Staff Report to Council on Additional Parking Passes

Over the past year or so, Cobourg Council and Staff have been wrestling with the issue of how to manage the popularity of Cobourg’s beach.  The solution recommended by the Parks and Recreation Advisory committee (PRAC) was a significant increase in parking fees near the beach.  Simultaneously, the parking rates for the downtown as well as the waterfront were reviewed – partly because significant Parking revenue will be needed to fund building a parking garage on Covert street to replace parking currently provided by leases of privately owned lots that will soon be developed and therefore not available for public parking.  One change is the implementation of fees for parking in Residential streets east of the beach – however, not all affected residents are happy with result. Two wanted additional parking passes and to address this, the idea suggested by Councillor Aaron Burchat was that instead of one pass per residence, three $20 season passes should be made available to residents in the new East Beach area and two $40 season passes elsewhere in Cobourg (see Cobourg News Blog report on 3 June 2022)

At the upcoming Committee of the Whole (CoW) on June 20, Staff will present a report that responds to this proposal.

Basically, Staff report that because:

  1. Revenue is needed to fund a soon to be needed $9.25M parking Garage on Covert Street
  2. Typical residential areas have two parking spaces plus a Garage
  3. Enforcement would require extra staff
  4. Only two residences have asked for extra passes – and only one during public engagement (see Appendix A – link below)
  5. Parking is available at $5/hour

That “it is not recommended that more than one pass be available for each residential property in Cobourg.”

Note that already (as of June 7, 2022), the Town has issued 439 resident waterfront passes of which 78 are from the East Beach area.

But Staff also recommend that Staff should “collect feedback from residents throughout the summer and conduct a survey in the fall asking residents how and when they utilized their passes.”

Council may not agree with staff but in any event, expect a vigorous debate.  Stay tuned.

Update – June 21

At the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 20, Council agreed with staff recommendations as described above. It was mentioned that 1) the restrictions only apply between 9:00 and 4:00 pm and 2) most properties have room for additional vehicles although some shuffling around may be needed.

Update – 28 June

When this issue came before the Regular Council at their meeting on 27 June, there was no further debate and the motion passed.


Cobourg Town Staff Report

Previous reports on Cobourg News Blog

Cobourg Internet

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1 year ago

Covert St Parking Lot is to Far from the Beach to be dragging the family and Picnic on a hot summers day This Town Planning Dept and Council are so far out of touch with reality
its Ridicules The next thing will be a Bus supplied by the Tax paying Res. so the Tourists can find the beach

1 year ago

Does anyone know if Covert Street will re-constructed when the parking garage will be built? Cuz it sure needs it! Also has anyone seen an architectural rendering of what the parking garage will look like.
I don’t get around much.

1 year ago

There is no hope of a solution that satisfies everyone, everyplace. People will have a million and 1 exceptions. Focus the reasons for increasing the fees are: New parking garage (capital cost) and increase revenue from the beach, then just do it. Once exceptions become the rule then it becomes more difficult to explain why this project was started, implemented in the first place. Put in place a rigorous process to gather up the ‘hue and cry’ over this coming year; reassess, then adjust. One thing for sure make sure those damn machines work. Nothing is more frustrating (your passengers are out of the car, mobilizing beach bound) than trekking 25 yards to get a ticket and find out that either the parking meters print isn’t working or that the meters read ‘fail’.

Merle Gingrich
1 year ago

I’ve said it before, get rid of the downtown meters, institute a 2 hr. Limit with heafty fines. I’m sure that council can make up the losses.

Reply to  Merle Gingrich
1 year ago

Is there not a Minister of Parking in Cobourg?

1 year ago

Port Hope shopping, dining and banking is looking more and more attractive

1 year ago

How about stop advertising the beach that might save a few bucks not to mention all the
trials and tribulations this tourist and parking issue causes might slow down impact a little .

The Town Killed King st 15 or so years ago when a small fast infrastructure job like upgrading the sewer and water lines was undertaken that lasted a whole year not just 1 month as predicted .
It has never recovered . Yes the town has been threatening to do it again by closing down the Covert st lot which will in all reality take upwards of 2 yrs to build . ie the new Legion Apartment / condo building or the Boulder Group Apts at University and William etc. have been 2 + years
Further more I don’t believe anyone has ever seen a concept of this New Parking structure
the Town has been working on for all these years and their idea of project cost like the Marina
is so out of date it far from reality . I say Show us the facts !

Pete M
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 year ago

There is a creek that runs under the Covert lot and empties into the harbour.

Cant wait to see the expense spent on engineering and design studies to compensate for the creek.

Probably will have to incorporate continous running pumps to deal with the ground water…solar powered of course.

I wonder how many 3 or 4 storey parking garages have been build over top of a creek?

