Transition House moving

No, not the building, but the location of the facility – it’s moving from 10 Chapel Street to 310 Division Street. Although announced, not all details are final and County Councillors and Northumberland residents are being asked for their input. The new building was previously Cobourg Retirement Residence but it closed in early 2023 and, in partnership with Transition House, the County has now purchased the property – although price and terms have not been finalized nor made public. The current Transition House building can accommodate a maximum of 22 individuals in four rooms with another 7 accommodated in local motels. Transition house is managed by a board with funding from multiple sources (see their web site in Resources) and is in partnership with Northumberland County.

Announcement summary

310 Division St.

The purchase of 310 Division Street will enable Transition House to consolidate operations to a single site, ensuring consistent wrap-around services for all clients. Anticipated to open in the Spring of 2024, with 47 units and shared kitchen amenities, the vision is for a multi-purpose facility. Approximately 35 emergency shelter spaces will address immediate need and, over the longer-term, transitional housing accommodations and other services will create pathways out of homelessness.

The goal is to ultimately relocate shelter operations to this nearby, more modern facility, and close the current 10 Chapel Street location.

Services coming to 310 Division Street

  • Approximately 35 low barrier overnight emergency shelter spaces
  • Access to a bed, food services and support services from 8 pm to 8 am, 7 days per week
  • Shared kitchen amenities
  • Future opportunities to introduce daytime services and transitional housing accommodations to help create pathways out of homelessness

Why this location?

This site is an ideal location to support people experiencing homelessness because:

  • It is centrally located close to transit, health care services and pharmacies, employment and counselling services, food options for groceries, and other general supports that are available to any member of the community.
  • It is zoned to fit the intended use.
  • It has a good foundation to improve quickly for occupancy:
    • Toilets, showers and hygiene-related requirements exist.
    • Allows for retrofitting to align with varied types of housing, such as temporary shelter and transitional housing.
    • Has a mix of multipurpose and living space that will allow for safe shelter and housing options with onsite services to support people in meeting their life stabilization goals.
  • It offers space for people to sleep and space for services such as health, employment, and food security.

Public engagement (summary)

The County and Transition House will be hosting community information and engagement sessions for residents in the coming weeks. Residents will be invited to share their feedback, ask questions, and provide input that will help positively shape the integration of this new hub within the broader community.

More info and have your say at the County’s survey page.

New Executive Director

Separately on Dec 4, the board of Transition House announced that the role of Executive Director has now been filled.  Ike Nwibe is the successful candidate and will begin in his role with Transition House as of December 11, 2023. With 10 years of shelter administration and social service experience, Mr. Nwibe is an experienced leader with in-depth understanding of the sheltering system and governing policies. He is a community collaborator who advocates for the individuals he serves by building trusting relationships.

Resources

Addendum – 6 December

The following was received today by Cobourg Internet.

Dr. Hillary Allen & Mr. Jeff Crowley presented a letter to the County Council today (6 December 2023) regarding the purchase of 310 Division Street for the purpose of a new larger emergency shelter.  They felt that it was important to share so the citizens of Cobourg and the County understand what kind of decisions are being made without their input. 

Download letter – PDF Format

Addendum – 9 December

If you want to know more about the project, then watch the video of the County Council meeting starting at 5:11:25 to the end of the session at about 6:56:01. Included is a presentation by staff which includes statistics on their performance plus 6 delegations mostly in favour.  But one delegation was by Dr. Hillary Allen & Mr. Jeff Crowley who own the property at 304 Division and who pointed out a large number of concerns.  The County promises to look at these concerns and have public meetings to get input.

Note that Dr. Hillary Allen & Mr. Jeff Crowley have written a letter to County with their concerns (see below) but the content of the other presentations is only available verbally by watching the video.

Links

Download Letter by Dr. Hillary Allen & Mr. Jeff Crowley. They agreed that the building suited housing – although not as planned – but asked for a pause in the Project.  However, Warden Mandy Martin said that they are already committed.

Link to Video (thanks Nancy) (start at 5:11:25).  Highly recommended to see at least Staff presentation.

Note that Mayor Cleveland asked (as a County Councillor):

  • Why is this in Cobourg?
  • Who covers Cobourg’s cost of services (e.g. Police, Fire, etc)?
  • When will County stop passing the buck to Cobourg?

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Kevin
1 month ago

We live in some strange times. In BC the government has plans to be a drug supplier:
B.C. to give ‘safe’ fentanyl to minors. And parents won’t have a say | National Post
Maybe if the drugs are given with supervised use there will be some control over this program. Other government programs have results in the ‘safe supply’ being sold on the streets. This created cheaper drugs, more addiction and more deaths.

I can’t help but wonder if the new Transition House location will be supplying drugs. We need clear statements from the county as to exactly how this new facility will be used. How will they deal with drugs, thefts and violence? Will there be 24 hour security?

When a person using services of Transition House is not on the property the person is not the responsibility of TH. People passed out on the sidewalk, across the street on church property, etc. are not being supervised by TH staff. Is there any reason to believe that rule will change? I recently spoke to somebody who works at TH who told me there is no intention of bringing people from outside the county to be housed at the new location. When the weather gets colder (very soon) the beds in TH fill up and the overflow are put up in local motels. With the larger building that practice will not be necessary.

Rob
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

If you’re curious about what 310 Division in Cobourg will look like in 2025, drive down Sherbourne Street in Toronto between Shuter and Queen E. (across from Moss Park)…The Max Meighen Shelter is located there. Alternatively you can look on Google Maps (street view)…its not hard to image a similar scene out in front of 310-D and along the street on our large sidewalks.

It will not be inviting for tourists, day trippers, potential home buyers or future commercial investors driving down Cobourg’s main street. Downtown is struggling to survive – Covid, inflation/recession, anti-business parking by-laws/fines, relentless tax increases, SWM, and now a low barrier shelter a block away…

There is a gratuitous lack of critical thinking.

