Council Confirms Controversial Decisions

At the beginning of the new term of council, it was decided to suspend the existing governance where Councillors were assigned coordinator roles. We were told that a Governance review would be held but there is so far no news on that. Also planned is a strategic planning session but no word on that either. Meanwhile, the previous system continues. This involves the Council first meeting as a Committee of the whole (CoW) with their decisions being confirmed in a subsequent regular Council meeting. The regular meeting on 11 April managed to cover 27 items of correspondence, pass 15 motions and pass 6 by-laws. Included were decisions on the land proposed for sleeping cabins and the land previously owned by CDCI West.

Another item on hold is a decision on what to do with the unfinished business list.

Correspondence

It seems that many Councils, including Cobourg, send correspondence to the Province lobbying for various things. When they do that, they copy the 444 Ontario Municipalities. This results in many letters that are simply “received for information”. A new method of streamlining Council proceedings is to group items into a “consent Agenda” so they can be all handled as a group – although Councillors may ask for individual items to be handled separately.

Here is a summary of the letters handled separately and what was done with them. Go to the full list (which includes copies of the letters) via the link to the Agenda in Resources below. The numbers refer to the Agenda item.

11.3 Resident, Jean Wiebe, resident providing suggestions to improve Town’s parks and services. Referred to Staff for a report.
11.4 Cobourg Resident Dr. Matthew Vaughan, regarding the introduction of a Standing Water By-law in the Town of Cobourg. Some debate – Council agreed to the need for a By-law which staff will prepare.
11.5 Correspondence, Rev, Neil Ellis, regarding St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg Celebrating its 190th Anniversary. Mayor Cleveland and other Councillors will attend the event and a certificate will be issued.
11.6 Community Living regarding support for the Community Living movement on May 1, 2023. Coloured lights to illuminate Vic Hall blue and green may be ready in time for May.
11.19 Town of Essex regarding the reinstatement of legislation permitting a Municipality to retain surplus proceeds from Tax Sales. Tax sales are rare in Cobourg but recently the Province passed legislation that meant any surplus would go to the Province and not Towns. Cobourg supports Essex in this matter.
11.20 Town of Plympton-Wyoming regarding Municipalities Retaining Surplus Proceeds from Tax Sales. Same as 11.19
11.27 Town of Plympton-Wyoming regarding Reducing Municipal Insurance Costs Cobourg supports Plympton-Wyoming in this matter.

Water System Debenture

Lakefront Utilities Services Inc (LUSI) asked the Town to approve borrowing $7,365,524 to pay for “non-growth” expenditures. (LUSI manages and operates the Town water system for the Town). This had been approved by the LUSI board but Cobourg Taxpayers Association (CTA) member Bryan Lambert emailed councillors with questions and suggested that the request not be granted until his questions were answered. His email is available in Resources below. The good news is that Adam Giddings from LUSI was at Council to answer these questions; the bad news was that he basically dismissed Bryan’s requests as not feasible and did not seem to see the need to answer budget questions. Council approved the borrowing.

Sleeping Cabins

The motion before Council was:

WHEREAS at the Committee of the Whole meeting on, April 3, 2023, Council considered a memo from the Director of Legislative Services/Municipal Clerk, regarding the Northumberland Sleeping Cabin Collective Sleeping Cabins Proposal – Use of Municipal Land and Licensing Agreement Interim Report;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council direct staff to reach out to Northumberland County to explore their interest in the property and consideration of possible options for how the site could be used to achieve their affordable housing targets, and
FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to proceed with a formal Request for Proposal process for the disposal of the lands for the purpose of affordable housing should Northumberland County not pursue this site, and
FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to conduct public engagement with the surrounding neighborhood on any options that may materialize.

Councillor Darling moved an amendment to add “as per the Planning Act” after “public engagement” and this was approved. Director Anne Taylor-Scott said that the Planning act did not require public meetings if there was no re-zoning required. The amended motion was then approved.

Surplus Land

A related motion was to “declare the southwest portion of the parking lot (23.5 m x 44 m) at 206 Furnace Street as surplus land.” Councillor Mutton wanted to remove the specific dimensions but other councillors felt that this would not have helped and her amendment was defeated. There was considerable debate about the parking for the two entities: the Curling club and the Firefighter’s Museum. By today’s standards, there is already a parking deficiency and Miriam said that on major curling days, there is already an overflow into this area. But Miriam’s amendment failed and the original motion passed 6-1 on a recorded vote. This small piece of land is now surplus and presumably available for some form of affordable housing.

CDCI West Land

Confirmation of the decision at the CoW passed with little debate.

The approved resolution re 117 Durham (passed 6-1 with Adam Bureau opposed) included this:

That Council direct a balanced mix of parkland, market and affordable residential units with direction to staff to commission studies necessary to determine the development limit (funded by proceeds of eventual sale of the land); and to proceed with a formal Request for Proposal process for the disposal of the developable lands, and
FURTHER THAT public engagement occurs early in the process to invite public feedback on the use of the lands.

