The Passing Scene: Save Our Harbour

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln’s legendary exhortation, ‘Government of the people, for the people …’ a contemporary and local flavour comes to mind. Cobourg’s Council for the people, by the people which, at times, seems to be an oxymoron – at odds with reality. I’m thinking of the endless conflict over the years between the citizens of our town and various councils, our present council now on life-support as its mandate creaks to an end, its inability to hear the voters who put it there becoming legendary. I am thinking of what has been an on-going battle over the future of the town’s western harbour, the citizens’ harbour. Isn’t it time, once and for all, to pass a bylaw ensuring that the western harbour is left untouched for all time? And while they’re at it, include Victoria Park.

Graham Woods
Grahame Woods

Our harbour is conveniently divided into two parts, thanks to the western pier. Over the years the eastern section has disproportionately been taken over by the boat club and marina, piece by piece, now jammed full of boats – some, seemingly, never appearing to leave their slips. It also begs the question; how many of those slips are rented to out-of-towners? And, of course, there have been never-ending rumblings for more boat slips in the western harbour. But – our waterfront, including the harbour, belongs to all the citizens of Cobourg – all 19,440 of them. The western harbour especially; for dragon boaters, kayakers, canoeists, wild life enthusiasts, walkers, all making do with what is left. Oh, and the geese, swans, ducks and gulls whose ancestors were there long before Eliud Nickerson, recognized as Cobourg’ first citizen, built a log hut in 1798 close to where King and Division is today.

Before this present Council’s term of office expires later this year, perhaps it will introduce and pass legislation declaring the western harbour, except for routine maintenance, untouchable – for all time – designating it as The Citizen’s Harbour. Looking back to previous councils, there haven’t been too many that have left a lasting legacy; well, one that quickly leaps to mind, Victoria Hall’s creation – and the Council that prevented its demolition – and Victoria Park of course. The Citizen’s Harbour. Has a nice ring to it.

What is interesting about the democratic process as practised in Cobourg, is that, having trolled for our votes at election time, councils gradually adopt an us-against-them siege mentality, as witnessed over the never-ending harbour debate; the hostility against delegations appearing before council and the constant need to hire consultants for this and consultants for that – begging the question, what was council elected for in the first place? Do we really need expensive consultants parachuted in to advise council what to do with Victoria Park or the waterfront? But things will change as election day approaches and potential candidates switch on the charm. And, if history is repeated, we can count on Cobourg voters’ propensity to elect male mayors – elderly male mayors – and protect the Old Boy’s Club tradition. It’s shameful that in the history of our town only one female mayor has been elected.

It’s 2018, for heaven’s sake!!

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Zack Black

…and she wasn’t much better a being a mayor than any of the “the old boys club” was. We should elect a mayor based on his/her ability to lead – regardless of sex, colour of skin or any other nonsense that has nothing to do with a persons ability. “It’s 2018, for heaven’s sake!!” – it sure is and it’s about time people are judged on their merit, not their sex or skin colour.

Bill Thompson

On July 3rd there is a council meeting at 4 PM to hear first hand from the council what their intentions are of these issues …listening to the public ..or just accepting their consultant’s recommendations. This issue should be a guaranteed election agenda item to see if the town is again for it (in spite of last election campaign promises) and why,in spite of negative public response to this issue ,is being proposed again in its few remaining months of office….speaking for the council(s) of the future ? This speaks volumes of the present town priorities. It is long term plans for proposals for the next twenty some odd years ? How fanciful is that for a present day council to promote expensive projects for that period of time ? Forecasting the future ? I thought a council term was four years ? The marina expansion proposal should be once and for all a permanent dead issue and yet it magically appeared again by direction of an “unknown source” and included in the waterfront development plan.? Thete should be a massive attendance at this meeting and letting the town know what you think of their proposals,otherwise we are only making… Read more »