Rational
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

It is just amazing that the elected Mayor and Council Members can’t see this and what will happen. I just don’t comprehend why they are not taking a protective position on the use of 310. Division. The proposed use of the site will impact residents, businesses, and tourism.

Rob
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Rational you are absolutely correct. The letter from COSIC owners, Dr. Allen and Jeff Crowley, is so well constructed, articulate and pointed…I can’t believe it is being completely ignored by the Mayor, Council, the CAO and the County. Their clinic is now for sale…what more does Cleveland need. This isn’t NIMBY-ism – it is about effective representation and doing things right.

Rob
Reply to  small town Ontario
1 month ago

The incessant lack of accountability to the taxpayers within Cobourg and Northumberland County is disgraceful and exasperating. We deserve a response to this letter from our Mayor and the Warden.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago
  • 2024 Northumberland County Warden, Brian Ostrander. Mayor of the Municipality of Brighton. …
  • 2024 Northumberland County Deputy Warden, Olena Hankivsky. Mayor of the Municipality of Port Hope. …
  • John Logel. Mayor of the Township of Alnwick/Haldimand. …
  • Lucas Cleveland. …
  • Mandy Martin. …
  • Scott Jibb. …
  • Bob Crate.

I agree, here is the list of the November County councillors. I am going to e-mail each of them. Hopefully their in boxes will be flooded with e-mails asking for a response to this letter.

Cobourg taxpayer
2 months ago

Does anyone know if the owner of 310 Division was in tax arrears? Was the low price the county paid for 310 based on excusing this? If yes how does the town get this money back?

CarolR
2 months ago

When out for our walk today – Saturday – mid morning, we observed the ‘temporary’ toilets at the Frink clearly not being used for their intended purpose. Very upsetting to see this happening in our beautiful community. It would seem that Cobourg has been disproportionately allotted with the keep of the homeless and addicted.
Agreed they need help, as do we the taxpayers, in order to keep our lovely town afloat.
Perhaps the County could consider a more equitable plan for the distribution of the shelter locations.

Carolyn Dent
2 months ago

As a person living on Chapel Street, the 310 Division street I cannot face the idea passing even more addicted people shooting up in bus shelters, hurling abuse at me. I will have to pick up even more drug paraphernalia on my morning walks – already I average about two bags of disgusting and dangerous litter. So I’ve signed the attached petition
https://www.change.org/p/protect-cobourg-stop-the-massive-310-division-shelter?cs_tk=AoVDswjuyKcmENZHe2UAAXicyyvNyQEABF8BvIuW5nW8FdD8joqIaBhTuuc%3D&utm_campaign=b00149e386f24a269c20cc25f9116ef8&utm_content=control_v0_4_0&utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_signer_receipt&utm_term=cs

Dave
Reply to  Carolyn Dent
2 months ago

Here is a link to Today’s Northumberland providing further information with regard to the petition started by David Battersby, a resident of Cobourg.
https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2023/12/14/cobourg-mans-online-petition-and-letter-raise-concerns-regarding-northumberland-counties-purchase-of-former-retirement-home/

Kevin
Reply to  Carolyn Dent
2 months ago

Thank you Carolyn for caring enough to pickup potentially dangerous garbage. If more of us did this we would have a cleaner town to live in. Hopefully lots more people will sign the petition. Our governments seem to do what they want without regard for the average citizen. If we want reasonable decisions to be made we need to keep putting pressure on governments. A 50 year old male recently competed with 8 to 16 year old girls and was allowed in the change rooms at a swim meet. If this person identifies as a woman that is ‘her’ business but a line has been crossed when grown men are allowed to identify at teenage girls. What’s next, a 200 lb man identifying as a 120 lb teenage girl at a wrestling tournament? Will the county want to fill all the available beds at 310 Division by bring in people from other counties/cities? We need to know what is happening to our town.

Kevin
2 months ago

Sometimes it is good to consider what we agree on. There is a housing crisis. The federal housing minister wants more housing, new immigrants and refuges are being housed in hotels and emergency shelters, some Toronto area hotels are renting rooms to people for less than the cost of an apartment. The local vacancy rate is much lower than the ideal rate for a health balance between landlords and tenants. Hopefully we can agree on the general idea of not enough housing.

The county wants to use 310 Division St. to house people. It is an existing building that did house seniors and can be used for housing. Another term often used is low barrier. Regardless of what that means, all housing has rules. People who own their own houses have to pay property taxes and follow other rules. Renters, both long-term and short-term, have rules to follow. We have a group of people who don’t want to follow existing rules. One individual in particular did not follow rules at his rental property. It was closed for health and safety reasons. This individual has not, to my knowledge, accepted any responsibility for his role in closing the residence. He has stated he doesn’t have any answers but insists something is done. Most people find this unacceptable behaviour to be part of a community.

The existing Golden Plough currently houses seniors and is therefore suitable for housing. A decision 13 years ago to demolish it was made. At that time the drug and housing crises were not nearly as bad as they are now. Decisions can be changed. It may not be the best location for emergency shelter, like Transition House and the warming room, but it could be used for that purpose. One benefit would be to help get drug addicts out of the downtown area, farther from known rooming houses and drug dealers. It obviously would be closer to seniors but the warming room is mostly used at night in the winter. Are many seniors who reside at the Golden Plough out for a walk on winter nights?

Is there a better way to get certain people out of the downtown? Maybe moving some to other communities in the county. But remember we cannot force them to get help. We can make it more difficult for them to get drugs. Some people seem to want to move the encampment to a compound in the middle of the forest and let the addicts fend for themselves. We can’t do that. What can we do? It is time for people in the encampment to accept responsibility and follow rules.

