Three New Surveys Issued

Cobourg recently lost the Communications Manager Ashley Purdy but without any announcement, we now have a new one: Kara Euale.  Kara is not new to the Town, she was previously in the Community Services Division looking after Marketing and Events but has now been appointed to the Communications position.  Although she has had her name on earlier announcements, she has now got our attention with three surveys: “What’s Next for the Memorial Arena?” and “Potential Affordable Housing Sites Survey” and Phase 2 on the ICSP.   The first two are getting a lot of attention by Council and both open up cans of worms with no simple answers so there will no doubt be a wide range of opinions for both.   I have looked at all three (and taken the surveys) and I can provide a summary.

What’s Next for the Memorial Arena?

Memorial Arena
Memorial Arena

The Memorial Arena essentially became surplus when the Cobourg Community Centre was built but its fate was sealed when a condition assessment report in 2018 said it would cost $6M to bring it up to standards so the Town decided to shut it down (see links below for more details).  They then setup an Ad Hoc committee to come up with suggestions of what to do with it.  After all it’s a major asset and there is a cost to it even if it’s shut down. One problem with demolishing or otherwise making major changes is that the roof supports solar panels and the related contract runs to 2035.  It’s not known what the cost would be to get out of this.

An interim report from the committee issued in March 2022 lists a large number of options grouped into seven categories and this is used as the basis for the survey (see the link below).  The list is long and covers just about any option you could think of. The survey does not provide estimated costs for each option nor whether there is anyone or any organization interested in pursuing any of the options.

But no doubt many residents will want to provide input so here’s your chance.

Site visits are also available on May 4, 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm, 206 Furnace Street.  Or you can make a delegation to the committee – details are at the page announcing the survey.

Go to this page announcing the survey including the survey and forum links. The survey closes May 18.

Potential Affordable Housing Sites Survey

The current Council has taken a strong interest in helping the County with their responsibility to provide affordable housing.  One of the thoughts is that the Town owns a lot of land that could be used for affordable housing  and maybe it could be offered to a developer at no charge as long as it is used for affordable housing. But most of this land is already in use as a Park or Parking lot.  So the survey asks, for each location in turn, whether you agree or disagree with using it for apartments, townhouses etc – possibly with some commercial usage in some cases.

Here is the short list of locations suggested by staff – includes their suggested usage:

  • 17 Charles Street (Charles Street parking Lot) – Consider a potential mixed use building with commercial units on the ground floor and residential units above
  • 216 Furnace Street (Memorial Arena Parking Lot) Consider a potential mixed use building with commercial units on the ground floor and residential units above
  • 69 Ballantine Street (Morley Cane Park) Consider potential for single detached homes, semis or walk-up town homes.
  • 521 Delanty Road (Peter Delanty Park) Consider potential for single detached homes, town homes or semis
  • Tracey Park Consider potential for single detached homes, town homes, semis or a small apartment building.
  • 96 Alice Street (Former Tannery Property) Consider potential for town homes or apartment building use.
  • Westwood Park [only part of the park] Consider potential for single detached homes, town homes, semis or a small apartment building.
  • Hibernia Street Parking Lot Consider potential mixed use building with commercial units on the main floor and residential units above. 

The survey includes maps to help identify the locations.

Go to this page on Engage Cobourg to take the survey. The survey closes on May 19.

Integrated Community Sustainability Plan – Phase 2

The intent is to develop an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) to help realize the aims of the Town’s climate emergency resolution. The Plan will “comprise specific and achievable actions that both the community and the municipal government of Cobourg will take to build on existing environmental progress and advance new measures to respond to the climate emergency.”

Phase one engagement for the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan ran from February 17 to March, 2022. This phase of engagement asked about the current state of Cobourg and what gaps might exist for sustainability improvement locally. Overall, the Town heard from over 187 residents – results here project page.