Rusty Brown

If our now-renovated harbour area is going to be dominated by “…a cube of structural steel measuring about 22′ x 22′ x 22′ with four large tires, an engine, winch drums, steel lift cables and lift straps” visible from both beaches so that the whole lakeside area ends up looking more like a container port than the extensive and valuable parkland and natural area it is now, then I am very concerned. Angry, perhaps, certainly disturbed and anxious at the very prospect.
https://marinaplanet.it/shipyard-equipment/travel-lifts-mobile-boat-hoists/

Walter L. Luedtke

A mobile lift is a lift that moves, no?
Cobourg harbour is a harbour.
Presqu-ile Park is a park and not a harbour.
The Nauwatin Nature Sanctuary is a nature sanctuary, but not a harbour.

Tim

One thing the harbour is not, Walter, is “The Cheerleader’s Harbour”.

Walter L. Luedtke

Smiles! Well, well here we go again. Way back in 2007, Grahame wrote a column lambasting Council for not ‘listening’ and trying to ram stuff down Cobourg’s throat. The Mayor was a villain, of the Dick Cheney variety, and the town was up in arms ready to turf out Council at the next election in 2010. The stuff being rammed was the fountain/rink project, which now is a popular attraction downtown. Although Grahame urged the folks of Cobourg to turn the rascals out, Deputy Mayor Gil Brocanier was elected Mayor by a wide margin and Councillor Stan Frost was acclaimed a Deputy Mayor. Also elected to Council were incumbent Miriam Mutton, and newcomers John Henderson, Forrest Rowden, and Larry Sherwin. Some of those elected in 2010 are the villains of Grahame’s latest column. Guess what their crime is – not ‘listening’ to another noisy, but much better organized, minority and trying to ram stuff down Cobourg’s throat. This time it’s not just the dark forces of Council and Staff, there are also those darn consultants and the out-of-town boat owners who jam the harbour with their vessels. According to Grahame, harbours are not supposed to have boats bigger than canoes.… Read more »

Tim

The fountain/rink project may not be as popular as you think but it does provide a pleasant backyard for the condo owners surrounding it and they don’t even have to pay for the upkeep which is compliments of the taxpayers of Cobourg. Many people complain that the rink is too soft and not a good skate so they’ve stopped using it and as for that ridiculous fountain, which obstructs one of the few remaining views of the lake by blinding the vision with the twinkle from those pathetic jets of water, it’s just what everyone needs — a water feature in front of one of the greatest lakes in the world. As for luring tourists to town, I seldom see anyone using it, and now that the market finally is making use of that stupid costly project it’s largely the surrounding condo owners who were doing the complaining. It’s their backyard after all. This town has been cursed with mayors and councillors, who have done a great deal to destroy it, and very occasionally a person with actual vision, like Lena Fisher, comes along. Like Graham says in his brilliant column, the harbour belongs to all of us, not just… Read more »

Wally Keeler

“It’s their backyard after all.”

It absolutely is not. It is Town property. It “belongs to all of us and not just a handful of” condo owners.

Tim

It belong to us all right and we, the taxpayers of Cobourg, pay and will continue to pay to maintain it but the condo owners are looking at it whenever they gaze out their rear windows. For the sake of precision, which you are so concerned with, let me say instead “it’s an extension of their backyard after all.”

Wally Keeler

Everybody pays for it, including the tiny handful of condo owners nearby that break your tender heart with their suffering. For accuracy, it everyone’s back yard because it belongs to US. Get used to it or move out. No one forced those condo owners to buy into their nightmare.

Rusty Brown

I agree with Tim’s sentiments as expressed, but must comment that that comma in “…This town has been cursed with mayors and councillors, who have done…” changes the meaning of the sentence totally. It’s like the proverbial Panda in the restaurant that “…eats, shoots and leaves”.

Wally Keeler

Tim says, “ it does provide a pleasant backyard for the condo owners surrounding it and they don’t even have to pay for the upkeep which is compliments of the taxpayers of Cobourg.

What a stupid thing to say. Are you claiming that the condo owners surrounding it don’t pay taxes to Cobourg?

