Predictions for 2023 – Opinion

At this time of year, I like to look ahead and try to predict what will happen in the new year.  But first let’s see how I did last year. In 2021 I had four categories: Politics, Covid-19, Town and the Economy.  In Politics I predicted the Provincial election result but missed by predicting Emily Chorley would run again. I was right that the Cultural Plan would be ignored.  With Covid-19, I was mostly right but I thought we would still be mandated to wear masks indoors.  For Town activities, I was mostly right although I thought that the Province would have made a decision on Brookside by now.  I correctly predicted no action on Sidbrook, the Tannery property, the Park Theatre, Downtown vitalization and few changes at the Mall.  I was right about the economy except that I thought at least one Cannabis shop would be closed by now – all five are still open. You can see my predictions from last year here.

Predictions for 2023

With no elections (except maybe Federal) and Covid now officially being treated the same as flu has always been treated, my two categories are: 1) what will happen in Town with the new Council and 2) the Economy: will there be a recession and how bad will inflation be?


  • Once again, there will be no action with several dormant properties:  The tannery, Sidbrook and Brookside.  The Town may be offered Brookside but will not buy it because of the high price.
  • The Beach will be fully open but not as crowded because of expensive parking
  • Council will change its governance to Standing Committees instead of Coordinators and will have fewer advisory committees. 
  • The Sleeping Cabins (Tiny homes?) initiative will not happen in Cobourg.  Homelessness will continue to be a concern but another affordable/rental housing project will be proposed.
  • The Town’s web site will be re-designed with the goal of making it easier to find stuff.  But without dedicated staff to keep it updated, this will not help.  Meanwhile, you can find some information more easily here
  • The budget will reflect inflation so taxes will increase more than 6%
  • There will be no action coming from the Cultural Plan, there will be no Downtown Vitalization effort although there may be CIP funds given out.
  • Harbour repairs will not be completed but work will proceed slowly
  • Parking downtown will be a major issue with some existing lots being developed for condos.
  • The Transit system will stick with on-demand instead of a fixed route.
  • We will once again have a Sandcastle Festival
  • There will be no major changes at the Mall – but I wonder about the viability of the Cinema there – some days they are closed.


  • Inflation will peak at around 7% but will stay there for several months.
  • There will be a recession in Q1 2023
  • Shortages of staff will ease in mid 2023 as the recession bites.
  • House prices will drop a little but not catastrophically (see the latest here)
  • At the risk of being wrong again, it’s likely that at least one Cannabis store will close.

Of course, world events like the war in Ukraine will occupy a lot of our attention.

And for entertainment, be sure to visit this site. See “Featured events” for a list of upcoming major one time events and the “calendar” page for links to sites with more lists.

But whatever happens locally, this site and other local sites will tell you all about it.

And to all my readers, thank you for your kind comments and I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

My earlier predictions
(Date is publish date)

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2 January 2023 2:37 am

Predictions? I never predict anything until it has already happened.

1 January 2023 5:28 pm

John, time for another topic this one has ridden off into the sunset on a few people’s hobbyhorses. Good for clickbait though!

1 January 2023 12:02 pm

The existing (it’s not “old”) Golden Plough complex of multiple linked multi-storey buildings will be demolished and carted away at great expense, at which point the county will announce plans to design and build a big, new and very expensive facility somewhere to accommodate the “unhoused” or “underhoused” or whatever euphemism we use these days.

Mark my words.

