fallen and our citizenry has aged. Virtually all of our downtown is ‘for sale’; much of it held by absentee landlords. The majority of our full-time employed citizens work for some level of government or associated agency. The balance sit on benefits or underemployed. These are symptoms of our collective choices. Maybe what the Councilors are asking is if we want to stay on this same path? One thing seems evident to me is that this same path does nothing to encourage or attract private capital investment. A town that spends their money on Parks and Policing and doesn’t commit to economic growth, gets 3 new cannabis stores owned by Toronto retailers, not 3 new bookstores, bakeries or butcher shops. Software or engineering companies launched by local graduates who want to make a difference (and the capital that follows them) go to where they are valued most. Redpath Sugar has just announced they are building a plant in Belleville. Amazon in Ajax. Was Cobourg even considered by those two enterprises. We share the same lakeshore along the same 401 corridor? Maybe we were busy holding a… Read more »

Reply to  Dunkirk
3 March 2021 1:33 pm

You have obviously hit upon a common sentiment, evidenced by the many up votes. But why would you want large scale warehousing here? How would a corporation the scale of Amazon, that could also leave as quickly as they arrive, benefit Cobourg? Consider that it may be possible there are many successful businesses in Town but they are just too busy to complain. And, it seems reasonable to believe that reliable public services and infrastructure would attract investment.

Reply to  MiriamM
3 March 2021 3:05 pm

MM–I am not suggesting only large scale warehousing, but, I am suggesting private sector employers: successful brands perhaps, better. (Amazon is just a conspicuous example)……Our Council continues to approve budgets that reflect a focus on Police & Parks. Those 2 items are the bulk of expenses related to municipalities that focus on tourism. Accordingly, if we want to get a By-law changed for the beach or get a new fine created for visiting dogs off their leash, Councilors can do that because thats what we have decided is important to us–these are what we pay for: Police and Parks. Beyond that, we have shown that other issues really aren’t our priority…(ie) Planning/Economic Development.

Unless and until we determine that maybe we really aren’t getting the return we need from tourists for all the spending we make on Police and Parks(*see yesterdays’ Blog debate) and start focusing on some other priorities, we will continue to be subject to outside economic factors, most of which are a greater threat to our standard of living than some tough budget decisions.

Merry Mary
Reply to  Dunkirk
4 March 2021 7:25 am

“Police and Parks”
Both categories cover a wide range of priorities, many of which are not obvious to all.

3 March 2021 9:01 am

Cobourg declared a Climate Emergency over a year ago.

Covid showed what happens when there is a declared and perceived emergency.

Climate didn’t show up as a priority in this ‘Town Hall Meeting’.

Q. What are Adam’s and Nicole’s 2 top priorities in the next 18 months? 
A. A number of items but primarily affordable housing and Nicole wants to know
“what kind of Town we want to be”.

Reply to  warren
3 March 2021 9:09 am

Use brook side for local homeless shelter

Reply to  Jones
3 March 2021 8:59 pm

The homeless end up living in a mansion in a park?

Reply to  JimT
4 March 2021 6:25 am

The latest thing Jim is tiny home housing in complexes right in the community. Toronto has been busy building them. Bachelor style apartments for the homeless that they say screen the tenants. Small, compact and crammed together. The whole situation is frightening when you consider how unaffordable rents have become even for working people. I heard modular tiny homes was being considered for the Northumberland area. Why is this a problem today? Why were there not hoards of homeless years past?

Reply to  JimT
6 March 2021 2:24 pm

You prefer downtown????!???

Reply to  warren
3 March 2021 9:55 am

There is absolutely nothing that we can do here in Cobourg to influence the course of climate change. Nothing.
Any attempt to do so would be just so much fatuous feel-good virtue signaling.

Reply to  warren
3 March 2021 1:20 pm

Warren – strange how things are designated politically. The Province used to be responsible for subsidized housing in Toronto then it became the responsibility of the City of Toronto. Affordable housing assists – Market Rent seem split between Feds, Province and City and a portfolio of Affordable Market Rents was managed under the former Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto but was reassigned after the supposed amalgamation to subsidized, rent-geared-to-income and has since deteriorated into places that only the desperate would choose to live.

The County here is supposed to managed affordable and subsidized housing but if we waited for them to build further such housing none would ever be built. What there has been previously is growing whiskers with 10 year and up waiting lists. The newer ones were Federally and Provincially assisted by grants. Peterborough is working mightily on building more affordable housing both subsidized and market – there it is the city that is building them not the greater political net of which they are a part. Probably no one cares where lower income people live.
The better off citizens just wish they would go away somewhere. Perhaps there will be a market crash and people will start begging for tenants in the million dollar homes that are now valued at $350,000 and less for which they hold gigantic mortgages just like what happened in 2008 in the States. Someone has to concern themselves and apparently Cobourg Council has stepped up.

Reply to  warren
4 March 2021 10:51 am

All but one elected councillor stated Affordable Housing was a major priority for them when then ran for election as they realized there is nothing affordable to rent here.