So it won’t be all park – it will be mixed with hopefully some “affordable” housing. Stay tuned for word on public engagement. I’d guess that first the “development limit” will need to be established.

New Parking Pass

Mayor Lucas Cleveland introduced a Notice of Motion to provide a Seasonal Waterfront Parking pass for non-residents at $150. This would mean that non-residents can pay $150 for parking at the waterfront for the period May to September instead of $40 per day. Currently only residents can get seasonal waterfront passes and they pay $40. Lucas than called for “a suspension of the rules of order”. This requires a two thirds majority but was passed. The motion was then debated and passed so this means it’s effective immediately.

Passes for non-residents will be available before May 1.

Resources

Footnote

Bryan Lambert also participated in a letter from the CTA to the Premier and our MPP re “safer Communities” – see a copy on the CTA web site here.

CHEX heard about it and interviewed him here.  Also in the CHEX video are Theresa Rickerby and MPP David Piccini.

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Michael Mitchell
10 months ago

It’s great that we now have a new council taking residents needs seriously! A nuisance standing water bylaw is a no brainer. It’s a fundamental public health issue.

Ken
Reply to  Michael Mitchell
10 months ago

I agree Michael! The ditches in the Pebble Beach area, are a great ‘breeding ground’ for mosquitos, as there is water in these ditches till sometime in August!

Michael Mitchell
Reply to  Ken
10 months ago

Check out one of the forested lots on King St West just to your East…… Ridiculous

Cobourg taxpayer
10 months ago

Bryan Lambert and others have made many requests for clarification about what goes on at LUCI. Town council has never listened and never made any details available. A loan for over $7 million for non growth expenditures, what does that even mean???? Why does LUCI not have to clarify their budget? If LUCI needs council approval for a loan then all taxpayers’ questions must be answered. Why the lack of transparency? Town council needs to force LUCI to explain what is going on.

Bryan
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
10 months ago

Cobourg Taxpayer,

You have raised several important points.

First, some clarification. LUSI does not “own” the water system. Waterworks is a Town department. The Town owns all of the “water” assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses. LUSI is simply a hired contractor, no different than a contractor like Behan hired to work on the Town’s roads or sewers.

This is why Council had to approve getting the $7.4M loan.

Similarly, Waterworks annual Ops & Cap budget, as prepared by LUSI, is nonetheless, a TOWN budget. It seems that most of Staff and Council do not understand this and collectively failed in their duty of oversight and due diligence.

Part of the problem is that it is unclear where Waterworks fits in the Town’s organization and who is responsible for it. At a minimum it is the CAO and perhaps the CFO. I believe that Waterworks should be part of Public Works and the outsourced contractor (LUSI or whomever) should report to the Director of Public Works.

LUSI’s finance director did not answer my questions regarding Waterworks’ 2023 budgets and Council didn’t ask any.

Do the members of Council consider the following not important or not relevant:
a $185K (11%) increase in wages (but Council got its shorts in a knot over a $110K proposed increase in Council wages),
or a 34% ($16.8K) in professional fees,
or an insurance fees increase of 24.3% ($31.9K)?
How do interest costs decrease by 16% while requesting a $7.4M loan?

Based on Council’s questions, I seriously doubt that they can answer any of these questions, yet they approved the budgets anyway.

The one positive bit of information provided was that Waterworks’ 2022 audited FS have been received by the Town and will be made available shortly.

Last edited 10 months ago by Bryan
Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Too bad LUCI doesn’t have the expertise to know that building a booster pumping station is more economical (1/20 th the cost) then another damn water tower. How many other communities do you see with 3 water towers with the same population???

Bryan
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
10 months ago

CT,
Totally agree.
Many Ontartio towns and cities don’t have water towers and they manage just fine. There is ample water, pressure is good and fires, if any, are quickly dealt with.
Pump technology has improved over the years and pumping stations can and do provide the function that water towers used to provide. And pumping stations cost somewhat less.

Why didn’t LUSI require the consultant to report on this option?

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

With all the communication towers on top of the Strathy Road, Im assuming their is rental income being generated.

A lot what this Town does is based on what revenue streams can be created.

Holdco,Industrial Park, LUSI networks, Cobourg Police Checks business, Venture 13, business partnership with Chinese Company for LED Street lights, trailer park.
Even the parking around the beach is more centred on revenue than creating a reasonable parking system for beach access

So I believe they look at this tower as another source of revenue thru renting space for Comm towers

Bryan
Reply to  Pete M
10 months ago

Pete M,
You may be correct. I can see the Town considering only the comm revenue and not considering the significant costs associated with earning the revenue.
I have yet to see a solid viable business case for any of the Town’s projects.

Dam_213
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Water towers not only function is maintaining system pressure but for water storage. Engineers like SIMA will generally decide what is best for a town. So the idea with a tower is that you can let your high lift pumps rest and reduce electricity costs while you float of the towers. Potentially saving money in the long run. Pumping stations have no capacity for water storage only to increase pressure.