30 December 2022 7:39 pm

Sadly, most of the items on any of our wish lists for 2023 won’t happen–because they just can’t happen.
Unlike most other lakeside communities (Kingston, Burlington, Port Stanley)we no longer qualify for the tens of millions Federal funding from Oceans/Fisheries for things like Pier restoration…previous Councils took care of that for us.
We no longer have any post secondary skills training and associated jobs/Prov funding(departure of Fleming College that had an enrollment of 1100 in 2011) We don’t have associated student employers like Weston Foods anymore either…previous Councils took care of that…
We lose over $1mm a year with the CCC while our other Arena goes idle and our not-for-profit YMCA struggles to compete by becoming our largest Day care provider…
We have spent 3 decades becoming one of the only communities in the Province with negative job growth… almost all new job creation coming from Gov’t or Gov’t Agencies that chronically underperform by any reasonable standard. (have you tried to get an MRI lately? have you looked at how many of our children actually finish high school?)
-Government now represents 8 of every 10 jobs…
-less than 60% of our citizens actually work…
-most Town staff don’t live here and pay local taxes…
-over 50% of our population are over 55+ years old…
-we lead the province in Support claims….
Not exactly the profile of a community that can reasonably host any predications of prosperity.
Maybe predictions of tax increases and strained services–because well, thats where we find ourselves.

So–what can our well intentioned partially new Council do about it?
Maybe –just take a real look at our biggest 3 expenses(County-Police-Parks) and really see if we are getting adequate value for our money. Yes–that would be nice prediction to fulfill.

Reply to  Dunkirk
31 December 2022 8:28 am

I would respectfully add a 4th…the Fire Dept…Port Hope saves a small fortune each year with a Volunteer Fire Dept. Versus Cobourg with almost all Dept on the Sunshine List with great benefits and defined pensions.

Reply to  cornbread
31 December 2022 9:25 am

You are out of touch Mr. Cornbread. Your comments always attack the Fire Department (refer Nov. 11, 2021).

The Fire Department are called out on fires, medical calls/emergencies, car accidents/jaws of life, all emergency 911 calls, assisting paramedics, assisting police, elevator/confined space rescues, dispose of hazardous materials (most recent car accident Ontario St, and Elgin 2 days ago with car having 2 propane tanks [vs gas tank] which were breeched and leaked), trained in water rescue i.e the Beach or boat overturns; not to mention the crews had a 24 hour shift + for tree fires and emergency calls due to downed trees on wires xmas weekend.

While you are entitled to your negative comment, I find it disrespectful, and as mentioned, out of touch with reality.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Reply to  Rational
31 December 2022 10:32 am

Your information that the sunshine list is for Northumberland County. There is one for this as well as a Cobourg specific list:
The 2021 sunshine list shows 57 Cobourg employees:
Cops 30 of 33 uniform FT (full time)
Fire 12 of 14 uniform FT
Staff 15

So yes, Cornbread’s claim of “almost all” is substantially correct. The fire department also has 21 part time and 4 civilian employees

I haven’t looked at the PH data for several years, but I believe the PH numbers are about half of Cobourg/s

Reply to  Bryan
31 December 2022 12:46 pm

I’ve heard that Port Hope Fire is realizing the model they currently follow is not sustainable and are looking to hire full time in the near future. The training demands and requirements as well as number of calls received are a lot to expect from people that also have full time jobs.

Reply to  Rational
31 December 2022 12:05 pm

And certainly an all volunteer fire department can accomplish the same.

Reply to  Eastender
31 December 2022 12:59 pm

And certainly an all volunteer fire department can accomplish the same.”

can you prove this citing sources please?

Reply to  ben
31 December 2022 2:33 pm

PHFD accomplishes most if not all the tasks that Cobourg does. As does Cramahe. These volunteer FD’s are governed by Prov. Legislation
spelling out their duties. In 2016, for example, Cramahe responded to 231 calls which duplicated most of what Cobourg does, including “stuck in elevator” calls.

Reply to  Eastender
31 December 2022 5:47 pm

Cornbread you are a silly person 🤣
With todays safety regulations , employees need a lot of safety training , it is harder for a volunteer to put the time in and have another full time job
Over the Christmas Eve storm Cobourg Fire department responded to 48 calls
They were is the harbour water today looking for a person

  • In 2021, the CFD responded to 1,406 emergency calls. As of Sept. 15, 2022, the CFD has responded to 940 emergency calls.
  • CFD has a Fire Chief, Chief Fire Prevention Officer, Administrative Assistant, 16 full time firefighters and 14 volunteer firefighters.
  • The Cobourg Fire Department provides 24-hour emergency services including fire suppression, emergency medical care with defibrillation, awareness level hazardous materials response, entry level ice and cold water rescue, confined space rescue, vehicle extrication, and response to any other natural or accidental emergency.

