Council Meeting on Homelessness – Part 2

The special Council meeting on homelessness on Monday July 4 had two overlapping motions to approve or modify, essentially: 1) should there be a moratorium on enforcing by-laws prohibiting camping in Cobourg’s Parks? and 2) what should be done longer term to help Cobourg’s homeless?  The final approved motions are provided below. But before Council debated, there were 10 delegations who mostly spoke about the bad experiences of being homeless.  Not all wanted a moratorium on enforcing  By-Laws – most just wanted affordable housing.  After the delegations council debated the two motions with most time spent on the first one on banning encampments. Neither of the two Options by staff were fully endorsed although the motion by Suzanne did include the statement: “… maintain the enforcement of Municipal By-Laws currently in place”.

Delegation Highlights

  • Michael Brown – Rental housing is now unaffordable but encampments are not the solution.  What about winter?
  • Keith Oliver – suggested that people with large only partly used houses like his could open their homes or expand them but he was looking for guidance on how to do this.  He suggested an agency to coordinate available housing.
  • Peter Howes – Encampments should not be allowed – considering population relative to the county, Cobourg’s problem is only 6 people.
  • Missy McLean – Skilled professionals are needed to handle affected people.  Most stayed at Transition House but capacity is limited.  Many are banned from Motels (paid by the County).  It’s an emotional issue.
  • Rev Neil Ellis – provided written statement.
  • Brad Bridges – Provided a written statement. He works enough to pay but cannot get rental accommodation.
  • Dr Alyson King – Everyone has a right to housing – it’s a Government responsibility.  There needs to be better coordination of existing efforts. More here.
  • Meghan Sheffield – Rising house prices means rents are going up and becoming unaffordable – she gave an emotional example of a neighbour.
  • Nicole Whitmore – provided a written statement listing 9 people needing help. Download here. Worth a read.
  • Shannon Basso – Shelter is a human right. Seniors in particular are losing housing as house prices go up.  They are terrified of becoming homeless.  Options are to rent a room, go outside the county or sleep in a car.

The Debate

As expected there was considerable debate but mostly consensus.  Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin made a motion – modified from the one on the Agenda – that continued the prohibition of camping but had additions: coordination with the County and other agencies, storing personal belongings for 2 weeks and the CAO to report to Council regularly.

Here are highlights of what was said in the debate:

  • Suzanne Séguin  – moved the motion (see below) although the last paragraph about the CAO report was added after debate.
  • CAO Tracey Vaughan – we are working with the County and other community partners.  We need new ways to meet the needs of the homeless; the solution must be sustainable; we need community engagement.
  • Mayor John Henderson – The county gets funding to look after this and if more funding is needed we work with MPP Piccini.  Although he represents Cobourg at the County, he seemed to see his role there as looking after County interests and not just Cobourg.
  • Aaron Burchat – were unused buildings considered?  The response was that funding is limited.
  • Emily Chorley – could the CAO keep Council updated?  Yes.  The last paragraph of Suzanne’s motion was added to make sure of this.
  • Brian Darling – encouraged the delegates to take their case to the County.  He asked the CAO to ask the County to take the lead and she agreed.
  • Nicole Beatty – expressed concern about liability as described in the Staff report (page 13 of staff report – download here).  Nicole also asked about where belongings were stored.  Currently they are at the Works Department but a Downtown location is being investigated. She also said that there is no answer to “where do folks go?”  CAO Tracy Vaughan agreed.
  • Adam Bureau – What do Police and Fire Departments think?  Chief Vandegraaf responded that he asked other Towns and found that significantly more work (and cost) would be needed if encampments were allowed.  The Fire Chief said he would be concerned for safety because of propane heaters, fires and Carbon monoxide but he can’t help if not told about a situation.

Motion by Suzanne Séguin

THAT Council receive the Staff Report for information purposes; and

FURTHER THAT Council maintain the enforcement of Municipal By-Laws currently in place conducted by Municipal Law Enforcement Officers: and

FURTHER THAT Council endorse a revised Encampment Response PIan by the By-law Department for coordination with the County of Northumberland Homelessness Coordinated Response Team (HCRT) in order to establish a coordinated systemic multi-agency response to those sleeping rough in the Town of Cobourg to facilitate person-centered engagement opportunities and individualized connections to community ­based supports, including dignified housing/shelter options; and

FURTHER THAT in the event of an encampment site being cleaned up, everyone’s personal belongings are stored for a period of two weeks and notification provided for pick up; and

THAT Council direct the CAD to provide an oral report to Municipal Council on Homelessness in the Town of Cobourg as a standing report under General Government Services.