Bryan
Reply to  Dam_213
10 months ago

Dam_213
Not so.
Lots of Ontario towns and cities do not have water towers and they manage just fine. Cost is the main reason given by these towns for NOT building a water tower.
The capital cost of a water tower is high and so is the upkeep. Cobourg’s main water tower cost $2.7M to refurbish several years ago, likely the same as the initial build cost and half of new build cost at the time when the refurb work was done.
A water tower’s total cost of ownership is significantly more than pumping stations.

Gerinator
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Firstly, congrats on the letter. Clearly Council is dismissive because they don’t know and don’t want to know.
Secondly, you continue to educate us and I very appreciate it. One of these lessons is Life Cycle Costing (i.e. taxes paid by Cobourg residents) never seems to be a consideration. Birth, life, death of any project needs to be considered in any business case/project. Again clearly Council appears deliberately uninformed about this process.
Each of these instances need to be recalled during the next election process.

Dam_213
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Again a pumping station does squat for reserve of water. Hence why Port Hope will also be building a new water tower. Cobourg is expanding and the need for storage grows. As already stated it is not the Town that decides this it is a team of third party engineers with the input of the ORO and his team that decide this. You may think because this or that town does not have one Cobourg does not need one. Basic thinking really.

Bryan
Reply to  Dam_213
10 months ago

Dam_213,

If reserve water is needed then build underground or surface storage.

PH is “looking into” building a water tower. I haven’t seen anything about a commitment to build one.

You wrote “it is not the Town that decides this it is a team of third party engineers with the input of the ORO and his team that decide this.”
Not so. Town money, Town decision.

Who or what is the ORO?

You also wrote “You may think because this or that town does not have one Cobourg does not need one. Basic thinking really.”

What makes Cobourg “special” that we need another water tower and yet other towns and cities get by just fine without one?

Dam_213
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Most towns do not have a team of engineers onboard to work out future system designs. Most turn to CIMA who specialize in this field of system design. So your idea is not only to now build a pumping station but also a reservoir? Reservoir that also needs a back up generator, pumps, chemical pumping equipment and comms to the plants SCADA system, not mentioning a much larger foot print. Yah super cheap.

ORO is the overall responsible operator, who is responsible for towns water system. Generally the manager of the water dept.

It’s not the town’s decision, again because the town does not have a team of engineers on hand. It is a complex problem dealing with the delivery of water and it has to be forecast for the future not what is cheaper.

Let me rephrase PH is building a new water tower, it will be built on town property on Croft st. The standpipe on Dorset st will be taken out of commission. Work to begin next year. The province has given a large chuck of change for this to go ahead. If you deleve into it you will see Cobourg will also be getting the same funds.

You stated earlier that ongoing costs on towers are expensive. Everything especially when comes to potable water is expensive in maintenance costs. Reservoirs need to be drained and inspected. If repairs needs to be made to the concrete it is very costly and takes weeks just to recommission them and bring them back into service. Towers get repainted but while that happens they can stay in service.

My point is simple. If a tower has been chosen it is not just one person making that decision who “clearly has no knowledge”, it is team of professional engineers looking at the system as a whole.

Bryan
Reply to  Dam_213
10 months ago

Dam_213,

You wrote “it is team of professional engineers looking at the system as a whole.”

Great. Let us see the comparative data for the WT, pumping station, at grade storage and underground reservoir: construction cost, total cost of ownership, major repair/refurb timeline, annual operations cost.

Further “If repairs needs to be made to the concrete it is very costly and takes weeks just to recommission them and bring them back into service” The Strathy Rd WT was out of service for almost a year and cost $2.7M to refurbish.

What specific need does the WT fulfill that the alternatives can not, and at what cost?

Dam_213
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

I’m not sure what the refurbishment on the WT in Cobourg required, they are generally low maintenance from an operations standpoint, if it was out of commission for a year it must have been pretty major. If you require that information I sure hope you have made the appropriate calls/emails to not only LUSI but also the mayor to request said information. Maybe they would also seek your expertise in the field so you could help redirect them and the future of the towns water system.

Bryan
Reply to  Dam_213
10 months ago

Dam_213,

Please answer the question asked
What specific need does the WT fulfill that the alternatives do not, and at what cost?

Dam_213
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Please reach out to LUSI and council to have that information provided for you. I am not privy to the information that a team of engineers worked over to determine what is best for the towns requirements are. I do however as I have worked in this field knowledge as to why other towns have chosen towers over other said facilities. I do have faith in the decision making behind it. Even with years of experience working for one of the larger municipalities in water works and smaller municipalities I would not have the expertise to answer that question as I would not have a full understanding of Cobourgs system requirements. You however already have it figured out I guess.

Bryan
Reply to  Dam_213
10 months ago

Dam_213,

You wrote “Reservoir that also needs a back up generator, pumps, chemical pumping equipment and comms to the plants SCADA system, not mentioning a much larger foot print.”

Are you claiming that an at grade storage tank of the same capacity has a larger footprint? It possibly could, but it could also have a smaller one, depending on the design.