Dave
Reply to  Kevin
2 months ago

Kevin – I would not count to much on the Federal Housing Minister. A mere six months ago the Federal Liberals, announced by Trudeau stated housing is not our responsibility. After creating the problem with extensive immigration both legal and illegal he felt it was not up to them to create housing. Noting their numbers falling considerable in the polls and with challenges by Pierre Poilievre the Liberals then began to offer housing build assists, but only after. The extent of the help is an unknown factor.
I have yet to see commitment from this government on building much need rehabs and mental health institutions.
As the house on Division is purchased it seems rather late for the County to suddenly decide to use the Golden Plough for their new low barrier facility. As some have pointed out their is a great need for senior housing and for families that need lower cost housing. My preference for the Golden Plough. As for 310 Division unless the new director is a miracle worker I fear for when it opens. In the Golden Plough area this would provide, as it is less travelled, would provide wonderful opportunities to mug, assault and break in to shoppers cars. Low barrier has to go!

downtowner
Reply to  Dave
2 months ago

Agreed Dave, there is no inkling of any levels of the sitting Governments contributing to the real issue facing us,people who are ill, as addiction is an illness, and in need of clinical care.
Very little has been gained in the “Housing First” direction that was favoured five years ago but many losses visible in the number of encampments that have been tolerated across the nation.
Encampments filled with folks unable or unwilling to fully care for themselves, relying on donations to supplement their supportive Government monies as municipalities cover cleanup,policing, emergency services, and often demonstrate unwarranted sympathies.
Folks who thank us with refusal to accept what housing is available, claiming inadequacies,offered with only the lowest of commitment on their behalf and the best of intentions of providers.
No, our Government has worsened the situation by empowering these individuals with lessened rules around the possession and use of debilitating, highly addictive and unregulated drugs leading the development of a faction in our society that claims inhumane treatment from the rest of us as we are witness to their decline at their own hand

Action
2 months ago

This could work if it is used for homeless who really want/need shorter term assistance. It will be a huge mistake/waste of tax payer money if it is allowed to tolerate criminal drugs and alcohol use. In this case a very nice facility will be destroyed in short order and the people who are really trying to make a better life for them selves will be sabotaged.

Last edited 2 months ago by Action
Rob
2 months ago

Enjoyed actually watching County Council and seeing our Mayor go head to head with the Warden Martin. Cleveland was clearly aggravated with the decision to purchased the Division property and the lack of consultation and foresight. This is the level of passion that is required to be effective in the role and also, it was the first time I have seen the Mayor truly advocating in the best interest of the taxpayers. I hope I see more of this, often and soon.

I was very disappointed with the response of the Warden and DW who both seemed to shutdown the Mayor and his concerns – they suggested that Cobourg needs to come to the table and essentially flip the bill for the increased costs associated with Transition House. This is an important fight and the Mayor cannot give this up…there will be little support or sympathy from our neighbouring municipalities as they are just happy the property isn’t in their town.

The Mayor must bring the details and costs to the public and to Council for discussion. We must not agree to come to the table in this unilateral decision without an agreement to share costs with all County municipalities.

Old Sailor
Reply to  Rob
2 months ago

Rob

Mayor Cleveland is right about the incremental costs for Cobourg. But I am more concerned with putting another 35+ homeless individuals of all types into the same area of Cobourg that already is dealing with all of the homeless in the County. The other Mayors can just tick a box and tell all of their residents that the problems brought on by the homeless drug addicts and mentally unstable will all remain in Cobourg.

Leweez
Reply to  Rob
2 months ago

I think it is time for the Town of Cobourg to withhold paying any portion of our County taxes until it is agreed that the county reimburse Cobourg for expenses incurred regarding the encampment AND Transition House.

Dave
2 months ago

Here is a link to an article in Todays Northumberland submitted by the “leader” of the encampment. In reading this I am astounded by this person’s views of entitlement and his refute to the condition of the closed house he came from. Additionally I had to look twice, Adam Bureau sported a hat just like the one he is wearing in the picture. Haven’t seen Adam wearing it for some time. He and his partner are the authors of their own misfortune by their life choices yet he wants conditions before he accepts housing and no mention of accepting wrap around services.

https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2023/12/10/encampment-resident-welcomes-anyone-including-mayor-to-come-visit/

Leslie
Reply to  Dave
2 months ago

Thanks Dave. Entitlement. Victimhood over Responsibility. Grow the f*** up. He needs to stop being a leach. Really? Inviting the Mayor to his Illegal Drug Den, after he aggressively & publicly disrespected him at Town Hall? Who does he think he is gangsta Chris? Tough guy? With his fedora & jewels. Quite the opposite. Weasel, weak. 1/2 a million he & his “neighbours” have financially cost struggling Cobourg taxpayers…to do Nothing all day, but get high. Struggling taxpayers working their asses off…yet he cries & Want, Want, Wants…nothing in return except earning more of a loss of his own self worth & dignity. He needs to put on a helmet like the rest of us. Sick of seeing his face.

Kevin
Reply to  Leslie
2 months ago

Leslie, I think at least 60 others, based on the thumbs up, agree to your comment about entitlement. When discussing Transition House it is important to remember what TH is actually for. From the TH website: Transition House Emergency Shelter provides temporary, short-term crisis housing in Northumberland.  The shelter provides services to alleviate people’s immediate housing crisis as a first step to being quickly and permanently re-housed. With this in mind Chris could accept the help provided and maybe he would be quickly re-housed. Or maybe he could stay at the encampment with his pets and Virginia could be the one getting help at TH. It should be short term until they can live together again. Chris is not showing this minimal level of respect to taxpayers paying for these services.