Passed unanimously in a recorded vote

Second Motion

The second motion by Councillor Nicole Beatty was also significantly modified and ended up with only three action paragraphs.  Even then, there was significant debate on whether Councillors should make a delegation to County Council.  Suzanne Séguin said that this was not necessary since Cobourg’s Mayor John Henderson already represented Cobourg on the Community Social Services Standing Committee (as Chair) and on the County Council itself.  She also pointed out that Cobourg was already working with the County and MPP David Piccini on possible uses of Brookside so the third paragraph about Brookside and its use for affordable housing was also redundant.

Motion by Nicole Beatty

THAT Council call on Northumberland County Council, staff and its service providers to work with the Town of Cobourg to establish an immediate solution to increasing the supply of indoor accommodation and providing street outreach support through the implementation of an Encampment Response Plan.

AND FURTHER THAT Council direct senior staff based on availability and two (2) members of Council to make a delegation to Northumberland County Community Social Services Standing Committee on July 6, 2022 at 1:00 P.M and at their next scheduled Regular Council meeting on July 20th, 2022 or through the procedures of the County Procedural By­law for the next cycle of County Council Meetings.

AND FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to engage with Infrastructure Ontario and MPP David Piccini and Northumberland County to repurpose, refurbish or rebuild a small portion of the former Brookside property to explore immediate housing options in response to the local housing crisis.

Passed in a recorded vote 6 – 1 with Suzanne against.

You can be sure that we will continue to see more action on this subject.  It’s likely to be an election issue and there will be regular reminders as the CAO reports to Council meetings.

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Keith Oliver
9 July 2022 11:02 am

In Cobourg, at this time, when affordable and stable housing appropriate to ones’ needs is so difficult to find, what is desperately needed is more housing … but, equally important and of the moment … is a central agency that lists all types of available housing.

Such an agency would list all types including transition with services, to cooperative and co-living, to subsidized and market rental, to privately owned.

Called “Housing for All” It could be staffed by volunteers and by permanent staff paid out of a small fee-for-service charged to an owner when a search by those in need is successful (Transition housing excepted.)

A Town map would show the location within Cobourg since parents usually want to be close to schools, relatives near retirement homes, individuals (without cars) prefer being close to work, the train station, etc.

In his posting of July 5 at 9:58 pm, Ken Strauss gives the web-site address for a Northumberland County 57 page publication entitled “A Newcomer’s Guide to Services”.

While excellent in many respects it is also seriously out of date. When I asked for a copy at the County offices at William and Elgin, they did not know what I was talking about; took a complicated 15 minute search before they could print off a copy.

Last printing was in 2009; classified section in newspapers is listed as a source of available housing (including in the now defunct Cobourg Daily Star). Another recommended source for housing is to ask others if they know of any.

A key component in solving the housing problem for all is to get organized as I am suggesting. Cobourg has many wonderful assets that enhance our shared standard-of-living. A “Housing for All” agency would be an important enhancement.

Kevin
Reply to  Keith Oliver
9 July 2022 1:04 pm

Why not contact the help centre with your idea?
Housing Listing – The Help Centre (thehelpandlegalcentre.ca)

Carol-Anne Caswell
Reply to  Keith Oliver
11 July 2022 11:05 am

The Help Centre sends out an email of all available housing in Cobourg & surrounding areas every Friday to anyone who requests it.

House of Saxe-Gotha
7 July 2022 5:02 pm
Last edited 4 months ago by House of Saxe-Gotha
Carol-Anne Caswell
7 July 2022 10:41 am

I was housemother/counsellor for the first halfway house in Canada (1972, MacPhail House, Ottawa) for adult female offenders coming out of prison/homeless women under the auspices of the Elizabeth Fry Society. My husband & I operated the home as a family unit; all were inclusive.
Compassion, Kindness, Encouragement, Incentive, Care…
Lump our homeless together in a park would be ‘dangerous’ without daily walk-abouts, casual & directed conversation toward rehabilitation in this non-ideal society. Violent offenders would be a catalyst for or against those who dearly want to ‘have a life’.
I commend the Greenwood Coalition for their volunteerism; their care & compassion for the homeless regardless of their situation. They are a Pillar of Light; Lightworkers bringing hope to those with none.
Society has changed: Drastically. The new normal is a vortex we do not understand. What do we do? Where am I going to live? There’s no places to rent. What is ‘affordable housing? Words, words.
Where are we headed without forward thinking, caring individuals & much needed mental health advocates.
Thank you

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Carol-Anne Caswell
8 July 2022 8:17 am

C A Caswell

Well said. The issues that define our disfunction as a community and as a larger society confront us every day and yet, dispute the “price”, we ignore them.