Frenchy

Be careful with your criticisms of other people’s use/misuse of punctuation.
Glass house kind of thing…

Frenchy

Walter, any chance of you supplying a link to that column? I’d like to read it.
I wonder how Gil, Stan and Miriam voted on that issue?

Walter L. Luedtke

Sorry Frenchy. Seems that some of the Northumberland Today material is no longer accessible.
Maybe you have better research skills. That was the column.
Cobourg, not feeling so good?
By Grahame Woods, Northumberland Today
Tuesday, August 7, 2007 12:00:00 EDT AM

gerinator

Frenchy, look to the library, mylar section. Great records.

Mrs. Anonymous

If you Google ” cobourg skating rink opening northumberland news brocanier frost mutton” the article with the information you need will pop up.

Mrs Jenkins

l totally agree with Mr Woods – in particular, the hiring of consultants – this town has a huge number of brilliant retiress that could and would replace the outsiders (consultants) All council has to do is to ask – as for a mayor – lets vote for Lydia Smith – brilliant women –

Gayle Carver

Gayle

Excellent column, Graham. At least SOME of the waterfront should be left for the people of Cobourg. Hopefully, the current council will fix the waterfront problem, before the election, and leave a lasting legacy for themselves.

Doug Weldon

I am surprised by the shallow vindictive expressed by some commentators. This is an issue that should call for strong factual opinions, not criticism of individual people. We spend all of our summer 350 KM north of Cobourg so get no use of the harbour during those months. SO, I’m thinking I should get that portion of my taxes refunded so I could put it towards a few flowers or something up here. Crazy? Well, to put it the other way around: Many, many people pay taxes in Cobourg to subsidize the operations and enjoyment of the Yacht Club and its members. They claim Cobourg Harbour is too expensive. Well perhaps its time to sell your boat. I paid for my cottage without any subsidy from Cobourg Tax Payers. Nor do I expect a subsidy or insult people who oppose that idea. What are ALL the true costs of maintaining ‘our’ beautiful harbour? What will it cost to fix the center pier? Will the Yacht Club pay those costs or part of those costs to stop “their” harbour from eroding away? I maintain my own waterfront up here. In some ways I think the harbour is not my issue but… Read more »

Old Sailor

Neither the town nor the taxpayers subsidize the operations and enjoyment of the Yacht Club by its members.

CYC members raised their own money to build their own yacht club building and facilities years ago. The members pay for every operating and capital cost incurred by their club out of their own jeans. As do all the boat clubs on the lake. Including the cost of their Learn to Sail programs which are utilized by children of non members.

It is too bad that there is so much disinformation – fake news – floating around on the waterfront issues.

Bill Thompson

But….is it the CYC that is the main driving force of the annual proposal of marina expansion or is it just riding on the coat tails of the town ?..
I would say the latter …

Old Sailor

Bill, to the best of my knowledge, CYC is not a driver at all for marina expansion. They have no say at all in the operation of the marina. Whether it is over slip fees, slip allocation from the waiting list, security, boat storage etc. etc. CYC has ~60 members with boats, putting them in the minority of boaters in the harbour. All boaters are in the same boat and follow the lead/instruction of the town.

It is the preparers of the waterfront proposals – outside consultants – that keep recommending marina expansion. Probably just to make the whole operation viable. If the marina added 60 seasonal slips they would not need one more staff person. The staff mainly serve visiting boaters not seasonal boaters, and maintain the marine facility and surrounding area.

Bill Thompson

I stated that I believed they were riding on the coat tails as they are in favour of marina expansion .
Maybe I should have made that point clearer.

democrat

Actually Old Sailor the building was built with wintario grants in the 60s – public money.

Lyle

Doug
Perhaps u should apply to the present council , they could hire another consultant, ( frown, look concerned then turn u down)
Some of these councillors r typical politicians they will keep asking the same question until they get the answer they want which is also sometimes referred to as insanity (asking the same question and expect a different answer)
See u in the fall, stay safe
Lyle

Dice

Rather pointless I would say.. What one council enacts, the next can simply cancel..
A previous government outlawed cannabis.. once and forever.