Leave it to Cobourg to try!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Pete M
1 year ago

Back in the 50s/60s, kids used to play in that creek beneath the downtown. This is the story I wrote that was published in Cobourg Is My Poem Town:

For a time we were the Sewer Brats, meeting every Saturday afternoon at the Midtown Restaurant, to debrief ourselves on our illicit adventure of the day.

We were boys of single digit age. The dam holding back the accumulating reservoir of raging hormones was yet to come to crisis. To a boy, we had our distinctive club cologne — the Scent of Sew Age. We hadn’t clue why seagulls circled so low around us as we walked up from the harbour, really.

Our kid committee sat in the restaurant booth all filthy fingernails, dirty hands, scruffed clothing, disheveled hair, grimy-grinned, and wide-eyed, vulturing a shared plate of fries and Cokes all ‘round. Oh, and our toes were morphing into raisins inside waterlogged shoes.

We had just emerged from the subterranean depths of Cobourg’s Midtown Creek culvert and King Street storm sewer system. The portal was on Covert Street. Yes, that was our playground one summer in the late 50‘s.

It became a favourite hangout for two or three “gangs” of hormoneless boys. Indeed, one of our Sewer Brat members, with an entrepreneurial bent, later charged fees to other boys who wanted a tour of the system. But back to the origin of this boyish tale.

We had outgrown trikes, red wagons, shoot-em-up-cowboys, our Daniel Boone rubber bowie knives dull as newspaper editorials and Davey Crock… was just that — Disneyness for mere children.

We were ripe for unofficial anything that was outside the reach of some well-meaning adult armed to the smile with white-toothed idealism and bearing a binder of government-committee-approved activities which invariably resulted in unskinned knees and soft-soled feet. All the little trained seals who answered the call of the mild, returned home, clean-faced, to the silent applause of Parental Control Centre. “Houston, we have no problem”.

CLEAN-FACED! This was a crime against grime. Any boy without the honour of bearing a grass-stain skid-mark was doomed to Dorktown holding a Ward Cleaver Award of Pleasantville insignificance.

The Sewer Brats heeded only the call of the wild, something without cub scout badge merit. We were restless, not riskless. The conditions of our play had to be dirty, smelly and dangerous because we were most emphatically NOT GIRLS!

The First Amendment of the Constitution of the Democrazy Republic of Boy held for all wrong-living bad boys — Amendment 1: No Girls allowed. Amendment 2: No girls allowed. What could be more girl-free than culverts and sewers. Life was gloriously wild and free. Danger and victory went hand in hand. Defiance before compliance. We were meeting the probationary conditions for manhood.

Our initial exploration of the Midtown Creek waterway was the culvert under the Catholic School yard. It was only a block-long. We could see indirectly the light coming in from both ends. This afforded us an achievable goal with a sense of safety, a training-wheel trial. But it also encouraged us to take the bait of bigger better things — the culvert that went for blocks underneath the downtown.

On the first attempt, we entered as far as the light permitted us. Our umbilical cord to safety was stretched to the limit when darkness began to embrace us a bit too completely and we saw no light at the end of the tunnel. We didn’t emerge from the womb to end in a tomb, so we backed out.

Up to the Midtown Restaurant, the kid committee held a power lunch of chips deep dipped in Heinz. All belched up on Coke, we resolved that next Saturday we would bring candles to better penetrate deeper into the dank heart of darkness — the storied light at the end of the tunnel would be ours.

The second Saturday we were well positioned to emerge at the harbour exit. Barry got the matches, Ray got the candles, a whole full box of candles, birthday cake candles. Man, we knew what we were doing. We were boys. So in we went, leaving-it-to-beaver town behind us.

We received a quick on-site tutorial that a single birthday candle provided insufficient light to guide four boys slouching towards bethlebedlam, so the solution was for each of us to have a candle; after all, we had a “whole full box”.

We received another on-site tutorial about skinny little pink and blue birthday candles having a best-before-date of mere minutes of illumination for the unenlightened.

The impromptu education continued unabated when Barry, the match holder, stumbled on a pipe hidden under the water, and went down like a casualty in a bad western movie. Without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we turned back, lighting one candle from the other, hoping, oh man we were hoping, silent within ourselves, because we couldn’t admit fear. It would be a violation of the primary policy of boyhoodlum.

Once again, over a power lunch, the Sewer Brats autopsied the misadventure and once again resolutely resolved to make it to the light at the end of the tunnel next Saturday, come heck or hell water. Multi-tasking was the disorder du jour, so in parallel simultaneity with our resolute resolving, we did the usual autopsy on the cadaver of chips bloodied with Heinz in a hygiene-free zone. Man, it was good to be a guy!