Phase 2 takes it one step further and includes workshops as well as a new survey which asks for opinions on what you want and not multi-choice questions. To make a meaningful contribution you have to be sold on the idea that the Town should take a leading role in solving the Global “Climate Emergency”. This is not as close to home as the other two issues. (Sorry to insert an opinion).

Go here.  This Survey closes June 1.

All surveys are also available from this link on Cobourg Internet. This page is regularly updated with the latest local surveys.

Resources

Previous reports on Cobourg News Blog

Memorial Arena

Municipal Land for Affordable Housing 

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53 Comments
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Keith Oliver
7 May 2022 9:41 pm

With regard to using sites owned by the Town for affordable-housing; I’ve made an important point earlier in this blog that the goal should be to incentivize housing that is “affordable-to-all”.

I say this since it’s become clear that housing is now so expensive that stable, adequate housing at locations best suited to the needs of even middle-income families is extremely difficult to find. A far cry from the time when I grew up and my parents relocated to be near a school, then moved elsewhere when I went to university.

What’s missing as people take a pro or con stand on a given site is one or more design solutions that could, in some cases, include maintaining the public amenity function and the housing. I live near Tracey Park and believe 12 to 24 units could be added without compromising public use. One solution would feature units built along Walton and Spencer. It would save the trees that border these streets and complete the east and north facade of the two streets respectively.

Simply asking people’s opinion without showing the possibilities, as well as undisclosed benefits to the Town, is nothing less than a waste of everyone’s time. It also sets up an opportunity for people to adopt extreme opinions, abandon any kind of rational discussion, and that we already have too much of.

Bryan
Reply to  Keith Oliver
8 May 2022 12:51 am

Keith:
You wrote: “…. the goal should be to incentivize housing that is “affordable-to-all”….”

By definition I take this to mean that all of this housing would have to be “affordable” to those with the least financial means. In the current context, this would be “geared to income” subsidized housing…a County responsibility, paid for by the residents of Northumberland County through County property taxes (about 1/3 of the total property tax: Cobourg, County, School)

You also wrote, “…believe 12 to 24 units could be added without compromising public use. One solution would feature units built along Walton and Spencer….”

I believe that you have seriously underestimated the land area required to build the housing that you suggest. Regardless of the style: single, semi or townhouse, the lots would use 1/2 to 3/4 of the park area. Note that the green space behind the Lions Centre is not part of the park.

Look at google map, satellite view and overlay the lot footprints from the nearby houses.

Interesting idea, I think, but not fully thought through and you provide no indication that your plan would be acceptable to the nearby residents whom I doubt would share your perspective.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Bryan
8 May 2022 6:00 am

Bryan

What I mean by “housing-affordable-to-all” is just what it says, just like it was 25 years ago when housing consumed no more than 25% of one’s income. The design for Tracey would cover no more and possibly less than 20% of the site and not affect the present public use.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
8 May 2022 1:21 pm

Keith, your goal of “affordable by all” is not going to happen regardless of how much of our parkland is desecrated in poorly conceived but feel good schemes.

Consider a few simple facts: The median after tax family income in Northumberland was $62,187 in 2015; half of the families earned less. Unfortunately StatsCan doesn’t provide more recent numbers but we haven’t added so many overpaid government jobs here to seriously change the median.

Using your 25% for housing means a monthly cost of about $1295 would be affordable and that amount must include property tax, heating, electricity, repairs, etc. Say a total of $295 for these expenses so $1,000/month for the actual mortgage payment. At the current 5-year mortgage rate of about 4.5% and 25-year amortization, the maximum possible mortgage amount would be $180,000.

For comparison, the lowest priced current Cobourg listing on realtor.ca is $374,900 or slightly more than twice what a typical family can afford!

MiriamM
3 May 2022 9:23 pm

Keeping someone homeless costs a lot of money.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/opinion-jino-distasio-homelessness-housing-first-1.4341552#:~:text=The%20costs%20of%20homelessness,at%20%2445%2C500%20and%20%2453%2C000%20respectively).