As you note the typical response is “words, words, words”. To that I would add “numbers, numbers, numbers”. See Peter Howes’ delegation to the special Council meeting of July 4th.

The price I refer to includes the fact that poverty makes no economic sense since it costs more than it would take to eliminate it; that tolerating well known injustices to others hardens each of us by transforming us from moral to amoral creatures; we stigmatize “others”, individuals who we don’t understand or we fear, with degrading characteristics that we can actually find among our peers and friends if we look closely enough.

We’ve known for decades about homelessness, lack of affordable housing, inadequate basic pay and their negative consequences for all … and yet we fail to act!

We need leaders with a passion to solve these costly problems; to show us as voters, taxpayers and individuals what must be done … and to do it!

At 85, and with plenty of worldly experience, I still find value in being Canadian but I have come to see Canada as a pretty cover on a book whose contants challenge our self image as a just and caring society.

Enough!

Last edited 4 months ago by Keith Oliver
Concerned
Reply to  Keith Oliver
10 July 2022 5:37 pm

As was said by Transition House Manager they have available spots, the food bank also has plenty of money this food available. As others have noted “many” (what that means I’m not sure) people on the list are banded from utilizing the housing. It would be interesting to know what one has to do to be banded from housing. Or are the rules a bit ridiculous for using the housing and they need to be reconsidered? So if there are spots available and the food bank has plenty of funding what is the real issue and why are we trying to recreate the wheel and just not tweaking the one we have.

Merle Gingrich
6 July 2022 9:59 am

Re Homeless people/encampments.
I would like to offer a solution and hopefully Cobourg Councillors read this, it’s not impossible but they need the will.
We have an empty Memorial Arena, build a number of living units on the ice surface that can be closed off for the needy can live. I’ll leave the details to the powers to be waiting for anything to do with Brookside could take years.
No more passing the buck, get your asses in gear.

Bryan
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
6 July 2022 11:07 am

Merle,

I agree that the mothballed arena could be used. Ben suggested this in one of his posts.
However, the cost of setting the area up for temp housing etc should be funded by the County. It is the County’s responsibility.
There is no passing the buck by Cobourg Council.
County Council is responsible. Mayor John Henderson, as a member of County Council is responsible.

Merle Gingrich
Reply to  Bryan
6 July 2022 11:18 am

Okay, then sell the arena to the county! Maybe our “woke” mayor should be a little more proactive.

Gerald
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
7 July 2022 8:21 am

Merle, would you mind stating your definition of woke. I find this a very confusing word as people use their own meanings.
The one definition on Google I got was
chiefly US slang
aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).”
How can the Mayor be more woke?

JimT
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
7 July 2022 12:02 am

Better idea: use the existing Golden Plough Lodge when it becomes available within a year when they move into their new home now being built.

It’s already up and running, no alterations required, and owned by the county. Perfectly good functioning housing, scheduled to be demolished.

Bryan
Reply to  JimT
7 July 2022 12:57 pm

JimT:

Your idea has merit also.
Assuming the new GPL is ready and residents “moved in” to the new GPL by Nov/Dec, clean the old GPL as needed and use it as a temporary (6-12 months) facility.
This, in combination with the Memorial arena could serve as a solution NOW….not in a year or two or ten.
No more reports and multi-year plans.
This can be done now.
It could be in operation within 2 weeks.

Again note, this is the County’s responsibility.
As indicated during yesterday’s County Social Service Committee meeting, there are about 75 “homeless” in Northumberland, of which about 10 are in Cobourg. Finding temporary shelter for 10 people shouldn’t be that hard. Shelter for 75+ is tougher but not overwhelming. Other municipalities may have “mothballed/underused” facilities that could be used to provide temporary shelter.

As indicated during yesterday’s meeting, many of the “homeless” are good people in dire need. Some are troublemakers and have been kicked out or banned from current facilities. Put the rotten apples at the back of the line. Don’t punish all for the sins of a few.

As for the money:
In May 2022, Cobourg Police received $860K from the province for homelessness, addiction, youth…
How has this money been spent?
What benefit have Cobourgers received?.
How much does it cost to provide temporary shelter for 10 people?

Since May 2020 the County has received $4M for its Social Services Relief Fund.
John Henderson, as Mayor of Cobourg, County Councilor and Chair of the County’s Social Services Committee, what has this $4M been spent on?.
What benefits have Northumberland residents and Cobourgers received?

Last edited 4 months ago by Bryan
Concerned Taxpayer
Reply to  Bryan
8 July 2022 10:17 am

Working with the Memorial Arena to aid with homelessness would solve two issues at once.

JimT
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
9 July 2022 11:26 pm

A space such as the arena might make a decent cattle barn, but how can it be deemed suitable for housing for the homeless?

