Staff Propose Licensing Developer Sales Trailers

When moderate sized developers want to sell their homes, they will often park trailers on their land then use them as model units, construction offices and/or sales offices.  Two Downtown examples are the failed development on the “Quigley Lot” at 202 Second Street and the failed development of expansion of the John Lee Jail property.  I’ve labelled them “failed” since there have been no units constructed at those sites.  But the trailers for those projects have overstayed their original purpose and citizens have complained about them – calling them an eyesore and “being a place for individuals to trespass and shelter”.  Staff have now proposed that these structures be licensed so that they can be managed and they will present a by-law implementing this at the next CoW Council meeting on 24 January.

Trailer on Albert
Trailer on Albert

Larger developments build structures that are temporary yet more like a conventional house and they obtain approval through the normal planning process.  An example is the Tribute Homes major development in the East End at Elgin and Brook.

The 202 Second Street Quigley lot development used a trailer on Albert Street that has now been unused for several years – at least since 2014.  Note that the owner of this lot leased it to the Town for Parking in 2020 – I believe the lease is up for renewal late 2022.  And the trailer on Third Street just south of the Jail has been there for years with no activity.

The proposed licensing by-law would require:

  • A licence fee of $1000 per year with a renewal fee of $250
  • That all planning approvals including a building permit have been issued
  • The trailer must be maintained:
    • In good repair and free from health, fire and accident hazards so as to prevent an unsafe condition and an unsightly appearance;
    • Free of all noxious insects or rodents;
    • Exteriors shall be kept weather resistant through the use of appropriate weather resistant materials.
  • Existing unlicenced trailers have 3 months to be removed; new trailers must be removed one month after expiry of a licence

If the Trailer is not maintained properly or not removed when required, owners “shall be liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 for a first offence and to a fine of not more than $50,000 for a subsequent offence”.  Further, owners failing to comply with an order per the By-Law “shall be liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 for every day the offence continues after the time given for complying with the order has expired.”

In future, developers might want to follow the example of TVM when they were selling the Legion Condo development.  They used a vacant downtown store front at 1 King Street East so there was no trailer. To be fair, this store was owned by TVM but there are enough vacant stores downtown for any planned downtown development – e.g. for the one proposed for 9 Albert St (corner of Division).

It remains to be seen what Council think of this idea – stay tuned.


Second Street Development on Hold – 6 December 2020

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Just Wondering
24 January 2022 10:16 am

A minor point but the wording for the licence fee is a bit confusing. If it’s $1000 per year, what is the $250 renewal fee?

Reply to  Just Wondering
24 January 2022 6:23 pm

I would presume that if nothing is done in the first year, an additional 250.00 plus 1000.00 would be applied.

John Draper
Reply to  Just Wondering
24 January 2022 7:24 pm

At the Committee of the Whole meeting on 24 January, Brent clarified that the $1000 is a one time fee. Each year’s renewal would be $250.

Reply to  John Draper
25 January 2022 11:25 am

Well, that just doesn’t seem sensible to me. If these trailers are “eyesores” then each year of non-removal should require a more hefty fee.

Cobourg taxpayer
22 January 2022 7:29 pm

Well it’s about time town council! How many more years must home owners and merchants look at these disgraceful eyesores. The derelict structures have been abandoned to rodents, drug addicts & sadly, homeless individuals. Obviously the owners care little about the image they project for their businesses, and in one particular case, leave them in this state simply to piss people off. As residents we take pride in our historical district and the majority of home owners take great pains to care for their properties. It’s way passed the expiry date on these places…please council do something now!

Last edited 1 year ago by Cobourg taxpayer
22 January 2022 12:57 pm

Sounds to me that they have a plan, now just implement! Is it just me or does the above proposed procedure & process ‘look like’ it might (with necessary tweeks) address the abandonment of properties/buildings issue?

Pete M
Reply to  Gerinator
25 January 2022 1:15 pm

Okay, we have legal process in place remove the trailers.
The question is will the Town have the resolve to go to court to actually fine the owners and remove the trailers.
Past practice has been “Please Letters” as in could you please remove your trailer.
Look at the number of property standards no compliance letters sent to the owners of Sidbrook.
Where has that got the Town???

22 January 2022 10:50 am

Is there no way these trailers could be donated or bought by the town to house some family or homeless individuals? Put them on townland somewhere. Imagine sleeping UNDER the trailer??? Really how awful!!!

Reply to  Gracie
22 January 2022 12:59 pm


Your concern for the homeless shows that your heart is in the right place.
Your suggestion has potential, but needs a lot of work and $$$$. The first challenge is that Cobourg is not responsible for social housing …. Northumberland County is.
These sales/construction trailers are not designed for residential living. Considerable funds would be needed to bring them up to code (provincial). Also needed are utilities: sewer, water, electricity.
The concept is simple. The devil is in the details.