Are you also claiming that a WT does not require the same support systems: back up generator, pumps, chemical pumping equipment and comms to the plants SCADA system?

You also wrote “ORO is the overall responsible operator, who is responsible for towns water system. Generally the manager of the water dept.”

The Town holds the water license to operate and distribute water in Cobourg. Waterworks is the Town’s “water” department. Waterworks has no employees, therefore the Town contracts the work to LUSI. It seems then that LUSI is the ORO

Dam_213
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Again barking up the wrong tree. Maybe I don’t know ask LUSI for their master plan and reasons to implement it. Towers typically use less pumps than a reservoir, recirculating pump for cold weather climates. Water leaves the tower via gravity or head pressure. Towers do have their own chemical pumps and track back to SCADA. They typically don’t have onsite back up generator other than local UPS for smaller critical equipment. Back up generator is normally supplied by a a shared trailered generator. Reservoirs typically have automatic backup provided by a diesel generator due to their critical nature. Again I have no idea what the lay of the land Cobourg has or does not have to build in ground storage capacity. I also am not in the reservoir footprint building business so again I can’t speak to design on smaller footprints for same capacity. They are typically large. Check out Port Hopes reservoir. The advantage of a WT is that they are filled at lower electricity rates and the town floats of them during higher cost times. The cost to pumping water is extremely high. Towns look for ways around this and towers are an option for that. Why Cobourg chose a tower I can’t speak to. Again I suggest you ask them rather than me.

Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Once again LUSI, just makes decisions on their own and without explaining their reasoning to council.
11% increase in wages?, unionized employees of LUSI received a 3% wage increase(info that can be obtained by the public), so, who got the the 8%🤔.
Remember LUSI stated at council meeting that they would consider making the non union staff wages public and get back to council?
Still waiting on that I guess!!

Bill
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Excellent points, Bryan! Like Cobourg Taxpayer, I, too, ask what are the ‘non-growth’ expenditures for which LUSI has sought a $7.4 million loan? Perhaps you can provide some clarification. I doubt that most counsellors fully grasp the details involved.

Bryan
Reply to  Bill
10 months ago

Bill,

Giddings indicated that it was for water main work on King St W and Monroe St.

My understanding is that “non-growth” refers to capital projects that are not funded by development charges. In other words, funded by the water rate revenue..

I believe Ian Davey mentioned this and explained that Waterworks cannot have an operations deficit. Therefore the choice was to:
-increase water rates to recover the $7.4M in one year, or
-fund the $7.4M by debt and spread the payback over time.

The $2.3M loan for the water meters was funded by a 5 yr loan at about 3%
The Town’s has also used Infrastructure Ontario 15 year loans at about 3-4%
I think Ian would favour a 15-20 year term in this case. The debt service for a 15 yr 6% loan is about $750K per year and $635K per year for a 20 yr 6% loan

The debt service would be funded by the water rate revenue. I don’t know how much water rates would have to increase to cover this.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Bryan, perhaps I’m misunderstanding but based on the Watson Report water billing recovery is about $4M/year. That means that repaying the loan at $750K/year would increase rates by about 18%.

Bryan
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

KS,
A good estimate assuming Watson didn’t provide for some debt service when the rates were set. However, even if half of the debt service was provided for in the rates, an increase of 9% would be needed. The situation is only marginally better if the debt term is 20 yrs

Bill
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Thanks, Bryan, for the clarification. We need someone of your ability on Council. I give credit to the CTA members for their efforts on behalf of taxpayers.

Dam_213
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
10 months ago

What I find strange is, LUSI employs several Water Operators. Divided between distribution and treatment. However on mains breaks they only require water operators to supervise the repair work while workers from Behans do the actual work. This increases the cost of the job as more bodies are required. Main break repairs are around 5-15 thousand per break. Other municipalities have their own operators do the actual work while a contractor will only operate the loader or excavator for example requiring at times only one contractor onsite.

Leweez
Reply to  Dam_213
10 months ago

Yes, in talking to the LUSI operators they told me that this practice of contractors (Behan) making the actual repair is a new procedure.
In the past, Behan only did the excavation work and Lakefront operators made the repairs.
It was hinted that LUSI management enacted this policy to not have to hire more operators and can hide the costing of labour in the main break cost, making management look as though they are being cost effective when it comes to the amount of employees they have.
Hoping I explained this correctly.

Dam_213
Reply to  Leweez
10 months ago

I understand fully why they do it. It also takes liability away from supervisors and management. In the end it costs more unfortunately.

Bryan
Reply to  Dam_213
10 months ago

Dam_213,

The supervisors and management are protected from liability because they are employees (unless there is gross negligence) LUSI may have liability but it has insurance and has an exemption clause in it’s contract, such that the Town bears all liability.

I believe that Leweez’s comment is closer to the mark.

Leweez
Reply to  Dam_213
10 months ago

I am surprised that the CUPE union allows this to happen, I do not know all the in and outs of union work, but it appears that management is taking away work from the union?