They really should change the the name from Fire department to Emergency Services

Reply to  Mark
1 January 2023 2:43 pm

To be clear they are not “ Volunteer”. ie not paid. They are “Part Time” and paid. Not that having part time firefighters is a bad thing.

The “Full Times” have very cleverly maintained the 24 hrs shift that were designed originally for actual citizen volunteers. A volunteer was not able to donate their time every day but could commit to a full day occasionally. Thus the provision of beds and meals supplied to offer some compensation for their sacrifice for the community. Paid full time firefighters have benefited for years from these shifts and many have secondary jobs and businesses.

Reply to  Kyle
1 January 2023 10:10 pm

A friend is a “volunteer “ in the department for over 10 years .
so I do know how hard they work and how much time they put in for training

Reply to  Eastender
31 December 2022 6:17 pm

If I ever get stuck in an elevator in Cramahe I’ll rest easier lol

Reply to  cornbread
31 December 2022 10:14 am

Can you give us some facts and figures between Port Hope and Cobourg Fire? What are the metrics you use? What proportion of your taxes pays for a full time composite Fire Department in Cobourg. You just seem to have a grudge with Firefighters for some reason. I personally wouldn’t do the job unless it had great pay and benefits. Life expectancy of firefighters isn’t very long.

Reply to  Informed
31 December 2022 1:23 pm


FIR (Financial Information Report) 2020
(2021 not filed yet)

Fire Cobourg: ————- POHO:
Uniform: FT 14 PT 21 — FT 0 PT 58
Civilian: FT 4 ————- FT 4

Fire Cobourg:———— POHO:
Wages: $2,791,851 —- $886,031
Total $3,264,503 ——– $1,714,460

What is your source for firefighters low life expectancy?
Clr Brian Darling appears to be fit and healthy.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Reply to  Bryan
31 December 2022 2:24 pm

I was going to respond but the last sentence of yours was a little goofy so I’ll leave things as is.

Reply to  Informed
31 December 2022 3:25 pm

Clr Darling is a retired Cobourg fire captain. I mentioned him as an example that your claim of firefighter low life expectancy is misleading

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Reply to  Bryan
31 December 2022 6:24 pm

It’s an average of 10 years less than average life expectancy. Just do a search. It’s easy to find. Unfortunately most don’t care. It’s about $$.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Informed
31 December 2022 7:38 pm

Informed, it is curious that online sources have significant disagreement regarding life expectancy of firemen. For example, says:
There have been many studies done on firefighters and their life expectancy / mortality. Although firefighters seem to be at a greater risk for certain types of cancer, firefighters do not appear to have a shorter life expectancy or increased rate of mortality compared to the general public.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
31 December 2022 8:17 pm
Last edited 1 month ago by Informed
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Informed
31 December 2022 9:06 pm

Informed, did you bother to read the article that I linked? Further on the same page: “On average, studies show that firefighters have about the same life expectancy as the general public. However, firefighters are more likely to get cancer in their lifetime.” Also, do you seriously think that PBS is always without bias?

Reply to  Informed
31 December 2022 9:13 pm


You ducked the question.
You made the claim, so the onus is on you to put up the proof. As KS notes above, the research is inconclusive if not contrary, making it all the more important that you provide the sources supporting your claim. Telling me to do the research just erodes your credibility

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bryan
1 January 2023 2:53 pm

Ken had it right. Informed is misinformed or malinformed. “a study from 1950-2000 in Hamburg, Germany included 4640 firefighters found that firefighters actually had a lower risk of mortality.” This from the same link that Ken provided. The article provides further links that disprove Informed’s fake news.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
1 January 2023 3:29 pm

I guess that article from 1950 to 2000 from Germany is the one we will go with Wally, Mr . Darling is still alive as well. The proof is in. I stand corrected

Reply to  cornbread
31 December 2022 1:01 pm

Cornbread–while I don’t know for sure, I have to assume you are not wrong. Good point. Fire often gets lumped in with ‘Police’ as our beloved ‘Protective Services’. The basic math for everyone to understand is that our Town has grown an estimated 1% per year for 30 years despite Provincial estimates of 300 new residents and 300 new jobs a year compounded. The Protective Services budget doubles every 7 years…ahem…Somebody is using the wrong assumptions in their budget estimates don’t you think? If our Town grows by 1% this year how much should the Police Budget go up?….Does the Police Services Board ever ask? have they ever asked?….I think we already know that answer.

