Update on Cobourg’s Beach

During the past year or so, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) and Council have come up with plans for Cobourg’s Beach.  Covid-19 meant that crowding was a problem so access to the beach was limited and it was even closed for a while.  At the next meeting of the PRAC on April 5, the agenda includes a spreadsheet that lists the “recommendations (provided) for council’s consideration”.  Many of the recommendations have been implemented – but not all, or if they have, they have not been made public.  The agenda item has Teresa Behan’s name on it – she is Manager of Recreation and Waterfront Operations.  The “recommendations” cover Communications, Amenities, Bylaws and enforcement, Events, Safety, Parking and more.  You can download the full spreadsheet below but I will summarize since the list is long.

The spreadsheet lists 29 items with recommended actions and the outcome of these. Below is a report on significant “outcomes”.

Summary of Beach changes

  • Improved signs to explain parking, by-laws and fines
  • Improved Town web page to do the same. Plus promote on demand transit for people to get to the beach, e.g. park at the mall and use the bus to get dropped off at the beach.
  • Distribute Leaflets to nearby residences to explain parking changes
  • Expand washroom capacity using Canteen building and ensure enough Porta-potties are available for major events (like Waterfront Festival and Sandcastle Festival) and busy weekends.
  • Provide changing facilities using Canteen Building
  • Improve Garbage collection at Beach and Victoria Park
  • More Bylaw officers in area. Specifically from May to October 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week, including holidays.
  • Install water bottle filling stations in Victoria Park building and Marina building – happening by 1 July 2022.
  • The fine for most infractions, such as disruptive noise, littering, dogs on the beach, smoking in parks and the use of barbecues, is currently $105.00 – looking at increasing fines to $250.00
  • Add “no Cannabis Smoking on Beach” to anti-smoking bylaw.
  • Noise bylaw will be reviewed in 2023. Special events to ensure notice is given to the neighbours.
  • Economic Development department to review the economic impact of major events. Economic Development Manager is currently being hired.
  • Because of overloading, consider moving Sandcastle Festival from long weekend.
  • Major changes to Beach Parking have now been implemented – see report in Resources below.
  • Economic Development department and the events committee to review permitting Pop-up businesses. Food truck RFP has gone out (canteen has closed).
  • Add signs and increase by-law enforcement on West Beach.

The list is long and comprehensive and it appears that the PRAC has done a lot of good work reflective of what most people in the Town are thinking.  It also looks like Council and Staff are working on implementing most of the recommendations.

Resources

Full document from Teresa

Cobourg News Blog Reports

Cobourg Internet Information Pages

Agenda for PRAC

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MiriamM
7 April 2022 11:42 am

Perhaps the province should do better with planning and development rules, especially in the Greater Toronto Area so that municipalities that are within and hour or two drive do not get swamped by people wanting access to nature and waterfronts and end up over burdening other areas. How many times does it happen that prime areas, including waterfronts get into private developer hands? What happened recently when the province stopped the Municipality of Port Hope purchase of lands at Wesleyville? And, places like Prince Edward County to the east of us has much traffic on too few roads, people wanting access to PEC area beaches; Cobourg is an easy drop in along the way. And it is not just us. Recently on CBC, an article about the pressure on places like Canmore, Alberta where development and tourism is crowding out wildlife; and, human-wildlife conflicts on the rise because of increasing development. Quality of life for residents, human and animal, changes as a result. When carrying capacity is exceeded the change is unsustainable.

Informed
4 April 2022 7:57 pm

Im hoping to see some volleyball league’s and tournaments this summer.

Informed
Reply to  John Draper
5 April 2022 7:46 am

Thanks John

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Informed
5 April 2022 8:32 pm

An impromptu match on the beach this evening ! 😎

Sandpiper
Reply to  Informed
7 April 2022 12:49 pm

On the West Beach
It will take some of the Parking and Tourist load
off the regular beach There should be plenty of Parking on that
West High school foot ball field and its not 3 or 4 block s away from the water front like the suggested Couvert st lot is

Bill Thompson
4 April 2022 1:43 pm

Promote on demand transit for people to get to the beach, e.g. park at the mall and use the bus to get dropped off at the beach.
So no lessons learned re cost of running empty buses back from Mall to beach in how many years?!
Beach visitors do not take Beach umbrellas, chairs,food coolers etc containers etc.in buses.