Bill Thompson

The only way to correct that is for the people to speak out and get involved instead of just talking amongst themselves.
Politicians all know that the average taxpayer will have a moan and then accept what the council (in this case) promotes.
Make your voices heard .
The term “change” is bandied about profusely by politicians ..well let the people do it this time.
It took fifteen years to “change “the Ontario government and it’s well overdue for the same to happen in this town if people will stand up and be counted.
The term ‘”sheeple” didn’t just appear out of nowhere,it was assigned accurately.
Let’s get rid of it and restore it to “people”
October isn’t too far away for the opportunity.
How many of you are up for it?

Arthur Seymour

A BIG thank you to Mr. Woods for a well thought out and written article! He seems to have said it all folks. so let’s demand supportive, public assurances from ALL candidates in the upcoming election that an appropriate BY-Law get passed swiftly in line with Mr. Woods comments to protect “our” waterfront once and for all, unless , of course the present Council Members wake up and listen to the taxpayers and owners of the waterfront and ACT NOW!

Art

Old Sailor

A lot of the focus of the waterfront studies on the marina are financial. Including recommending running the marina like a normal marina business – fill all the slips with seasonal boaters, buy a travel lift etc. etc.

If Council determines that the Western Harbour should be left as is and the marina will not change its operating style and mimic other marina operations on the lake, Council should advise taxpayers of the resulting operating and capital cost shortfalls. The Cobourg Marina fees are already among the highest on the lake. And the services provided to boaters are the worst on the lake.

As suggested by Graham it would be nice to have this issue over with. I have no vested interest in the outcome. My boat is kept elsewhere on the lake.

Small town lover

It isn’t just our council. There are also unelected individuals who work for the town who have an agenda and they are a huge influence on council. Unfortunately we can’t vote him out.

Bill Thompson

That agenda statement says it all .
Unelected officials (employees) apparently have been given the reins (reign) over the years by those who supposedly were elected to look out for the best interests of their taxpayers and town.
The cart is driving the horse in spite of what is being claimed and until the roles are reversed it will be an ongoing story.
Mayor and Councillors can be voted out as well as in.
It’s a shame that rule doesn’t apply to unelected employees.

Wally Keeler

Unelected officials like Rory Quigley, the Town Arborist, deciding what trees go where and when without any consultation of Council, nor of residents. The arborist has been given the reins (reign) over the years to cut down trees and plant trees in public property according to species that he alone selects without consultation with the Council, CTA, or other unimportant people. I think your wide brush painted him black as well as all the other unelected employees, but maybe you did want to include him in the smear.

Tim

The exception that proves the rule.

Wally Keeler

It proves the rule that Bill Thompson’s sweeping broad brush is faulty. It proves that the animus against Town officials is irrational, and hurts people, ie, Rory Quigley. But let us note that Mr Thompson does not disavow that Rory Quigley as part of the evil cabal known as “unelected officials” who harm Cobourg.

Bill Thompson

Wally
Animus broad stroke statement (evil cabal?) includes Rory Quigley..
How hard did you have to hunt to come up with that rationale I
How does an arborist replacing dead/dying trees equate to CAO and staff making recommendations for many thousands of dollars etc. on issues that could possibly effect the taxpayers for many years in the future ?
Have you heard anyone complaining about Rory’s decisions?
I sure haven’t and haven’t myself. .
Deflection is deflection no matter how one looks at it..
Talk about apples and oranges…..

Tim

I agree. Stephen Peacock and his staff are clearly out of control. If they can’t be fired, they need to be reined in by a Mayor and Council who have the common sense to do it.

Wally Keeler

“Stephen Peacock and his staff are clearly out of control.”

What members of his staff are out of control? Name them. Get specific. Your broad brush of smear helps nothing. C’mon, deliver the names and what they did.

gerinator

Absolutely agree. Further since the only leader that Stephen reports to is the Mayor, he should go as well.