From above articIe: It is important to note that the average cost of homelessness ranged from just over $29,000 in Moncton to a high of $59,000 in Toronto (Vancouver fell in the middle at $53,000, while Winnipeg and Montreal sat at $45,500 and $53,000 respectively).

And, please leave our parks alone.Chopping off chunks to develop is shortsighted in context of neighbourhood planning and making sure public amenities serve all ages. In addition, parkland systems are part of healthy communities and useful in tempering the effects of climate change especially as development becomes denser.

In addition, I agree with JimT regarding repurposing the present Golden Plough Lodge once the new building is operational.

Gerinator
Reply to  MiriamM
4 May 2022 4:11 pm

Was repurposing part of the Business Plan alternatives? Me thinks not.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Gerinator
4 May 2022 6:10 pm

Repurposing? Of course not! Why would they? With sufficient gullible taxpayers there is never a need to consider doing something financially prudent.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
7 May 2022 9:53 pm

Ken

A common theme that runs through many of your comments, and this is a good example, is that being elected to public office, or being a part of the mechanism of government, is proof that one is incompetent. Now you add that a majority of us taxpayers are gullible.

Incredible, and I mean that literally!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
8 May 2022 2:59 pm

Keith, those that we elect at all levels of government is prima facie proof that the majority of voters are gullible. Not all politicians are incompetent; some are quite adept at manipulation.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
8 May 2022 9:43 pm

Ken

Gullible compared to what? The cynical opinions and beliefs of one Ken Strauss?

What a disgusting statement! What system of government do you support? Is it unchecked capitalism? Give us an example before you go any further! Or can you?

Your statement is one of the most cynical I’ve ever heard regarding our hard won system of Canadian self-government. Others have recognized it as one of the world’s best functioning forms of democratic government under one of the world’s most respected Constitutions and it:s associated Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Why are you so cynical? Why is your only measurement of value based solely on the all mighty dollar. Why have you so little empathy or general concern for those who are less fortunate that you?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
8 May 2022 10:20 pm

I think that Mr. Churchill’s often quoted assessment is probably right: “democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.”

Keith, do you pay attention to what happens at our various levels of government? Are you actually happy with Cobourg’s decisions? What about Ontario’s? Is Ottawa any better?

But ignore my priorities and consider only yours, Keith. Do you honestly feel that any level of government is solving the problem of affordable housing? Do you think that using our own tax dollars to buy our votes is acceptable?

Last edited 16 days ago by Ken Strauss
Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
9 May 2022 10:33 am

Ken

As usual complaint, complaint, complaint! If you want to be taken seriously offer solutions instead.

Again I ask you for the second time, tell us what type of government you believe would be better than the one we have. Otherwise your disrespectful, cynical comments are invalid.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
9 May 2022 11:59 am

Keith, did you bother to read my answer? If so perhaps reading it again will permit your comprehension.

Considering your disrespectful comments regarding my disgust with all levels of government, should I assume that you are delighted with their current approach to affordable housing?

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
9 May 2022 6:37 pm

Ken

I read and reread your comments trying desperately to understand the basis for your cynicism regarding those we elect to public office, the quality of our Town’s beauracracy and the gulibility you escribe to a majority of taxpayers of which I am proud to be part of.

1) In your criticism you never offer alternatives. Why not? Inform us! Your alternatives could help us move on to a more stable and just society.

2) Let’s get past this one-on-one unending exchange and agree to a well advertised public debate between us, under rules of procedure we both agree to! I’m ready! Please respond! I’m happy to pay whatever the costs.

For the moment … many issues like housing-affordable-to-all and possible limits to absolute freedom are new.

They are evidence of historic change brought about by the rapid evolution of technology, (ie access to the internet and the ability to say anything to 1,000s of others without being held accountable), and the unregulated evolution of our capitalist free-enterprize system in which housing has become an accepted forn of of investment instead of a human right.

