Little Public Interest Shown in Parking Changes

At tonight’s Public meeting to hear about proposed major changes to parking in Cobourg – both downtown and waterfront  – only one member of the public cared enough to make any comment.  Mike Holden’s concern was about the logistics of payment by visitors for parking on Perry Street. He otherwise approved of the idea.  The proposed changes are wide reaching and complicated but important for the Town – especially downtown and the waterfront.  Two issues that are really separate are being addressed: 1) Managing parking for the waterfront during the summer and 2) Downtown parking fees. The elephant in the room is that Downtown parking currently depends on two lots that are not owned by the Town (they are leased) so at some point will not be available.

The presentation by Director Laurie Wills was clear and although the substance was not different to the information submitted to Council on January 24 (and reported on this web site see links below), her summary cleared up a few points.   My previous article was long and probably left some questions unanswered.  I have therefore summarized the main points of Laurie’s presentation below.

There are four separate projects:

  1. Increase parking fees Downtown
  2. Provide monthly passes for accessible parking downtown
  3. Expand the area designated for seasonal waterfront parking and increase rates
  4. Provide resident parking passes for the waterfront area

Down Town Parking

The long term plan to provide Downtown parking is to build a ~$9.25M multi-storey 370 space parking garage on the Covert Street lot but there is currently no reserve to pay for this.  Proposed rates would generate ~$1M a year profit which would be added to reserves for this project.  Laurie said that a 2014 study recommended increasing rates and that the rates have been unchanged for 20 years.  Another incentive to increase rates is that if they are not changed, beach goers would park downtown to avoid the new high rates on the waterfront.

Downtown Rates

  Pass Pass
(Covert St. only)
Street – meters
or pay & display
2017/2018/2019 $15.00/month $5.00/day $1.00/hour
2022 $25/month $8.00/day $1.25/hour
2023 $30/month $8.00/day $1.75/hour
2024 $35/month $8.00/day $2.25/hour

Note that currently there is 2 hours of free parking on Covert Street and other lots – this would continue.  Details on this Cobourg Internet page. [Also covers other existing parking locations and fees].  Street time limit will be 3 hours.

The existing leased lot at 60 Albert Street is of particular concern; Laurie said that it’s slated for development in the near future – but it’s part of waterfront parking discussed below.

Accessible parking

Although people needing accessible parking apparently want to be treated equally and therefore pay the same as anyone, pay and display and even meters present a problem – especially in winter with snow banks.  Staff propose a monthly pass for those with accessibility permits. The cost would be equal to a monthly lot permit;  that is $25/month in 2022.

Expansion of Waterfront Area

Some parking lots will be designated for the Waterfront:

  • Third Street South of Albert
  • Queen Street (Division to McGill)
  • Albert Street
  • Albert Street Lot

Rates for these locations will increase from $2.00/hour to $5.00/hour.  Payment will be via pay & Display or credit card meters.  Enforcement will by 9:00 am to 8:00 pm instead of the current 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.  This also applies to the Marina Parking lot.

When visitors come to enjoy our beach, they park at more than just areas immediately adjacent to the beach (per above).  Recognizing this, it’s proposed to expand the area designated for waterfront parking to include the residential area to the east per the map below/right.

Figure 4 Proposed Waterfront
Figure 4 Proposed Waterfront

Paying for all Waterfront parking – Victoria Day to Thanksgiving.

Passes will be available – All passes will be available online, by mail or in person

  1. Daily pass for Visitors – $40/day – not just expanded area – any waterfront parking spot (except special Charles St. lot available only to residents).
  2. Residential Seasonal Passes – all residents of Cobourg – $40 per season
  3. Waterfront neighbourhood Residential Seasonal Passes – $20 per season

Enforced 9:00 am to 8:00 pm except in Waterfront neighbourhood (expanded area) when it will be 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  The reduced enforcement hours accommodates residence owners, their visitors and users of a day-care in that area.