Last edited 10 months ago by Leweez
ben
10 months ago

It would appear that the motion to handle the 117 Durham lands is both self defeating and contradictory. How can you have affordable housing when the cost of the land is high. The motion would call for the maximisation of the value and that cuts out affordable. Obviously the logic of this has been lost on our civic leaders.

Dave Chomitz
Reply to  ben
10 months ago

Not necessarily Ben – depending on how much land is actually available for development and what density is allowed – it may be possible for builder with deep enough pockets to create some really nice, expensive waterfront properties with a small number of “someones” definition of affordable rentals in the back. I’m not crazy about the idea but it may be possible.

ben
Reply to  Dave Chomitz
10 months ago

Something to consider Dave when talking about prices and values in the context of affordable. There are four lots at the bottom of Tweed St. in what could be a swamp in a hundred year flood. Offered for sale for $450K each. You may be able to see the Lake from here if you build three storeys and look from the top. Now put that value on the lots at 117 Durham and try to imagine the cost of the complete house. The only way you can build affordable units on the site is to keep the land and contract out the building of the units at cost-plus a reasonable market return for the builder. You and I know that will never happen either because of the lack of imagination from Councillors who would direct the project or derision from the free-marketeers.

Just my two cents – looking forward to our coffee in the summer!

Dave
Reply to  ben
10 months ago

The Federal Government has just provided Peterborough with an additional $2.5 millions dollars Ben for solving the homelessness problem. This is on top of the money they are already receiving. Myself I don’t think it a good idea to build a huge amount of affordable housing in one area. It isolates residents from the mainstream. However it would be good to provide further housing for seniors who are quickly finding their retirement savings and OAS and CPP pensions which are always adjusted well below true inflation rate a housing option in a town with no private rentals affordable nor senior independent living centres.
Maybe they could be approached to kick in as the main perpetrator of the situation.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dave
Toronto2Cobourg
Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

With all due respect as I’m sure some seniors are struggling, there are already quite a few resources for seniors in the community and the younger generations have had a much harder go of it housing wise…

“In 1976 — when the majority of baby boomers, born between 1946 to 1965, were coming of age as young adults — it took a typical young person five years of full-time work to save a 20 per cent down payment on an average-priced home in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA),
Flash-forward to today and home prices have skyrocketed while people’s earnings have lost ground relative to inflation by thousands of dollars

For example, a millennial (someone born between 1981 and 1996) needs to work on average 14 years in Canada, 24 years in the GTA to put a 20 per cent down payment on a house, according to Generation Squeeze”

Dave
Reply to  Toronto2Cobourg
10 months ago

You forget one thing Toronto2Cobourg – you may have received a terrific price on the sale of your home but those fetching prices did not take effect until 2014 saw the beginning escalation onward from there. People approaching retirement perhaps downsized from their company, as an older adult in a job that required physical efforts – now older unsuitable, many people reaching 65 prior to that period who got much, much less for their home average – $250 to $425, I knew some downsized older workers having to take emoployment for much less with all the new university grads available or got only part time,
As for the younger generation have a much harder time with housing either owned or rental that is exactly my point over the many posts I have made on the affordable housing issues Toronto2Cobourg, haven’t seen your name before so I supposed you are new. More housing of all kinds needs to be built all over Ontario and certainly here.
As for senior facilities for independent or even care that are affordable please provide them so people can access them. I hope you have more on your list than the Golden Plough or the Legion. I am not pitting types needs Toronto2Cobourg but the overall need for more housing period.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

Dave, the solution to our housing shortage is to stop the absurdity of rapidly increasing our population without adequate housing for current citizens!

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Ken – part of the problem with that idea is that then you create a labour problem.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
10 months ago

Rob, you’ve drunk the KoolAid. We can’t keep the current house of cards together forever by simply continuing the problems resulting from excessive immigration.

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Ken – not KoolAid my friend, I could hire 25 people today, plus 5-7 skilled trades if I could find them.

Trust me, we have a significant labour problem in this country

Last edited 10 months ago by Rob
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
10 months ago

Rob, why do we not have sufficient workers? With increased automation in almost every area we should need fewer workers than in the past. Does the problem result from a lack of appropriate skills training in schools? Overly generous welfare benefits? Too many addicted to illegal drugs? Or…?

Attempting to solve the problem by importing more workers is not the solution!

Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Skilled workers are a lot better than an open border we had for years in Quebec where people simply walked down a path to Canada from the USA. Legal immigration targeting specific labour groups to fill demand would be helpful. There is no housing though so its creating other problems obviously.

Last edited 10 months ago by Informed
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Informed
10 months ago

Informed, obviously bringing in needed skilled workers is less bad than allowing a random assortment of illegal immigrants (criminals) who immediately and possibly forever become a burden on society. I’ve seen many reports that the extreme shortage of emergency housing in Toronto is largely due to these criminals overloading the system.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Mr Strauss, it would be helpful to be aware of just how serious the immigration issue will affect Canada. Here are some numbers concerning a small part of our immigration: Total Ukrainian entries to CanadaData below is courtesy of the Canada Border Services Agency and corresponds to Ukrainian citizens and returning Canadian permanent residents of Ukrainian origin who entered Canada by land or air between January 1, 2022 and April 2, 2023.
Arrived in Canada by land
26,644
Arrived in Canada by air
179,277

Data below is for applications received and approved between March 17, 2022 and April 1, 2023.
Applications received
988,579
Applications approved
643,684

Data below corresponds to people who arrived in Canada under CUAET between March 17, 2022 and April 1, 2023.
Arrived in Canada under CUAET 146,954.

