GPL and Mason Homes Developments Approved

At Monday’s C.O.W. Council meeting, as well as the Coast Guard re-development, two other projects were also approved: the Golden Plough Lodge (GPL) and the 27 Townhomes by Mason Homes at 425 King East (pre-servicing and sub-division agreement).  Mr. Mason was there to suggest that a chain link fence would be better than a wooden one but was otherwise happy and thought that construction would start next Spring.  He said that chain link blends better with trees and lasts longer but neighbours wanted privacy and wood is better for that so wood will be used.  (See links below for the full Planning report and earlier articles).  The GPL project was first initiated in 2016 and residents should move in during… Read complete articleGPL and Mason Homes Developments Approved

County and Town Citizen Surveys

Over the summer, both the Town and the County surveyed citizens and asked them what they thought of their services and their cost.  Unfortunately, participation was poor.  The County’s survey was from July 10 to 31 and they got 54 responses; the Town’s started on August 10 and when KPMG reported to Council on August 24, they said there were only 122 responses as of August 18.  The Town’s survey was supposed to finish on Aug 24 but as of August 27 it was still active.  One reason for the municipalities to ask for input is that the pandemic will put a big strain on budgets so maybe services should be cut or should taxes get a big hike?  Although… Read complete articleCounty and Town Citizen Surveys

County Annual report – 2019

Northumberland County has now released their Annual Report – not just Financial but also a review of what they have been doing.  The County’s organization and budget are bigger than Cobourg’s ($112M compared to $50M) but they get less attention.  They look after Waste Collection and Management, County roads, Social Services (Welfare and the Golden Plough), Affordable Housing, Economic development and Tourism promotion, Paramedics (Ambulances), County Forests and Archives. You can  download the full 86 page report from the link below but I have summarized the highlights for you.  It’s hard not to compare the County report to what is done by Cobourg.  Unlike the County, Cobourg does not do an annual report but simply reports on finances and so… Read complete articleCounty Annual report – 2019

Affordable Housing gets Funding

For some time, the County has been planning an expansion of affordable housing at their Elgin Park development and on Thursday July 23, $5.7M funding for it was announced through the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative (COCHI) – that’s a joint Federal/Provincial initiative.  The announcement was made by Steve Clark, (Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing) and Adam Vaughan (Federal MP & Parliamentary Secretary) – see photos below.  There are currently 18 units at the development in 9 duplexes and when complete there will be 40 units in 8 two storey buildings of 4 plexes and 6 plexes including a shared green space with a playground and recreational area.  The new money will fund 28 of the new units, all… Read complete articleAffordable Housing gets Funding

County to Improve Transparency with Committees

Cobourg has Advisory committees with citizen members with a mandate to recommend to Council what should be done on certain issues. At last count there were seven of these although there are additional Ad Hoc committees setup from time to time.  But until now the County has avoided any kind of body outside the Council itself.  Other than Council meetings, the only comparable meetings are departmental meetings which the Warden and Councillors can attend.  But these are not open to the Public and there is no citizen representation.  At the next County Council meeting on July 22nd, County staff are recommending a change in Governance that “provides (and is seen to provide) full transparency, accountability and openness”.  The major difference… Read complete articleCounty to Improve Transparency with Committees

Transition House moves out of School

When the Covid-19 crisis hit, Transition House, Northumberland’s shelter for the homeless (but located in Cobourg), wanted a place where there could be social distancing for staff and clients and their “house” could not do that. Simultaneously, the High School (Cobourg Collegiate Institute – CCI) closed for classes. So with the cooperation of the School Board and with help from MPP David Piccini, the school became an interim “Transition House”.  For details see link below. But with schools re-opening in September, this arrangement was not sustainable.  With the house empty, changes were able to be made to the House to make it suitable in a Covid-19 world, albeit with a limited capacity.  Transition House Executive Director Anne Newman has now… Read complete articleTransition House moves out of School

County Operations – July 12

The County provides a number of key services to residents in Northumberland but like everyone, they are subject to limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.  In the past few days, they have made a couple of announcements and changes: 1) They are asking for input on their 2021 budget and 2) masks are now required in all County Buildings.  They also keep their Covid-19 status page updated so that it’s clear what is available and what is not.  The page lists County facilities and whether they are closed or not.  Unlike the Town of Cobourg who has closed all their buildings, the County’s main administration building at 555 Courthouse Road is open to the public although there are restrictions in… Read complete articleCounty Operations – July 12

Transition House – an Update

After a few turbulent years (see links below), Transition House now has a new Executive director, Anne Newman – Anne started work just before the Covid-19 crisis started.  With social distancing required, and schools closed, residents were moved to a dormitory style arrangement at CCI. Since then, Transition House has been fully operational there and their 10 Chapel Street location has been closed.  On Thursday, June 25, Transition House held their Annual General Meeting and together with additional input from Anne, I can now provide an update. But first, let’s spell out what Transition House does.  First and foremost they provide short term emergency housing for adults.  Then they help clients move into affordable housing.  They are primarily funded by… Read complete articleTransition House – an Update

Recycling to transfer from County to Producers

Last August, the Province announced a new recycling program that will improve its effectiveness and will transfer responsibility from municipalities to the “Producers”, that is to the companies that design, create and market packaging, paper and paper products.  The program should reduce the amount of plastic finding its way into waterways and oceans and will be phased in between Jan 2023 and December 2025.  When operational, the cost of all recycling will transfer away from the County and save almost $3M per year.  At their next Council meeting on 17 June, County Council will be asked to approve a staff recommendation to begin the transition on 1 January 2023 and to adopt Option 2 of three alternative scenarios.  More detail… Read complete articleRecycling to transfer from County to Producers

Update on Golden Plough Lodge

The biggest current County project is the rebuild of the Golden Plough Long Term Care Home with a budget of $80 million.  Approval was initiated in 2016 with design starting in 2018.  Completion is expected in the summer of 2022 with demolition of the old building to happen in 2023.  Construction should start this summer.  At 200,000 sq. ft., the new building will be double the size of the current lodge and will include 6000 sq. ft. devoted to an archive/museum facility which will relocate from their current space at the Library.  As well as all this, there will be changes to Courthouse road – ownership of the road will transfer from the Town to the County and this will… Read complete articleUpdate on Golden Plough Lodge