Wally Keeler

Unelected officials (employees) apparently have been given the reins (reign) over the years by those who supposedly were elected to look out for the best interests of their taxpayers and town.

Rory Quigley is an unelected official. You might do well to clarify your broad brush statements without smearing all unelected offiicials. Either it is true or it is not. Obviously it is not true, and you would do well to avoid such hyperbolic excess for nothing more than political reasons. We know well your animus towards Town officials; your stated it many times. Time for you to get specific with your accusations and smears.

Tim

Rory Quigley does a fantastic job for this town and I find it hard to understand why you keep bringing his name up as though someone was casting aspersions on him. No one has or would. He is an example of the very best of municipal employees.

Wally Keeler

He is an example of the very best of municipal employees.”

That is why I bring his name up, because some malevolent individuals smear him with all the other unelected officials. I am pointing that out. Talk to the smearers, not me. I know many of the “unelected officials” in this Town because I grew up with some of them, played with them, went to school with them, so I find it disgusting when some parachutes to this Town malign them and smear them with a wide brush. The only reason it is a wide brush is because the accuser has no evidence whatsoever, or else they would be specific.

Frenchy

A little dramatic, don’t you think Wally? You must be reliving one of your 007 dreams.

Fact Checker

Wally, do you include yourself as one of the unimportant people?

Wally Keeler

Fact Checker failure to recognize smart ass wise crack.

Just Wondering

Interesting argument. We’re mostly talking about water here, so it can really only be used by boaters, dragon boaters, kayakers and canoeists. So how does that serve all 19,440 people of Cobourg? Does everyone own/use one of these forms of watercraft?

Rusty Brown

I spend time on the west pier every chance I get. It’s a wonderful change from the rest of the town, with bird watching and taking in the seasonal changes, and I get there on a mountain bike.

Bill Thompson

Possibly the pleasure of watching nature,wildfowl and open water should be enough to encourage and preserve the rapidly disappearing natural surroundings vice constructing a gated community exclusive to a minority of locals/visitors.
Look west to Toronto to see the marina gated communities cutting off the view of the lake and water for ordinary residents /visitors and the possible future of Cobourg harbour if the town is successful in turning Cobourg into what ?
For the sake of four months of the year in the quest to bring what fanciful next wheeze to bring money into the town coffers while sacrificing the most valuable asset for residents and visitors alike is sheer madness.
Once it’s gone it’s gone like so many other past waterfronts .
When will those who should be looking out for the best interest for their residents and taxpayers ever learn.?
Money money ……filthy lucre ..necessary but not worth the sacrifice of that what is special to all regardless of status .
Do not let this happen to Cobourg as once gone it is gone !

Tim

There are views of the lake that are already gone. You can no longer see it from Division St. and King.

Frenchy

“can really only be used by boaters, dragon boaters, kayakers and canoeists”, artists, swimmers, bird watchers, walkers, nature lovers, poets, fishers, day dreamers, photographers, paddle-boarders, cyclists, runners, moms, dads, teachers…

Just Wondering

And how do “artists, bird watchers, walkers, nature lovers, poets, fishers, day dreamers, photographers, cyclists, runners, moms, dads, teachers” walk on water? Of course anyone can view the harbour, but lets be realistic about the impacts of what the pro-expansion supporters are proposing. No one is talking about gated condo communities or other changes that will severely impact the existing features of the harbour. Lets just be reasonable when discussing the harbour.

silverhairedsenior

“No one is talking about gated condo communities or other changes that will severely impact the existing features of the harbour” yet! But when they do, it will be too late to put controls of land and water use into place.

Rusty Brown

Does this proposal include the permanent installation of some kind of towering crane, visible for miles, for a boat lift, similar to those monsters we see at those vast container ports?