How much will all this cost Canadians? Canada expands settlement support for Ukrainians coming to Canada – Canada.ca These costs are not included in the 2.4 billion that our beloved Finance Minister extended to Ukraine for 2023. None of that $$$$$ will be going towards the Canadian homeless.

Last edited 10 months ago by Wally Keeler
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Here is one element of the ‘excessive immigration‘ you mention:

News release June 2, 2022 Canada continues to stand with the people of Ukraine, and is committed to helping Ukrainians find safe haven. That includes helping them travel to Canada and putting in place the necessary supports for Ukrainians and their families so they can be successful after they arrive.
Today, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced that Ukrainians arriving in Canada can now apply to receive transitional financial assistance. These funds will help Ukrainian nationals and their family members meet their basic needs—such as transportation and longer-term housing—as they arrive in communities across Canada and find a job. The benefit will consist of a direct, one-time payment of $3,000 per adult and $1,500 per child (17 years and under).

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Ken – I know.
So convince the voters – in the meantime housing has to be built.
With the Prime Minister issuing funds to so many and giving way to immigration considering the number of relatives already here of the people that wish to immigrate hopefully there will be some voters who desire sound policies and economics over I’ll give you anything you want as long as you vote for me.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dave
Pete M
Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

The price of real estate is completely out of balance due to the imbalance of wages and property values.
So long as supply is less than demand, prices will stay high.
The other issue is the correction that needs to happen- prices decline by 25-30 %- cannot occur because too many people will be negatively impacted financially. Better to prop them up than allow new people into the housing game. Good luck millennials and generations beyond -most will be life renters

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Pete M
10 months ago

Pete M, a 25-30% decline won’t make housing affordable. Consider that a $700K mortgage (March 2023 average Cobourg house sale price) is about $4000/month and then add taxes, utilities, maintenance, insurance, etc and you’re at $5000/month. Reducing the cost of the house by 30% means that you’re still paying $4000/month. That is somewhat more than “affordable” for most young couples!

Dave Chomitz
Reply to  ben
10 months ago

Ben – you are correct. I had video of those lots under water in 1989. Subdividing could never create anything affordable. It would require much higher density.

GailR
Reply to  ben
10 months ago

Ben – when I saw those lots being prepared for building use I contacted a senior member of the Planning Dept. and reminded him that they had been under water from the creek overflowing some years ago when there was some major flooding. He replied that he was aware of that but that the town was unable to do anything about it.

Rob
Reply to  ben
10 months ago

First of all, I think one needs to answer whether this absolutely prime piece of real-estate should be used for affordable housing – that’s an easy NO for me. It’s nonsensical. There are a few Liberal Councilors that attempted to rush the decision, create an immediate partnership with the County and avoid public consultation in order to achieve a personal agenda to create their legacy. Council should be aggressively lobbying for an effective use of the old GPL. They should be asking Port Hope what surplus lands they have and what is their affordable housing plan. What is Hamilton Townships affordable housing plan? Does Alnwick/Haldimand have a plan? What about Cramahe? Instead of shoehorning affordable housing into parking lot that is currently being used by the curling club (and soon museum), cast a wider net and ask critical questions and don’t accept easy answers.

The old CDCI property is a rare gem and dropping affordable, gear to income and/or cheap rentals on it, is doing our community a disservice. And given the experience on the west end of University Ave., we aren’t good at it anyway.

Dave
Reply to  Rob
10 months ago

Rob, are you suggesting then we spearhead bringing attention to the need for affordable housing to be built of all kinds to be built everywhere as apparently recognizing the need with reviewing the current builds that ask for rents only the higher paid echelon can afford.

JimT
Reply to  Rob
10 months ago

Thank you for reiterating the idea of “lobbying for an effective use of the old GPL”

Actually, this multi-building complex isn’t “old” at all, and appears to be in excellent shape, with years of effective use left.

It seems inane to consider demolishing a facility such as GPL at a time when there is such an obvious need for basic housing in this area.

Dave
10 months ago

These past few years have had very different optics for purpose built rentals. The favoured condo builds replacing rentals, the Federal immigration policies which take no heed of providing housing and other services for the influx nor the citizens who live here and the inflation which has hit in many necessities of life. Raising wages? Why bother? Prices just go up and currency is devalued.

Unlike yesteryear added incentives, government funding are very much needed to provide a supply which has not been met of purpose built housing. I applaud the fact this Council has recognized the very great need. Hopefully further purpose built rentals will continue to come on to the market either through home owners adding suites and further building of any kind of purpose built rental housing. Need over want. Too often the nay sayers have been listened to as the housing crisis just gets worse. Next Federal election – be sure to examine polices before making your choice.