3) Ken, in your view is it acceptable that upper management of corporations are often paid thousands of times more than the average wage paid to their employees? Is it OK by your standards that an individual such as Elon Musk can accumulate wealth equal to one quarter of a trillion dollars which allows one independent individual to gain control of one of the world’s most important social media platforms? Musk’s wealth is so excessive that if he were to contribute a fraction of it to support Ukraine it would exceed the commitment offered to date by the United States, and possibly end that tragedy?

Ken please answer my three questions!

Thanks.

Last edited 15 days ago by Keith Oliver
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
9 May 2022 10:24 pm

Keith, your questions don’t seem relevant to life in Cobourg and I doubt that other readers of this blog care but to address some of your comments:
 

  1. Do you feel that it is your business to control how much (or how little) I pay to have my car repaired? If not then why is it your concern how much I pay an executive to run a company of which I own a tiny piece? If you are a shareholder and think that the firm’s managers are overpaid then you are free to propose a vote on their salaries at the company’s AGM. Please deal with your investments rather than interfering with those of others. 
  2. You lament that Mr. Musk now owns a social media company yet you didn’t mention that Mr. Murdoch owns hundreds of newspapers around the world. Why the concern? Surely newspapers are more influential among the intelligent than a ridiculous platform that forces complex thoughts into 280 characters. 
  3. It might be helpful for Mr. Musk to contribute to the war in Ukraine. I am not a legal expert but there seems the possibility that Musk might run afoul of the Logan Act if he were to significantly interfere as you suggest.

 
 

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
10 May 2022 9:45 am

Mr Oliver said, “if he were to contribute a fraction of it to support Ukraine it would exceed the commitment offered co date by the United States

Musk did better; he provided Starlink access and delivered 1000’s of units of equipment to the field so that the Ukrainian people had communications ability.

Furthermore, all of that ‘aid’ is not a grant. It is a loan. It is a debt trap from which Ukraine will be beholden to the US for decades to come. this is gonna be great for the party donors who know when to invest into the military-industrial complex. the people of Ukraine and the people of America are irrelevant.
https://youtu.be/yBpVbGRVMno

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
9 May 2022 1:47 am

Your statement is one of the most cynical I’ve ever heard regarding our hard won system of Canadian self-government.

I’ve heard statements more cynical coming from the mouths of our political leaders.

For example the smear job of the truckers and the wide swath of their supporters calling them a cynical litany of disgusting names: transphobes, misogynists, white blood-line supremacists, homophobes, nazis, fascists, extremists, fringe minority, that all take up space. Cynical name-calling is how the current minority govt rules. Ken Strauss is an individual civilian, not a ruling class leader. One of the best features of free speech is its ability to incite regime change.

Last edited 16 days ago by Wally Keeler
Keith Oliver
Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 May 2022 10:53 am

Wally

Your support for absolute free speech using example of the three week long forceful occupation of our capital city by the Freedom Convoy, puts you in bed with Ken and the cynical nature of his comments.

The repeated, clearly stated goals of the Freedom Convoy were to maintain it’s illegal occupation until the government recinded it’s COVID mandates and relinquished power.

That Wally is defined as an act of sedition in support of an insurrection. Both Mark Carney, well respected former head of both the Bank of Canada and Bank of England, and the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverly McLachlin, have put forward arguments in support of that conclusion in the Globe and Mail.

You call that a smear job? Name calling happened on both sides and contributed nothing constructive to the debate. The same applies to exchanges that take place on this valuable web site.

Last edited 16 days ago by Keith Oliver
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
9 May 2022 2:45 pm

Mr Oliver
absolute free speech

How many times do I have to tell you that that is nothing but a strawman argument, No one I know has ever lobbied for absolute free speech. How difficult is it for you to understand that?

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 May 2022 6:58 pm

Wally

If I’ve missunderstood you as an advocate for absolute free speech please accept my apologies.