To incentivize people to pay for parking, fines need to be more than parking fees otherwise people might prefer to pay the fine.
Fines – exceeded time or not valid

  Now Proposed
Downtown $25 $40
Waterfront $30 $160
Accessible – more than 24 hours $40

Brent Larmer also wants to start making the AMPS (Administrative Monetary Penalty System) available.  This streamlines appeals for tickets and avoids court hearings.

The cost to do all this is within the $150,000 amount in the approved 2022 budget.  Assuming Council approval, the schedule is to be operational by May 20, 2022.

The next step is for Council to debate the changes at the February 14, 2022 Committee of the Whole Council Meeting.   Given the amount of public consultation already done over the past year or so plus the limited interest shown by the public at the Public meeting, I’d guess that the package will be approved.


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Beach walker
10 February 2022 10:25 am

Parking is a mess. I had an elderly passenger this week. I parked but she couldn’t get out of the car because of snow! I parked around the back and we had to side step pot holes with her walker to get her out of the lot and walk in the cold to her hearing appointment on King. It’s a mess and we have to pay for it. Fix it for goodness sakes. Did I say, “it’s a mess”!

Beach walker
Reply to  Beach walker
13 February 2022 9:19 am

What sad sacks to down vote an elderly person walking in the cold . I really do think Cobourg needs more compassion..

9 February 2022 3:18 pm

Cobourg can’t in all honesty afford a 9 1/4 million dollar parking garage…and on top of that a $160.00 Fine is absolutely crazy…Who thinks up this stuff? A $60 fine is more in line with the economy.

Reply to  cornbread
9 February 2022 4:23 pm


Your right.
A parking garage is not a financially viable project for Cobourg.
$9.25M at 3% for 15 years requires annual loan payments of $766,550.
Parking gross revenue is about $400K. That’s gross, before expenses.
Even if parking revenue doubled, it would just cover the debt service and perhaps 20% of the operating costs.

Reply to  Bryan
10 February 2022 9:55 am

Just another CCC
may be there is some sort of Funding
for this project on Second and Albert st .
I know ask Paccini

Rae Waring
Reply to  Bryan
11 February 2022 5:17 pm

A professional purchasing manager (recommended by the consultant)would cut that 9.25 significantly

Rae Waring
9 February 2022 2:10 pm

Borrow the money at these rates and invest in a garage that would make downtown shopping doable and charge fees to make it pay off

Reply to  Rae Waring
9 February 2022 4:02 pm

Rae Waring,

If a parking garage was a financially viable project, it would most likely have already been built.
If the Town built it, the odds are pretty good that it would be another money pit, costing Cobourg tax payers every year…just like the CCC

9 February 2022 1:13 pm

All these ideas and yet 3 people showed up to speak on the matter.

Reply to  John Draper
18 February 2022 5:34 pm

Even worse then. If you want council to listen you have to go, this blog isn’t a council meeting. Just in case some forgot that.

Old Sailor
9 February 2022 9:48 am

Have we exhausted the option of controlling the number of people that can use the beach on the weekend? Do other towns and parks have a reservation system where pay for and receive an online cell phone pass for a day on the weekend? If we can control the number of users we will control the number of cars.

Reply to  Old Sailor
10 February 2022 9:56 am

I believe Bracebridge did

8 February 2022 7:56 pm

As for multimillion dollar parking garages: does it matter that both the Covert St. and Albert St. parking lots have a creek (the same creek!) running underneath them?

Pete M
Reply to  JimT
8 February 2022 9:54 pm

Im sorry, I just dont see the need for a 3 to 4 storey parking garage in Cobourg..
We have enough problems with drugs and crime in the downtown. Now lets add a dark, dingy place.
I would be demanding a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design before any thing is approved.
Politicians have this great idea, if we build it they will come.
Take a look at Oshawa s last built parking garage at King and Mary. It still is a white elephant, with numerous empty store fronts on the ground level.

Reply to  JimT
9 February 2022 8:39 am

Yes, I think it matters. When planning and designing the parking garage the creek will have to be considered. Developments require environmental assessments. A creek is part of the environment. The creek could run underneath a new parking garage if it is designed properly. Does the $9.25 million include the costs of a creek?