Eastender
10 months ago

So, what plans does Council and staff have for our King Charles III coronation?
Will there be banners along King Street? Will there be a parade?
Will there be a tea or something at Victoria Hall?
With the full agendas, looks like this important milestone in our history
is being forgotten. Is there even a budget for the Coronation?

Pete M
Reply to  Eastender
10 months ago

The disinterest by Canadians in he coronation rest at the feet of the Feds. If they had of lead with celebrations and activities the whole of Country would have followed. We are a monarchy in name only. The Prime Minister doesnt like to share the spot light with others(internal/external) in this Country. This is his stage and his Act.

Kathleen
Reply to  Pete M
10 months ago

Added to that, the Monarchy continues to lose its relevance in today’s world. And dare I say, the future King is less credible or likeable than our Prime Minister. (Anybody remember those creepy letters to Camilla…Yuck)

Dave
Reply to  Kathleen
10 months ago

Surely you jest! Our Prime Minister??? The man who has just brought a further 3000 to this country with failing infrastructure, health care and no place to live? Also think Roxham Road, the ever increasing crime rate and nothing done about any of it.
Edit add on – just announced 19 million COVID vaccines now expiring – glad he doesn’t work in retail!
Hiring a Liberal insider to head inquiry into Chinese government election interference. So much more Kathleen – do you not follow political news events?

Last edited 10 months ago by Dave
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

Quite right Dave. The federal govt is squandering BILLIONS of taxpayers money on recent failed projects supported by Libs, NDP and Conservatives.

Pete M
Reply to  Kathleen
10 months ago

So when it comes time for new currency, the Govt will do one of two things.
Do away with paper currency all together or decide not to have the King s mug on the bills and replace with famous Canadians.
Maybe PET on the $20

Dave
Reply to  Kathleen
10 months ago

As the years go by and government immigration policies have zeroed out immigration from the British Isles our population background has changed. We hear each day of protests to support the countries our new citizens come from, are told we can not say Merry Christmas, Christmas tree and other long used phrases long used in our culture. Our country was formed with a population of British, Scottish and Irish immigrants, not of course to forget France. Quebec has worked hard to keep its language and culture. The rest of Canada has been busy giving it away Kathleen. Kathleen – Irish name known for a dislike of the Monarchy.
I for one am not ready to give up the basis of my culture. What is your suggestion Kathleen? The identify of Canada? A schizophrenic hodpodge which it is rapidly becoming her identify?

Last edited 10 months ago by Dave
Eastender
Reply to  Pete M
10 months ago

I was referring to the Town of Cobourg plans. The “dis-interest”
is fostered by the Towns seeming dis-interest.

Informed
Reply to  Eastender
10 months ago

Watch it on TV if interested. Not in the budget

Eastender
Reply to  Informed
10 months ago

I don’t watch television. But I do think the Town of Cobourg ought to commemorate the coronation. Not interested in hearing un-patriotic mumbo-jumbo.

Rob
Reply to  Eastender
10 months ago

Until such time that we are no longer part of the Monarchy (should that ever be the case), I agree. Consider where the names of many of our important Community landmarks come from…it seems appropriate.

NAI
Reply to  Eastender
10 months ago

Not interested in hearing un-patriotic mumbo-jumbo.”

I am a very proud Canadian with 27 plus years of service in the CF, I would consider myself very patriotic. Yes, my commission is granted to me by the Governor General of Canada, and it is a Queen’s Commission. I fully respect the ceremonial importance of the monarchy. But to tell someone who would rather not spend money on this event as unpatriotic mumbo-jumbo is being narrow-minded and not open to opposing points of view which, when looked at holistically, often help form very usable solutions.
I am looking at an incredible amount of wastage of money at a time when we have far too many people looking to food banks for help. Should the town commemorate the coronation? Sure. But with conditions which acknowledge the hardships of its citizens. It has to be modest, affordable and reflective of our current reality. Now, I am not one to bring a problem to the stage without a solution, and my solution is pretty affordable (I think). I would set up Victoria Hall, the Library and the CCC with large screens which will broadcast the event, and an open invitation for those who would like to commemorate the King’s Coronation together. I would NOT offer any refreshments or anything on the town’s coin.
Ideally, and if appropriate, I’d raise a flag at Victoria Hall for the day of, perhaps hold a quick outdoor event highlighting our ties to the monarchy today.
And that is about it. Dressing up the town with one-of banners never to be used again makes little financial sense.
In speaking with my neigbours, they said ‘then we should do away with the christmas lights and decorations as well’. My gut reaction is this is a apples to orange argument. The lights and decorations are budgeted for and I know that they have a large and positive impact on the morale of the people of Cobourg. It happens annually, is something people look forward to and when looking at the overall costs – I would say it’s benefits outweigh the modest costs. But I am also biased, having small children who spend an hour wandering among the lights and living out their make-believe fantasies in real life will make you see it from a certain perspective.
I remember the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 77. They wheeled out the TV ins school and we all watched the anniversary of her Coronation. That’s about all I remember of the event, but the fact that 46 years later I recall the event vividly, means that it was celebrated correctly.