In comments below Ken and ‘small town ontario’ exchange comments with the term low barrier being used. I think it is important to know exactly what low barrier is. I don’t think drugs are allowed to be used in TH, nor the warming room, but people using these services also use drugs. More people, more drugs, more problems. If we cannot force the drug users into programs surely we can find ways to keep them farther away from children. It seems the people making the decisions do not want to show even that minimal level of respect to the taxpayers who pay them. Are the decision makes just as entitled as Chris? Do any of them live near TH? Maybe they should take Chris’s offer but instead of visiting the encampment stay at TH or the warming room for a few nights.

Perhaps the new location on Division St. could be short-term crisis housing for TH until being quickly and permanently re-housed. Any objections to the existing Golden Plow?

Leslie
Reply to  Kevin
2 months ago

I strongly believe 310 Division should be used for struggling families, seniors & people down on their luck. The 1/2 million that has cost taxpayers is for Emergency services alone — in a very short period of time.

I do not believe this man is in any position to be negotiating or making offers. Could you please clarify your question about the use of the Golden Plough?

To be very clear — this is Not a community, I live very close to it & have family that live downtown.

I do not support Any permanent, low income or tax paid / subsidized housing for people with addictions that do not want to quit their deadly habit (which he is saying). All 19 are addicts.

There is “free” rehab facilities across the province. If “advocates” were true “social justice” warriors, they would have worked with Social Services Professionals to facilitate the process of entering rehabilitation back in March. You apply to 3 centres & are accelerated if homeless or in the RAAM program.

”Good people in a bad situation”, he says. Yes being addicted to Crystal meth (Tina), crack cocaine, heroin, coke, fentanyl does change the cognitive behaviours of good people — which in turn costs the majority of society great pain & dysfunction.

These “social justice warriors” see the world as black and white: oppressed or oppressor. Very dangerous ideologies in so many areas of our society — Woke Mind Virus. Just look at the protest happening right now at our Town Hall. Covert Inversion. A false state of awareness only achieved by fools that try to find injustice everywhere except in their own behaviour.

Kevin
Reply to  Leslie
2 months ago

Leslie, could Transition House, the warming room and related services be located in the existing Golden Plough as a more appropriate permanent location? Hopefully this would get drug addicts farther away from downtown and children living near to 310 Division.

Leslie
Reply to  Kevin
2 months ago

Hi there Kevin. Thank you for clarifying your question.

Yes, I agree. The Golden Plough is a much better location — as I note above; “I do not support Any permanent, low income or tax paid / subsidized housing for people with addictions that do not want to quit their deadly habit.” I also do not support low barrier.

Mark
Reply to  Leslie
2 months ago

There is a school across the street from GPL, so why is that a better location ?

Leslie
Reply to  Mark
2 months ago

Yes, you are correct, a six minute walk from Terry Fox…and my oversight. Contrary to your below comment about 310 Division — this does not “sound like a smart move.” I do not wish the terrorizing brought on by drug fueled crime & a low barrier shelter on any neighbourhood.

Leslie
Reply to  Mark
2 months ago

Mark, please also note my above comment states: “I strongly believe 310 Division should be used for struggling families, seniors & people down on their luck.”

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  Kevin
2 months ago

Low barrier Transition house, warming room and the associated services have been nothing but trouble for their current neighbourhood. How would locating it next to vulnerable seniors, their visitors and staff be considered a good idea?
seems more like a recipe for disaster.

ben
Reply to  Dave
2 months ago

Additionally I had to look twice, Adam Bureau sported a hat just like the one he is wearing in the picture.”

What was the point of this comment? Please explain otherwise I would think that you intended to smear a Councillor with ‘guilt by association”!

Frenchy
Reply to  ben
2 months ago

Not too often I agree with you ben, but I thought the same thing. I used to wear a hat like that but glad I put it away lest someone (Dave) thinks I’m associated with that rabble at the encampment.
You know who else wears a hat like that?

comment image

Dave
Reply to  Frenchy
2 months ago

John Papalia in the book The Enforcer also was pictured in a hat like that.

downtowner
Reply to  Dave
2 months ago

He does state in the video that addiction is real…but doesn’t accept that he himself may be in the throws of that existence
Addicts cannot recover until their is recognition of the illness that has taken over their lives and as long as their is a faction in our society that treats this illness as a normal path and indulges with creature comforts and encourages the larger populous to accept that they have the right to carry on harming themselves the illness will amplify .
Clinical treatment remains the saving grace and if these folks are not encouraged toward this avenue and reminded that they, themselves are the main stakeholders in their lives and responsibilities this Hell will continue for us all.
The energies of aid need to be refocused and purchasing buildings without dedicated rental income assured is questionable and a gamble that the Government will continue to support such endeavours long term. All it takes is new leadership and a fresh agenda and the money could be redirected and then who will pay the mortgage?

Rational
2 months ago

The article below is from TodaysNorthumberlnd on the 301 Division move. It is long, but at the end are two known businesses/residents that are directly next to the new location. They are concerned.

One is a letter (from COSIC – Dr. Allen/J. Cowley) ) and the other presentation comments (C. Craig) to County Council – both asking for its reconsideration. Concerns raised and real experiences support what commenters have been saying on this Blog about the unacceptable drug situation and dangers in the Downtown area.

What I don’t understand is how can decision makers for the County be so tone deaf? How can Town Leadership be so ton deaf, and not stand up for law abiding residents and contributors to Cobourg?

https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2023/12/07/video-mixed-reactions-to-county-purchase-of-former-retirement-residence/

Last edited 2 months ago by Rational
small town Ontario
2 months ago

Key recommendations included reducing barriers to access emergency shelter services, funding supports for adequate staffing levels, more transitional and supportive housing spaces to reduce shelter demand, monitoring of Transition House’s progress in improving its capacity and transitioning spaces for emergency shelter to more a more appropriate location for more beds and daytime supports (i.e., this proposal), explained Smith, adding that all are either done, in progress or being worked on.

But I Want…..and it looks like their wants are now being met by Northumberland County Council.

John Draper
Reply to  small town Ontario
2 months ago

See also the Addendum 9 December above. Watch the County Council meeting.