Reply to  Bryan
24 January 2022 7:54 am

The first challenge is that Cobourg is not responsible for social housing …. Northumberland County is.”

If that is the case why did we get so many pledges from the candidates for Council in 2018 to solve the crisis?

Reply to  ben
24 January 2022 9:05 am

They will say anything you want to hear to get your vote.

Reply to  ben
24 January 2022 7:05 pm

Because they like being outside their lanes. No different than shelter on those cold miserable winter nights. This is county responsibility, the warming centres during the day is town.

22 January 2022 9:40 am

Surly we already have ByLaws inplace to deal with such matters
Just enforce them ! Also why should any trailer be allowed on site if there is No Approved Development . An approved site plan should at least be in place The 2 examples
used in this article were used as Signage and marketing tools , not construction .

Reply to  Sandpiper
22 January 2022 10:52 am

Believe it or not, there has been an unmaintained building site in our downtown neighbourhood for over 10 years. It’s a disgrace. Residents should not have had to police the site and request bylaw enforcement all these years. There have been many incidents. Residents are burned out from having tried everything they can think of to get the derelict trailers and fencing removed. I feel that there is little hope that this new licencing will change anything unless penalties are hefty enough and includes the removal of abandoned building site-related structures and materials, at the owner’s expense. The town is well aware of the offenders. Enforce!

Reply to  Phunkeemum
22 January 2022 1:08 pm


I agree that the Town should aggressively enforce its by-laws in this regard. Be pro-active rather than the town norm of re-active.
The cost of removal should not be used as an excuse by the Town. These can be billed to the property owner and added to the tax bill if unpaid. Collection may take some time (years??) but eventually the Town will collect: either when the property is sold or by Town tax sale in settlement of unpaid taxes.

Reply to  Sandpiper
24 January 2022 7:06 pm

If they did they wouldn’t need to introduce a new one would they. It would only be an update or amendment.

22 January 2022 8:26 am

Kudos this is very much needed, thanks!

22 January 2022 7:35 am

Glad that there is the mention in the article of the abandoned trailers being a place for transients. Just as recently as Wednesday, January 12, there were two individuals dressed in hooded dark clothing, one with a full dark backpack, who were under the neglected Third Street trailer around 7:20 a.m. There is ample support for licensing fees.

Reply to  marya
22 January 2022 9:20 am

Let’s treat the mess at 43 James st similarly

Reply to  Jones
22 January 2022 12:03 pm

Yes! How sad that this address has noted historical significance in that it was a hospital over 100 years ago. I wrote my letters regarding the “catch and release” system and the unaccountable judicial officials to the Premier, the Solicitor General and to our MPP.

Reply to  marya
22 January 2022 6:50 pm


Did you get a “meaningful” replies to your letters?
If you did, would you mind sharing please?

Reply to  Bryan
23 January 2022 8:45 am


The three letters were sent on Thursday, January 20, 2022 and I shall share any replies, yet I am doubtful if they will be “meaningful” based on past experiences…

SW Buyer
Reply to  Jones
22 January 2022 1:20 pm


What is the problem at 43 James St W?
This property is owned(?)/managed by TVM. Are they not taking care of the property?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  SW Buyer
24 January 2022 11:07 am

I go past it almost every day. It is often surrounded with garbage, bags broken open, broken furniture and toys along the sidewalk. When I first saw this I thought there must have been one hell of a drunken or drug-addled brawl inside the building, but it turned out to be chronic, year after year.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
24 January 2022 11:41 am

Hopefully Jones will see and will reply to the question as s(he) obviously has different and extensive knowledge and experiences concerning this address and, especially, its tenants – although such information will probably be deemed “off topic” by the Author of this Article.

21 January 2022 2:15 pm

Our Planning Dept and processes have become legendary for all of the wrong reasons. The pictures you included John, look like sad reminders of money spent and time delayed. It would be fitting in the first month of a new Planning Director on the job, that yet another By-law gets introduced that neither strengthens the town’s coffers in any significant way or assists in any of our development goals. As such, this has all the key ingredients necessary for our intrepid Council to engage in another intellectual debate of self-gratification and false purpose…..

Personally, if we have to recognize these locations with a license, lets take a meaningful sized deposit($10k or $20k) from any non-local developers and refund it when their project is successfully completed. Lets be a town that can align our interests with developers who want to be here. I am sure a company like Tribute–annual revenue of $30mm++–will take more interest in a refundable deposit than another punitive, additional fee grab

Reply to  Dunkirk
22 January 2022 9:33 am

Unfortunately the examples used are local Developers

21 January 2022 2:07 pm

I think they should also have to post a bond or something in case they aren’t around when it comes time to remove and have proof of insurance.