The third Saturday saw us armed with a flashlight and two tall Christmas candles, blazing red. What could stop us now? We made it all the way to stumble bummer site which compelled us to back out the previous week. It was there that the flashlight revealed to the Sewer Brats that they were not the first to enter into this Domain of Darkness — stage-right, chalk-scrawled on the wall was “BUMP”.

In a few more minutes we were to find that we were not the only ones in that culvert. Light does not bend around corners to illuminate niches and nooks. Furthermore, innocence prevented us from imagining human predators lurking in the dark. But a mouth came out of nowhere, blew out the candle, pushed us into the water and submerged our flashlight.

The sound of fleeing feet sloshing into the darkness echoed back to exacerbate our humiliation. The spears of our epithets failed to penetrate the armour of their whooping laughter. For a seeming eternity our hands brailled the wall back to Covert Street and the Midtown meet.

Who was it? Barry suggested it was the Depot Deadheads. Jim said it was the Burnham Bullies. Our name, the Sewer Brats, was at stake. The boy policy of SHOW-NO-FEAR camouflaging REAL FEAR prevailed. Next Saturday we would go full membership: five all-wet warriors.

Each of us had candles, each had matches, and two flashlights to cinch our fragile bravery. When we reached the site of the previous week’s humiliation, we found the niche that had concealed the predators. It was eerily illuminated with subdued lighting emanating from above.

A round shaft fit-for-one led up to a storm sewer grill on the King Street curb outside Cortesis’ Billiard Academy. Once in a while someone stepped over the grill to jay-walk. Oh, what could be more fun than needlessly exciting idiot adults by hollering up the shaft.






Sadly no one took notice. Our mischief evaporated into a mild cuss. We was shafted.

So on we slouched and sloshed, around a slight bend and behold, there it was: the light at the end of the tunnel we had been striving so tenaciously to reach. We arrived at our goal, stepped out of the creek and scaled a 20-foot mountain of coal to shout our victory against the forces of darkness.

Off we paraded to the Midtown Restaurant to formally dissolve the Sewer Brats Club. Well-anointed in Scent of Sew Age, we looked to the heavens and, in our freshly-minting minds, we saw that our achievement had earned us an entourage of circling seagulls. It was great day to be a boy. 

Last edited 1 year ago by Wally Keeler
Constance Mealing
Reply to  Wally Keeler
1 year ago

I grinned and laughed through the whole story. What a hoot! I was known as a tom boy back in the day so probably would have been an honourary member from a distance. Thanks for the morning chuckle.

Reply to  Pete M
1 year ago

Hey Pete nobody is talking about moving the culvert, it may have to be worked on but nobody is talking about damming it up. Where do you get the idea that the water from the culvert will flow upwards into the garage?

Pete M
Reply to  ben
1 year ago

To build a 3 or 4 storey parking garage, they will have to go quite aways down to ensure that there is necessary foundation to support the building plus maximum load.
Studies will need to be done on soil, water tables, water infiltration, if any from the culvert into the ground around.

My concern given the close proximity to the lake is the water table, and any infiltration of water from the creek above Covert St into the underground area below Covert.

The pumps I foresee is for this potential underground water issue.

Given the need for climate change mitigation, Im assuming there will be a call to increase the capacity size of the culvert, if the ground is being opened

Reply to  Pete M
1 year ago

Only if you have below level parking, build upwards not down.

Pete M
Reply to  ben
1 year ago

Im sorry, you are right ben. Just scrape off the first foot and pour a cement pad and build up. With 2x 10’s
I take it your putting your name forward for council in the fall too

Reply to  Pete M
1 year ago

Pete M,
Spanning a creek with a suitable structure is not a question of knowhow or ability, it is about money!
There have been several mentions of “engineering studies” and “plans”, but no mention of a business case.
The $9.25M cost is say 5(??) years old. with the significant increases in construction costs and the Town’s propensity for underestimating costs, I can easily see the actual cost being upwards of $20M. Add to this the annual operations & maintenance costs as well as the periodic major capital repair costs and we can expect Another CCC style money pit in the making.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
1 year ago

Approving money pits is one of the very few demonstrated management strengths of Cobourg’s Council.

Sam Westcott
Reply to  Bryan
1 year ago

Has this Parking lot been designed? If not how do they know how much it is going to cost?
Has they Parking Garage been discussed in Council? If so When. I never heard about it.
Has anyone got any information at ? Please post here.

Reply to  Sam Westcott
1 year ago

Hi Sam, since moving here ten years ago, I have heard about this garage occasionally. Until now, I thought it was a rumour. Apparently, ideas can take decades to come to the agenda at the Council. Case in point: the parking garage.

Reply to  Sandpiper
1 year ago

sandpiper where do you get this nonsense “The Town Killed King St 15 or so years ago when a small fast infrastructure job like upgrading the sewer and water lines was undertaken that lasted a whole year not just 1 month as predicted .”?

