As previously reported, the CoW Council meeting on Monday 26 will have a long Agenda. This is the fourth article (post) on this meeting – see Resources below for a list of earlier articles. Apart from the five items which are already the subject of my reports, I count four more items of interest coming before Council as well as a number of routine items (mostly Heritage Permits but also some new policies). 1) Keith Hearst, recently hired Grant and Policy Writer, provides a report on applications made and approved in 2022; 2) If approved, the development at the corner of Albert and Division will proceed – but it’s controversial; 3) A use has been chosen for the empty Memorial Arena; 4) Some of the Memorial Arena Parking lot will get another use.
Update on Grant Applications in 2022
One of the main purposes of the new role of the Grant and Policy writer was to centralize the grant application and tracking process. Previously, each Division in the Town applied for grants and tracked the progress of their grants independently. Keith has provided a detailed list of grants and their status and plans to do this annually. His full list is a major eye-test so I made an abbreviated version omitting some information but even that needs good eyes if you print it. I recommend viewing on your computer where you can expand. But so far this year, $884K in grants have been written and approved and another $147K is awaiting approval. Several more are being written, notably for the harbour work. See Keith’s reports in Resources below.
Albert/Division Street development
On February 17, 2021, the buildings on the south-west corner of Division and Albert were demolished. Council later approved re-zoning on that property to allow a mixed use development – residential and Commercial. One of the sticking points was that the normal zoning for that location would require 45 parking spots but even a revised plan only provided 35. It’s planned to have 20 apartments, 3 live/work units and 7 retail units. The developer pointed to the availability of transit plus nearby parking availability including 6 on-street spaces.
At the CoW on Monday 26 September, Council will be asked to approve a by-law to implement a cash-in-lieu-of-parking bylaw. The amount would be $86,930 and would be held in a parking reserve. This approach was approved by Council when the re-zoning was approved and there are no policies or plans prohibiting it. Update 26 Sept. Council approved this proposal at the CoW on 26 Sept 2022. The vote was 6-1 with Suzanne Seguin against.
Separately, with the new development happening, the Town took the opportunity to widen Albert Street at the corner and this project is going ahead. The Town recently announced that Albert Street will be closed for construction from Third Street to Division Street from September 26 to November 30. Details at the Town’s announcement here.
Decision on Use of Memorial Arena
The Memorial Arena closed in 2019 and in 2021 an Ad Hoc Committee was set up to recommend what to do with the building. They reported to Council in July 2022 with their first choice being to lease the building to Canadian Fire Fighters Museum (CFFM) for use as a museum. Second choice was a lease to Top Prize Events. These two contenders were asked to submit business plans and based on these, Staff is recommending a lease to CFFM – see staff report in Resources below.
One of the advantages of the CFFM Proposal was that visitors would be steady with no large peak so not all of the parking lot would be required. Therefore a secondary recommendation is that the gravel lot be made available for affordable housing – see next item in this report. Update 26 Sept. Council approved this proposal at the CoW on 26 Sept 2022.
Some of the Memorial Arena Parking lot will get another use
Over the past two years, Council and Staff have been investigating if there is any Municipal land that is surplus and could be used for affordable housing. The report by Staff on “Next Steps” recommends as Priority #1 using the “lands to the west of Memorial Arena” (as described above as the gravel parking lot). Further, staff recommend exploring these options:
- Tiny Home Demonstration Development
- Transitional Housing
- Affordable Rental Apartment Building
Staff does not provide any rationale for these options.
The impact of this proposal is that Planning staff would need to spend time on it although there are no dollar estimates provided. If Council approves this idea, the next steps would be “Staff will review best practices relating to a Call for Proposal that could be established seeking interested parties who wish to pursue a project of this nature.” Update 26 Sept. Council approved this proposal at the CoW on 26 Sept 2022.
On another subject, if you looked at the official Agenda, you’ll notice another hot item (hint – it’s an addition to the Agenda). Stay tuned for a report on that on Cobourg News Blog after the CoW meeting – that is, on Tuesday. Tuning in online to Council meetings can be an ordeal but can also be interesting.
Cobourg News Blog Reports on Final CoW meeting for this Term of Council
- End of Year Staff Reports – 20 Sept 2022 (Part 1 of this series – overview, Tourists, Parking, Storm water)
- Harbour Repair Cost problem – 21 Sept 2022 (Part 2 of this series – one Agenda item)
- End of Year Staff Reports Part 3 – 22 Sep 2022 (Part 3 of this series – 4 items)
- This article is Part 4 of the series.
Other Cobourg News Blog reports
- New Development at Albert and Division – 30 May 2022
- Ad Hoc Committee provides four options for Memorial Arena – 7 July 2022
Hosted on Cobourg News Blog
- Grant Application Tracking – 2022
- Grant Application Tracking – 2022 – abbreviated for improved readability
- Cash In Lieu of Parking – Staff report
- Memorial Arena – Staff recommendation
- Municipal Land Inventory Engagement Results and Next Steps