Bryan
Reply to  JimT
10 July 2022 12:26 am

JimT,
How is a tent pitched on a dry floor inside a building with operating washrooms and showers not better than a tent out in a mosquito and tick infested bush. It is also temporary, until the old GPL becomes available

JimT
Reply to  Bryan
9 July 2022 11:39 pm

“Finding temporary shelter for 10 people shouldn’t be that hard. Shelter for 75+ is tougher” 

The Golden Plough Lodge (GPL) is an accredited 151 bed municipal long-term care home located in Cobourg.”
https://www.northumberland.ca/en/living-here/long-term-care.aspx

As for “clean the old GPL as needed…” it’s already kept as clean as you could possibly ask for. The staff there do a terrific job for the facility and for the residents. 

Last edited 4 months ago by JimT
Bryan
Reply to  JimT
10 July 2022 12:21 am

JimT,
I am well aware of what the GPL is. What is your point?

Further, I agree that the GPL is well maintained now. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be in need of some cleaning after the residents are moved to the new GPL. As I wrote “…clean the old GPL as needed…” The operative words being “as needed”

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
8 July 2022 8:43 am

Merle Gingrich

Your proposed solution and others like it, even controlled encampments, are necessary because the problem and suffering Is immediate; it’s happening now.

But the real and moral challenge is not to isolate and create another ghetto but to integrate. Any quick fix should come with a timeline for a compassionate and permanent solution.

Concerned
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
10 July 2022 5:38 pm

memorial arena could take years as well it would need to be brought up to code have asbestos removed and most likely countless other repairsz

Patricia Sinnnott
6 July 2022 8:48 am

Having been part of a volunteer group trying since 2017 to build “affordable housing” in Northumberland, I would like to add my 2 cents. The National Housing Strategy provides funding through Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) in various programs to eligible developers to build mixed income rental housing with no more than 50% of the units being affordable, which CMHC defines as 80% of market rent. Mixed income housing should help to stabilize cash flow and also prevents segregating people with a low income. But, the CMHC definition of affordable differs greatly from the 30% of household income used by Habitat Northumberland and other social service agencies to define affordability. Meeting other CMHC thresholds is a near impossibility for non-profits without capital and inadequate support from municipal and provincial governments.

Waterwatcher
Reply to  Patricia Sinnnott
6 July 2022 9:37 am

Unfortunately, the above reporting shows how bound in red tape we have become. Surely common sense would suggest that addressing problem/s along provincial lines would be far more useful than leaving individual towns to struggle with a complex and multilayered challenge. My understanding is that many small towns in Ontario (especially those that are not that far from a city) are having this challenge, one that is likely to increase. Do we know what other towns are doing and could we collaborate? While increasing ‘affordable’ housing might help, it does not address the more difficult questions: is the money that is given to help actually helping and is this a sustainable answer? Are we rubber stamping ‘addict’ on everyone who is homeless? How could we help the disenfranchised feel more valuable to society or to help them help themselves? Enough….

Kevin
6 July 2022 7:17 am

Yesterday I checked a CRA notice and discovered I would be getting a Climate Action Initiative payment. Am I supposed to use that money to help prevent climate change? I think it is related to carbon taxes. Federally money is collected and now given back. How does this help the climate? How many government jobs have been created to collect and payout the funds?

The more I read about housing in Northumberland the more it seems that money is being used to pay government employees. The province collects taxes and provides funds to the country. There are two levels of government employees getting paid. How is this helping the the housing situation? How much of the money is used to actually build housing? The Balder Corp building on University will have a number of affordable (CMHC definition of affordable I believe) units in exchange for government financing. It would be interesting to compare the tax payer cost per housing unit in this building with the 22 units on Elgin St.

A L
Reply to  Kevin
6 July 2022 8:38 am

This is called the Hegelian Dialectect. The government created this problem by printing money thus driving up housing prices. Then they call for a solution to their own problem. And finally tbey propose a “solution” to their own problem which always entails more government agencies and oversight. Time to abolish government. Libertarian is the answer. People can govern themselves. Anything government gets their sticky hands on, they always ruin.

Waterwatcher
Reply to  A L
6 July 2022 9:08 am

… and smaller fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum

JimT
Reply to  Waterwatcher
7 July 2022 12:14 am

Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
And the great fleas themselves in turn have greater fleas to go on
While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.
 — Augustus De Morgan
(thanks for the chuckle).

Last edited 4 months ago by JimT
Dylan
5 July 2022 9:26 pm

Questions for Counselors…

1.Have any people or families from Cobourg lacked support because facilities have been overwhelmed by people not from Cobourg? or Northumberland?

