At the Committee of the Whole meeting on January 7, Town Clerk Brent Larmer will present a report on the recent Municipal election including statistics and possible changes for the next election in 2022. At the time, there were a few reports of difficulties and Brent has addressed these in his report. Improvements suggested include upgrading voter list accuracy, expanding the number of days for voting, removing telephone voting but adding additional Voter Help Centres (in person voting locations) and improved communications. The turnout was low at 43.6% although it was better than the Provincial average of 37.7%. But overall, Brent declared the 2018 Municipal Election a success since it “demonstrated convenience, efficiency, accessibility and a cost benefit to the… Read complete articleReport on Voting at Municipal Election
Cobourg’s Election results were announced at an event staged in the Concert hall at Victoria Hall. Perhaps 60 people were there – including some staff, the election workers, candidates and citizens. Results arrived at around 8:45 – all at once except for School Trustee results since tabulation was electronic. See the table below for the vote numbers. Cogeco was set up in the hall and were able to announce results as soon as anyone. Since there were no polls – at least not as far as I know – it’s not realistic to say there were surprises. However, given that a number of people (mostly women) said they were going to vote for all the women, it was surprising that… Read complete articleMunicipal Election Results
I voted today and my experience was positive although some problems voting by phone have already been reported (more under Links). I’m reporting my experience in detail below so people know what to expect. Like any voting process, it has faults in the registering of who is eligible – the list is not perfect and to some extent relies on people not abusing the system by reporting errors or simply not voting twice when they receive two notices! The basic list is generated by MPAC “principally based on property assessment data and the results of previous enumeration efforts”. It seems that this is the principal source of errors and would apply to any technology used for voting. One concern is… Read complete articleVoting Starts in Cobourg
On October 10 the Northumberland Central Chamber of Commerce held their All-Candidates meeting using their “Speed Campaigning” format which had proved successful in 2014. The idea was that citizens would be seated at 16 tables and one at a time the Candidates would join them for 6 minutes to answer questions. Nine candidates for Council, the two candidates for Deputy Mayor and three of the Candidates for English Public School trustee participated. There were 16 tables and each table could accommodate 8 so capacity was 128. All participants had to pre-register but in the end, there were 12 no-shows so many tables had only 7 voters. Room rental at the Best Western was donated by the Cobourg Taxpayers Association when… Read complete articleAll-Candidates “Speed Campaigning” event
In asking leading “hot” questions of candidates, it seemed best to not be too limiting so the seventh question was open: Are there any other issues you want to address? This provided an opportunity to mention anything else that they wanted to fix or that had been brought to their attention by their campaign. I don’t know if all candidates are planning to knock on every door in Cobourg, but I know many are. It’s acknowledged as the best way to get themselves known. In doing so, they would hear what people are concerned about. One issue mentioned by several candidates is the need for affordable housing – but this has been the subject of an all-candidates meeting (see link… Read complete articleCandidates answer open question
Last September, Bill Thompson emailed Mayor Gil Brocanier and said that five out of the seven municipalities in Northumberland County have a Question period so why can’t Cobourg do the same? Gil’s response was that legal advice was that it would open up Council to litigation. Further he said that “Some municipalities have ignored their advice and allowed question periods that often turn into shouting matches and even Police enforcement. You need to look no further than Port Hope to see evidence of this.” (See links below for more on this). But given that other Councils allow Questions, you have to believe that there is a way to allow for an open Question period in addition to the current delegation… Read complete articleShould Council Meetings have an open Q & A Session?
Sponsored by the Northumberland Affordable Housing Committee, the first public all-candidates meeting this morning focused, as expected, on affordable housing. There were about 80 people in the Salvation Army Hall – the early start time of 8:00 am may have kept numbers down. All candidates except Emily Chorley were in attendance – Emily had a family commitment in Vancouver but did submit a statement via a representative. Although subsidized housing is the responsibility of the county, zoning and planning are a municipal responsibility and all candidates made it clear that they thought the Town should spend time and effort working on the problem which John Henderson called a crisis. The meeting started with all candidates providing their written responses to… Read complete articleFirst Public All-Candidates Meeting
This was first proposed in August 2014 and although the Town came close to buying it in May 2015, the deal fell through (see links below). It was subsequently bought by someone else but since then, nothing has happened – at least not publicly. The thought by some is that Cobourg needs something equivalent to Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre and although the Park needs extensive work, it is halfway there. On the other hand, Victoria Hall already serves as a theatre for many events. However, a consultant has now been hired to prepare a Cultural Master Plan and it is hoped that it will help with making a decision. A lot is riding on this Plan; when Dean Hustwick was hired… Read complete articleShould the Town buy the Park Theatre?
Holdco is the holding company for Lakefront Utilities and Lakefront Utility Services Inc. which provide water and electricity to Cobourg and is owned by the Towns of Cobourg (most shares) and Cramahe (one share). Although Holdco issued annual reports in 2017 and 2016 for the previous years, these reports have minimal financial information. It may be possible to obtain their financial reports but they do not make it easy and I have not yet seen a report for 2017. Personally, I have not been able to find any Holdco Financial reports online. In addition, they have had esoteric battles with the Cobourg Taxpayers Association (CTA) over details of their activity. But they do pay a dividend to Cobourg each year –… Read complete articleHoldco – Should their finances be Public?
Vitalization of Cobourg’s Downtown has been a project since before the last election. In 2014 a Billboard was erected at the corner of Division and King that outlined plans into the future. Although there has been a lot of activity, the issue is still the subject of advisory committees like the Downtown Coalition Advisory Committee as well as the Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) committee (composed of downtown merchants). At one point, the town even issued a newsletter providing progress reports (see Link below). More recently, the Community Improvement Program (CIP) has been providing money to applicants to spruce up their buildings. It’s not clear exactly what Council can do to help since it’s not in the business of operating stores or… Read complete articleDowntown Vitalization – What do Candidates think?