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  John Draper
2 months ago

Thanks for the link above to the county council meeting.

Good to see our town mayor speaking up for Cobourg. Was it just me, or did the county warden come across as imperious and condescending when Cleveland asked/made some good points?

The local business people (Hillary and Jeff) gave a great presentation. Terrible what they have had to put up with over the last four years and destined to be worse if the new facility is low barrier.

The neighbour also spoke well.

The delegations in support of the new building mostly spoke in general, mom and apple pie type platitudes and failed to address the very real concerns of the neighbourhood.
.

Leslie
Reply to  Mrs. Anonymous
2 months ago

Agreed. This is Not the first time Warden Mandy Martin has “shutdown”our Mayor during County Council Meetings.

I beleive more autonomy be given bottom up, politically. EachTown & City in the Province & Country have their own unique issues…generalized mandates, regulations and laws are not applicable to Cobourg compared to Toronto, for example.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  small town Ontario
2 months ago

“Low barrier” means that illegal drugs are allowed. Making the Division Street facility low barrier with increased capacity would make our downtown crime and drug problems worse! Do you actually think that is desirable? Any additional facilities should completely prohibit drug usage.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Ken Strauss
2 months ago

Ken please see the article from Northumberland News. link in my post. I do not think any part of transition house should be located in residential or downtown area. Not on Division St. or Chapel St. So not sure why you are asking me that question.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  small town Ontario
2 months ago

There are several mentions of “reducing barriers” and increasing capacity in the article to which you provided a link. There is no mention of eliminating all but zero tolerance facilities in our residential areas.

I assumed that you approved of the article since you didn’t note any criticisms of it. Apologies for misunderstanding your views. We agree!

Kevin
Reply to  Ken Strauss
2 months ago

In January of this year most drug use was decriminalized in BC as a 3 year pilot program. Deaths due to drugs have increased. In September restrictions were passed. In October a bill with more restrictions was introduced. It is not working in BC. Why would it work here? One way of thinking is forcing drug users to do drugs at home or in secluded places will increase the chance of overdosing. But allowing drugs in public might be worse due to increasing the use of drugs overall. One thing people never seem to mention is drug dealers do not want addicts to die. Dealers want addicts to buy their illegal products. Fewer overdoses, more drugs, more profit, more crime. Ken, for one, seems to understand this. New downtown cafes have a quality product because they have fewer customers than the high volume, lower quality places to get your caffeine fix. Losing a few customers to poor quality coffee is not too important to a high volume supplier. Losing a few customers due to poor quality drugs is not a big deal if there are lots of users. If you really want to help drug users you have to get them off of drugs. Fewer users, less profit for dealers, safer drugs to prevent losing even more users.

Dave
2 months ago

The immediate neighbours around Transition House have experienced serious assaults, addicts in their backyards, the grocery store police attending due to thefts, needles littering their neighourhood so now a facility that will house even more. As for wrap around services we are told the drugs are extremely addictive yet addicts refusing and using will be housed together with any accepting wrap around services. Just how long will they stay clean with the temptation right in their living space should any accept wrap around services?
8 to 8? Where do they go for the rest of the day? Will there be true protection for the neighbourhood or just catch and release with little consequence to the offenders? Walking in that are now the lawns of Trinity Church in warmer weather the addicts congregate like pigeons in the park and in the immediate vicinity of Transition House.
Better this facility and Transition House should be like Woodlawn. A facility that offers services but the recovering can’t leave the premises. Better yet it should be in a location out of town! As for anyone simply evicted and down on their luck can’t see they would want to go there.

Old Sailor
2 months ago

Thanks for this reporting John. Please let your bloggers know how and when the County is going to “collaborate” with downtown residents on this purchase of 310 Division St and the disposition of Transition House on Chapel St.

My concern is that we may be just adding 35+ more homelss beds to the downtown Cobourg area – and downtown residents will still have Transition House residents and the druggy Brookside encampment to deal with.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the County and Infrastructure Ontario hosted a Town Hall meeting at the CCC and came clean with taxpayers?

Catherine
Reply to  Old Sailor
2 months ago

Exactly is. Nobody is vacating the encampment. This still won’t be considered good enough. Until they get their waterfront mansions, they’re staying. So I’m just not sure what this is accomplishing. I’m hearing reports of homeless seniors sleeping in cars. Can’t go to transition house because it’s unsafe. Maybe make this shelter higher barrier so those that need/want services can access them. Addicts don’t want that, they are enjoying their resort – and until they’re given their waterfront mansion for free they’re staying.

Rob
Reply to  Old Sailor
2 months ago

I’m sure the owners and clients of COSIC, the sports injury clinic next door, are thrilled about the move and the associated antics. A significant shortcoming in government and governmental agencies (ours in particular), isn’t that they don’t do good work, its that they operator in silos and don’t seem to explore/vet/debate/understand the implications of their decisions. I think most people would agree that purchasing 310 Division is wise decision for the County but I believe only those operating in the County vacuum believe relocating Transition House to 310 Division is a good idea. Why? Well because small and medium sized businesses are already struggling, because beach-goers, weekend event visitors and tourists park there, because its the busiest street in Town create a terrible first impression of what was a Town to be envied.

Its quite similar to the issue with the old east high school waterfront property – most people believe that the Town of Cobourg made a good decision ensuring its ownership of that property. But only those in the echo chamber think its a good idea to place affordable housing on the second most valuable piece of waterfront property that the Town owns. The Councilors in favour of this ridiculous idea, made the recommendation without any other consideration – they were not concerned about the property value, the impact on the seniors across the street, impact on property value nearby, environmental assessments, whether services could be provided, potential other uses…instead, like relocating Transition House they collaborate with people who align with the objective and do not seek contrary opinions to test the validity and appropriateness of their ideas.