2.Are our neighboring towns or cities neglecting to fulfill their obligation to support their homeless or those with mental health/addiction?

3.If the answer is yes to those questions… when does this end? And what does the town look like when it does?

If anyone here can provide honest answers to these questions I would greatly appreciate it. Data is not available… these are sincere and honest questions asked by someone who is willing to change his mind if proven incorrect.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dylan
5 July 2022 9:58 pm

Dylan, those are great questions and I’ve never seen answers.

The booklet for newcomers to Northumberland includes a lengthy list of housing providers including Cobourg’s Transition House, Cobourg Non-profit Housing, Trinity Housing of Cobourg and many others. I assume that some newcomers use these services.

See https://nccpeterborough.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/NU-Newcomers.pdf

Carol-Anne Caswell
Reply to  Ken Strauss
8 July 2022 9:42 am

A homeless person staying at the Cobourg Transition House ‘must’ have been a ‘resident’ of Northumberland County.
Where are the County’s recommendations for homelessness located? Have we heard from the County on this urgent issue. Caring people are necessary to communicate with the homeless every day in Cobourg. Where are they? Who cares? Even to ask ‘how ya doing’ & chat for a bit.

Kevin
Reply to  Dylan
6 July 2022 6:42 am

Dylan, I cannot provide statistical answers but I do have some experience. Homelessness is, in part, related to drug use. That will not end. Several years ago a woman rented an apartment next to her place of employment. Her boyfriend quit his job and she stopped going to work. She moved in her pregnant daughter and children. The daughter’s boyfriend was only there part-time because he worked in Durham. Then the tenant moved in her son who worked in the trades. But he was an addict so did not get much work. Eventual they all had to leave. The county support payments kept coming, by direct deposit, even though the whole family had moved back to Durham. I have spoken to an individual staying in a church entrance. He did not like the rules at Transition house. One problem he had was getting to a job interview in Oshawa if he was looking for a job. A couple of us explained some places hiring locally and where to get help. He clearly was not from this area. I was stopped by a young man from Kingston looking for work. There are transient people who pass through Cobourg. There is work available but not housing. I do not know if transient people use significant resource that are then not available for locals.

JimT
Reply to  Dylan
7 July 2022 12:17 am

A classic solution to vagrancy has been for the municipality to buy them a bus ticket to somewhere else. In that case, is “somewhere else” buying bus tickets for them to Cobourg?

ben
5 July 2022 4:52 pm

I too watched the meeting and have the following observations.

First of all who could not be moved by the delegations and their testimonials to either living with the perils of “living rough” or the tales of having to deal with the problems of the homeless. It was absolutely necessary for Council to hear those words. However they, the words failed to spur the Council into action and the second half of the meeting was a demonstration of politics at its worst.

The majority of Council proceeded to tell us all why they, in their opinion, could not help. But that left Cllr Beatty pleading with the rest of Council, asking “Where will they, the homeless, go?” Nobody had an answer or any real solutions to offer.

In an orgy of compliments and broken arms, earned by patting themselves on the back they heaped praise on Director Larmer for doing his job and producing a report to Council in a short turnaround time. Isn’t that why he earns over 100K a year?

The mayor heaped praise on his committee at the County – the Social Services committee for producing a ten year plan, but failed to state now that we are in year three just what concrete action has been produced. He also Praised former Mayor Brocanier for being the Chair of the Northumberland Housing Corporation and leading a silk stockinged Board, again while stating that this body will produce 22 more units of mixed, not low income housing in a couple of years.

Unfortunately what these two bodies can do now was not explained, but they are “working hard”. Well not hard enough for the homeless or the over 1,000 people on the housing waitlist.
end of part 1

Last edited 5 months ago by ben
Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
5 July 2022 5:52 pm

Ben, I agree with the exception of your comments about Mr. Larmer. He did an excellent job preparing the report and he should be complimented rather than criticized. If only all of our representatives were as productive as Brent. He produced a quality report in days yet several of our representative have accomplished nothing of value in almost four years.

You asked what the Social Services Committee and Northumberland Housing Corporation Board can do now. Perhaps they can hire another consultant to do a survey. The election is soon so they must work fast!

ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 July 2022 6:10 pm

He did an excellent job preparing the report” – that’s why he gets the big bucks Ken!

Do a survey of what Ken or did I detect sarcasm? What the SS Ctte should do is get some funds from contingency or emergency services or the Province or perhaps the money fairy and staff the memorial arena and run a shelter. Oh I forgot they did not write down the policies/procedures of the warming room so they will have to reinvent the wheel.

Seriously they should at least fund more spaces anywhere.