Our challenge I suppose is to come up with an alternative that delivers the same good service. Do we have one? Volunteer Fire? OPP?….Maybe our new Council and a new, quality individual on the Police Services Board can ask the right/very obvious questions so 30 years doesn’t turn into 38…and the budget doubles again….

Protective Services is supposed to report to Council, not the other way around.

Happy 2023.

Reply to  cornbread
31 December 2022 1:01 pm

I would respectfully add a 4th…the Fire Dept…Port Hope saves a small fortune each year with a Volunteer Fire Dept. 

Can you prove this please Mr Cornbread, otherwise it is just another “Cornbreadism”!

Reply to  cornbread
31 December 2022 1:45 pm

Cobourg 2022 Fire Protection Budget is almost $3.7 million…Port Hope Fire Protection Budget almost $1.7 million.
If you want to know house/fire insurance rates, to see if Cobourg rates are 1/2 of Port Hopes, don’t hold your bresth…our insurance rates are very similar for both towns.

Reply to  cornbread
1 January 2023 11:52 am

To many on Light Duty supposed medical issues
still collecting a full Salary not by the Hr, and full benefits + Pension
the Police Dept is the same
They never fire or release anyone because they can’t or won’t work
when they should be on disability

Reply to  Sandpiper
1 January 2023 12:21 pm

The cops pay upwards of $1M per year (about 25% of wages/salary) for non-work (cops off on “PTSD”). As provided by statute, no medical proof is needed.

The question is will DM Beatty and Clr Bureau (new CPSB members) put an end to this.

Reply to  Bryan
1 January 2023 1:55 pm

Sandpiper/Bryan I believe you are misinformed/misleading here.

Quote – “Bill 163 requires the PTSD diagnosis to be provided by a psychiatrist or psychologist in accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”

First responders are essential to every day life through protection, medical assistance and life saving situations. As a result they have a high risk of PTSD due to these situations including tragedy, death etc.

In my view there is no need to “put and end to this” as you say, but we need to help PTSD individuals who have put their lives on the line to save ours.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Reply to  Rational
1 January 2023 3:13 pm

I stand corrected.
The PTSD diagnosis must be provided by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Lots of those in town are there? The article make frequent mention of the long wait times.
As Sandpiper notes, many of those who are “off” are are paid full salary and benefits. Why not WSIB?

Something isn’t right. Hopefully DM Beatty and Clr Bureau will ask hard questions about this and provide Cobourg residents with clear answers.

Reply to  Dunkirk
31 December 2022 1:53 pm

Dunkirk – As far as negative job growth – Have you noticed all the signs saying Hiring Now listing good starting wages? They are all over town. I do agree there is an inordinate number of people on ODSP I’ve noticed and other benefits out of the work force here and like other places I’ve lived wonder why they are on these benefits. Perhaps they have different values about their responsibilities in life – the only reason I can think of.
I would be thankful Cobourg attracts the retirement crowd. After selling their homes in large centres they come here with mega bucks to spend, notice all the new housing going up? Cobourg continues to grow and is not stagnant.
As for the CCC if you google other places including Trenton they all provide Community Centres municipally funded to ensure every citizen has access to such recreation.

Anyway wishing everyone a happy New Year as we go into a new fresh year.

