Cobourg Objects to Ontario Bill 23

On November 28, there will be a special Council meeting to decide several key items.  One of them is that Cobourg strongly objects to many parts of the Ontario Government’s Bill 23.  CAO Tracy Vaughan and Director of Planning and Development Anne Taylor Scott are asking Council to object to parts of Bill 23.  There have been multiple demonstrations against the legislation (e.g. outside MPP Piccini’s Port Hope Office), particularly protesting changes to environmental protections, but Cobourg Staff are also concerned that the changes favour developers and will do little to help make housing more affordable while increasing the burden on the taxpayer.  The report by Anne provides a detailed analysis of the problems (see Resources below) but I will try to provide a summary.

Ford no doubt wants everyone to believe he’s helping – Bill 23 is called the “More Homes built faster Act” but many people do not agree although there is agreement or indifference with some aspects (see Appendix A).

Staff comments – summary

The general sense and opinion among Planning professionals is that the changes are developer-centric and remove some of the perceived hurdles and/or delays that the development industry face.

The proposed changes appear to have the effect of:

  • Alleviating the financial burden to the developer
  • Removing layers of environmental review, environmental protection, and measures to require sustainable development
  • Introducing a “use it or lose it” approach for heritage listings
  • Reducing opportunities for public participation and eliminating opportunities for residents to appeal decisions

There are limited positive elements that can be gleaned from the changes:

  • Standardizing definitions including “affordable housing”
  • Incentivizing affordable housing
  • Addressing frivolous appeals
  • Ensuring transparency by requiring Municipalities to publish a copy of their Heritage register on their website (Cobourg already does this here)

Staff focused on seven priority areas.

1. Scaling back the role of Conservation Authorities across the Province
Bill 23 has the effect of removing the ability of GRCA to perform certain roles that they have been assisting the Town with for years.  These include Stormwater Management, Natural Heritage, Hydrogeology.  The Town does not have capacity to do these things – it’s not clear how they would now be handled.

Also the GRCA will have less of a role as it relates to conservation of land, protection of significant environmental features and matters of pollution. Development may be allowed in areas that would typically be protected. The role of the GRCA will be limited to hazard areas only being the control of flooding, erosion, and dynamic beaches.

The proposed changes open the door for development to sprawl into currently identified natural areas that serve functions for flood attenuation, biodiversity, water quality, and may have financial implications for liability, insurance, and long-term maintenance.

2. An overhaul of the Development Charge framework
Affordable housing would be exempt from Development charges (D.C.) so these would be paid by all taxpayers.  “The Town will have to make the decision to adjust service levels or raise property taxes to fund growth related costs.”

It is questionable as to whether changes to D.C will achieve the stated goals of increasing housing supply as well as the provision of more “affordable housing (80% of market value)”.

3. A use it or lose it approach to Heritage Conservation
The proposed legislation requires all municipally listed (as distinct from designated) heritage properties to meet more stringent provincial standards of designation under the Ontario Heritage Act otherwise they must be removed from the list within two (2) years.

The resources required to designate each property individually would be immense (may need  a consultant) and is likely to result in the loss of heritage protection for properties.

Cobourg has four Heritage Conservation Districts, 50 individually designated buildings and 216 properties listed on the heritage registry.

4. Third unit as-of-right on residential properties
Municipalities must allow a third dwelling unit as-of-right on residential properties that permit single detached, semi-detached, and townhouse units. The legislation also limits the amount of parking that can be required to one space per dwelling unit.

The current Zoning requires two parking spaces for a single-detached dwelling and one additional space for an accessory dwelling unit. Based on Bill 23 changes, the parking requirements will be reduced, and this is likely to have a significant impact to on-street parking demands, complaints, and enforcement.

Also, the third unit as-of-right may impact the ability to provide adequate water and sanitary sewer services, including impacts to other hard and soft services.

5. Stripping the items to be reviewed as part of Site Plan Approval
Bill 23 proposes to remove Staff’s ability to comment on matters such as: urban design and architectural elements; landscaping; and the implementation sustainable and green development standards such as described in the Town’s Urban and Landscape Design Guidelines (see resources) and the ICSP currently being developed (see item 7 below).

6. Changes to planning, acquiring, and providing for Parkland
Bill 23 makes several revisions that have the effect of reducing the amount of parkland that could be acquired and exempt affordable, attainable, non-profit, and additional residential dwelling units.