To help me and others better undersand your position please explain why you characterizethe opposition to the Freedom Convoy as a “smear job” and consistently advocate for absolute unlimited artistic expression?

Last edited 15 days ago by Keith Oliver
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
9 May 2022 8:37 pm

Mr Oliver, when presented with a litany of degrading insults spewed by the minority leader of Canada, “Name calling happened on both sides and contributed nothing”

Wow!, How to echo trump, when he said a la Charlotteville that there were good on “both sides“. Sorry but your cavalier dismissal of it being done by “both sides” misses the salient point.

One side is the leader of all Canada, first and foremost. He is supposed to represent ALL Canadians, not smear a entire swath of the nation’s population in front of the world.

One side has overwhelming power.
The truckers have working stiff spines and heart’s bloated with love for this nation.

One side punches down brutally with their hired free speech
The truckers punch up with free speech.

One side has commanding access to their bought msm
The truckers have volunteer vloggers streaming digizdat. (samizdat {self-edition} underground publications during commie rule.)

One side possesses all the power of coercion.
The truckers have an unbroken spirit.

Those who rule over us have the obligation to provide exemplary behaviour, not descend to schoolyard bullyspeak.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 May 2022 10:41 pm

Wally

Let’s try to stay on one question.

Unless I’ve misunderstood you champion the Freedom Convoy in support of free speech. Yes or No?

It’s freely given and clearly stated objectives of forcing a democratically elected government (minority or not, it is a legitimate expression of the will-of-the-people) to recind it’s COVID-19 mandates and give up power, constituts a seditious act in support of an insurrection. Is that what you support? Yes or No?

The use of free speech here is an example of how it can easily be abused and lead to chaos. Dancing on the tomb of the unknown soldier; forcing businesses to close; honking of truck horns through all hours of the day and night; disobeying police in their efforts to enforce the law? Yes or no?

If you don’t agree please explain, in plain English why. You have over 440,000 words to choose from not to mention the ones you so freely make up!

I look forward to your reply.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
9 May 2022 2:50 pm

Mr Oliver
Answer me this: do you think the truckers and their supporters are
transphobes,
misogynists,
white blood-line supremacists,
homophobes,
Islamaphobes
nazis,
fascists,
extremists,
racists
yobs
fringe minority that take up space????????

Last edited 16 days ago by Wally Keeler
Keith Oliver
Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 May 2022 7:02 pm

Wally

I have absolutely no idea what you’re getting at. Ask me a question in plain English and I’ll happily reply.

If that simple request is a sign of my ignorane please say so and explain. At this late date ithis blog other readers may be interested.

Last edited 15 days ago by Keith Oliver
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
9 May 2022 8:52 pm

Don’t understand? that’s ok, Kamala Harris didn’t understand the question either when asked if SHE had been to the border.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
9 May 2022 6:02 pm

Mr Oliver said “…puts you in bed with Ken…”

You would do well to desist from putting anyone into another’s bed without first acquiring their consent. Are you jealous, inquiring minds ask?

Wally Keeler
3 May 2022 8:46 am

I lived in Alexandra Park Housing Co-op ( Alexandra Park Co-op ) for 20 some years. It was nestled a block north of Queen St W and between Spadina/Bathurst. A very downtown location.

The co-op got a break with a 50yr mortgage and cheap land. By waiving market price for land, the City did not earn the revenue otherwise. That co-op was exceedingly affordable for working class stiffs. The co-op required participation by the residents and they got it, because they had a sense of ownership, which did not apply to the nearby city run housing, where crime flourished and the housing was in decay.

The city won because they had secure housing to raise their families, and they paid their taxes rather than being homeless and consuming taxes.

JimT
Reply to  Wally Keeler
4 May 2022 6:29 pm

Wally: I, too, lived in a co-op in Toronto (small, uptown) and my experience was much the same. An important additional benefit was that there was no danger that the landlord – or a new owner – would raise the rent arbitrarily. There is no landlord; the “owner” is a numbered company set up for the purpose.