Reply to  Dave
31 December 2022 2:17 pm

Dave–I don’t disagree with your observations, but, the basic message is that our Municipal Government(and related service agencies) budget expenditures based on projected growth that has never materialized. So you also see a reach for ‘parking revenue’; development fee increases; accommodation taxes and storm water fees…(we now pay if it rains..)
If you look closely, the growth you see is growth without prosperity. Homes without jobs. Building bungalows for seniors that don’t work but demand services, is not a balanced, sustainable recipe. Especially if they need cars to get home or into town. Neither are offering jobs at wages below a living wage of $22/hr++

I could go on…but, I’m told the year is almost over..
Have a good one-

Reply to  Dunkirk
31 December 2022 2:36 pm

Seniiors that don’t work …. but pay property taxes, purchase cars, go out for dinner, buy in local shops, purchase clothing and other goods and many the many of higher income that attend the YMCA. Living Wage? I agree that the Federal Government has neglected to build housing for the great influx of people and is only affordable to some creating others to spend too much of their income on rents. As a young person I had my own apartment – there are a great many people struggling to pay the rents they ask today and the young remaining home. Also many that think cooking is a mystery however they help support the many restaurants and take out here. Cheers!

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
30 December 2022 10:11 am

So the Town is making more $$$$ in parking by promoting the Beach & Waterfront than most of the downtown shop owners , The Drug users and homeless continue to occupy the majority of the main intersection King and Division st as this is where the Town permitted such housing to be built .
The Harbour reconstruction will continue to be Noisy and Disruptive to the Residents in that area
over the next few years with heavy equipment and piledriving causing possible damage to surrounding structures and disrupting residential peacful enjoyment . May be Taxes in this area should come down for a few years not go up by 6 % + tehe New Storm Water Billing as per your prediction at least
until the Town figures it out .

Reply to  Sandpiper
30 December 2022 12:29 pm

Stop the Jetty reconstruction, Cobourg can’t afford it. Throw the concrete from the old Golden Plough on the west side for extra protection of the harbour

Reply to  cornbread
1 January 2023 12:16 pm

The existing Golden Plough is not “old”, and certainly not decrepit, as many seem to think.

It’s scandalous that such a modern complex of buildings and facilities should be destroyed when there is such need for just such a place.

Phyllis Brown
30 December 2022 8:24 am

I am VERY disappointed that the Concert band of Cobourg has not been included in levee this year. This IS a slap in the face for them. They do so much for this town and he ignores them. Shame on you Lou. What is the mayor thinking. He says people only sit and eat and don’t talk. Maybe they are enjoying listening to the music. Why change from January 1st to the 3rd? Is that interfering with his plans for new years day. People are back at work on the 3rd and the last thing they’ll want to do is come straight from work to meet the mayor. Really if this is the way your running office god help Cobourg.

Reply to  Phyllis Brown
30 December 2022 9:42 am

It was changed to the 3rd because of staffing. Watch his blog. His name is LUCAS, not Lou.

Reply to  Beachwalker
30 December 2022 10:15 am

staffing has never been a problem before. And a lot of the work is done by volunteers – rhe Victoria Hall Volunteers.

Reply to  Gailr
31 December 2022 7:52 am

The volunteers are going to be busy the night before. They would have to stay overnight to prepare the venue for the Levee. The mayor didn’t think that was fair to them so changed the date. He and Council are being thoughtful towards the volunteers. There, now you know.

Phyllis Brown
Reply to  Beachwalker
30 December 2022 4:23 pm

Lucos, Lou or Fred flintstone who cares

Phyllis Brown
Reply to  Beachwalker
30 December 2022 4:24 pm

That’s a crock

Reply to  Phyllis Brown
30 December 2022 6:16 pm

The Concert Band of Cobourg is a GEM that most towns would be proud to have. They give their time and expertise, over to the town, every time they are asked. It is a slap in the face to exclude them from the levee.