7. The ability to implement parts of the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan project including the Green Development Standard and a Green Energy Retrofit Program
Municipalities will be prevented from addressing energy efficiency and climate change in new buildings  such as required by Cobourg’s planned Green Development Standards (GDS) and ICSP.  The proposed amendments could result in negatively impacting the Town’s ability to address climate change through the Site Plan approval process.

Conclusion

Cobourg Staff (Tracey and Anne) state that:

…the key objective of Bill 23 is to address the province’s housing shortage, improve affordability, reduce red tape, and make it easier to build more housing, more quickly. While Planning Staff agree with this objective in theory, proposed changes because of Bill 23 will have significant and potentially detrimental impacts to our community, including to the Town’s:

  • Environment;
  • Heritage resources;
  • Financial position; and,
  • Overall land use planning processes that have resulted in building liveable and complete neighbourhoods in the Town of Cobourg.

Summary

If passed, I would conclude that staff are saying that Bill 23 if passed unmodified would:

  • Render the new ICSP useless and bar the Town from requiring sustainable developments
  • Result in increased taxes to pay for the services to developments which are not paying Development charges – and might not even ensure more affordable housing
  • Cause fewer homes to be preserved for their Heritage
  • Result in fewer green spaces with less protection.

But read for yourself the documents supplied to Councillors – long but informative. Better than other summaries you might come across. Or see the actual proposed legislation.

Resources

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Gerinator
27 November 2022 11:15 am

Again and again this Province continues to download costs (without responsibility) to the Munis. Further complicating things is that Ford has greatly reduced the revenue/fee stream that Munis receive from Developers. There is no doubt that this legislation will go through, green-space will be gone, eco systems will be under threat, if not lost; all of this will become the Munis obligation to manage and explain to their citizens. We’ve got the government we deserve.

Tucker
26 November 2022 10:38 am

I’d like to know what is happening with the “almost vacant” land beside Can Tire? It’s really a disgrace. If Westpark? is not going to finish it, maybe the Council could put their collective heads together and find someone who would take it over and re-develop the land for low rental/seniors housing.

Ben
Reply to  Tucker
26 November 2022 1:44 pm

Another example of developers banking land and sitting on an approved site plan. We do not need to raid the green belt to put houses there.

Tucker
Reply to  Ben
26 November 2022 8:07 pm

As far as I know the infrastructure, i.e. sewage etc. is already there, so they are not “sitting” on banked land and have already “raided” your greenbelt, so get on with it, find a developer to finish the job and provide housing that seems to be on everyone’s mind.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Tucker
27 November 2022 9:11 am

If you want the Truth Call Vandyke Homes in Oakville, or even DePalma Developments
They have a much different story than what the Town will tell you .
It was Pre sold and affordable they were ready to build
Then came the need for more service capacity that the Town suggested they had at the onset of the projects and turns out they didn’t have it This of course is after Due Diligence and Pre Consultation meetings with the Town Planning Depts .
There are about 10 to 15 projects on hold due to the lack of Services & Capacity
even though it appears to be at the front door . Development , with out availability and access have driven servicing costs through the roof and there fore have made then Not Financially Viable .

Ben
Reply to  Sandpiper
27 November 2022 9:48 am

Another call to make would be to determine if the overloading and density demanded by the developer was in fact the reason for the ‘supposed’ over capacity on that site.There are about 10 to 15 projects on hold due to the lack of Services & Capacity” Also please source this statement and tell us where these 10-15 projects are.

Last edited 8 days ago by Ben
Sandpiper
Reply to  Ben
30 November 2022 10:30 am

YOU SHOULD SOURCE THIS STATMENT BEN !
THAT WAY YOU MIGHT BELIEVE IT .
Start with Vandyke next to Cn. Tire
then DePalma Devel. end of DePalma dr.
then Elgin st W. Next to the YMCA on the west side 7 acres 4 previous developers have walked away from this site in the past loosing their total investments
Then there is the one on White st west of Melard Towers , Moving on to Elgin st E of the Depo . 7 acre property stagnant , How about the Loblaws site on the west side of Strathy rd. ETC ETC ETC

Ben
Reply to  Sandpiper
30 November 2022 1:43 pm

I don’t believe it because even you admit that at least one of these developments was halted because of inadequate resources not the lack of sewage capacity.

Prove to me that these developers were underfinanced/ lack of sales/ lack of corporate motivation – none of which can be blamed on the lack of services.