Greg H
4 April 2022 12:22 pm

One thing was missing:

” do not promote the Cobourg Beach in any way”.

The beach is already overcrowded by tourists and residents.
It cannot handle any more visitors

Conor
Reply to  Greg H
5 April 2022 4:21 pm

Wait .I thought the beach was supposed to a fun place to go. Please put signs up on the 401. Stay away from here, we are miserable people who hate tourists and beach goers and all we want is to clean out your wallet with overly excessive parking fees.

Informed
Reply to  Conor
5 April 2022 7:24 pm

…and free admission

Kyle
Reply to  Informed
7 April 2022 9:32 am

Fence the southern portion of the park in. A tasteful and functional aluminum fence similar in appearance to wrought iron. Free passes to Cobourg residents and any other local municipality that contributes to cost. Umpteen thousands have been spent for temporary fencing over the years. The Town has been a dog chasing its own tail for years over beach issues. Enough of the stupid signing that no one reads.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Kyle
7 April 2022 10:40 am

A tasteful and functional aluminum fence similar in appearance to wrought iron.”

Functional enough to prevent children squeezing between the bars. So Kyle, how many gated entrances to the beach should there be? Four? Five? Six? How many employees will be needed to attend the gates? Spend more? Fencing the beach will not fly.

Sandpiper
4 April 2022 9:27 am

Is Covid not on the rise again ??
Should we not take a year to recover and consider our options
A lot of the parking on Terisa map has disappeared or will be occupied by construction
crews will it not?
What’s wrong with using the west beach or is it for a privileged few residents /
There is a lot of expansion room there for sports teams like Volley ball with expanded parking space right there for the teams and spectators .

JimT
Reply to  Sandpiper
7 April 2022 12:13 pm

Volleyball on the west beach? Try it some time. It’s all rocks and no facilities.
You want to sacrifice a large natural beach area for a parking lot?

Last edited 5 months ago by JimT
Sandpiper
Reply to  JimT
7 April 2022 12:56 pm

No the west High school foot ball field could be a great parking lot for teams
and it s close . The parks dept. has garbage and cleaning equip thaat will sift through the sand OR hire a farmer with a stone picking machine 1 or 2 trips over it should do .

Sandpiper
4 April 2022 9:14 am

I would like to know how to reach a Bylaw enforcement officer on a weekend or evening
when the phones at that department are not maned evenings and week ends ?
what’s the sense , we also have enough parking signs most noise and parking infractions are not enforced all year long like the one way at the Esplanade or the towns 6:30 —7 Am work and construction crews . What about Cobourg Residents Peaceful Enjoyment ???

Ken
Reply to  Sandpiper
4 April 2022 9:39 am

Maybe it’s time for Cobourg to have a ‘311 service line’, as they have in Toronto? An answering service that is manned 24/7 for non emergency enquiry, of just about anything doing in Cobourg.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Ken
4 April 2022 10:13 am

Great suggestion

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Sandpiper
4 April 2022 11:39 am

Ok. 24/7? That would be three shifts, three employees. Then there are weekends. Three part time staff or overtime. And for what duration? Four months a year? Year around? What would be the total cost for this project? Great suggestions (at the idea stage) always have a cost. What will be cost of this scheme? Do you have any idea at all?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
4 April 2022 2:03 pm

The 311 service would be far less expensive than the $1.2M/year for unneeded new management positions with vaguely defined deliverables!

As an alternative to a 24/7 311 service, how about publishing the cell numbers to contact a bylaw enforcement person, public works emergency person, etc? No additional staff required and that would address most emergency needs.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 April 2022 4:15 pm

Far better than that ludicrous idea of “An answering service that is manned 24/7″.

Rob
Reply to  Wally Keeler
5 April 2022 1:54 pm

I had no idea we were living at Jane and Finch – do we actually have a need for a 24/7/365 manned 311 hotline, third party security, bylaw available 24×7 and published cell numbers, Cobourg police and their special constables on non-stop foot patrols with the OPP mins away … All this to complain that there are Torontonians leaving pop cans on a beach or because some local St. Mary’s HS kids are playing music too loud after 11:00 pm. At what age does this type of “get off my lawn” behaviour first begin – I want to be prepared.