Last edited 5 months ago by ben
Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
5 July 2022 8:04 pm

Ben, Brent may be “paid the big bucks” (actually less than a rookie fireperson) but he produces results; some others getting the big bucks produce little.

You’re perceptive, Ben! Hiring a consultant to do a survey is what our representatives always do when they haven’t a clue. Why change a proven strategy?

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
7 July 2022 8:55 am

Ken – “Brent may be “paid the big bucks” (actually less than a rookie fireperson)” – this is an apples to oranges comparison but I would agree BL’s $111,000 certainly isn’t “big bucks.” Turning around a report on time, even tight deadlines, is called satisfactory performance in the private section; not to suggest he doesn’t deserve a thank you before moving on to the important things, like running a Municipality like a business.

I suspect Council isn’t very accustom to projects being completed on time – this is however a mandatory part of all jobs that aren’t paid by taxes.

marya
Reply to  Ken Strauss
7 July 2022 7:44 am

The time and the place of the public compliments to Mr. Larmer by his associates were inappropriate, especially given the outcome of the meeting.

Bryan
Reply to  marya
7 July 2022 8:35 am

Marya.

Since when is it inappropriate to acknowledge someone’s good work. Yes, it is Mr. Larmer’s job and he gets paid to do it but, as Ken S points out, he consistently does a good job and produces results.

Also, why is “praise” dependent on the outcome of some related event?

You may not agree with the outcome, or Mr. Larmer’s report. That has no bearing on recognizing the quality of his work.

marya
Reply to  Bryan
7 July 2022 12:04 pm

Where is the balance of accolades for the delegates and the people who participated and who are at risk? (There was no statement from me that I did or I did not agree with the outcome).

Bryan
Reply to  marya
7 July 2022 12:44 pm

Marya;

You wrote “….public compliments to Mr. Larmer by his associates were inappropriate, especially given the outcome of the meeting….”

Perhaps I misunderstood your comment

marya
Reply to  Bryan
8 July 2022 6:18 am

The outcome of the Meeting was predictable long before it began. Private congratulations by his associates would have been appropriate.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  marya
8 July 2022 8:09 am

The outcome of the Meeting was predictable long before it began. Private congratulations by his associates would have been appropriate.

If the outcome were predictable then why did Council waste four hours with delegations, discussions and voting? Why the almost 4,000 hits and dozens of posts on this blog? Marya, you are obviously far better at political prognostication than many other Cobourg residents!

It is always appropriate to thank someone for a job well done.

ben
5 July 2022 4:45 pm

Part 2
The nail in the coffin for my confidence in anything the County does was outlined in an answer to Missy McLean, a local support worker who supervised the “warming room” that was established in the winter of 2019/20 at the CCI.
“When the County stopped funding the warming room was there any post-mortem or ‘lessons learned’ sessions with you as supervisor?” Missy answered “NO”.
So if the County failed to demonstrate interest other than handing out the money when they received it then what can we expect from them now if they haven’t learnt anything from that experience?
What will be the result of Cllr Beattie’s emasculated motion?

  • Well the homeless will have an extra 47.75 hrs to clear out of where are have been given notice to evict.
  • Two Cllrs will be authorised to speak to the Social Services ctte and then a full County Council mtg. The problem here is the two Cllrs will be talking to Mayor Henderson in his capacity as Chair. What has Council been telling him for the past 3.5 yrs and why hasn’t he listened? A totally useless exercise but one ‘allowed’ by the rest of Council to make them look responsive.
  • A training programme may be implemented to make Bylaw Officers understand the ways of the homeless and approach them with empathy.
  • The homeless will be directed to a group of people, who they have probably been dealing with in their predicament, where they may receive the same answers that drove them to the encampment.
  • The CAO is directed to make a report to Council on a regular basis, in the Government Services report. But as the Deputy Mayor refused to support any part of the initiative, how successful will that be?
Last edited 5 months ago by ben
Kathleen
Reply to  ben
5 July 2022 5:11 pm

Well said. We do not have the brain power on Cobourg Council or paid Staff to understand how to make things happen. My words.
I spoke to David Piccini and he said he is willing to work with both Cobourg Council and Northumberland Committee to access Brookside for the homeless.
But first we have to have a representative in Northumberland who understands the process. My words. Not David’s.

Last edited 5 months ago by Kathleen
ben
Reply to  Kathleen
5 July 2022 5:35 pm

As part of the discussion, Ms Seguin berated Cllr Beattie for wanting to speak to MPP Piccini, because she and her group was already doing that. Hmm maybe if she had had some success Cllr Beattie’s request would be unneccessary.