“Next to the YMCA on the west side 7 acres 4 previous developers have walked away from this site in the past loosing their total investments” I voted to approve this site in the 80s when there was only one unit on the new main trunk built to service the “Y” in Rotary park. This development has never had a servicing problem just speculative developers with bad financing!

Beside you only listed six and then went into etc and etc. Hardly 10-15.

Last edited 5 days ago by Ben
Sandpiper
Reply to  Ben
1 December 2022 5:50 pm

Ben —It does now and it apparently did not 10 yrs ago
I would love to post a letter from the engineering dept. that the developers have all received on the few sites I suggested you look into These letter are of course confidential to the landowners / developer s but have been reviewed by many a Planner .
This was well after a Pre Consultation meeting and full Due diligence confirmed services were available for the proposal Considering the fact that both the OP and the Zonings where well established by this time .
So after 2-3-4 yrs of paper pushing the standard letter from the
Manager of Engineering goes out . Its a KILLER
stating ” The Town does not have sewer capacity data , It is up to the Proponent to demonstrate that downstream capacity of existing Town sewers are adequate ” .

Kevin
Reply to  Sandpiper
2 December 2022 7:54 am

Sandpiper, I have heard of this KILLER letter before. It astounds me that the town engineering department does not know the sewage system well enough or does not have the abilities to determine if there is enough capacity. How is a developer supposed to know what is buried in the ground? As a guess, the developer would have to hire a company with the proper equipment to send cameras into the sewers. Once the system is mapped out then calculations could be done. The town either does not have the proper information or does not want to share it. It all drives up costs making housing more expensive.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Kevin
2 December 2022 10:17 am

It can affect the whole project ! you are usually told to do a Flow test / study which is required to be done over a 6 to 9 month period so you catch 2 wet season ad 1 dry ie spring, summer ,fall or fall winter, spring part of the reasoning for this is to catch or calculate for ground water infiltration into the sewage lines which uses capacity .
apparently we have no idea as to the amount of seepage into or for that matter out of the sanitary sewer or storm drainage sys.
Then the zoning capcity of the property despite what the Zoning permits can be determined based on capacity . which usually requires huge upgrades to the sys. at massive costs , This can kill the economic viability or even the possibility of a taking place with in the area . Keep in mind this is not limited to just the Sanitary sys. There are storm water issues , traffic studies , etc etc
This should be stated at the outset by Engineering — not as a after purchase of property or after a positive Pre Consultation meeting with the Town , Planning and Engineering Depts . The Buyer Developers get stuck with these projects for years Thus the Dormancy of mant parcels of land .

Gerinator
Reply to  Sandpiper
27 November 2022 11:03 am

I don’t dispute your version. It occurs to me this info seems to be a vindication of what Ford is doing – reducing the Munis revenue/fees from developers, handing over responsibility for Development (replacing various incarnations of OMB) to a Minister and reducing the green space for development purposes. If various Munis Development/Planning departments take ages, don’t get it right at the get-go then this is strangulating development in general.

Dave
Reply to  Gerinator
27 November 2022 12:51 pm

Another factor is the fact revenues received are being spent to provide excellent pay packages for government union employees and then management and then rich pension plans for elected officials. Instead of investing the money in infrastructure and citizens’ services. Someone has to pay for the services so I guess the citizens first pay tax, then pay through exhorbitant home ownership and rental charges. Couple with that pet projects for special interest as we see in the renaming of Dundas Street which stretches for miles with a variety of attached costs when the change goes through. Still we need housing badly – so what is the solution?

Dave
Reply to  Dave
28 November 2022 6:30 am

Perhaps then the money is spent in the wrong areas when you consider, overcrowded highways crammed with rush hour traffic, a hospital system on life support, the housing situation, aging infrastructure in sewers, water supply, inadequate amount, not enough prisons, mental hospitals. Didn’t come up overnight, took a long time to get here. At least the housing situation is now being examined and some highways are being built. But why haven’t over many preceding years has government investments in these ctizens’ services not been made – we’re told lack of money.

Last edited 7 days ago by Dave
Gerinator
Reply to  Dave
30 November 2022 3:07 pm

Reason – these infrastructure maintenance and replacements just aren’t sexy. Therefore the latest hot buttons, favorite projects get done.

