Council Endorses Regular Town Hall Meetings

At Monday’s Committee of the Whole (CoW) Council meeting, downtown business owner Theresa Rickerby made a delegation where she blasted Council for not following their commitments as members of the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities. In the last term, Council voted to join this group which requires that members “promote social inclusion, establish policies to eradicate all forms of racism and discrimination and promote human rights and diversity.” Theresa said that Council is in fact discriminating against various people – for example not approving the Sleeping Cabins and failing to put forward an alternative solution. This discriminates against homeless people.  She also asked that Councillors receive training in “Harm reduction”. In response, Councillor Bureau said that the problem is that Councillors should do more listening but he did not directly address Theresa’s criticism.

However, councillor Bureau did move that Councillors receive the training and that up to three Town Hall meetings per year be held.  In the absence of Mayor Cleveland, the meeting was chaired by Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty and she moved to divide Adam’s motion to address “training” and “meetings” separately. There was little debate about the training – that was approved – but the idea of public meetings with no agenda did not get agreement. Councillor Randy Barber felt that meetings without an Agenda would be inefficient and unproductive.  He also felt it was short notice to decide on such a thing and Brian Darling agreed. In the end, Nicole Beatty successfully moved that a decision on Town Hall meetings (frequency and structure) be deferred to the Governance review (to be completed July 2023). In a later CoW agenda item on Governance (preliminary report 15 April – but also see update), it was decided that the survey on Governance (due April 25) will also include a question about Town Hall meetings.

So Council likes Town Hall meetings but is not decided on their agenda or frequency.


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30 April 2023 2:09 pm

Finally I managed to compose an opinion on this topic:

26 April 2023 11:51 am

Town Hall Meetings with no Agenda – see no value in this. Promotes discussions with wide split of topics that will expend itself into hot air.
Being the topic Town Hall Meetings with the reporting of what occurred at this meeting it is not surprising people are commenting on the content of of this meeting over Town Hall Meetings. Therefore I belatedly offer a comment on Town Hall Meetings with no agenda Ben.

Reply to  Dave
26 April 2023 1:48 pm

You wrote “Town Hall Meetings with no Agenda – see no value in this. Promotes discussions with wide split of topics that will expend itself into hot air.”
A perfect example of Parkinson’s Law

26 April 2023 11:28 am

The Mayor and the members of Cobourg Council are not the ones to require training in “Harm Reduction” and so forth as described in the above article.

Reply to  marya
14 May 2023 7:10 pm

Totally agree marya. Administering Narcan to someone who could have been using fentanyl, or drugs laced with fentanyl—no. Call 911, yes. This is not the job of the Mayor or Councillors.

This is a First Responders job….what they are professionally trained to do. See government website for 1st responders and how they are to properly assess a potential overdose situation; use nitrile gloves, respiratory mask, etc. No. No. No.

Someone who could have just injected or snorted and nodded off, I do not think they are going to necessarily put their needle and or bag of crystal meth, crack, heroin, coke or mdma away…making it easily airborne, or a needle you can be stabbed by.YET these Naloxone kits are being given out left, right and centre.

It seems almost trendy, virtuous to carry a Naloxone kit with you wherever you go.

Last edited 19 days ago by Newbie
26 April 2023 9:41 am

I think that the comments on this topic are way off topic, and should be removed. The Post was about the motion to establish Town Hall meetings. Instead it veered off in the direction that has been hammered to death in previous posts – the homelessness problem and an opportunity to shoot the messenger.
Reading the comments I would like to congratulate the publisher for giving the commenters a platform for them to introduce the pejorative term “woke”. I am sure it will not be the last !

Note, a wiki quote:
By 2020, however, members of the political center and right wing in several Western countries were using the term woke in an ironic way, as an insult for various progressive or leftists movements and ideologies perceived as overzealous, performative, or insincere. In turn, some commentators came to consider it an offensive term with negative associations to those who promote political ideas involving identity and race.

