Holdco and Lakefront Utilities Report

On Tuesday at 2:00 pm, Cobourg Council had a special meeting to hear a report from Holdco and its subsidiaries (Lakefront  Utilities Inc – LUI – and Lakefront Services Inc – LUSI) on how they are doing. The new chair of Holdco, David Tsubouchi, spoke strongly about the need for better governance and is putting procedures in place to make sure that happens.  This was the only thing that needed significant fixing – all other measurements and performance factors were positive and councillors asked few questions.  LUI chair Gil Brocanier reported that reliability is good and getting better (more below) and that businesses want reliability and are attracted to Cobourg by reliable electricity.  Gil said that only 25% of a… Read complete articleHoldco and Lakefront Utilities Report

Town Experiencing Staff Shortage

It’s not just businesses that are short of staff and experiencing high turnover, it’s also the Town of Cobourg. Looking at the Town’s web site Job Opportunities page, there are four management positions and six temporary or part-time positions. In addition, at Monday’s Council meeting, Planning Coordinator Councillor Nicole Beatty, announced that 3 planning staff are leaving – including Dave Johnson (Planner 1, Heritage). Two of the Management positions stand-out: Dan Taylor was only recently recruited as the Manager of Economic Development but he has left and a replacement is being recruited. The Manager of Planning is described as two possible jobs: either “Development Review” or “Long-Range Planning” – both are needed. The current manager of Planning, Rob Franklin, has… Read complete articleTown Experiencing Staff Shortage

Fire Damage to 93 Albert Required it to be Demolished

On Friday July 15, there were two fires in Cobourg in houses up for sale (see reports by Today’s Northumberland in Resources below).  One was at 93 Albert whose owners were recently before Council asking for permission to demolish.  Staff had recommended demolition but some councillors (led by Emily Chorley and Nicole Beatty) felt that the building should be preserved for its heritage value and that it was simply a matter that it was not economic. The building had been abandoned since 2000 so it was described as being demolished by neglect – but Emily and Nicole were determined that the owners would not get away with this (even though the current owners only recently acquired the property). Mayor John… Read complete articleFire Damage to 93 Albert Required it to be Demolished

Northam Industrial Park – Status Q1, 2022

In March 2003, when the Mayor was Peter Delanty, the Town of Cobourg purchased Northam Industrial park with a loan (mortgage).  In March 2018, the full amount of $13,330,027 of this loan was repaid.  Over the period to date, the revenue earned has contributed to the Town’s operating and Capital Budgets – details below.  Each quarter, treasurer Ian Davey provides a report on the finances and the Q1 2022 report was provided at the CoW meeting on July 11.  Included in that report was some financial information not usually provided: the total contribution from the Park to the Town’s finances.  Some people have said that the Town should be run like a business and it’s clear that this is already… Read complete articleNortham Industrial Park – Status Q1, 2022

Queensview Development to Continue

In 2018, Council agreed to a deal where the parking lot at 36 Queen (opposite the Post Office) would be sold to a developer who would then build Condos that included public parking spaces as well as spaces for residents.  The original deal allowed the public parking spaces to be charged at a rate no more than twice Town rates.  The 5 storey condos would be “high end” with a roof top garden – see the presentation by the developer in resources below.  The time frame for this project expired due to Covid as well as planning department delays but the developer continued work on it.  At Monday’s Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting, Council agreed to an extension (which… Read complete articleQueensview Development to Continue

Council asked to approve increases to Staff wages

The collective bargaining agreements between the Town of Cobourg and CUPE expired on December 31, 2021 and new agreements were reached on the 2nd of June 2022.  The agreement is for a 9% increase spread over 3 years at 3% per year with an effective date of January 1, 2022.   In addition benefits will go up 2%.  Council have no doubt been discussing this in their many closed door sessions so this will not be news.  I expect that they will therefore approve the increases at their CoW Council meeting on July 11.  In addition, non-union wages will increase by the same amount “to ensure that internal equity is maintained across positions and workgroups”.  The financial impact is significant but… Read complete articleCouncil asked to approve increases to Staff wages

Ad Hoc Committee Provides Four Options for Memorial Arena

In 2021, an Ad Hoc Committee was set up to review options for the future use of the Memorial Arena which was closed in 2019.  A public survey was posted in May 2022 and at the next Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on July 11, the committee will present their recommendation.  Their first choice is that it become the location for the Canadian Fire Fighters Museum which had opened in Port Hope in 1984 and operated for 33 years but then closed.  They then stored their artifacts pending finding a suitable location.  The committee’s second choice was that it become the location for Top Prize Events which stages Entertainment events, notably professional wrestling. Third choice was to issue an… Read complete articleAd Hoc Committee Provides Four Options for Memorial Arena

Council Meeting on Homelessness – Part 2

The special Council meeting on homelessness on Monday July 4 had two overlapping motions to approve or modify, essentially: 1) should there be a moratorium on enforcing by-laws prohibiting camping in Cobourg’s Parks? and 2) what should be done longer term to help Cobourg’s homeless?  The final approved motions are provided below. But before Council debated, there were 10 delegations who mostly spoke about the bad experiences of being homeless.  Not all wanted a moratorium on enforcing  By-Laws – most just wanted affordable housing.  After the delegations council debated the two motions with most time spent on the first one on banning encampments. Neither of the two Options by staff were fully endorsed although the motion by Suzanne did include… Read complete articleCouncil Meeting on Homelessness – Part 2

Special Council Meeting on Homelessness

At the last Regular Council meeting, a delegation by 7 people, who said they were homeless residents of Cobourg, asked Council to immediately suspend enforcement of by-Laws prohibiting camping and otherwise living in Cobourg’s Parks by people who are otherwise homeless.  Councillors were reluctant to take any action until responsible authorities such as the County, Police, the District Health Unit and By-Law officers were consulted.  The delegation asked that they also be consulted.  The time frame for suspension would be until all the homeless people were provided with homes.  In the end, Staff were asked to provide a comprehensive report in time to be presented at a Council meeting specially called to consider this plus a motion by Councillor Beatty… Read complete articleSpecial Council Meeting on Homelessness

Council Approves New Stormwater Fee

Cobourg Staff have recommended that the cost of stormwater management be handled differently.  At the same time, they have been developing an asset management plan that determined how much money will be required in future to provide good stormwater management.   At the CoW meeting on June 20, Council was asked to approve the change.  They were told that significant additional money would be required and that if there were no changes, the average taxpayer would pay $150 per year instead of the $37 currently budgeted (buried in their tax bill).  If the proposed stormwater fee were to be implemented, residential taxpayers would instead pay $75 – no longer in their tax bill but instead in a new bill – similar… Read complete articleCouncil Approves New Stormwater Fee

Council Agrees on Compensation

After a lot of debate, at their Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on Monday June 20, Council accepted the HR consultant’s report that said their pay was comparable to that paid in similar municipalities. She recommended no increase. However, Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin was concerned that two councillors (Aaron Burchat and Mayor John Henderson) were getting significant additional pay ($6,824 in 2021) because they served on the Police Board whereas other councillors served on committees for no additional pay. She noted that this extra pay was not mandated by the Province. She therefore moved to stop this practice. Her motion set the salaries at the current level including an adjustment for CPI. Her motion (see below) also specified that… Read complete articleCouncil Agrees on Compensation