Dave
Reply to  Gerinator
30 November 2022 5:04 pm

Yes Gerinator I noted that in my 1/8 remark. Still all the time “Lack of Money” is the reason given. One government sat in Ontario for years and years when there should have been further investment. Municipal governments elsewhere have plenty of special interest group projects and unlike the days when a Civil Service job due to security in a job, no lay offs and a pension plan plus the notion you were assisting your community in service was the reward. To quote a former mayor in one cente “We have the finest and best trained employees” reason give for the pay scale. If you buy that perhaps you would be interested in some property under the Brooklyn Bridge or some terrific swampland in Florida? I think we agree that the work has not been kept up Gerinator.

Tucker
Reply to  Sandpiper
27 November 2022 11:22 am

The “story” I’ve been told is that VanDyke went bankrupt and no intention of finishing the project and that came from people who had already given VanDyke their down payment. So what is the true story.

Kevin
Reply to  Tucker
28 November 2022 7:01 am

I know someone who bought one of the row houses and paid a deposit. She was told the project was delayed, a couple of times, and then put on hold. I think she got her deposit back. One reason I heard is the builder had a much bigger, likely more profitable, project to work on instead.

Tucker
Reply to  Kevin
29 November 2022 6:23 pm

When condos etc. are being “pre sold” down payments are to be held “in trust” by a lawyer, so I would hope the clients did get their money back. But what a shame that the project can’t be finished by someone. Sure, increase the taxes on the vacant land, tax them so badly, they’ll give up, then the town can take over and build low rental housing and re-coup their investment. Instead of throwing money into the waterfront that a few people make use of only in the summer, housing for seniors, low income or homeless would make more sense.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Tucker
30 November 2022 8:31 am

Sure, increase the taxes on the vacant land, tax them so badly, they’ll give up, then the town can take over and build low rental housing and re-coup their investment.

So, Tucker, you advocate extortion rather like the Mafia?

Bryan
Reply to  Tucker
30 November 2022 10:11 am

Tucker,

“increase the taxes on the vacant land” How does the Town selectively tax a specific property?

“town can take over and build low rental housing”
The Town is not in the rental housing business and even if the Town were to build units, based on other capital projects, the cost would be way over budget, No guarantee that the rent would be low or even affordable.

Cobourg taxpayers would be on the hook for this as housing is a County responsibility and there would be no County or provincial money.

Last edited 5 days ago by Bryan
Mark
Reply to  Tucker
27 November 2022 4:11 pm

I think it is still in the courts
A lot of lawsuits, I don’t think the contractor was paid to put the sewers in

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Tucker
28 November 2022 9:20 am

Tucker

I don’t believe Town Council has the power or authority to do what you’re suggesting, except to increase property taxes on unused land or dwellings.

Ahewson
26 November 2022 6:48 am

Planning in Ontario is a joke. Go up to Strathy Road and look how much land is wasted on massive parking lots to appease the likes of Walmart and Home Depot. Think how much residential could have got built there. Our commercial properties in general could have 2nd and 3rd storeys with apartments and affordable housing. Instead we build massive single storey strip plazas, massive big box stores with massive parking lots with massive roads to serve them. Then after all that massive waste, we pave over farmland and the greenbelt to build residential. It’s backwards.

JimT
Reply to  Ahewson
30 November 2022 6:57 pm

Those parking lots are there for a reason: the customers need them for parking. Nothing to with “appeasing” anyone.
No parking = no customers.
No customers = no store.
Do you want to force everyone to shop in little neighbourhood stores all over the place, driving from one to another and searching for a parking spot each time?

Dave
25 November 2022 3:15 pm

I was surprised and disappointed the Greenbelt is targeted. First reading of Bill 23 I had understood its purpose was to counter Nimbyism. My understanding was housing was to be built in populated towns and cities in currently available and vacant land. As I drive around Cobourg I see many potential sites for housing of all kinds.

Hopefully the Opposition will do what it should. Re-vamp the Bill, bring forth policies that will assist in getting this much needed housing built. Even if it means accepting the base of an idea presented by the current government. They can beat their chests with their re-vamping but at the end of the day it would mean their was cooperation in government for getting citizens’ needs met.

Here in Cobourg let us hope there is a strong presentation made to the County on the need for housing of all kinds and policies to see it done. The pressing issue given appropriate thought. Our new mayor entered ring with great enthusiasm. I hope we will see the result of some of that enthusiasm to keep Cobourg great as I had understood him to say in his campaign. Open avenues for the towns which administer development fees and County responsibilities – not just the Opposition at the Provincial level but here in Northumberland.