Last edited 1 month ago by ben
Reply to  ben
26 April 2023 11:20 am

That is the definition of a “Town Hall Meeting” meaning that it is an opportunity for a community to discuss a variety of public issues.

Reply to  ben
1 May 2023 7:40 am

“Woke” is not pejorative. Using Wikipedia as a reference is like relying on Twitter for objective stats.

From Merriam-Webster:
aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)

—often used in contexts that suggest someone’s expressed beliefs about such matters are not backed with genuine concern or action
reflecting the attitudes of woke people

disapproving politically liberal (as in matters of racial and social justice) especially in a way that is considered unreasonable or extreme

Reply to  NAI
1 May 2023 1:52 pm

“Woke” is not pejorative.

It certainly is when used in its modern contexts as in insults and little else today.

Reply to  ben
14 May 2023 7:22 pm

Comment on topic. Councillor Bureau’s “Training” and “Meetings” motion(s) RE: Rickerby’s COW Delegation.

Last edited 19 days ago by Newbie
26 April 2023 9:25 am

What exactly does “harm reduction training,” consist of and who is supposed to be conducting it?

Not necessarily against the idea, but it seems like these questions should have been asked and answered before anyone voted on it..

25 April 2023 1:20 pm

John, do you know if the DM declared any conflict of interest at this meeting. Specifically, involvement, if any, with this Coalition for Cabins and unsanctioned OSP tent. You usually mention it in your report.

25 April 2023 11:51 am

With the Woke movement I believe our society has undergone a sea change since the 30s, 40s, 50s where people were responsible unto themselves. Today some expect to be taken care of from cradle to grave. The closing of mental institutions has unleashed upon general society people not of stable mind. Our government allows and financially supports people that should never have been parents. There has grown a contingent of people who think the world owes them. There are also some who have fallen through the cracks and would be glad of an opportunity to fill one of the many employment opportunities that go begging. Open up the mental institutions, bring back vagrancy laws and programs for those that were never given the basics at home to learn life skills. And the government should open up their eyes and build housing that people of all stripes very much need. Teresa Rickerby go home!

25 April 2023 11:49 am

I personally deplore the attempt to ‘wokify’ these problems. It is not a right/left political ball to be booted around. There has been enough kicking the can down the road. Experiences from other urban centres are aplenty, some good some bad. I still maintain that it is inconceivable that homelessness, mental issues and drug addiction can be solved with a single solution. The solutions need to be tailored (using acceptable benchmarks) requiring the appropriate level of expertise in each of these demographic segments. These country wide health issues will not go away. The province continues to download onto the Municipalities incremental responsibilities (and attendant costs); so Northumberland had better start with manageable pilot projects and start now.

Reply to  Gerinator
28 April 2023 10:40 am

I wish that more could be written to commend, congratulate and salute the individuals in transition and at least two Cobourg Pharmacists that I observed this past Winter who provided them with the substance(s) to wean them off addictions. (Naive me is always the last to know what to others is common knowledge).

Reply to  marya
29 April 2023 2:26 pm

The drugs about today truly earn the old description – a monkey on your back – many are so addictive. A guy I knew before developed a crack and cocaine habit. He spent over $30,000 before he recognized he had a problem and needed to do something. In desperation he went to reside with friends of his parents who lived in a very, very sparely populated area out west. A place he could be assured of no access to drugs. At that time he decided to have a few beers and found out that was beyond his control – a person with an addictive personality to substances of any kind. Glad to say he was able to quit completely and has never relapsed and it has been quite some time.
Glad to see the Casinos are beginning at looking at money laundering through them – drug merchants often use them to launder their dirty profits and perpetuate selling their wares.
Methadone has long been used in drug abstinence treatment and there are mostly likely others. This is what I call true harm reduction not injection tents.