Reply to  JimT
9 February 2022 8:48 am

Thats why no one has developed them into Residential
with underground parking The same goes for the
2 properties just north of the Post Office that stream
comes into the harbour in the very north east corner .

8 February 2022 6:55 pm

Need more parking spots? Get rid of those stupid bump-outs around town.

Last edited 11 months ago by Frenchy
Reply to  Frenchy
8 February 2022 9:17 pm

You mean those bump-outs that force bicyclists to veer out into passing motor vehicle traffic every time? Those bump-outs?

Reply to  JimT
8 February 2022 10:41 pm

That’s the ones. The ones that motorists and snow plows have to negotiate on a snowy winter night. One of the dumbest things Cobourg ever did.

Reply to  Frenchy
9 February 2022 11:50 am

Even dumber than installing parking meters a second time?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
9 February 2022 5:53 pm

The bumpouts serve the elderly in walkers. They need cross only two lanes rather than four lanes. Also provide safety by making the elderly more visible to turning vehicles.
Gosh it must be so difficult for drivers to (negotiate) drive in a straight line to avoid hitting pedestrians. The horror! The horror!

Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 February 2022 6:23 pm

Curious as to where there are four lanes of traffic with bump outs in Cobourg

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Leweez
9 February 2022 6:37 pm

Four lanes wide. Two lanes are for moving vehicles. Two lanes are for parking.

Constance Mealing
Reply to  Wally Keeler
10 February 2022 9:23 am

I may be misunderstanding. If the elderly use the bump outs to cross King St. are they not jay walking which is illegal?

Reply to  Constance Mealing
10 February 2022 11:05 am

I am not a legal expert on this matter but it is my understanding that jaywalking is not illegal unless there is a local restriction, like a by-law, prohibiting such movement across a street. And, there can be related crossing restrictions when doing so within a certain distance of a marked pedestrian crossing.

Reply to  MiriamM
10 February 2022 2:24 pm

Pedestrian crossing(22) Where portions of a roadway are marked for pedestrian use, no pedestrian shall cross the roadway except within a portion so marked. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s

No markings at some bump-outs ie. Second & King

Last edited 11 months ago by Kyle
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Constance Mealing
10 February 2022 1:19 pm

The bumpouts are at intersections.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
10 February 2022 1:52 pm

There are at least 4 that aren’t at intersections.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
10 February 2022 5:19 pm

identify them

Reply to  Wally Keeler
10 February 2022 6:58 pm

1 – In front of William Academy
2 – In front of Tuggs
3 – Across the street from Tuggs
4 – In front of Dutch Oven
There may be more, but that was a quick observation.

Last edited 11 months ago by Frenchy
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
10 February 2022 9:00 pm

The one at Dutch Oven is at the intersection of King E and First Street, The one in front of William Academy was installed during CDCI-W days and was calming traffic for students and their heedless ways. I suppose it could be torn up to accommodate your fear of driving on such a dangerous street. You proved your point. You should be proud of your accomplishment. Anyway they were built with the purpose of safety, not built to be annoying to you. You can make a case to Clown Town Council; we all can of course. Take care.

Reply to  Frenchy
10 February 2022 6:31 am

“It seemed like a good idea at the time”.

Pete M
Reply to  Frenchy
8 February 2022 9:45 pm

Actually they re traffic calming devices. But obviously had the opposite affect on you

Reply to  Pete M
8 February 2022 10:36 pm

How do they calm traffic? There’s cars parked against the curb (although, we could park a few more cars there without the “traffic calming devices”), it’s not a traffic lane.

Last edited 11 months ago by Frenchy
Pete M
Reply to  Frenchy
9 February 2022 8:54 am

Yo will note in the article they talk about them being potential hazards to cyclist

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Pete M
9 February 2022 5:58 pm

That is because the bicyclist hugs the right. I always approached them by biking out into the middle of the lane, taking ownership of the lane for the two or three seconds it takes to pass the bumpout. I couldn’t care less about whiners crying about having to negotiate them. They serve the elderly and infirm.