Accommodation charges (never “rent”) were based on the total annual budget for maintenance, operating and utility costs divided among the members (never “renters”) so the place paid its own way with no profit to anybody.

No reason why we couldn’t have one or two such co-ops here in Cobourg.

Last edited 20 days ago by JimT
Wally Keeler
3 May 2022 8:31 am

What govts fail to achieve, the United Church steps forward.
United Church to transform its properties into rental apartments – The Globe and Mail

Bryan
2 May 2022 9:45 pm

Of the 4 parks listed, how many are on the Town’s list of surplus property?
Further, what public engagement has been done to consult with the residents living near those parks?
Is this yet another instance of the Town ignoring its Public Engagement Policy ADM21, which provides that “people should be involved in the process of decisions that affect them”?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
2 May 2022 10:14 pm

Tracey Park is the site of the Community Garden that was created with considerable fanfare only a few years ago. Where will the garden go if that land is used for “affordable” housing. With the growing importance of sustainability we need more and larger community gardens rather than eliminating one!

The suggestion is that 1/3 of Peter Delanty Park be used for housing. With more families there will be a need for more parkland in the area rather than less. The same need for more rather than less parkland would apply if portions of Westwood Park is used for housing.

Bryan, ADM21 requires that those affected be involved from the earliest stages of any project. Has that been done with the possible changes to our parkland? Were there public meetings prior to releasing this survey?

Last edited 22 days ago by Ken Strauss
Ahewson
Reply to  Ken Strauss
3 May 2022 5:34 am

It’s truly unbelievable to have parkland as possible options. I can’t think of something more backwards and regressive as that.

We’re building sprawl all around the periphery of Cobourg. Build it there, where things are already being built anyways.

Rob
Reply to  Bryan
3 May 2022 8:24 am

Cobourg residents better get off their collectives butts and be vocal about this – utilizing park land for housing is backwards to say the least. Ridiculous!

Gerinator
2 May 2022 5:54 pm

Can anyone explain why “The current Council has taken a strong interest in helping the County with their responsibility to provide affordable housing.” Is it the Mayors watershed moment to shine? Is it because Cobourg will get compensated for all of the red tape, ministerial bungling, attendant developer headaches/challenges? How is it that Cobourg has “…a lot of land that could be used for affordable housing..” and none of the other Munis have none? Finally, re Memorial, how is it that we have a possibly 15 year contract on solar panels for a building that the Town shut down in 2018!

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Gerinator
2 May 2022 7:49 pm

Terminator

The reason that Cobourg Council is working with County Council to develop more housing-affordable-to-all in Cobourg and taking initiatives on it’s own, is that Council has more direct control over many policies and relared incentives that will result in more renal units being affordable at least for a given amount of time.

Delays in collecting various fees/taxes, selling off given lands at an attractive price, etc. Examples are the expansion of the Trinity Coop at John and James Sts, the Baldar Corp Apts at William and University. Council should be commend for it’s active interest.

Last edited 22 days ago by Keith Oliver
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
2 May 2022 8:33 pm

Keith, projects such as Balder are a prime example of Council’s failure to act in the best interests of Cobourg’s residents. Why do you feel that public assets such as the parkland included in the survey should be sold at an attractive price to benefit a few rather than being retained for the common good?

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 May 2022 9:37 pm

Ken

What are you talking about?

The Balder project at the south west corner of University and William is built on land formerly occupied by two houses and an abandoned workshop. Three of its 70 units will be dedicated to Cornerstone and 10 will be affordable for 10 years.

Where did I say I want to destroy parkland? Good design can solve many problems; satisfy many seemingly contradictory needs to the satisfaction of all. Several of the parkland sites, including Tracey, can accommodate housing and retain their parkland value for the community-at-large.