Who predicted that digging up two blocks and replacing the sewers and storms, one pipe being a 36″ and the other a 24″ as well as gas and hydro could be done in a month – nobody from the Town I know of, in a month?

More fool you for repeating such fantasy. Where do you get small fast infrastructure jobs from?

Walmart killed King St. not a construction job! The downtown merchants knew how long the job was going to take, they didn’t like it but it had to be done. The Town’s servicing capacity was greatly improved by moving waste from Plant 1 to Plant with an oversized pipe.

One comment for the naysayers about the Covert St parking garage. It is possible to engineer a concrete floor that will span the 20″ of the culvert and also if it is built in two stages you will only lose the use of half the lot at a time.

Last edited 1 year ago by ben
1 year ago

Don’t build extra parking just for the “Tourist Season” …Our taxes can’t handle this extra expense on top of a new “jetty” to add to the tourist trade. With cost of living going into the clouds for the next “I’ll bet 10 years” lets get Cobourg “Back-to-Basics”. Let the current jetty/pier turn into a pile of rocks…it will still protect our harbour area for the boats and Yacht Club. How about a reduction in the town budget to give all taxpayers a few more $$$ in their pockets for living expenses?

1 year ago

What is being developed in the parking lot on Covert??

Reply to  Phunkeemum
1 year ago

Condo s and Affordable housing scenarios you know the new Buzz Word
to allow it to happen with less parking than required per apartment or condo unit
Which brings us back to the New Project at the south west corner of Division and Albert
To many units and to few parking spaces Not to mention the 7 + commercial units on the main floor all without Employee or client parking
This town does not have to be Down town some where like Toronto we can plan around congestion , traffic jams and lack of parking This Towns planning dept can still use common sense and local knowledge when making decisions If the wanted .

John L. Hill
1 year ago

Maybe the $9.25M cost of building a Covert Street parking garage could be saved by scrapping the whole idea. I shop downtown and go to restaurants there because I can park free in the Covert lot. If a parking garage is built, I expect the Town would implement a fee to park there. If so, sorry downtown businesses, I’ll go elsewhere.

Reply to  John L. Hill
1 year ago

I absolutely agree … and what about the “new” parking garage specs that will be required in order to have the “strength” to handle the much greater weight of the electric vehicles that are increasingly coming into the marketplace… is this included in the $9.25M cost of the building – chances are it hasn’t even been thought of — it will turn out to be yet another expensive “surprise” for taxpayers like so many other projects undertaken by this town.

Pete M
1 year ago

I take note of the following on the forth coming new parking garage:

“partly because significant Parking revenue will be needed to fund building a parking garage on Covert street to replace parking currently provided by leases of privately owned lots that will soon be developed”

I would like to know how many of those parking in the leased lots are long term lease themselves. I believe we would find most that park in the downtown lots are leased/permit parkers.

If that is the case the new parking garage could be a great revenue generator. Might even be able for new garage.

Reply to  Pete M
1 year ago

The parking garage has been talked about for at least 35 years. It is a pipe dream. First once they start to build it (if ever) our whole downtown will be lost. The town had a chance to purchase the Quigley lot and said they couldn’t afford to buy it. If they are banking on parking revenues to build the garage good luck with that. We pay now to lease the Quigley lot but how long before it has condos built on it. Not sure who is doing all this planning but I for one am not impressed.

Reply to  Pete M
1 year ago

Long term Parkers are Town Hall and LUCi employees

Cobourg taxpayer
1 year ago

Sooo a grand total of 3 residents are not happy with the changes to parking and this now needs to be discussed again. On this issue I have to agree with the staff report, millions are needed for a parking garage so there we have it. Let’s get on with more important issues such as repairing east pier which has now developed a sink hole which is a good indicator of further structural damage and fixing the break wall at west headland (or whatever we’re supposed to call it now) before the whole harbour silts in. The longer it sits disintegrating the more it’s going to cost.

Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
1 year ago

I agree – put the parking garage in the parking lot and deal with pressing issues. They got greedy and messed up the parking situation already this year, demonstrating very poor judgement. Get the East Pier project launched – it is a important piece of our waterfront landscape and is falling into extreme disrepair as they doddle.

Reply to  Rob
1 year ago

They didn’t get greedy they put a plan in place that was years overdue with part of it meant to discourage some out of town beachgoers, that other councils were afraid to deal with. Will changes be needed probably, that what lessons learned are about. You put the in place see where the short falls are an adjust no plan ever comes out perfectly or require any adjustments. If those with complaints actually would have participated in the leadup to this there may not have had been some of the issues they are complaining about.
Just think if the plan works those who despise beachgoers, they will be gone for the most part, if not then parking revenues will be through the roof so either way a win win.

Last edited 1 year ago by concerned