Last edited 10 days ago by Dave
Ben
Reply to  Dave
25 November 2022 4:24 pm

As I drive around Cobourg I see many potential sites for housing of all kinds.”

The last official plan stated that 11,000 people could be housed with the existing zoning in the built-in boundaries. Why the expansion to the East – Area C? Development pressure on the last couple of Councils.

Ben
Reply to  Ben
25 November 2022 4:28 pm

“Hopefully the Opposition will do what it should.”

Lots of luck on that one – the committee hearing on second reading was shut down after about 90 minutes of listening (sic). This gang of barbarians – the Ford Government is ramming this thing through to be able to line the pockets of their donors!

Last edited 10 days ago by Ben
Dave
Reply to  Ben
25 November 2022 7:21 pm

Unfortunately Ben in the first comment you directed a question to me about the East development, have you written to the appropriate people on Council? Not much point asking me. 2nd, you seem rather a negative Nelly in your comments. The Conservatives have a showing of faith by receiving a majority which displays the fact the majority lost faith in the other parties, one of which ruled this province for years creating much of what must be cleared up today. You sound really angry Ben. “The gang of Barbaians???”

ben
Reply to  Dave
26 November 2022 6:15 am

 “You sound really angry Ben. “The gang of Barbaians???””

you bet I am as are thousands of others!

Dave
25 November 2022 2:59 pm

Surprised and disappointed the Greenbelt is targeted. Bill 23 I had read when announced was supposed to overcome Nimbyism. My understanding was in currently populated towns and cities appropriate housing lots would be developed in an area where residents were experiencing home ownership and rental housing prices through the roof. In driving about Cobourg there are many large lots very appropriate for erecting apartment buildings or private housing. Areas where some current residents would try and block. Housing availability is certainly in short supply for the population it is supposed to serve. The latest developments do not include anything but private housing. In viewing rental housing here in Cobourg often the high rental price is only a small part of the equation, pretty well no lower prices at all. When you factor in utilities – often see electric baseboard heating, or plus heat hydro, sometimes water as well and tenant required to pay for rental water heater. It all adds up to make up an rent fit for a king.

I hope the Opposition will do what it should – have the bill re-vamped,even if means working with the current government, work for the good of the people, not simply as chest beating Opposition to defeat a Bill with the potential for doing something about our embattled housing requirements. Nothing at all being done in the name of politics – tit for tat.

Hopefully here In Cobourg there will be a strong case made to the County on Cobourg’s need for much additional housing. Nothing too like competition – the Economic principal of Supply and Demand.

Marie
25 November 2022 2:44 pm

… aah the good, old pendulum has been pushed way over to one side, now we see efforts to find a balance – but as usual it may just go too far to the other side…

But surely something is amiss when a Waterloo region developer reports paying some “$130,000 in government levies and taxes for a one bedroom condo”. Another source states that their “municipal fees are up 27% since 2017” and by the time you sum up proposed building permit fees and site plan fees, the total cost per door can easily be $75,000. All these costs are up-front, often years before units are sold. (Source: Waterloo Region Record, Nov 3 2022)

Hopefully our numbers are less shocking – but wait – let’s see what our “Fee” consultants say…

Kevin
Reply to  Marie
27 November 2022 7:34 am

Developers are building houses at a profit or they would do something else (some of the profits go to support political parties as donations). Fees increase the selling price of houses. The fact that large single detached houses, in suburban areas, are so common is, at least in part, a result of demand. At least the buyers of these houses will be allowed to put a 2nd or 3rd unit in them to increase population density and pay off the mortgage. We could use fees to help control the type of housing being built. Higher fees for large, detached houses and lower fees for apartment buildings for example. What is the alternative to higher fees? Increase property taxes for everybody or less government perhaps.

Last edited 8 days ago by Kevin
Dunkirk
25 November 2022 1:32 pm

Bill 23 is designed by the majority Provincial gov’t in response to the federal plans for explosive immigration targets; housing shortages and a existing planning system that is NOT working.
Our Town staff–and others–have taken the bait….fully anticipated by the Premier and as certain as a public service union strike……
As Waterdrummer says below–it’s happening. Complaining doesn’t help.

What our non-resident CAO & Town Planner should do is start doing some anticipating themselves and start preparing some win/win alternatives for Brookside before an angry Provincial Government, who own and control the property, force-feed us a development project we really don’t like.