Kathleen
Reply to  ben
5 July 2022 6:44 pm

I agree Ben. David Piccini indicated that the Province provides resourses on the Asset Management process. But first, we must have someone who fully understands Asset Management. Asset Management is an MBA course on its own. Who do we have?
David’s words, “they need to push the envelope”.
Our Council does not work cohesively. Too many have their own agenda or simply don’t understand. My 2 cents.

Bryan
Reply to  Kathleen
6 July 2022 8:55 am

Kathleen & Ben,

Asset management is actually not that complicated. Yes, there are a fair number of “moving parts”, but there is good software available to take care of most of it. in 2017, the province mandated the municipalities to have asset management systems in place by 2025. Cobourg is significantly behind in doing this. There is a milestone date coming up soon (July/August, I believe) and Cobourg is nowhere close to meeting this milestone.

Kathleen, you appear to lay this on Council. The primary responsibility is Staff’s and they have seriously dropped the ball. Council’s fault is in not doing timely oversight.

Asset management is not “new”. It is a tried and true management tool that has been in use in the private sector for decades. Condo Corps have been using a modified version since the late 1960s

I find it amazing that a $65M+ corporation doesn’t have the mandated asset management systems in place and are actually “dragging their feet” in getting it done. Consultants are likely on the way.

Cobourgers deserve better.

The municipal election is only a few months away. Time for some “doers” on council instead of windbags and nappers.

Bryan
Reply to  Bryan
6 July 2022 11:17 am

Update re Asset Management Systems.

WHEREAS at the Committee of the Whole Meeting on June 20, 2022,
Council considered a Memo from the Director, Public Works, regarding the Adoption of an Asset Management Plan for Core Infrastructure;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council adopt the Asset Management Plan for core infrastructure dated June 9, 2022 as prepared by Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. to ensure that the Town of Cobourg is in compliance with the July 1, 2022 requirements of Ontario Regulation 588/17.

So, I need to amend my previous comment.
Council has adopted a plan for core infrastructure which I assume are sewer/stormwater & water systems and roads.
However, nothing has been purchased, installed or is operational.
Still a lot of work to do and little time.

Suzanne Seguin
Reply to  ben
6 July 2022 10:49 am

Ben, I questioned Councillor Beatty and her motion at Monday night’s Special Meeting regarding Brookside because as Co-ordinator of Planning, she had been invited to private meetings that included the CAO and Mayor to discuss the future of Brookside. As Deputy Mayor, I was never invited to these meetings. When the writ was dropped for the recent Provincial election, these meeting were discontinued. I am not aware if they have resumed.

ben
Reply to  Suzanne Seguin
6 July 2022 2:08 pm

Suzanne thanks for the explanation but it illustrates just how this Council, and others, operate in isolation. Coordinator reports do not work to give full information to other Cllrs. Abolish the coordinator system and avoid silos. Standing committees of all councillors will give all councillors the same information.

Dylan
Reply to  Kathleen
5 July 2022 6:22 pm

Cllr Beatty has said that the homeless will NOT have access to Brookside and ideally it would be “developed for mixed use housing”. Her definition of mixed use is unclear but a homeless shelter would mean that tales were told. The whole discussion was the reassurance that there would not be a homeless shelter so close to a school.

Bryan
Reply to  ben
5 July 2022 6:35 pm

Ben, Some of your points are well taken. I agree with Ken that Brent Larmer should be complimented on a job well done. His report was thorough, well researched and prepared in a very short time frame. Mayor Henderson chairs the County’s Social Services Committee and it is certainly fair game to ask what they have accomplished other than file reports and make a 10 year plan. This is different from the County’s Housing Corporation chaired by Gil Brocanier. This housing corp is responsible for the Elgin St E townhouses (22 units) that are currently being being “renovated” Also note that, according to the agenda, the Wednesday meeting of the Social Services Committee is to consider “removal” of the board of directors of the Cobourg Non-profit Housing Corporation and appointing a new board. Report 2022-XXX ‘Cobourg Non Profit Housing Corp Project In Difficulty – Interim Board’ “That the Social Services Committee, having considered Closed Session Report 2022-XXX ‘Cobourg Non-Profit Corp Project in Difficulty – Interim Board Appointment, recommend that County Council approve the future removal of the current Board of Directors on the date that it is declared a project in difficulty; and  Further That the Committee recommend that County Council appoint an interim Board of Directors for the Cobourg Non-Profit Housing Corporation effective on the date that it is declared a project in difficulty; and Further That the Committee recommend that County Council appoint the following individuals to the Board of Directors: Maddison Ellis, Lisa Horne, Adam McCue, Matthew Nitsch and Alanna Wierenga.” The agenda was in the public domain yesterday (Monday July 4) Note that the agenda link now leads to a blank page https://pub-northumberland.escribemeetings.com/Meeting.aspx?Id=994336b2-6e75-44b9-b09b-d84c4dc1fd10&Agenda=Agenda&lang=English&Item=19&Tab=attachments The meeting is a “zoom” meeting, so Clr Beatty will likely have difficulty “crashing” it to present a delegation. The Cobourg Non-profit Housing Corporation is not… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Bryan
ben
Reply to  Bryan
5 July 2022 7:14 pm

Interesting information Bryan, I do not know the history of the CNPH but if the Board of Directors has to be replaced by the County then perhaps the County should take some of the blame for letting the situation slide for so long, after all this didn’t happen overnight.