Last edited 20 days ago by Keith Oliver
Bryan
Reply to  Keith Oliver
4 May 2022 10:30 pm

Keith,
You wrote “….Several of the parkland sites, including Tracey, can accommodate housing and retain their parkland value for the community-at-large…..”

What investigation, studies or other due diligence have you done to be able to proclaim from on high that “several parkland sites, including Tracey, can accommodate housing and retain their parkland value for the community-at-large…”
Most of all, have you consulted the local residents who would be most affected by a decision like this. I seriously doubt they share your perspective.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
4 May 2022 10:50 pm

Keith, do you bother reading what you write? You suggested replacing parkland with housing in your complaint that I misrepresented your advocacy of destroying parkland!

Several of the parkland sites, including Tracey, can accommodate housing…

You appear to think that Balder is an example of an acceptable or even a good project. In my opinion it is an example of most everything that can be wrong about a project!

Are you aware that a sewage treatment facility with attendant odours is only perhaps a 100 yards away from the Balder project? Have you looked at the ugly structure that is built? It is completely out-of-scale compared to anything else in the area. There is essentially no green space associated with this project and certainly no room for trees or other landscaping. The units do not appear to have balconies. In fact it appears that the windows can’t even be opened! Cobourg Council approved significant financial incentives without a clear understanding of their cost. During Council’s discussion there was no mention of covenants in the zoning to guarantee that the units will be “affordable” for 10 years regardless of whether the development were to be sold to another corporation. Nor was their any mention that Cobourg’s taxpayers would benefit from price appreciation when the units are sold. Need I continue?

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
7 May 2022 10:33 pm

Ken

According to your quote I said Tracy could “accomodate” housing which you have translated to mean I advocate for the “destruction of parkland”. This is an example of the need for the public process the Town is going through to include examples of the possible redesign of a given site.

Please see my post of May 7, 9:41 pm in which I referr to Tracey Park specifically.

As to the Balder project, let’s agree to disagree and at least wait ’till it’s finished.

Also, if you can, try to imagine whether you would agree or disagree with it’s design if you were homeless. It’s called empathy.

Owning an affordable home, which you and I do, became a luxury beginning many years ago, exacerbated by the 2008 mortgage financing collapse, when the more fortunate of us began to regard and treat housing as a reliable proft generating investment. The flipping insanity was a significant part of that debacle and continues with gusto to this day.

Bryan
Reply to  Keith Oliver
8 May 2022 1:10 am

Keith:
How would building 12-24 housing units on current parkland not result in the “…destruction of parkland”?

What the homeless may think of Balder’s design is not relevant, as it is highly unlikely any of them will ever live there.
The dozen or so “affordable” units are not “geared to income” County subsidized housing.
The “affordable” part is according to CMHC’s definition. The expectation is that Balder’s “affordable” units will rent for about 80% of the prevailing local “market rent”, which for many, is likely to be “not affordable”

Last edited 17 days ago by Bryan
Keith Oliver
Reply to  Bryan
8 May 2022 6:33 am

Bryan

Increasing the housing supply other than for the well-to-do is key to solving the housing problem. Balder’s poject does that as well as being an unusually responsible one. it provides a model for other developers to follow.

My comments on possible integration of housing with parkland are based on my lifework architectural and urban design experience which started with four years working in the office of Moshe Safdie Architect on Expo ’67, followed by work in the US before returning to Canada in 1995. For eight of those years I lived and worked in Washington, DC.

I have also gained experience from visiting six New Towns in Sweden, Norway and England. I am not god in this regard but I have seen many impressive examples of what is possible. Unfortunately we in Canada are still in the dark ages.