Cobourg taxpayer
25 April 2023 10:16 am

I wonder how Theresa Rickerby became such an expert on homelessness and apparently unsanctioned tents to assist in illegal drug use. The first Friday night tent was set up behind her pet/toy store. The Sleeping Cabins project approval would have discriminated against the tax paying home owners in the neighborhood where they were proposed. The residents of the sleeping cabins would have been self governing. A recipe for disaster in my opinion. As Rickery is an expert how about answering this: what percentage of the homeless in Cobourg are actually from Cobourg and what percentage are homeless because of economic hardship, mental health issues and drug abuse? Mental health and drug abuse issues require different solutions than homeless from economic hardship. I believe the Sleeping Cabins would have grouped all three types of residents together, not a good mix. As there are unused beds at Transition House it seems as if the homeless are most frequently unable to follow the rules in place there and require a much different accommodation, not self governing sleeping cabins.

Old Sailor
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
25 April 2023 10:44 am

Yesterday I parked on Division just above King, beside Prep Food Company. Standing nearby was a group of six young folks, all with backpacks, 20 to 30 age group. Having a good gab.
And I wondered how many, if not all of them, were homeless but potentially trainable and employable? Cobourg Taxpayer is right. If we group all the homeless into one pot, then we give none of them a chance to change and succeed in life. When is the Town, County, & Province going to give us tentative action plans other than what Theresa Rickerby has in mind. Thank God she is no longer on Council.

Last edited 1 month ago by Old Sailor
Reply to  Old Sailor
25 April 2023 11:12 am

I was in that same location on Tuesday, April 18th. The Salvation Army provide free lunches there every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There was an elderly man with a white beard having a loud five minute temper tantrum because the place was closed.

Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
25 April 2023 11:07 am

Extremely well written, Cobourg Taxpayer!
It can also be noted that there are also homeless people, or people with no fixed address, in Cobourg because that is their self-chosen mode of existence.

Pete M
Reply to  marya
25 April 2023 8:07 pm

You are so right marya, there are people who dont want to move out of that lifestyle…its rules based requiring you work to sustain yourself.
For Theresa it allows her to bang her drum of social warriorism and throw around the word discrimination as
her deflection to being told, NO. Has she offered her home as an example to the rest of the community?

If they re really that passionate for the cause, begin a fund raiser to purchase a property to provide a residential living space .

They demand action but with other peoples money.

If you want other peoples money then you better have a good business case.
With checks and balances in place to ensure the money is properly used and that the objectives will be achieved- people moved into housing, a reduction in drug use and mental illness.

For most of us we see a group that is seeking funds to create a new industry to support themselves without really helping the ones truly in need.

Reply to  Pete M
26 April 2023 7:49 am

So true, Pete M. As for sustenance, this group of homeless sustain themselves by pilfering other people’s possessions with “catch and release” obviously not being much of a deterrent…

25 April 2023 9:20 am

If I were a Council member, I would always keep in mind, when making any decision, who makes up Cobourg’s largest demographic and will my decision affect them.

Reply to  Kathleen
25 April 2023 11:15 am

Largest voting demographic too! This is also why we have a larger responsibility toward attempting to understand issues related to not only our own self interests.

25 April 2023 8:58 am

“Fair Play and Equality” should rule the day…Let’s not go Woke in Cobourg or jump the gun too soon on any of the latest trends.
I remember the Black Lives Matter crowd support and that movement turned out a massive “fraud”.
They tore down the statue of Ryerson in Toronto before they knew the whole true story of the man…Most people in Canada owe their education to this man.

Merle Gingrich
Reply to  cornbread
25 April 2023 9:32 am

I agree with Cornbread, the Politically correct (woke) movement started some 30 years ago and look where it has got us. If you want to get ride of racism, don’t talk about it, same goes for hatred, but the media of today won’t let it lie, they perpetuate it.
I’m sorry if I offended someone and then I will apologize. Let’s be KIND to each other and the rest will fall in place.

