When will Cobourg’s web site get fixed?

I’m sure I heard Mayor Lucas Cleveland comment a while back that the Town’s web site badly needed fixing but so far there’s no sign of anything being done. Parts of it are OK (escribe and engagecobourg) but they are quite separate web sites.  Navigation is poor but that’s supposed to be remedied by a search function – except that this has not worked for some months.  Part of the problem is that there are many missing items and dead links but the idea is that non-technical staff can do the work of keeping them up to date.  What’s needed is a dedicated web site person – that’s in addition to a web site that works properly.  And don’t give… Read complete articleWhen will Cobourg’s web site get fixed?

Follow up on Governance

At the Committee of the Whole (CoW) Council meeting on 24 April, Council debated the recommendation from Staff (Director Brent Larmer) on the next steps in reviewing a change in how Council would operate. Their recommendations were outlined in an earlier Post (see resources below) but at the meeting, Brent presented a comprehensive look at what is proposed complete with pros and cons. Although the recommended motion would not have prevented any changes, Councillor Miriam Mutton convinced council to broaden the scope – see final motion below. The plan includes a timeline with two public meetings and an online survey which has already started. Details will be worked out by a Governance Review Working Group which will include Randy Barber… Read complete articleFollow up on Governance

Council Endorses Regular Town Hall Meetings

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

Tannery Update

The “Tannery Project” has a long history and this needs to be understood before going further. There is a lot of misunderstanding about both its scope and practicality – but at the next Committee of the Whole (CoW) Council meeting, Rob Franklin, Manager of Long Range Planning, will ask council to give final approval for an enabling By-Law. If passed, the Official Plan and Zoning will then be modified to enable the Master Plan for the Area. The first thing to know is that the Master Plan covers an area much larger than just the vacant Tannery land; secondly, there is still pollution on the property and thirdly, there is no indication that any developer is interested in creating the… Read complete articleTannery Update

Progress Report on Council Governance changes

In 2021, Council commissioned an Organizational review by KPMG and one of the recommendations was that Council should consider changes to Governance – starting with the council newly elected in 2022.  It seems that “best practice” would eliminate the Committee of the Whole (CoW) Council meeting in favour of “Standing committees”. Instruction to staff to review Governance was provided at a Council meeting in November 2022 and the first report on this work will be provided at the next CoW meeting on April 24.  Council will be asked to: “support the following Governance Structure in principle and that the following recommendations be sent for public engagement for initial presentation and feedback”.  Staff have written a 29 page report about their… Read complete articleProgress Report on Council Governance changes

Council Confirms Controversial Decisions

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

Public Input Wanted on CDCI West Playing Field

The other contentious item considered at Monday’s CoW Council Meeting was what to do with the now dormant land that used to be the CDCI West playing field. As reported in an earlier post, staff offered two options: A) keep as a park or B) mixed park and affordable housing. Discussion started when Councillor Burchat suggested a partnership with the County on the affordable housing aspect but Councillors seemed unsure about what the public wanted. Mayor Cleveland added a third option when he said that Williams Academy offered to buy the property for use as a football park for their school now occupying the old CDCI West building. It was also not agreed that the Town of Cobourg’s definition of… Read complete articlePublic Input Wanted on CDCI West Playing Field

Council Rejects Sleeping Cabins Idea

There was a full gallery Monday night to hear Council debate what to do about the proposed Sleeping Cabins idea.  First came three delegations: 1) Alastair McKeating of Northumberland Sleeping Cabin Collective (NSCC) reported on engagement and governance as previously reported here; 2) Keith Oliver spoke about how the discussion was becoming chaotic; and 3) Anita Turek spoke on behalf of neighbours to the proposed location.  The debate was long but in the end, Council was decisive and came up with a plan although not what was wanted by Green Wood, Missy McLean or NSCC.  Mayor Lucas Cleveland was clear on his position with a statement that is reported below – although this was interrupted from the gallery.  In general,… Read complete articleCouncil Rejects Sleeping Cabins Idea

Council Decision Requested on old CDCI Property

In September 2022, the Town announced that they would be buying the old CDCI West playing field on Durham Street.  The purchase price was $2M and the deal closed in December 2022. At the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 3, staff will ask Council which of two options should they proceed with: 1) Keep all of it as parkland or 2) sell part of it to a developer on condition of including affordable housing.  In either case, changes to the Official plan are not required but residential housing would require re-zoning. The 2013 Parks Master plan would favour a park but the 2016 Downtown Master plan would favour the mixed plan. To help with a decision, staff spelled… Read complete articleCouncil Decision Requested on old CDCI Property

County Selling Material Recovery Facility

In 2019, Doug Ford’s Provincial Government decided to transfer responsibility for waste recycling from Municipal Governments to the companies that produced the waste. This would save municipalities the cost plus give the producers of the waste an incentive to minimize it in the first place.  The timeline for Northumberland is for it to be fully in effect on January 1, 2024.  There are two parts to this: 1. Transferring management and ownership of the Material Recovery Facility in Grafton away from the County and 2. Transferring blue and grey box pickup to a new organization.  The County has now announced part one: the County has accepted a conditional offer from Emterra Environmental to purchase the Material Recovery Facility in Grafton…. Read complete articleCounty Selling Material Recovery Facility

Sleeping Cabin Engagement and Governance Report

At Council’s 28 February Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting, Council were asked to approve that Sleeping Cabins could be put in the parking lot of the Memorial Arena on Furnace Street. Concerned about public approval and how these would be managed, Council asked the organizers to report back at the April 3rd CoW meeting on their public engagement and their governance. To comply with this, the Northumberland Sleeping Cabin Collective (NSCC) will be presenting their 33 page report at that CoW meeting. No surprise, it is strongly supportive of the proposal and reads as a professional report selling the idea. The report lists community and stakeholder engagements and the results of a survey indicating support and includes a description… Read complete articleSleeping Cabin Engagement and Governance Report