Dunkirk
2 May 2022 12:26 pm

Real estate is at it’s all-time peak.
The majority of our population no longer works and is 55+…
We lose over a million $ /year operating the CCC…
We have the highest tax rate increase in eastern Ontario.
Our quickly aging population who will cling to their homes unless a realistic local alternative can be presented….
The new $80mm Golden Plough Lodge is adding a mere 26 beds in it’s new facility when we probably need 500…
Re-zone and sell the Memorial Arena to a developer; preferably someone who might have a plan for seniors housing.
Affordable & sustainable housing is still the dream across our country and most of the G7, but in this era of war, inflation and pandemic—it’s probably time–in our little town that we just talk about ‘housing’ and getting one thing done by this Council before their term ends.

JimT
Reply to  Dunkirk
2 May 2022 1:21 pm

And yet they’re going to demolish the existing Golden Plough complex, even though it’s functioning just fine right now. Probably has years of use left in it for basic housing of those in need.

Don’t anybody get the idea that it’s decrepit and needs replacing. It isn’t and it doesn’t. The whole place is in great shape, yet will be destroyed just a few months from now.

Last edited 23 days ago by JimT
Keith Oliver
2 May 2022 10:18 am

The challenge that faces the creation of affordable housing is to avoid the creation of “affordable housing” ghettos where one can say the poor folk live over here while the better-off live over there.

The goal that best serves a stable, productive community with a basic standard of living experienced by all is that of “integrated housing affordable-to-all”.

As usual there are examples elsewhere if only we have the intelligence to investigate and learn from them.

One example is the housing policies of Vienna, Austria, as they developed over the past century. They are based on the integration of economic, social and other classes and are considered to be highly successful.

Granted Cobourg is not Vienna but there is much to be learned from the successes and mistakes of others. If anything is to come of this we also need good and effective leadership.

JimT
Reply to  Keith Oliver
2 May 2022 1:05 pm

Would I be correct in assuming that the “affordable” units are made “affordable” – i.e. less than market rate – by each of the market rate units in the building paying a bit more than they would otherwise to make up the difference?

If not, just how do they make them “affordable”? Who pays the subsidy?

Last edited 23 days ago by JimT
ben
Reply to  JimT
2 May 2022 2:03 pm
Last edited 23 days ago by Ben
JimT
Reply to  ben
2 May 2022 3:39 pm

Aha! So I was right!

“If half of the homes were rented at market rates, the other half could be rented at lower amounts while still achieving a break-even average.”

So working class tenants pay 15-20% more (“market rates”) to subsidize the people down the hall. Doesn’t seem fair to me.

Even then, “…rents could be reduced to deeper levels of affordability…break-even rents of $1,520 for a 1-bedroom home.”

I don’t call that “affordable housing”, I don’t think it will help the people who really need it, and I don’t think it should be achieved at the expense of other tenants in the building.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
2 May 2022 5:10 pm

Once again, Keith, it is not the responsibility of Cobourg to provide “affordable” housing! Why are our local politicians (and residents) unable to understand that simple fact?

ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
3 May 2022 6:16 pm

Spoken like a comfortably housed person who doesn’t want to pay a penny to help the unhoused!!

Cathy Toner
2 May 2022 9:40 am

I’m usually pretty enthusiastic about projects here in Cobourg. I’ve filled in surveys, checked boxes and the like to show town fathers that I’m interested in this community. I do find though, that agendas and projects seem to take forever and I’m losing interest.

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Cathy Toner
2 May 2022 5:24 pm

There’s also the fact that public input rarely influences council. They prefer the “expert” opinion of staff so everything gets referred back to staff for a report. If/when staff reports it rarely supports public opinion.

Sandpiper
2 May 2022 9:38 am

Lets face it this Town never achieves anything in a Timely fashion
ie the Arena has been closed since 2018 4 years have gone by
and they still have no Idea of what to do with it ?? the Tannery Land s have laid Fallow for over 10 yrs that was to have been affordable housing as well .
Lets face reality by the time this town gets its act together the thought that Affordable housing is needed We better be looking at Affordable Retirement homes for those that needed housing
over the last 10 yrs.