Fact Checker

The Boat-Lift proposed by the Waterfront plan is a substantial industrial machine. Certainly not the scale of the equipment found at a container port, but large nonetheless. A 40T boat-lift is a cube of structural steel measuring about 22′ x 22′ x 22′ with four large tires, an engine, winch drums, steel lift cables and lift straps. Not exactly something you can hide behind a few bushes so the local residents won’t see it.

Bill Thompson

In addition the groyne construction necessary for its operation only twice a year and the storage of it for the rest.

Rusty Brown

Thank you for your research. You have confirmed my worst fears on the subject and perhaps brought the issue to the attention of those citizens who would want to know about such things.

Bill Thompson

The “gated”communities I referred to weren’t condo but marina boat gated communities.

Durka

I agree. Stephen Peacock and his staff are clearly out of control. If they can’t be fired, they need to be reined in by a Mayor and Council who have the common sense to do it.

This is a heavy handed comment for something that is nothing more than a personal opinion.

Wally Keeler

It is heavy handed. It’s a smear. Tim is incapable of naming those staff members who are out of control, because he doesn’t know diddly really. It’s just a broad-brush smear of some fine hard-working people.

JOHNNY PERCOLIDES

“Isn’t it time, once and for all, to pass a bylaw ensuring that the western harbour is left untouched for all time? Before this present Council’s term of office expires later this year, perhaps it will introduce and pass legislation declaring the western harbour, except for routine maintenance, untouchable – for all time – designating it as The Citizen’s Harbour.”

What a great idea but I really doubt the present council will do that!

Maybe passing legislation declaring the western harbour, except for routine maintenance, untouchable – for all time is too long. But certainly for a period of time for example like the next 20 years would be a good start.

I can tell you that if I were to be successful in October with my attempt to get on the new council, i would vote for that. Mostly because I have heard the public say over and over they don’t want the Marina Expansion and it is about time that the public should be listened too.

Frenchy

Attaboy Johnny… take a stand. On one side or the other, but take that stand. How about the rest of the wannabe council hopefuls… dare to declare? Might make it easy for some to decide on who to vote for come October.

Walter L. Luedtke

Not sure whether a real estate broker on Council would be a good idea.
Realtors earn their living by marketing housing and insider knowledge of Cobourg’s development plans could be a built-in conflict of interest.
The more housing being built, the more sales opportunities and the heftier commissions.
Developers would have an incentive to doing business with Mr. Percolides since he has the inside track as a Councillor.
Seems that Mr. Percolides’ Homeward Real Estate brokerage needs all the business he can get since right now there is only one listing.

JOHNNY PERCOLIDES

Mr Walter L. Luedtke I have been following this blog for many years.
I made my first post yesterday. I will not allow myself to get sucked in to your ridiculous and childish games. I know there will be some people out there who will say a lot of terrible things about me. So go ahead if that makes you feel good.

The one’s that really matter are the one’s who will come out and vote in October.

Walter L. Luedtke

Didn’t take you long to get to the personal insults, rather than refuting the facts that I have stated in my opinion.
It was you who started fishing for votes in this blog.
So perhaps I could be allowed to have an opinion on your candidacy?
“Real estate agents have lost clients—and their jobs—after making divisive political remarks in public forums.” So good luck with your candidacy and your business.
https://magazine.realtor/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2017/07/when-clients-talk-politics-stay-above-fr

Bill Thompson

Google strikes again….and again !

Dubious

Google is great to supply facts for those with none from their own knowledge. Deep searches for shallow minds!

Wally Keeler

You’ve never used Google yourself, have you Dubious.

Dubious

Since Johnny’s comments reflect the opinions of the majority in Cobourg I expect that he will gain rather than lose business.

Cobourg Person

They do? Seriously?

Cobourg Person

I wonder if it will be more than the 1,269 voters that came out in 2014 to vote for you 🙂

Rusty Brown

Strictly speaking, “brokers” of any kind bring buyers and sellers together, saving both of them the time and effort needed for individual searches. Think stock brokers, marriage brokers and such.

Wally Keeler

I’d vote for that. 20 years.