In 2020 CAO Tracey Vaughan commissioned a Service Delivery Review followed by an organization review which resulted in comprehensive reports with recommendations – some of them contentious. One of the results was a re-organizing of the Planning Department. The simultaneous retirement of its long-time Director – Glenn McGlashon – and the hiring of a replacement – Anne Taylor Scott – allowed for some fresh thinking. Economic Development was moved under this Division and a new manager hired (Daniel van Kampen). Planning was then split into long-range, under long-term incumbent Rob Franklin, and Development Review (approving applications etc) under new hire Vanessa Reusser. Also new is an annual report on activity in this division – including a review of external factors and some tracking of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). The first annual edition of this report called Planning & Development Division 2022 Growth Trends Review, will be presented to Council at their Committee of the Whole meeting on 21 February.
Note: also reporting into this Director is “Chief Building Official” Dave Hancock who looks after building permits.
The “Growth Trends Review” is a report of activity in 2022 plus a look at the coming year and is divided amongst four areas as defined by the four managers in the Department:
- Economic Development and performance at the Venture13 Facility;
- Development Application Activity ;
- Status of Long-Range Planning Projects;
- Building permit activity.
The Economic Development team promotes Cobourg as a destination for investment and helps create more local jobs through:
- marketing (online, social media, print)
- attendance at trade shows and economic development conferences
- membership and liaison with industry associations and coordinating efforts with private sector organizations.
Significant Economic Development comments and projects
- The manufacturing sector has been a strategic growth sector for Cobourg up to and including 2022.
- The Venture 13 Innovation and Entrepreneurship centre provides support to the local business community.
- V13 PoliceTech Accelerator is a joint initiative of the Cobourg Police Service and Northumberland CFDC and was active with young entrepreneurs.
There are five active development applications and projects in the Lucas Point Industrial Park.
- Davey Tree – warehouse at 560 Thompson Street
- Coba Steel propose a rebar production facility at 555 Dodge St
- Cardinal Industrial Solutions offered to build at 585 Dodge Street
- Brock Street Holdings Inc. is a craft brewer and cocktail beverage company that plans to construct a packaging and canning plant.
- GVK Chemicals are proposing to construct a building to produce iron products such as iron metal powder and iron metal.
Northam Industrial Park Area: there is an active planning application to subdivide 15.3 acre industrial property along Kerr Street to 6 lots for general industrial use.
The Economic Development Team also coordinates efforts with the County’s Economic Development function, with the Town responsible primarily for business retention and expansion and County responsible primarily for inbound investment attraction and agri-food sector growth.
Fourteen new businesses, investments, retained and/or expanded businesses in Cobourg in 2022 with support from Cobourg’s economic development team (see report for list)
2023 Plans in Economic Development
- Develop a new 5-year Economic Development Strategy to guide direction.
- Address the challenge of limited industrial space and land
- Address the challenge of labour shortages.
- Engage in Ontario East Economic Development Commissions investment attraction initiatives and service their investment leads
- Update marketing materials
See the full report for a lot more detail on activity in this department.
Now operating in two sections: Development Review and Long-Range Planning. As well as the organization change, there have been a number of process and productivity improvements. In addition, a work program is being developed to respond to provincial changes from Bill 109 and Bill 23.
The department is now fully staffed with 6 land use planners.
Development Review section
Responsible for the processing of applications under the Planning Act.
The report lists 113 separate applications, letters requests etc. “However 2022 development applications overall were slightly down from 2021 by 18%. This has allowed staff to catch up on processing previous years applications that remain under review.” As a result of this work, 33 items came to council for approval. “In addition, Staff held 14 Pre-Consultation meetings and issued 14 Pre-Consultation Checklists.”
Long-Range Planning section
Responsible for updates to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law, special planning projects and heritage conservation.
Long Range Projects with Status (slightly abbreviated)
|ICSP (Integrated Community Sustainability Plan)||Recommend approval.||Spring 2023|
|Tannery District Secondary Plan||Recommend approval||Spring 2023|
|Comprehensive Zoning By-law Update||1. revise mapping and text
2. Statutory Public Meeting
3. Recommend approval
|1. Fall 2023
2. December 2023
|Affordable Housing Community Improvement Plan||1. Recommend approval of 2022 Applications
2. Intake of 2023 Applications
|1 Spring 2023
2. Commence Spring 2023 (pending Budget Approval)
|Heritage Conservation||1. Revised Delegation By-law
2. Kick off New Heritage Conservation District
3. Address properties on Heritage Registry as per Bill 23 limitations
|1. Spring/Summer 2023
2. Fall 2023
3. Ongoing – 2-year time frame
|Land Inventory (Furnace St)||1. Sleeping Cabin Proposal
2. Long term disposition plan
|1. February 2023
2. Spring 2023
|Lands formerly owned by the School Board||Report back with options for disposition||March 13 Committee of the Whole|
|Short Term Rental Accommodations||Co-ordinate with Clerks and By-law Enforcement||2023|
The Building Department is led by the Chief Building Official and includes 3 building inspectors/plans examiners.
There were ~120 new unit starts in 2022. See graph in full report.
“Construction activity and new unit starts continue to be strong and in 2023 are expected to surpass previous years with development starting in Cobourg East Community.”
Real Estate and Economic Trends
Trends in the economy
The overall Canadian economy is monitored.
Looking Forward to 2023
Summary of work (2023)
- Ongoing work related to the Cobourg East Community. Tribute is likely to seek permits for most of Phase 1 in 2023 which, once registered, will create 182 units. It is anticipated that upwards of 50 new homes in Phase 1 will be occupied by the end of 2023
- East Village subdivision will continue to build out with between 80-100 new units starting in 2023
- New Amherst subdivision will continue to build out
- Finalization of the flux of Site Plans received in the last number of years will result in increased permit activity.
- Marshall Homes (160 Densmore Rd) – 123 Units
- Beachwalk Flats (185 Division St) – 23 units
- Trinity Housing (25 James St E) – 27 affordable units
- LeBlanc (Nickerson Woods) – 24 units
- Mason Homes (425 King St E) – 25 units
- Changes as a result of Bill 23 – 3rd units permitted as of right, Development Charge incentives.
- An increase in Pre-Consultation requests in late 2022, which may result in active applications proceed in 2023
Hopefully the revised organization will result in improved service in the future and this new report is a positive step forward in transparency.
- Planning & Development Division 2022 Growth Trends Review – report by Anne Taylor Scott
See also previous Cobourg Blog reports
- Service Delivery Review – Final Report – 16 November 2020
- Early Look at Organization Review – 17 September 2021