Robert Washburn
25 November 2022 9:28 am

If you would like to hear the Cobourg town planners discussing this legislation, listen to this podcast. It was posted on Nov. 12. You will hear just their concerns and the impacts it will have on property taxes and democratic rights.

Waterdrummer
25 November 2022 8:29 am

I had heard there were concerns about Bill 23 but seeing the details here really brings it home. Sadly, with the Conservative majority in office, I suspect they will just railroad this through despite objections.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Waterdrummer
25 November 2022 12:33 pm

I don’t think you would see it in the same light if you were silly enough to acquire a development parcel of land in the town of NO-BERGE as Developers and Planners call us
Cost of Building / development go through the Roof when you have to carry a property for 4 to 10 yrs on average – before approval is complete , Taxes , Application cost, Engineers , Planners ,Architects, Special studies , (Sanitary sewer flow test – 6 months at least ,)
Mortgage interest rate , Maintenance etc etc Time is Money in the long run and it all gets added
to the price of a house This Town does not Know whats wwwwhere there for Time

Ben
Reply to  Sandpiper
25 November 2022 1:26 pm

And then when you do get approval you sit on it until you can gouge the public by throttling supply.

Hey Sandpiper with your background in real estate please tell us how many units have been approved over the years and yet to be built!

BTW you should also know that development charges only cover about 69% of servicing costs why should the taxpayer have to cough up the other 31%?

Sandpiper
Reply to  Ben
27 November 2022 8:51 am

Your absolutely wright they , Development charges shouldn’t be Tax payer issues If these cost were factored back into the Purchase & Project then land acquisition values would be adjusted accordingly. But when we have certain past Councilors Lobbying for Developers ie: Boulder and the old Cobourg Star building ,etc etc on the Basis of Sustainability and Affordable Housing with rents at $2,600.– per Mon all supported by the Tax Paying Citizens what do you expect to happen these were inside jobs

Bruce
25 November 2022 8:26 am

Excellent summary of this omnibus bill, John. There are positives and negatives, as you point out, but the negatives seem to have the potential to be very damaging.

Cobourg taxpayer
24 November 2022 11:15 pm

Regarding heritage designations there have been a few that were applied that owners obviously did not apply for, for example the Sidbrook. The town of Cobourg obtained the designation and the owners have chosen demolition by neglect. I believe there were 2 on Queen Street that went the same route. One burned and the Town ordered construction to maintain a heritage designation. Another was falling down yet the Town ordered reconstruction at a heritage standard so I fail to see planning staff’s current concerns as relevant.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
25 November 2022 12:18 pm

Looks like the Town staff don’t like you Accurate portrayal of the correct FACTS
Who else would find fault with the Truth

Cobourg taxpayer
24 November 2022 11:02 pm

There are many issues in this blog but I have to question current planning staffs concerns when I see development occurring in Cobourg approved by town of Cobourg planning staff. Firstly the site alterations occurring north of Elgin in the east end. This will have a huge effect on drainage, erosion and water table. Why was the developer not forced to adapt building plans to existing elevation? Instead there is earth movement occurring on a massive scale.
Development charges applied to parkland have always been at the discretion of the municipality and can be put in a fund to be allocated elsewhere or applied in a current development.
As far as conservation authorities go the only one I am familiar with is Ganaraska. From a conservation perspective for wildlife and vegetation it is beyond me how motorized vehicles ripping around everywhere and hunting contributes to conservation. So if proposed changes to that mandate can get any worse is beyond me.

Cobourg taxpayer
24 November 2022 10:46 pm

I think there are several issues in this blog that can be commented on in regards to town of Cobourg. Firstly I question the site plan approval for the massive development occurring on east Elgin on the north side. This was approved long before Bill 23. The site alteration occurring there will have negative effects on drainage, water table and erosion. This was approved by the planning department under Glen Mcglashon and the current planners are concerned about Bill 23?! Look at what’s happened on Elgin. Why was Elgin not widened as per previous consultants reports?
In regards to development charges required to go towards parkland this has always been at the discretion of the municipality who have been given the ability to contribute this money to a general park fund not necessarily towards a actual park in a subdivision.
Heritage designations have also not always worked out as planned. For example the Sidbrook was designated a heritage building by the town of Cobourg and is that contributing to demolition by neglect?
There are many complex issues in this blog which make summaries difficult but I do question current planning staff concerns based on developments occurring in Cobourg currently.