Downtown Meters being replaced by Pay and Display

Effective August 12, parking meters Downtown will be replaced by Pay and Display. That’s when the meters will come out and the already installed Pay and Display machines will be in operation (see the locations below) with the exception of accessible parking meters. The change is needed to reduce costs, reduce the amount of maintenance, allow credit card payment (without using HonkMobile) and more. Similar machines are already in use on the waterfront (see photo below) and they are ubiquitous in other municipalities. The low rate of $1 per hour will continue although this rate is only for downtown. The rate on the waterfront is $2 per hour although that only applies in the summer (Victoria Day to Thanksgiving weekends). Locations King Street West between… Read complete articleDowntown Meters being replaced by Pay and Display

Planning Update – Summer 2021

One of the more interesting things to learn from Council meetings is the status of projects going through the Planning and Development Department.  The Councillor with the Planning portfolio is Nicole Beatty and once again she gave a comprehensive report at Monday’s Council meeting.  You can see her full report in the Links below but with 42 items, let me summarize highlights.  For some reason, there are a lot more projects than usual or expected this year. The dollar value of “planning applications in the Planning & Development Services Division already sits at just over 121% of revenue budgeted for all of 2021”.  And in the middle of this surge in work, Director Glenn McGlashon has announced his retirement effective… Read complete articlePlanning Update – Summer 2021

Cobourg Planning Department Busy

There are three new residential developments coming to Cobourg, one new commercial development and more details are being provided on a previously planned commercial development.  One notification was at the Council meeting on June 28 and four will be at the Committee of the Whole meeting on July 19.  The three residential developments require public meetings and must be approved (or not) in 120 days or the applicant could refer the matter to the Ontario Land Tribunal (previously the OMB).  The two commercial developments have 30 days and no public meetings – so we can expect a fairly quick response. One of the applications includes a large, five storey apartment building with 86 units and these could be condos or… Read complete articleCobourg Planning Department Busy

Managing Crowds at Cobourg’s Beaches

Cobourg residents and Councillors have expressed concern about managing the crowds attracted to Cobourg’s beaches – this has been a special concern with the onset of the pandemic but even in normal times, beach crowds can be a problem.  To address this, the Town created a survey and asked the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) to generate recommendations on “how the municipality can manage the popularity of Victoria Park Beach.” Survey results were published in March (see link below to Cobourg News Blog report) – and with the help of Community Services Staff, the PRAC have now published their recommendations and will ask the next Committee of the Whole to accept them.  It’s quite comprehensive but being recommendations and not… Read complete articleManaging Crowds at Cobourg’s Beaches

Installing more EV chargers in Cobourg

At the June 21 Committee of the Whole (CoW) Council Meeting, the Sustainability & Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (SCEAC) recommended that Council proceed with installing eight Electric Vehicle (EV) Chargers at three locations in Town to take advantage of a $40K grant from Natural Resources Canada.  However, Councillors were concerned that they did not have enough information on who would use the stations and ongoing costs to the Town.  Brent Larmer advised that David Kuhnke, (representing EV owners in Cobourg) would be presenting at the next regular Council meeting on 28 June, so Council decided to defer a decision pending his input and a report from Staff.  David’s presentation did not answer all the questions so a decision has not… Read complete articleInstalling more EV chargers in Cobourg

Cobourg Considering Regulating Airbnb

At Monday’s Council meeting, concerns about Airbnb rentals were raised by correspondence from Cobourg resident Anne-Marie Jackson; she complained about problems from an Airbnb establishment on Blake Street (which is within walking distance of Downtown).  Anne-Marie said that “We have seen a notable increase in transient visitors, an increase in on-street parking – often 4-5 vehicles at a time – parties with loud and disruptive guests, documented drug and criminal activity, and as a result, increased police activity.  Further “During documented criminal activity, drug activity and noise complaints where police were called, residents have made attempts to contact (the owner) to address their concerns through the Airbnb ‘Contact Your Neighbour’ portal, but the attempts have gone unanswered. Complaints submitted to Airbnb,… Read complete articleCobourg Considering Regulating Airbnb

Council said to be Acting Outside its Jurisdiction

At the Committee of the Whole (CoW) Council meeting on June 21, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (EDIAC) recommended to Council that they send a letter of support of Bill C-6 to the Federal Government.  This bill would make conversion therapy a crime. (Conversion therapy tries to negate someone’s desire to change sex identification). Councillor Beatty had moved the motion at the Advisory Committee and promoted the idea at the CoW meeting.  Councillor Chorley had reservations about supporting the motion since it is outside Council’s jurisdiction but supported other activities of the committee that are within the municipality’s jurisdiction.  The CoW vote was in favour 5-1 (see wording of motion below) – Councillor Emily Chorley abstained and Deputy… Read complete articleCouncil said to be Acting Outside its Jurisdiction

Goals of Organization Review

One of the early actions of Cobourg’s new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Tracey Vaughan, was to hire a consultant to provide an Organization Review.  She has said she hopes that this will help with efforts to improve efficiency.  At Monday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting, Oscar Poloni from KPMG presented Council with a description of what exactly he hoped to achieve.  It would address the earlier KPMG report on a Service Delivery review and would align with Council’s direction to staff (via the Strategic Plan including its update – see links below).  One question Oscar asked (but got no immediate answer) was whether the Town wanted to organize around priorities instead of the more usual and current organization based on… Read complete articleGoals of Organization Review

Progress on Efficiency Actions

It’s refreshing to see follow up by the CAO on last year’s KPMG Service Delivery Report recommending improvements in operating efficiencies in Staff operations.  At the next Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, CAO Tracey Vaughan will present a progress report on 14 different actions covering all departments.  A template is used to keep all reports in the same format.   Reports are scheduled quarterly and the first report is in June as originally scheduled.  KPMG reported that major cost reductions could only be achieved by reducing services and although some reductions are being considered, the prime focus is on improving efficiency plus some increases in non-taxation fees (see Links below). Tracey is also looking for help from the Organizational… Read complete articleProgress on Efficiency Actions

Spending Affordable Housing CIP Budget

In 2020, Council approved a Community Improvement Plan (CIP) to provide a means for Council to fund subsidies to Affordable Housing.  At the Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting  next Monday, Director of Planning and Development Glenn McGlashon will present his plan to implement this.  Glenn proposes that there would be a well publicised call for applications which would then be reviewed by a new Ad Hoc Committee.  The intent is to allocate the $162,195.50 remaining from the $250K budget – already $35,287 has been committed to Trinity Housing and $52,517.50 has been allocated to Northumberland County Housing.  Glenn proposes a single intake starting in July with a final Council Decision by 1 November 2021.  Work on projects must start… Read complete articleSpending Affordable Housing CIP Budget