Last edited 11 months ago by Wally Keeler
Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 February 2022 9:35 pm

I’m elderly and infirm and I think they are as dumb as you are.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
9 February 2022 11:32 pm

I think the bumpouts have been very helpful for those who only have a walker to assist them. You have the right to be mean and denigrate them, of course.

Last edited 11 months ago by Wally Keeler
8 February 2022 3:05 pm

I don’t live downtown and understand the frustration of home owners in the victoria park area regarding vehicles parked along their streets and some blocking driveways. And cars from out of town using a spot all day Something definitely needs to be done. It would be great if the albert street lot was the one where the multilevel parking went as it is closer to the beach. It’s difficult to get parked on King Street. I generally use covert street if going to a business downtown myself. As for the beach area its a shame. I rarely go down any more as parking is impossible. I usually just want to take the dogs for a walk along the boardwalk after dinner. I’m happy to pay an hour fee to do that but in the summer months there is no parking so I don’t bother any more. I rarely shop downtown any more especially in the winter months. Having a really bad back walking is a chore these days so being able to park not to far from where I’m headed is ideal for me. I’m afraid a lot of people just avoid the downtown core especially when its so full in the summer. It is a shame that lot hadn’t been bought years ago on albert street and the one across from the post office was sold. Its nice to have great events in the downtown area for people to attend but like many older residents its becoming more and more difficult to attend these things due to parking availability. If we sell all these permits as proposed what happens when they have a permit and go down and there is nothing available? More drop spots like the one down by the bandshell might be an idea so the driver… Read more »

Reply to  K2kraky
9 February 2022 8:51 am

Full of Cars on King not People or tourists

Reply to  K2kraky
9 February 2022 10:27 am

Just before Xmas I needed to go downtown to Nessie’s for shortbread cookies, I drove around but couldn’t find a parking place near there, so I went to Covert Street. After walking down King St. I was very ashamed of how our main street has ended up, majority of stores closed, paper up in the windows, garbage blowing around the streets. It doesn’t bode well for any tourists to shop in downtown Cobourg, so making parking even more difficult, not a good idea. The amount of time it would take to build such a parking structure would surely deter any potential visitors to Cobourg for shopping or to the beach.

Reply to  Tucker
11 February 2022 9:06 am

You think tourists and beach goers will want to come to Cobourg? Not with your parking regulations. So have a nice quiet and empty summer.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  K2kraky
9 February 2022 6:01 pm

Get yourself an electric scooter — you can park anywhere and everywhere and for free.

8 February 2022 2:03 pm

I hope residents realize these increased parking fees and tickets will apply to them as well…careful what you ask for. I appreciate that most on this blog think this is a wonderful idea (this likely speaks to the demographic of the group), however for young local families this is another cost that makes a beach visit even more expensive.

Reply to  Rob
8 February 2022 4:13 pm

Cobourg is pricing itself out of existence. You won’t have to worry about the costs involved in cleaning up the beach as you will have no visitors. Who ever designed these new parking rates needs to give his or her head a shake.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Conor
8 February 2022 6:30 pm

That is great news, Conor, and I hope that you are correct! However, I fear that the visitor parking charges are not nearly high enough to accomplish the desired objective.

Last edited 11 months ago by Ken Strauss
Reply to  Ken Strauss
9 February 2022 2:39 pm

Ken – I’m sure there is an off the grid shack, somewhere near Pickle Lake with your name on it…no beach-goers, tourists, Torontonians, outsiders, non-residents or others to bother you. Cobourg welcomes them all and now more than ever!

Reply to  Rob
9 February 2022 2:55 pm

Resident Seasonal Pass $40, for your beach visit. Hopefully you can find a spot.

Bill Thompson
8 February 2022 10:51 am

I see no information on parking charges at Donegan Park as that is a prime free parking spot (not patrolled) for cars during the summer and is usually one of the main spots that is utilized fully.

Reply to  John Draper
8 February 2022 11:22 am

I believe it was also mentioned that due to Donegan Park being used for a number of active sports leagues including visiting teams and spectators the logistics of paid parking enforcement would be difficult. Perhaps, in the future the scenario could be revisited. For example, someone must know the schedules of organized sports in the park.