Pete M
Reply to  Rob
5 April 2022 3:04 pm

Rob,
I dont believe it starts at a particular age but is more class specific

Rob
Reply to  Pete M
6 April 2022 11:28 am

Oh my – Classism and 7 thumbs up (at the time I replied) … rarely surprised but often disappointed.

JimT
Reply to  Ken Strauss
6 April 2022 4:45 pm

Contacting a bylaw enforcement person, public works emergency person, etc. could be done through a call forwarding feature of a 311 line, so that the actual cell phone numbers remain private.

Press 1 for…etc.

This would allow flexibility in allocating who is responsible for taking the calls at any particular time.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Wally Keeler
7 April 2022 12:57 pm

Who Knows ask Terisa she is the one that suggested more ByLaw officers and bigger fines

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken
4 April 2022 1:06 pm

An answering service that is manned 24/7 for non emergency enquiry, of just about anything doing in Cobourg.

Applicates must be a Cobourg resident with a proven and sustainable record of ‘know-it-allogy” in local life. Must be able to multi-task, ie talk out of both sides of the mouth with an advanced degree in Mediocre Minutiae Messaging. Must be endearingly patient with the local no-no-no-it-alls.

Pete M
Reply to  Ken
5 April 2022 7:53 am

Before by-law dept was implemented and it was the private security company patrolling the beach and Cobourg Police had their own dispatchers, people could call into police and the security officer would be contacted by the dispatcher to respond to the issue.

Maybe by-law officers could be equipped with police radio in order to be contacted by the dispatcher, who dispatches for Cobourg police out of Owen Sound Police dispatch centre

Concerned
Reply to  Pete M
5 April 2022 8:54 am

A lot of towns and cities use Commissionaires for By-law enforcement. Maybe it is time to research this option.

Pete M
Reply to  Concerned
5 April 2022 9:20 am

Commissionaires are private security. The Town has been down that road, can remember if they were one of the companies tried…was a case of more warnings and less enforcement.

If its something thats happening on the beach like drinking, drugs people defecating in the sand- health and safety issues call the police. Bewteen the number of by-law, special constables, aux police and regular officers-someone should be able to respond.

If its that you want to complain about your neighbour over a property standards issue, that can wait till business hours

Pete M
Reply to  Concerned
5 April 2022 9:27 am

And if its that you want complain because a vehicle is parked infront of your residence because you think that is your space reserved for when the kids and grandkids visit from GTA. Please dont bother by-law. Its a public highway. Your property starts from edge of highway allowance, not the highway

Concerned
Reply to  Pete M
5 April 2022 10:37 pm

Wow, I just put a suggestion out there because so many of you are complaining about the two yes only two by-law staff. I’m not grumpy enough yet to complain about neighbours I talk to them if somethings on my mind!

Rob
Reply to  Sandpiper
4 April 2022 4:39 pm

Wouldn’t bylaw enforcement be working during the weekend…patrolling and enforcing bylaws.

Concerned
Reply to  Rob
5 April 2022 10:39 pm

What you mean one of the two by-law staff we have, that is if one is on holiday or sick of course.

John L. Hill
4 April 2022 8:23 am

Was the issue of charging a user fee examined? It costs a great deal to operate the beach and keep it clean and operational. Other municipalities charge user fees to cover costs. The concept was brought up when partial beach re-opening was considered. Surely if the concept was unworkable we ought to be given an explanation.

Bryan
Reply to  John L. Hill
4 April 2022 8:59 am

John L H:

A beach fee is unworkable because it would require the fencing of the beach and likely Victoria Park. This would provide the choke points needed to control access and collect the fees. Installation cost and staffing would be considerable.
I believe the Town is well aware of this and in keeping with its public engagement practices, has not disclosed this information.
Instead, increased parking revenue, (increasing fees and the paid parking area) will offset the beach costs.

The Town claims that over 65% approved of having lifeguards. However the specific stats and source were not disclosed. Further, would the approval faction be as high if the Town has disclosed the $100K+ taxpayer cost of having lifeguards in the question narrative?

There are other beach cost reduction steps the Town could take, such as not participating in Blue Flag ($4K +/-) This is a PR program that provides no benefits to Cobourgers.

Last edited 5 months ago by Bryan
ben
Reply to  Bryan
4 April 2022 11:14 am

whoopdidoo Bryan save 4K but the outside value of having a blue beach is inestimable. An International cachet and you want to dump it save 4K!!!!!!!!!!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben
4 April 2022 11:48 am

How much is “international cache” worth? What economic benefit does Cobourg receive for its annual investment to be labelled a Blue Flag beach? “inestimable” is a throwaway word to cover the fact there is no metric.

