There are now at least three Heritage buildings in Cobourg which their owners may be trying to demolish by neglect although hopefully the owners of Brookside (the Province) will move quickly to dispel this possibility. In a letter to Council, Keith Oliver raises the issue – details below. Separately, at Monday’s Council meeting, Councillor Adam Bureau gives notice of a motion to ask the Province to use Brookside as a winter homeless shelter. If that happened, then at least minimum maintenance would be done on Brookside. If the Province is slow to act and heat is not provided, then it could quickly get to a similar state as Sidbrook – see video below. But it seems to me that the Town has little authority to do anything – with no-one living there, it’s only a health hazard to people trespassing. Is there an expert who can direct us to someone with authority who can tell us what can be done?
An earlier article on this subject (Demolition by Neglect – see resources below) generated a lot of interest but no actual solutions.
In his recent letter to Council, Keith Oliver said [edited summary]:
I walked the grassy area around Brookside and found 21 pieces of roofing shingles on the east and south sides; black mold is enveloping many areas of the buildings’ wooden exterior. There are areas that show wood rot and decay including at the base of the grand wood columns, window sills and eaves. The building is empty. Who is ensuring that the roof is in good repair? … that water is not entering from anywhere else including the basement? … that the interior heat is maintained to a minimum of 58 degrees Fahrenheit? … that after a power outage the electricity powering the furnace will come back on? … that the water system has been effectively drained? … that no one has gained unauthorized entry to the building? … etc. When will Council address the possible “demolition of Brookside by neglect”? … hold its present owners, the Provincial Government to account … or will Brookside be subject to the tragedy which has befallen Sidbrook ? [Keith is no doubt referring to the Strathmore building on the Brookside property – see photo]
When will Council address the possible “demolition of Brookside by neglect”? … hold its present owners, the Provincial Government to account … or will Brookside be subject to the tragedy which has befallen Sidbrook? If the above protective measures have been and are being carried out by the Province, the Town needs to receive a detailed statement in writing to that effect!
The first report on this property in Cobourg News Blog was in February 2018 when Councillors were asked to take action – but if they did, it was unsuccessful (see link below). The property has been vacant since 2002 and it has slowly deteriorated. There are several links below that tell the story.
At Monday’s Council meeting, Councillors will be asked to ratify the vote taken January 3rd. The vote at the CoW was 4-3 so if one person changes their mind, demolition could be approved. However, at the January 3rd meeting, correspondence from Donald Macintosh, Chair of ACO Cobourg and East Northumberland branch states that they support the Cobourg Heritage Advisory Committee’s (CHC) recommendation to decline issuing a demolition permit for 93 Albert Street.
Once again, no actual solution is provided to the problem. There is no financial support or incentive provided so if owners cannot get permission, they will simply wait for “demolition by neglect” which is arguably much worse.
- Council Divided on Demolition of 93 Albert – 3 January 2022
- Demolition by Neglect – 8 December 2021
- Cobourg Cultural Community Lobbies for Action on Brookside – 4 May 2021
- Should the Town Buy the Brookside Property – 26 April 2021
- Brookside has closed – 12 February 2021
- Stopping Demolition by Neglect – 6 February 2018
Correspondence to Council
History of Sidbrook
- Homes with a History – At Cobourg Historical Society site
Other Information Online
- Sidbrook Former Hospital on Life Support – 2 Old Guys walking – Historical info – March 2019
- Abandonment Issues: Sidbrook Hospital – October 2013 – a report on a visit in 2011 with photos of interior [Found by Bill Thompson]
- Video of Sidbrook interior – Haunted, Forgotten and Abandoned Mansion in a Small Town, Built in 1857 – by Freaktography – 12 March 2021 – 11,114 views to date – [Found by Julien Winter]