Dunkirk
10 months ago

When I voted last fall, the property being considered for ‘affordable housing’ after our MPP rec’d over 500 suggestions–was Brookside. Today, it appears that CDCI is the new prospective location for such development. Do we now, forget about Brookside?

When I voted last fall, I was concerned about the possible debt and escalating costs related to restoring our Pier etc. Today, it appears that LUSI is taking on the $7mm of debt for other reasons. Do we now, forget about the Pier?

I am not trying to be critical. I really just want to know. It seems like our Council made alot of good progress on some decision-making this week-

Bryan
10 months ago

John D,

Thanks for including the footnote regarding the CTA’s letter to Prem Doug Ford and the CHEX video clip.

Kevin
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Yes, thank you for the link in the footnote. And thank you to the CTA for trying to make Cobourg safer for all. I am currently trying to help somebody who has an alcohol problem. By providing a place for him to live he has been able to get a job. By showing that somebody cares, this person has hope and is working on improving his situation. There is a fine line between really helping and simply enabling people. There are lots of people who need help and lots of ways of helping. Hopefully, as a community, we can work together to find ways to help and not simply enable.

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Bryan,
Thank you for your letter.

It is my understanding that prosecution for drug charges (CDSA ) rest with the Public Prosecution Service a dept. within the Federal Ministry of Justice.

It is the PPS that has directed their (Federal) prosecutors to not proceed on minor/ simple drug possession charges.

See attached link to the directive re non prosecution / alternatives to.prosecution.

https://www.ppsc-sppc.gc.ca/eng/pub/fpsd-sfpg/fps-sfp/tpd/p5/ch13.html

It was not the Provincial Ministry of the Attorney General.
The Provincial Crown may not proceed on drug charges, most likely as part of a plea bargain when there are other Criminal Code charges.

The Federal Ministry of Justice needs to be held accountable and responsible just as much as the Province.

If the community is is dissatisfied with a policy of a police service, they can file a complaint with Office of the Independent Police Review Directorate.

The following is from their website:

“Any member of the public may make a complaint about the conduct of a police officer, the policies of a police service or about the services provided by a police service.”

If the OIPRD (Provincial body) up holds the Cobourg Police Policy and level of service ,then I would definitely say the Province holds the responsibility for what is transpiring .

Bryan
Reply to  Pete M
10 months ago

Pete M,

Agree that the Federal AG is responsible for Canada’s criminal legislation and the decisions to enforce or not. Chief VandeGraaf outlined this issue well at the recent town meeting.
The Prov AG is responsible for Ontario’s “catch and release” policy which, as I understand it, was implemented as part of the province’s Covid strategy. That has now past for the most part and “catch and release” should be rescinded or reduced in scope as needed.

Last edited 10 months ago by Bryan
Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

I disagree that the Province is responsible for thé “policy” of catch and release.
The rules governing release are laid out in the Criminal Code, so are laws and establish passed by the House and Senate
The most recent iteration was put in place by the Federal Govt on about 2020.

I ve attached a link that explains the Feds reasoning and why we have the catch and release program- over representation of minorities in the justice system, Supreme Court rulings and a desire to see people released at the earliest convenience.

https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/bail-caution/index.html

The Provinces are the unfortunate administrators of these flawed bail laws.

Think of it like going to a restaurant and experiencing a badly prepared meal. The server takes the brunt of your anger and frustration. But it really should be directed to the chef hiding in the kitchen, who prepared and ultimately failed to meet your standards.

The Province is the server. The House and ruling party are your chef.

This leads me to ask where is a MP Lawrence, where are our Crown Attorneys- Fed and Prov.

They cant stand in silence behind the Chief of Police!

Bryan
Reply to  Pete M
10 months ago

Pete M,

I checked with my legal source regarding Ontario “catch and release”
and stand by my prior comment that the Ontario government has control over catch and release to a significant degree.

The Attorney General issued a directive that overcrowding prisons would be a petri dish for Covid that would not only endanger prisoners but staff and ultimately the broader community. To prevent this it was recommended that where possible offenders be released rather than wait time in jail until trial. Only those who posed a serious danger to the community would be kept in lockup.

This directive needs to be rescinded.

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

If only violent offenders were being detained

See attached story on Killer of OPP officer:

https://beta.ctvnews.ca/local/barrie/2023/2/10/1_6269168.amp.html

His violent behaviour should have kept him detained. But the judge/ justice said he had to follow the rules (law) in regards to Indigenous persons and released him.
This was a Justice adhering to the law regardless of what the Crown Attorney requested.

We both agree that bail laws need to be changed. We just disagree which level of is most responsible to make this change.
We had a system prior to the Trudeau govt that worked better for the safety and security of the public.
We have a current system that benefits the criminal to the detriment of the law abiding