JimT
Reply to  Wally Keeler
6 April 2022 5:41 pm

Wally: depends on what’s stored in the “cache”.

Last edited 5 months ago by JimT
Bryan
Reply to  JimT
6 April 2022 6:01 pm

Jim T. & Wally:

Ben used the word cachet, not cache. They have quite different meanings.

Cachet: the state of being respected or admired; prestige. for example: “no other shipping company had quite the cachet of Cunard”

Cache: a hiding place especially for concealing and preserving provisions or implements:
a secure place of storage discovered a cache of weapons:
something hidden or stored in a cache The cache consisted of documents and private letters.

Cache may also refer to computer data storage

Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
6 April 2022 10:31 pm

Yeah, but Wally already knew that. He doesn’t have any reading or comprehension skills lacking.😆

Last edited 5 months ago by Frenchy
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
7 April 2022 6:53 am

But I do have a malfunctioning “t” on my keyboard. Imagine that, if you had any capacity for imagination, which you don’t, preferring the dime-a-dozen bland-brained presumption of thou. Sorry, I slipped out of your pathetic gotcha-on-grammar moment. Thanks for the morning laugh.

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
7 April 2022 7:53 am

Did he dog ea your homework oo?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
7 April 2022 10:32 am

Wow another dime-a-dozen bloated bland brained unoriganal comment. Your wit is all wet, ie flaccid. Keep trying to be original Funny Frenchy

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
7 April 2022 11:03 am

Your “T” seems to be working OK now.

JimT
Reply to  Bryan
7 April 2022 12:24 pm

Bryan: If you actually read my comment, you will see that that was exactly the point I was trying to make, albeit sarcastically.

Depends on what’s stored in the hiding place.

Sheesh!

Rob
Reply to  Bryan
4 April 2022 4:45 pm

” A Blue Flag tells you a beach or marina is managed sustainably, is accessible, and has high-quality services and safety procedures. Blue Flag beaches also actively monitor water quality.”

“Blue Flag beaches meet 33 criteria across four categories: Environmental Education and Information; Water Quality; Environmental Management; and, Safety and Services.”

I think some of this is a benefit to residents….

Bryan
Reply to  Rob
4 April 2022 8:32 pm

Rob:
As I said, Blue Flag is a fluffy PR service aimed at the tourist market. Some of the items you mentioned may be of minimal benefit to some Cobourgers. In the main, few Cobourgers benefit from the Blue Flag services. The annual $4K can be better used elsewhere to provide benefits to more Cobourgers.
As for the beach tourists, why are we spending money on them, considering the minimal economic benefits they provide to the Town?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
4 April 2022 9:36 pm

Is $4K the total cost of the Blue Flag program or is that just the fee paid to Foundation for Environmental Education and the costs of the water quality tests and everything else are additional? If Cobourg pays for the tests and such then the actual cost is far more than just $4K.

Bryan
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 April 2022 10:04 pm

Ken S:
The $4K is the Blue Flag fee. Water quality testing etc is extra and has to be done regardless, so these costs would not go away if the Town quit Blue Flag.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
4 April 2022 10:22 pm

Perhaps the water testing would be done regardless but not the Blue Flag mandated educational programs, signage, etc. All of these are additional costs.

By the way, does Cobourg comply with “Criterion 16. Algal vegetation or natural debris must be left on the beach”; “Criterion 19. An adequate number of toilet or restroom facilities must be provided … The presence of showers (on the beach or in the buildings), changing rooms and nappy changing facilities are furthermore encouraged”; “Criterion 23. Access to the beach by dogs and other domestic animals must be strictly controlled”; “Criterion 26. A sustainable means of transportation should be promoted in the beach area.”?
(The full list of Blue Flag requirements is available at https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55371ebde4b0e49a1e2ee9f6/t/5fbf70eee18c5c478ef4edfc/1606381808548/Beach+Criteria+and+Explanatory+Notes+2021.pdf)

Bryan
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 April 2022 11:06 pm

Ken S,

Thanks for the research.
From your examples it seems likely that the Town falls short of the Blue Flag requirements. Yet the Town flies the Blue Flag at the beach. Perhaps the $4K revenue is more important than strict adherence to the stated standards.