Reply to  Bill Thompson
8 February 2022 1:57 pm

Wise decision to exclude it….

2 penniesworth
8 February 2022 10:15 am

I responded to a notice put into my mailbox about how I felt about the proposed parking charges
as we are directly impacted by the changes.

8 February 2022 9:00 am

The proposed parking garage on covert street has been discussed for years and it seems like there still is no money for it. Why the town does not purchase the lot it presently leases on the north side of Queen street is beyond me. Rumour has it that it is for sale at 2M and it would take someone smarter than me to figure out how many cars could park there but I expect a good number of spots. We presently pay to lease it and to maintain it. Once that property is sold for development parking in the downtown will be so limited people will just avoid coming downtown The town has already sold the parking lot across from the post office where did that money go? Do t believe for one minute there will be any public parking when the 4 storey complex beside it is built not likely those expensive units will likely have 2 cars per unit and I am sure at the price the condos are expected to fetch people can afford to pay to take an additional spot. The application for this condo is presently working its way through the system. I think these increases are really going to discourage anyone from coming here and shopping in our downtown core. Good on you council another nail in the coffin

Reply to  Carol
8 February 2022 9:18 am

As a further inquiry — why is the Lot north of Albert not part of the Water front system and new fee structure ??.
It could have been purchased yrs ago for approx $900 k
today the speculator owner is asking over $3 Mil at last inquiry . May be the Town could consider a more Tranquil and less intensified approach to the Water front and surrounding neighbourhoods . It just might bring the residents back to the downtown instead of avoiding it as so many have stated . The Towns attitude and approach to Rejuvenating the DownTown Core based on a seasonal Beach Tourist has FAILED miserably over the past Decade Quit beating the dead horse . Listen
to your Constituents for a change

Reply to  Sandpiper
8 February 2022 9:48 am

I really agree with you I am sorry I referred to the lot on Queen street and should have said Albert street. I did not know the price had increased to 3 M but when an average bungalow on a minimal lot is going for 1M it still does not seem unreasonable gif the size of the property. It is certainly obtainable compared to the covert street plan which they don’t have any money put aside to build it. Once that property is gone it’s gone it’s for good

Reply to  Carol
8 February 2022 10:10 am

I thought you were referring to the Post Office parking Lot closest to the Beach and Victoria Pk. That surprise Town sell off of Tax payer property should be about to expire— I understood I would be returned to the Town after 3 yrs if development had not taken place . What do you think

Reply to  Sandpiper
13 February 2022 8:22 am

Thank you for sharing the information about the 3 years I am going to check into that further. There is a request by the developers for several variances and the committee meets on Tuesday to discuss this project. We are not happy with their requests.

Just Wondering
8 February 2022 7:34 am

A few years ago we parked in a lot on the waterfront a few days before Thanksgiving. There were virtually no other cars around as we took our dog for a walk along the waterfront. We neglected to pay for parking, I think more out of ignorance of the need to pay rather than attempting to skip the parking fees. When we returned we had a ticket for unpaid parking, I guess at the time the fine was $30, which I thought was excessive. If this happened again and we were faced with a $160 ticket, it would be the last time we visit Cobourg. Perhaps a cutoff date of Labour Day plus one would be more appropriate if the intention is to control beachgoer parkers.

Reply to  Just Wondering
8 February 2022 10:18 am

We usually walk downtown! Just so happens, we did that yesterday. In a few spots we happened to notice that no car had a ticket on their dash. looking around there was no apparent sign indicating that payment was not required at this time of year and nothing to say when it was required. This was right at the harbour. A large clear sign would be helpful. no wonder ‘Just Wondering’ ended up with a ticket.

Reply to  Doug
9 February 2022 10:05 am

The Esplanade West lot EXIT has a sign indicating no payment is required after Thanksgiving to Victoria day. All the signs at the old entrance are still there. I don’t know why they have not been moved to the new entry.

Reply to  Just Wondering
8 February 2022 1:59 pm

I agree Just Wondering – this is unacceptable – far too punitive.