Rob
Reply to  Rob
2 months ago

Residents voice concerns around Cobourg shelter proposal (northumberlandnews.com)

Just as I suggested would happen…

So why was there no consultation prior to the County making this purchase and what will be the subsequent multi-million dollar investment? This is our money after all…

small town Ontario
Reply to  Rob
2 months ago

https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2023/07/05/cobourg-retirement-residence-permanently-closing/

The article says Cobourg Retirement Residence is owned by Lifetimes Living Inc.
Has anyone wondered why they sold? Is it possible that the drugs, crime and chaos has triggered this move.

I don’t know why no consultation before purchase but the new County Warden may be the person to answer this question.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Old Sailor
2 months ago

The Northumberland County employees who made the decision to purchase 310 Division I think made a good decision IF the use would be housing for low income families, seniors, single or people living in their cars.
To move Transition House from Chapel to Division suggests to me that those who made this decision are out of touch with reality.
The best predictor of future behavior would be the behavior of the past.
County Councilor Jibb made a motion/amendment? adding that the presentations of those concerned should be looked at by staff. Let’s see if they follow through.
I will contact the County and the Town and share my concerns.

downtowner
2 months ago

The thing that is of most interest is the fact that a call for public input from the County comes after the fact….all is done but the ink drying. Similar to the foisting of the Low Barrier Transition House on Chapel/Division/John …except we in this neighbourhood were never prepared or asked for input ..at all.
Too bad for residents in this area….Too bad for businesses trying to operate..Too bad for anyone taking a walk through the center of town…Too bad for anyone with a hope of selling property….Too bad for your property value…Too bad for your quality of life and well being.
We, the powers that be, have money to spend and responsibilities to meet and you, the many, will forfeit for the few. This opportunity provides swift proof of our action to address a growing problem..Too bad the price….Too bad in this instance, money was not spent to study the successes and failures of the present Transition House before a huge amount of cash was thrown at the problem …Too bad

Give me a break
2 months ago

Mandy and County …… are there no folks needing such service in Port Hope and Brighton …… why are there not three locations …… we will not get the others in the County to agree as NIMBY ….. besides if this only open from 8pm to 8 am then what do the folks there do from 8am to 8pm ….. will they keep the kitchen and help available 24/7 ……. Those in the encampment won’t use this facility as they also need storage for their belongings. Not a simple problem to resolve as housing is becoming less affordable …… how about keeping the old Golden Plough made available for transition. It would meet all the criteria except for AC …..

Sandpiper
Reply to  Give me a break
2 months ago

This place on Division depending on how its operated could house a lot more than 35 or 40
it did that as a retirement home . Unless this is going to be another Executive suites Hotel operation and the Covered parking could also be reconfigured for storage or those more outdoorsy types . At least they would have a roof over them .

This is just as bad as letting the Coast Guard Build that Big Industrial looking Barn at the foot of Division
You used to be able to see the lake and the light house as you drove down Division st
Not any more .
What a Show plaaaace !

CiW
2 months ago

A wonderful way to compliment our beautiful downtown.

Sandpiper
2 months ago

Unbelievable Close to the beach and right downtown Walking Community of Noburg
if this doesn’t kill it nothing will
I noticed the property to the immediate south side 304 Division is up for sale
as soon as this was leaked out they Reduced the asking price by approx. $165,000.–
I suggest everyone in the Neighbour hood get an appraisal from an AACI
and hold on . then go after tax reassessments etc .
I believe this will greatly impact Values and saleability .

ben
2 months ago

Hmm finally the County, and others have done what needs to be done – wraparound services and shelter for the unhoused – well done.

Now wait for the brickbats and prejudice to appear in opposition to this move. How about putting that energy into working with the organisors to develop the neighbourhood. It is after all located in a part of Town that has had plenty of experience with the social ills of late.

Catherine
Reply to  ben
2 months ago

Okay but is this still not suitable for those at the encampment? If they are moving there and receiving wraparound services, fine. Likely they will not want to go there so I’m not sure what this is solving. There were 17 beds open at transition house the other night, 12-14 a night on average. Not sure what the point is in adding more if people aren’t going to use them. Unless they’re planning to bring in more addicts from other areas to fill the spots that out homeless don’t want, which just isn’t fair to the town of Cobourg at all. There’s a 10 year wait list of families looking for housing, but we’re going to make more spots for addicts that don’t want it? Make it make sense.

Give me a break
Reply to  Catherine
2 months ago

Agree with your points …… why not make these units available as rental units instead of the tiny cabins …..

Kevin
Reply to  ben
2 months ago

Ben, I am a little confused by your comment “finally the County, and others have done what needs to be done – wraparound services…” It is my understanding that various government organizations have been doing everything they can to assist people in need. Transition house has program, NHH has a mental health unit, etc. The services are there now. One problem is some people refuse the help. As the mayor said last night, we can’t force them. A big part of the existing problem is drugs. If addicts refuse help we can build all the new facilities we are able to, the addicts will not use the wraparound services and continue to be a problem. Give them all houses tomorrow and those house will end up being destroyed. The addicts and homeless need to want help and show appreciation for all the people trying to help them.

Maybe this new location will be a benefit because more services can be under one roof, like the warming room. But maybe it will just put more people in need in one location which will intensify some problems. Residents in the area of Transition house know how the homeless and addicts behave. They do not get along very well, fights are common. Ben, you do have a good point about working together. If we all, and that includes the so-called enablers, do what we can to making getting help much better than living in an encampment just maybe some of the addicts will make the right decision. Unfortunately I am not very hopeful this new location will make much difference at all.

downtowner
Reply to  ben
2 months ago

The services have been being offered for five years at the existing Transition house and , surely you are aware of the social services even visiting the camp to help but …no or few takers. Yes, how about the organizers who work at maintaining the camp, work to help these folks in a meaningful way?That’s where redirection is needed.The more you empower a group of folks that are not truly thinking in their best space that they are doing the correct thing holding out for free housing with no rules the more damaged these people become.
Who really believes this avenue exists for people if it were attainable we would all live this way…because the Government will look after us.

