Town proposes joint DBIA program for Homeless

In 2023 budget deliberations, Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty moved that staff be directed to use funds allocated to address the Opioid crisis ($35k) to “explore options for outreach support service towards the Town’s Homeless response.” At the DBIA management meeting on 6 November, Brent Larmer presented a “Welcoming Streets and Neighborhoods Pilot program” to respond to this direction. Not everyone is happy with this plan. Basically, it would require hiring someone to patrol downtown and look after problems “that do not require police intervention, with a longer-term vision to achieve an increased sense of safety and inclusion in the downtown core.” The intent is to improve the relationship between Business Owners and “community members experiencing homelessness or facing mental health and/or addiction challenges”. Brent… Read complete articleTown proposes joint DBIA program for Homeless

Mayor Cleveland Updates on Encampment via Cogeco Interview

The encampment at Brookside continues to be the single biggest concern of Cobourg’s residents.  Many people look for leadership from Mayor Lucas Cleveland and also want more communication from him.  About a week ago, he said “time for a message” to the public but the Town’s communication “news” page did not provide anything.  However, Lucas did communicate via Cogeco’s “Municipal Matters” shown on channel HD700.  These are interviews of Port Hope and Cobourg’s Mayors and politicians with several repeat date/times for viewing.   A link to the Cogeco schedule is below.  There are a couple of problems with this:  1. Not everyone gets their TV via Cogeco and  2. Not everyone views these programs.  However, Cogeco does put extracts from their… Read complete articleMayor Cleveland Updates on Encampment via Cogeco Interview

NHH Announcements

There is so much negative news these days that some positive – or at least not negative news – is welcome. Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) is celebrating its 20th anniversary – the first patient was accepted on 22 October 2003.  Some of the celebration was interrupted by a Covid breakout but that is now over – although a tour of the Hospital was postponed.  Over the past several months, two initiatives were worked on: 1) a new branding – a fresh look for their web site, Facebook page, Twitter, Linked-in and letterhead and 2) a partnership with Northumberland County Archives and Museum (NCAM).  Both of these were announced in a Press Release on November 8 – plus on the web… Read complete articleNHH Announcements

Community Comments on Strategic Plan

In June 2023, Council drafted a new Strategic Plan and then in October decided to ask citizens to comment.  Now at the Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on November 6, Council will be asked to approve the final plan. Before that vote, staff will report on what was learned from the citizen survey.  Although 257 residents looked at the survey page, only 64 actually completed the survey – that’s a small sample of the 3,337 registered users on  Seems few people care about the Strategic plan.  See resources below for the full report by Kara Euale, Communications Manager.  But few responses or not, they will guide Council and Staff on priorities.  However, the good news is that CAO… Read complete articleCommunity Comments on Strategic Plan

Disappointing Town Hall on Encampment

It turned out that the “Town Hall” meeting on Wednesday at the Best Western did not have any audience participation – it was just an information session.  The event was organized by James Bisson and he spent two hours providing information on the encampment at Brookside with the hope that it would stir up action by citizens. James made it clear that it was a County and Provincial matter and not a Town responsibility although the only acknowledged political representation at the meeting was from Councillor Adam Bureau and Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty.  Although James provided a good amount of factual information, he placed most of the blame for the encampment on drug addiction. He believes that all that’s needed… Read complete articleDisappointing Town Hall on Encampment

Council Gets Public Input on STRAs

At a public meeting on Monday, October 30, Cobourg Council once again presented their proposed rezoning and licensing by-law to legalize Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA).  Currently, Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts (B & Bs) are legal but STRAs are not although the Town is doing nothing about these illegal establishments.  They are illegal because they are not permitted by zoning anywhere in Cobourg so the Town plans to remedy this by rezoning.  In addition, a By-law will require STRAs to be licensed and several STRA owners made it clear that the requirements of the proposed regulation could well make them no longer viable.  Director Brent Larmer presented a summary of the proposed requirements and highlights of these are provided… Read complete articleCouncil Gets Public Input on STRAs

Update on Encampment

One of the agenda items on the regular Council meeting is “Correspondence” – that’s letters and emails received by the Town, often asking for support.  At Monday’s meeting, Council did decide to support some issues – more below – but a letter from Johnny Percolides got the most attention.  He was calling attention to health and safety concerns and the poor reputation Cobourg now has.  Mayor Cleveland said that although it seemed nothing was happening, there is in fact action and in due course the public will be advised.  Council also passed motions giving final approval to the Strategic Plan, an updated Municipal Grants Policy, developing an MOU with the YMCA and the new Governance structure – but Council spent… Read complete articleUpdate on Encampment

Cobourg GO Bus Pilot to Continue

For at least 18 years, there have been people wanting the GO Bus or train to extend service from Oshawa to Port Hope or Cobourg. Last year, the County started a pilot program with two interconnected bus routes – a “Durham” route from Cobourg to Oshawa and a “Northumberland” Route picking up in Campbellford, Brighton and Colborne. The idea was to test if there was in fact enough demand for it to be viable – 20% of operating cost would need to be recovered from fares. After one year of the pilot/trial service, the Northumberland route will be discontinued on November 30 since there were only 513 tickets sold for the approx. 3650 trips (10 trips per day for a year). The Durham route… Read complete articleCobourg GO Bus Pilot to Continue

Councillors give their thoughts on Governance

A revised way of holding Council Meetings under the heading of “Governance” may be the single biggest action of Council in its term – so please excuse the multiple posts on the subject.  At their Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Councillors were asked to approve the draft by-Law implementing the change but instead they made comments and deferred a decision to a special meeting to be held after more public consultation.  Councillors generally accepted the idea of changing to the “Standing Committee” model – there was no discussion of other options such as maintaining the current structure.  It looks like the change is a done deal – only minor tweaks are being discussed.  A change looks likely in… Read complete articleCouncillors give their thoughts on Governance

Council to Debate Proposed Governance Change

A report from Town Clerk Brent Larmer plus a proposed implementation by-law will be debated by Council at their next Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on 16 October. This change was first proposed in 2021 and has had citizen consultation and Council debate earlier this year. The changes are significant and are said to “streamline processes and improve the efficiency of Town business” and “contribute to an efficient and effective decision-making process”. The revised governance structure is similar to that used in many other municipalities – notably Northumberland County. However, it’s not just the number and role of meetings that’s changed – more details below. The previous system with councillors assigned as coordinators and many advisory committees will be… Read complete articleCouncil to Debate Proposed Governance Change