Lucas Cleveland
Reply to  Liz
3 January 2023 3:34 pm

Hello Liz and Hello Phyllis. I just wanted to let you know I love the concert band of Cobourg. I also look forward to listening to them as I have every single week all summer long for the past 6+ years (excluding covid) I have sent a letter to them explaining the decision and have ensured them that we will be working together lots over the coming years. Deciding to try something new isn’t a slap in the face, its simply a decision to try something new. Perhaps (now I am theorizing) the reason previous councils have been reluctant at changing the way we do things is because of automatic reactions like this and the assumption that any change no matter how needed automatically infers a disrespect and a disregard for tradition. As for the date change, unfortunately when you aren’t aware of all the facts and the details and make assumptions it can lead to a host of issues and mistakes. My job as leader is to ensure that those I am leading are cared for, feel valued and feel safe to take risks and improve. I will always ensure the staff are taken care of and asking people (staff and volunteers) to show up between 2am and 10am on Jan 1st just wasn’t acceptable to me, nor would it be a good use of tax dollars to pay time and a half on-top of the standardized holiday pay. The set up requires lots of staff and only a few volunteers. This year was also different from any previous years and so any assumptions or opinions about the past don’t really apply . We have never had a New Years celebration scheduled for the night before and so the town has always been able to set up the levee… Read more »

Cobourg taxpayer
29 December 2022 9:21 pm

Well the predictions are generally discouraging! I had hoped with a partial new council that positive changes would occur. But I have to agree that it’s going to be more of the same. The most important concerns for me are the homeless, mental health, crime and drug problems in town and these are generally not all municipal issues. The local police(crime and drugs) and the county ( subsidized housing) seem somewhat ineffective. Particularly the Cobourg Police mandate that engagement, explain and education come before enforcement disturbs me as it is ineffectual.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
29 December 2022 10:36 pm


I share your concerns and agree that the near future doesn’t look particularly rosy.
Regarding the police, Council should (in theory) be able to direct the Police Services Board and therefore police policy.
I believe there are two essential questions regarding this:

  • will the majority of the CPSB (Council members and the Council appointee or one of the political patronage appointees) accept direction from Council, and
  • will Council listen to the residents and provide competent direction to the CPSB consistent with the residents expressed wants (needs??).

Time will tell.

Reply to  Bryan
30 December 2022 8:03 am

So Bryan, if the PSB, as you want them to do, “grew some balls” and used their majority to enforce a “Council Mandate”, what would that mandate be?

29 December 2022 4:13 pm

As always John, informative useful information.
Regarding the challenge in finding information on the Town’s web site, you suggest Cobourg Internet ( An interesting and useful site.
The Cobourg Taxpayers Association website ( has a wide range of Town information, particularly in the “resources” section.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
29 December 2022 3:44 pm

In years past I thought Sidbrook could be saved. But it is beyond redemption.
Town could easily appropriate and demolish.
Parking fees will not go down or be eliminated because of perceived revenue.
But those fees will diminish as folks balk at paying high rates.
We will continue to have crime, drug use and vagrants in downtown driving even more folks away………
Great job in 2022 John Draper!

mrs bigley
Reply to  Eastender
30 December 2022 10:24 am

What is happening is change – and will continue in many ways with the town and events – most balk at change e- their comfort zone but change is invigorating for all – accept the challenges and grow with the fresh ideas (as Cobourg has been in a rut for some time) l do wish that the Brookside bldg could and should be recognised as a huge gift to the County – sooo many activities and events could place Cobourg as “the place to be”. So lets go with some (updates as “change is good” l do feel there is some trepidation regarding our new Mayor as he is young and can face change – this to is needed

Wally Keeler
Reply to  mrs bigley
30 December 2022 12:59 pm

sooo many activities and events could place Cobourg as “the place to be

Unlikely for several reasons. On New Year’s Eve it is Port Hope that will be the place to be.”


Last edited 1 month ago by Wally Keeler
Wally Keeler
Reply to  John Draper
30 December 2022 4:38 pm

celebrations and fireworks

Cobourg presents the usual, whereas Port Hope presents originality, unaffected by weather.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
30 December 2022 8:50 pm

So go and enjoy the Port Hope celebrations. Go and live there if it’s so much better than Cobourg.

Reply to  Frenchy
31 December 2022 7:55 am

Well said! The haters keep on hating!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Beachwalker
1 January 2023 2:56 pm

And the whiners keep on whining.