Mervin
Reply to  ben
2 months ago

Ben,

Most people here are supportive of public services for those in need and appreciate their importance. Most also have concerns about normalizing drug use, rewarding able-bodied individuals who choose not to work or refuse help, or lowering community standards for what is considered neighbourly behaviour.

How would you suggest we ‘develop the neighbourhood’? How do you know we haven’t contributed over the years but no longer choose to participate in what we feel will lead to poor outcome’s.

The mayors of Portland, New York and San Francisco have started removing encampments – we all agree encampments are not an acceptable solution. The one realistic discussion should be how much responsibility needs to be placed on those asked to share housing with others. My view, is the only way people should be able to access greater resources/housing, is by utilizing the current resources and not abusing the housing they have needed to be removed from. There will be no solutions until people are held accountable for their actions.

Sonya
Reply to  ben
2 months ago

Please tell. What are the wrap around services? Will there be rehabilitation services or addiction councilling, because this homelessness is 95 percent caused by addiction. So will all the assaults, break ins, drug paraphernalia and prostitution and the destroyed downtown and neighborhood be caused by addiction.
You say there are wrap around services? Please tell what they will be.

Cobourg taxpayer
2 months ago

This sounds to me like caving in to the likes of GWC and Missy McLean et al. Give em low barrier housing and they will come. There’ll be an encampment and low barrier housing with no control over either. All levels here are destroying the social fabric of Cobourg. At least the library had the sense to move the fridge out and publish rules. Now let’s see about enforcement.

Rational
2 months ago

My take on the press releases – 35 low barrier overnight beds coupled with services include overnight beds 8pm to 8am is a concern if it is saying the encampments can check on just like they do at the warming centre.

We have seen the problems at the warming centre and the garbage and drug mess at Brookside.

How can this be positive?

Mark
2 months ago

Sounds like a smart move

Dunkirk
Reply to  Mark
2 months ago

What is smart about paying 7 figures of money we don’t have to acquire a private building where residents paid market rates for their residence and converting it to a place where we pay the residents to live there?

There’s both an opportunity cost and a multiplier effect missing from this analysis…..

Is anyone else wondering why the old Golden Plough Lodge can’t be considered for this purpose?

downtowner
Reply to  Dunkirk
2 months ago

sure have wondered…mentioned below

Kevin
Reply to  Dunkirk
2 months ago

I was wondering but the Mayor answered that last night. The decision was made about 14 years ago to demolition the existing building. In order to change this decision County counsel would have to spend money on studies, like traffic flow, and there would be renovation costs. But regardless of these costs it should be much less expensive and faster to make it functional (it is being used now) than to do studies for a new building and to build it. The mayor seemed to make the argument the County is not capable of using the existing building. Does he think the County doesn’t have the abilities to change a 14 year old decision and make it happen?

Sandpiper
Reply to  Kevin
2 months ago

Then why did the Mayor state he did not wish to make the County revisit or adjust its Plan This Town and its planning Department make every developer jump hurdles and redraft their plans many times over until they get it wright .
The may made the suggestion doable just bothersome

downtowner
Reply to  Kevin
2 months ago

agree with this thought Kevin, l heard the reasoning Mayor Lucas used for his rejection of using the Golden Plough and have the same question. I too,would ask to amend the proposed plans for the site and not spend further.. as the monies on studies for traffic flow, site plans etc. …is gone .I think discussion around Kingston’s decision to close their sleeping cabin village is relevant here.
In the end it was just not sustainable as it was so expensive for the community and the drug addicts , if they entered, didn’t stay so again , a LOW barrier shelter has no place in our downtown core. Amend don’t Spend … purchase of a building which could remain as underused as the existing Transition house, but cost much more to maintain, seems folly..but then who’s money is being ventured?

Liz
Reply to  downtowner
2 months ago

Turn 310 Division into apartments…the town would be a good landlord! They can recoup their losses. Look, that piece of property is prime location. Apartment dwellers would pay good money to rent there. Transition House is not full now, why buy into more unused beds. You’ll have neighbouring towns moving into our area. Then we will have an even bigger problem.

Silverhairedsenior senior
Reply to  Liz
2 months ago

Gotta wonder what the senior man living in his car thinks of this new situation- and others in similar straits. Pretty sure he’d be very grateful for a room in the county’s new acquisition

Catherine
Reply to  Silverhairedsenior senior
2 months ago

Agreed but if it’s low barrier he likely won’t be able to access it due to safety. If it’s higher barrier it’s a wonderful solution for homeless seniors and families. Unfortunately the current transition house is not accessed by them due to safety. Previously it was higher barrier so safety was not as much of a concern. Transition house is standing empty because encampment druggies apparently don’t like it there, and the seniors sleeping in cars can’t go there because anyone (including criminals) can stay so it’s not safe for them. So I’m just not sure what this is solving if they keep low barriers in place. Still not safe for seniors/families, and encampment crew still won’t like it so wont go.

Liz
Reply to  Kevin
2 months ago

Why demolish when the Plough could be refurbished? Just think of how many low rent units could be made and the town could start to recoup some money at least; rent geared to income.This would not be good money after bad and really fix the housing shortage. Old plans can be renegotiated. Just how many apartments do you think could be made available???

JimT
Reply to  Liz
2 months ago

Liz: I fully agree. The existing GPL is in great shape (I just came from a visit there) and doesn’t even need “refurbishing” unless perhaps alterations to combine two single units into a 2-room apartment.

And a note to others: please do not refer to the existing GPL as the “old Golden Plough Lodge”. It isn’t “old” and doesn’t fit such a description at all.