Doug Weldon
Reply to  cornbread
25 April 2023 9:41 am

Cobourg should jump up and address what seems to be one of our biggest social issues in a long time: Homelessness. Drugs being all almost legal, housing becoming more and more expensive seem to be driving this issue. Do housing costs drive people into homelessness and drugs or do the drugs drive people into homelessness? Either way we need to step up and address this tragic situation. Doug Ford seems to have forgotten that he is responsible to deal up front with all of this. Seems he is too busy supporting the ambitions of all his wealthy friends and perhaps insuring his own financial future by handing away the Green Belt and Ontario Place to his Best Buddies. Cobourg ca not handle Ontario’s Homeless Crisis on its own. We should start by forming a coalition of South Eastern Ontario Communities that are facing this same issue. What are the real causes and solutions to this issue? Who knows? Building tiny houses squeezed into any vacant spot may not be a solution. Are there any people out there who have some deeper insight into how to solve this problem? Develop a committee of Mayors, Councillors and people with connections and greater insight into Homelessness. Get the Ontario Government on board!!! How about Justin and his gang helping out. This is an issue all across Canada. Any Cobourg politician who wants to get ahead and cares about the homeless should step up and get this ball rolling. If it is only one or two communities here and there then they may be simply inviting this problem to come to their town while skipping over the towns who ignore this tragedy. We need BOTH a Provincial and a Federal focus on HOMELESSNESS. If we do nothing this problem will continue to grow until… Read more »

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Doug Weldon
25 April 2023 10:55 am

Exactly. It is a community health issue because if it does not get addressed then squalor can creep in that affects the larger community. It is a preventable health crisis. If we don’t begin the spending of money this year or next year or very soon, it will become more intractable and more expensive. Lots of innovative social programs have teething problems, just like a start-up business has teething problems. It’s a learning experience. Rocket blows up, Musk learns, rocket goes all the way to success. Some other communities in Ontario approved the tiny cabin idea, so we will soon have some empirical data from which we can learn what is or is not effective and adjust accordingly.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
25 April 2023 11:27 am

You’re right Wally, it’s a health issue. We call it a crisis but it’s also an epidemic.

During the pandemic we paid much attention to the expertise the medical (health unit) / scientific community advise us, in oder to make better informed choices to keep our communities safe and healthy.

Perhaps we should allow them to take the lead once again. Afterall, who am I to stick my nose in someone else’s health problems?

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Doug Weldon
25 April 2023 11:41 am

Canada’s government is too busy “saving” the world financially pay first attention to the welfare of own citizens at home.
The legalizing of marijuana was a first step in the downward trend & it has now progressed from there and now the drug culture is fully out of control and ruining so many lives.
A saying from JFK comes to mind “Ask not what you can do you for yourself but what you can do for your country ”
One example that would benefit not only the young fit adults wandering the streets homeless but the country is they could join the military.
Its military is so short of members that the government has now opened enlistment to landed immigrants to fill the ranks !
Speaks volumes.of the situation as just one obvious example of how serious the situation is these days.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bill Thompson
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bill Thompson
25 April 2023 11:58 am

That is one of the ideas that I think is worth considering, for the reasons that you pointed out. In the 60’s hundreds of young boys/men attended “summer militia”. I was part of the 33rd Medium Artillery (Thirsty Thirds). We got to learn discipline. We got to bond with each other in difficult circumstances. We learned the value of community and service. Like many others, I stayed on to serve in the Reserves. Such a program would be helpful to many young men and women. We all learned our basic St Johns Ambulance certificate, and were taught search and rescue techniques. And of course there was the shooting of 155mm Howitzers. Summer militia would be a great beginning of rebuilding and strengthening self-confidence in young people.

Reply to  Bill Thompson
25 April 2023 12:21 pm

Problem is how many places will the military have? The UN has told Trudeau to build his military. He has refused. The military tells him they can not defend this country with antiquated equipment and manpower it presently has.
Like many problems this starts at the top.