Short Term Rental Accommodation in Cobourg

Originally thought of as “Home-Sharing”, AirBnb, VRBO and others have turned Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) into big business where investors buy properties specifically with the intent to rent them out for short terms – less than a month and as short as a day or so.  Neighbours are usually not happy with this; they say that renters often cause problems with community safety, parking, noise and litter, as well as degrading property values and destroying the sense of community.  There have been delegations to Council asking for action – in October 2021 and at Monday’s Committee of the Whole (C.O.W.) meeting. At Monday’s C.O.W. Grant Hayes, president of Guardian/Genedco Property Management, representing a large proportion of Cobourg’s Condo Owners,… Read complete articleShort Term Rental Accommodation in Cobourg

New By-Law for Taxis and Uber

The Town of Cobourg currently regulates Taxis but does not explicitly include Uber, Limousines or Designated Driver services. One of the items of unfinished business on the Council’s agenda is updating the Taxi by-law to include these services and a proposed by-law which includes them will be offered to Council for approval at the next Committee of the Whole meeting on 25 September. It’s proposed to get more feedback from the Public and operators but the proposed by-law  is comprehensive and will require Uber and Designated Driver (D.D.) service drivers to be licensed with the same requirements as Taxi Drivers. Nomenclature is introduced or clearly defined (see below) and, no doubt to be in line with variable Uber fares, fares… Read complete articleNew By-Law for Taxis and Uber

Update to Council on Encampment

At the end of regular Council meetings, there is a section where Councillors report on what has been happening. At Monday’s meeting (September 11), instead of giving a report, Mayor Lucas Cleveland invited Councillors to ask any questions they wanted re the encampments happening in Cobourg. He was doing that in his role as Cobourg’s representative on County Council and this would be his report back to Council. He acknowledged that he, and other councillors, were getting deluged with emails – this last week alone he received 780. Brian Darling wanted to confirm that if an email had on the address line the Mayor and all Councillors and possibly others, that it should be the Mayor who was responsible for… Read complete articleUpdate to Council on Encampment

Unfinished Council Business

There has been no official tracking of “Unfinished Business” this year but there are a number of items badly overdue:  2023-2025 Strategic Plan; Governance review; Regulation of short term rentals; Taxi and Uber regulation and fares;  update to Zoning by-law. The general excuse provided is that Council has been busy with other matters like the illegal encampments and it hasn’t helped that Brent was short-staffed.  Brent has now filled the vacancy for Deputy Clerk – the new person is Kristina Lepik – but one person will take a while to make a dent in the backlog.  Meanwhile, Council is in reaction mode with no Strategic plan for guidance and no structure since the Governance issue has not been resolved. Let’s… Read complete articleUnfinished Council Business

Council Acts on Encampments

At the regular Council meeting on Monday 21 August, a last minute addition to the Agenda was debated.  Brent Larmer worked through his vacation to write a By-Law that modified the Parks By-Law (022-2016) to essentially do two things: 1) enhance the clauses about enforcement and 2) delegate primary responsibility for looking after the homeless to the County – specifically, the county will decide if a permit should be issued for camping on Parks (or Town land). (The West Beach encampment is on Town property). Such a permit (just one) will only be issued in an emergency – that is, because there is no suitable place for campers to go.  So the Town will now enforce their Bylaws and the… Read complete articleCouncil Acts on Encampments

No visible action by Police, Town or County on Homeless

Editor’s note: Shortly after this article was posted, the Town and County issued a statement – see update below. It’s been several days since the Town deemed the encampment by homeless people on the West Beach to be illegal and they decided to do nothing.  Since then drug dealers have tried to sell them drugs and fired shots (well, just one) causing a Police presence but still no word from any of the parties responsible.  There are several news items on Today’s Northumberland and a large number of comments by the public on this blog and the Town’s Facebook page.  I’m certain that councillors are getting deluged with emails from the Public but there’s been no reporting to the public… Read complete articleNo visible action by Police, Town or County on Homeless

Council Negotiating with Second Street Developer

On Monday, 14 August, the Committee of the Whole meeting started with a special meeting to consider the 202 Second Street Lease Agreement.  In other words, to negotiate with the owner of the property commonly called the “Quigley lot” and now used for parking.  It was a closed session and not open to the public but at its conclusion, it was made open to the public and is now available as a video on e-scribe – see Resources below.  The open session started with a motion made by Mayor Lucas Cleveland to “allow the owners of 202 Second Street to charge for Parking for the next two weekends of August, 2023”.  Councillor Mutton seconded.  Lucas clarified that town-issued parking passes… Read complete articleCouncil Negotiating with Second Street Developer

Town Announces Situation on Homeless Camps

On August 9, the Town removed a tent that had been erected in Victoria Park but did not immediately act on several tents on the West Beach.  Councillors received multiple complaints about these and in Today’s Northumberland, Pete Fisher reported the details on one couple living there (see Resources).  However, the Town has now reported that “Officers found that the encampment is in violation of the current Parks By-law, Nuisance By-law and Trespass to Property Act.”  But before acting, Council met on Friday in a special closed Session emergency meeting to consider legal advice – in particular to consider a recent ruling of the Ontario Superior Court in the Waterloo decision which dictates that “unless and until encampment residents are… Read complete articleTown Announces Situation on Homeless Camps

Pickleball Club asking Town to Fund Dedicated Courts

Pickleball is getting to be very popular worldwide and now in Cobourg. The Cobourg Pickleball club had 67 members in 2021 and now has 227 members.  Currently they share 19 facilities (courts): 6 indoors at the CCC, 10 at Sinclair Park and 3 at Peter Delanty Park.  But shared courts are not optimum and the club wants dedicated courts – and they’ve chosen Sinclair Park.  They believe they can do the conversion (to dedicated) for $250,000 for 10 courts but Town staff report that the cost will be more like $733K for 6 courts and $1,070K for 12 courts.  Although it does not have to be done all at once, that’s a big difference.  Further, staff do not seem convinced… Read complete articlePickleball Club asking Town to Fund Dedicated Courts

A Pension for Councillors?

In a bid to make serving on Council more attractive, Council is considering allowing Councillors to join the OMERS Pension scheme. This would only benefit those eligible and anyone not already receiving an OMERS pension.  To be eligible, you must be less than 71 and you cannot both contribute to a pension plan and receive from that plan simultaneously.  Randy Barber is over 71 and both he and Brian Darling already receive an OMERS pension. The big benefit is that the Town will match the employee’s (councillor’s) contribution to the plan effectively increasing their income (albeit deferred) by approx. $2400 per year. It’s optional to join so Brian and Randy would likely not join since their pension would then stop…. Read complete articleA Pension for Councillors?