Last edited 2 months ago by JimT
Liz
Reply to  Dunkirk
2 months ago

I have mentioned this several time. Even part of the Plough would house many people looking for a place to start. The town could recoup some of their loss by collecting some rent.

downtowner
Reply to  Mark
2 months ago

Only a smart move if there is a return to higher barriers and this building becomes a shelter for truly homeless people .
The past five years Transition house has been offering aid to all displaced peoples. This has left our neighbourhood in shambles as there is open drug consumption, acts of theft,drug paraphernalia left in the streets where our children,pets and ourselves walk ,the exposure to unpredictable behaviour of drugged persons and the constant visitations of emergency vehicles reviving folks to go forward and harm themselves yet again.
There are vacancies, well announced to house these folks ,but the preferred home is the encampment at Brookside..where lawlessness exists, no rules are in place and hard drug consumption rampant.
This is not a case of “if you build it they will come”. If these people wanted the assistance being offered, there would be no encampment, they would all be housed.
TIME’S UP!! This LOW BARRIER shelter has no place in the center of our town and among our businesses, We have suffered enough and if the County continues with this application for housing [low barrier] l would venture that no matter how many spaces are available, they will not be filled by those living rough at the present time as even a low barrier shelter does not provide for random comings and goings 24 hrs. a day or open drug consumption on site. I think further serious exploration of using the Golden PLough as it becomes vacant is a wiser choice. This site is as close to services ,counselling, all medical needs, shopping, and employment as any property downtown, if not more so.
Serious consideration of the impact on the budget of purchasing price in millions of dollars then retrofitting as opposed to retrofitting that in possession seems logical.
I pray for cooler heads to prevail and stop this train travelling to derailment

Concerned Taxpayer
Reply to  downtowner
2 months ago

I believe that the building on Division Street should be geared towards low-income, affordable housing, as there are many families living in cars and hotel rooms. They will be very appreciative of such a nice place to live. It would be a shame to configure this building as a homeless shelter, having it sit empty when it would be a more viable solution to gear it towards families, singles, the working poor, and seniors who need a safe place to live too.

downtowner
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
2 months ago

Agreed, better to help where help will be gratefully received and have a positive impact on the unsheltered…instead of creating a supposed solution for folks who refuse to entertain the truth that they are in a troubled situation

downtowner
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
2 months ago

Many may be unaware, but Trinity housing is poised to build a second affordable apartment building…next to the existing one at James/John and so convenient to the downtown for tenants….another group moving forward in recognition of the need for such in the community. Just to add, the integrity of this is recognized and appreciated, the neighbours were invited for input very early on in the planning stage and offered site plans to consult and discuss

Evelyn
Reply to  downtowner
2 months ago

Head over to the last council meeting, about hour 1:16 to hear Councillor Mutton’s research on Golden Plough. Councillor Mutton states she has found no obstruction, yet, in keeping the old building for future use. The cost overrun on the new build is extraordinarily high and a major delay in completion, due in part to Covid I suspect. This topic should be re-opened. It is a 5 to 10 year waiting list for decent senior housing like Legion Village. What a thought, side by side, senior housing for the capable people and then onto the Plough when more care is needed. https://pub-cobourg.escribemeetings.com/Players/ISIStandAlonePlayer.aspx?Id=f6ae9154-1c96-467a-83da-7de639697cd2

downtowner
Reply to  Evelyn
2 months ago

At least one councillor is listening…..at a time when housing is at the forefront of conversation at all levels of Government, the destruction of a building that needs some T L C seems ludicrous
It could be viewed as the Warden stated in a recent interview discussing the purchase of 310 Division as a great opportunity to aquire a move in ready building. Zoning..done , Planning ….done, Construction…done, Permits…done, cost in this case…none except some spit and polish
Whatever purpose it serves…it would serve a purpose

JimT
Reply to  downtowner
2 months ago

I would like to know just what kind of T L C the existing (not “old”) GPL needs. It’s up and running, clean and comfortable. I was there earlier today.

Perhaps someone should arrange a walking tour of the premises and let everyone see how useful GPL is right now and what a crime to destroy it in the face of such obvious need.

downtowner
Reply to  Evelyn
2 months ago

Agreed, this decision needs to be reconsidered senseless to destroy a serviceable building in times of a housing crisis

downtowner
Reply to  Evelyn
2 months ago

Interesting to me as well, that 60 [approx] yrs. ago a need for affordable seniors housing was identified and an independent development proceeded into what became St. Peter’s court..[associated with the church in name and proximity only].Years later another venture , as you mention, the Legion identified the three tier approach to aging for veteran’s and others and the Legion village was launched..more recently Ed’s House was established for end of life comfortable accommodation . l am sure there are more of these types of selfless endeavours, not requiring the fuss and fanfare involved with Government projects and the lack of concern for the general public they often involve.
The Governments need headlines to define their productivity…smaller independent projects prove worthy from inception and ask only for assistance if possible from Government In the form of grants. The contribution highly acknowledged in media as backs are patted

JimT
Reply to  Evelyn
2 months ago

Evelyn: Exactly, but using the word “old” when referring to the “existing” GPL is incorrect and misleading. It is nothing of the sort and obviously has years of use left as accommodation for any individuals looking for such a basic living arrangement.

downtowner
Reply to  JimT
2 months ago

A good point and l will endeavour to only use the Golden Plough going forward if l ever used the “old” in reference to the facility.Great to hear a voice to comment on the viability of leaving this building standing. According to cobourginternet.com/council/new/golden/plough/lodge sited by Small town Ontario in the item concerning the Mayor’s town hall meeting, Phase three of the plan for the site of the golden plough after demolition is a completion of a park like setting with accessible trails…connecting all of the county holdings on the hill.
Although this would make a pleasant surrounding it would be at the loss of huge potential of affordable housing units …that could answer the call being heard in every community, with no or little added expense to the county