Just how many of the new Directors also get paid for being County employees, some of the names look very familiar? Can County employees sit on a Board of the County and be considered impartial? Also how many of these new Directors live in Cobourg, after it is a Cobourg Corporation.

And finally will the report that damned the previous Board ever see the light of day. I know I can’t afford a Fof I request, But whoever pays for one will not get much info I guess most of the pages would be redacted.

Bryan
Reply to  ben
5 July 2022 7:33 pm

Ben,
Good questions.
Also:
Why does this corp “report” to the Social Services Committee (J Henderson) instead of the Northumberland Housing Corp
The County’s web site lists a number of similar non-profit Housing Corps in Port Hope (2) Campbellford and Workworth
These are “geared to income” properties.

https://www.northumberland.ca/en/living-here/subsidized-housing.aspx

Last edited 5 months ago by Bryan
Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
5 July 2022 8:20 pm

Ben, your memory for names is impressive! Checking the list of new board members:

  • Lisa Horne, Director, Community and Social Services, County of Northumberland paid $151,507 in 2021
  • Adam Mccue, Manager, Environmental and Technical Services, County of Northumberland paid $119,817 in 2021
  • Matthew Nitsch, Accounting Services Manager / Deputy Treasurer, County of Northumberland paid $119,817 in 2021
  • Alanna Wierenga, Supervisor, Communicable Disease Liaison Unit, City of Toronto paid $122,751 in 2021

That doesn’t appear to be an independent board!

Bryan
Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 July 2022 8:52 pm

Ken & Ben,
Perhaps the make-up of the new board gives clues as to the CNPHC “difficulties”. Environmental services, Finance, Communicable Disease. A scary mix

Dunkirk
5 July 2022 2:13 pm

It’s probably expected and correct that the Town lay responsibility at the feet of the County. My understanding, is that our MPP has awarded over $5.6mm since 2020 specifically for these purposes thru the Social Service Relief Funding. In addition, the Province awarded an additional $859k a few weeks ago to the Cobourg Police Services specifically for ‘homelessness, addictions and youth mental health’ challenges.

Is the ‘solution’ now just to go back to the Province and ask for more? Over $6mm in the past few months sounds like it could provide alot of social services…..no?
What happened to the $5.6mm? The Mayor should start by answering that question if he is our–(silent?)– representative with the County.

Cobourg taxpayer
5 July 2022 1:35 pm

I am relieved that no rough camping will be allowed. The proposed “solution” if you can call it that, is pretty much all council can do. The county must be questioned on what they are going to do for Cobourg in helping the homeless and that is Mayor Henderson’s job although it sounds like he’s passing the buck. I don’t understand the county’s insistence on tearing down Golden Plough, it seems the perfect solution. Staffing costs will then be covered by the county and borne by all county taxpayers not just Cobourg.

JimT
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
6 July 2022 2:03 am

It would be very telling to find out how much it costs to operate Golden Plough for a year, excluding wages and salaries, but including utilities, energy, maintenance, insurance, taxes and such.

Then compare that to the cost of tearing it down and disposing of all the material.

Ken Strauss
5 July 2022 1:19 pm

I am confused by Mr. Draper’s comment in reference to Mayor Henderson:

Although he represents Cobourg at the County, he seemed to see his role there as looking after County interests and not just Cobourg.

If Mayor Henderson represents all of Northumberland rather than Cobourg then who is our specific voice at County Council? Is that why we have been burdened with the criminal activity and discarded needles associated with the only Transition House in Northumberland? Is that why there was frequent mention of 78 homeless rather than the much smaller number that is Cobourg’s share of the problem?

Dylan
Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 July 2022 2:18 pm

These should be questions for our town counselors..

1. Is Northumberland County allocating a disproportionate amount of funding to Cobourg as compared to surrounding towns re.homeless and drug treatment facilities?

2. Are people coming to Cobourg because of the resources/additional funding Cobourg has available?

If the answers to either of these are yes I have way more questions.

Sincerely