Last edited 5 months ago by Bryan
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bryan
4 April 2022 11:39 pm

So Cobourg is conducting a false flag op?

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 April 2022 9:30 am

Good research Ken

Last edited 5 months ago by Rob
Concerned
Reply to  John L. Hill
5 April 2022 8:55 am

No the Treasurer was supposed to issue the RFP for this a year ago but he still hasn’t done it and it has been brought up several times.

cornbread
4 April 2022 8:19 am

If you promote “Park at the Mall” I would only expect for the Mall Owners to Charge For Parking or does the town think this would be a freeby???

Rob
Reply to  cornbread
5 April 2022 1:57 pm

You know who is parking at the Mall and taking a shuttle to the beach on a regular Friday or Saturday afternoon – no one, that’s who.

Ken Strauss
3 April 2022 7:29 pm

I notice that one column — net cost — is missing from the spreadsheet. Why?

Cobourg taxpayer
3 April 2022 6:28 pm

Bylaw enforcement costs, which include police staff as well, have to be substantial. Perhaps Brett Larmer could provide details on salary for bylaw and Behan on the cost of the vehicles and gas and Chief of Police can provide the same for the police services provided. Bylaw infractions appear to be “I didn’t know” and “I don’t care” think dogs, alcohol, barbecues etc. Perhaps Larmer could provide revenue from bylaw enforcement although in the past it seemed to be hand out warnings not tickets so as to be more welcoming.
Might as well include the provision of washrooms. Are these still being rebuilt, I’ve lost track. Portapotties cost $150-250 and up per week depending on size, services inside and how often they need to be emptied.

Cobourg taxpayer
3 April 2022 6:19 pm

I would think garbage collection/disposal is a major cost to operate the beach. The staff that collect the garbage seem to come from the marina which likely means that’s how their salaries are paid. Teresa Behan got quite irritated a few years ago when asked about other costs for garbage removal , stating that the cost was $27000/ year total which appeared to be only the tipping fee at the dump. The dump trucks transporting the garbage to the dump are paid as well. There’s the cost of the bins, garbage bags, the golf carts staff drive around in, gas, etc. With Behan’s new job title she should be able to provide more financial details.

Bryan
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
3 April 2022 7:48 pm

Cobourg taxpayer:
The town has never been very good at costing operational task. Hopefully, this will improve under the direction of the new CAO, parks and Planning directors.

Cobourg taxpayer
3 April 2022 6:06 pm

I’ll start with the lifeguard issue. In an indoor pool the ratio is 25 swimmers to one lifeguard, the pool I worked at, in order to use the diving board in the deep end, a swimmer had to demonstrate the ability to swim. It’s difficult to find a lifeguard/swimmer ratio for an outdoor beach but based on the number of swimmers on a hot day on the weekend at Victoria Park Beach the ratio is no where close to 1:25. Therefore the lifeguards can not do a competent job, leaving the City of Cobourg liable for drownings. A simple solution no lifeguards, save $100000, and post signs stating the same.

Bryan
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
3 April 2022 7:44 pm

Cobourg taxpayer:

For most of last summer the beach operated at near capacity without lifeguards. I don’t recall any incidents (major or minor) being reported. So it seems that the beach can operate safely without lifeguards, as do many other Ontario beaches.

As to liability, my understanding is that the Town, by having lifeguards, is “admitting” liability, whereas no lifeguards and “use at own risk” notification places the liability where it belongs, with the users.

I’m not clear that a drowning would be a Town liability. The Town doesn’t own the “water” area. The province does. This strongly suggests that the province may have the liability.

Legal eagles have at it. Your learned comments will be appreciated.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bryan
6 April 2022 10:02 am

Legal eagles speak for $,$$$,$$$’s, whereas legal sparrows are cheep cheep cheep. But none regard this forum with any worth.

concerned
Reply to  Bryan
6 April 2022 3:13 pm

actually who is liable is still up for discussion based on the last council meeting when this came up last year. The legal opinion was vague at best and they were still looking at it with the town’s lawyers.

Mark
3 April 2022 4:13 pm

Cannabis Smoking on Beach, 😱
what wrong with this ?
Since when is against the law to take medicine

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Mark
3 April 2022 4:30 pm

consume edibles