Cobourg makes On-Demand Transit Permanent

In December 2020, Council approved a pilot of an On-Demand Transit system to replace the existing fixed route system and at the Regular Council meeting on May 16, Council approved ongoing use of the On-Demand system.  This combines the existing On-Demand Wheels system for disabled users and will soon use three smaller (8 m – 26 ft) buses which will provide service for both Wheels and regular Transit users.  This requires purchase of two new buses like the existing Wheels Bus but Government grants reduce Cobourg’s cost (more below). Council debated changes to service hours but in the end, voted to stop service at 9:00 pm instead of 10:00 pm.  A second suggestion to reduce phone-in time from 10:00 pm… Read complete articleCobourg makes On-Demand Transit Permanent

Major Changes in Parking By-Law

Cobourg Council are on the way to approving major changes in parking across the Town.  There are major fee increases at the area near the waterfront and smaller ones downtown. But there are also changes that affect residential streets which will empower by-law enforcement and Police to act on complaints by residents on what I would call nuisance parking. These changes have been discussed for some time – mostly in connection with problems with parking by visitors to the Beach. The public were consulted, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee were consulted and Staff did considerable work coming up with the changes. At the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday May 9, a draft by-law was approved and is expected to get… Read complete articleMajor Changes in Parking By-Law

More on Separate Stormwater Tax

The Town of Cobourg gets revenue from Taxes, grants from other levels of Government and user fees.  The biggest user fee is for water and sewer but there is no specific fee for Stormwater – its cost is included in taxes.  But some properties result in more use of stormwater drains than others.  For example large paved areas funnel more water to drains than lawns.  Another issue is that up till now, the Town did not know how much money was spent or should be spent on stormwater drains.   To sort out the cost and how it should be funded, the Town hired a consultant to advise them.  At the next Committee of the Whole meeting on May 9, Peter… Read complete articleMore on Separate Stormwater Tax

Three New Surveys Issued

Cobourg recently lost the Communications Manager Ashley Purdy but without any announcement, we now have a new one: Kara Euale.  Kara is not new to the Town, she was previously in the Community Services Division looking after Marketing and Events but has now been appointed to the Communications position.  Although she has had her name on earlier announcements, she has now got our attention with three surveys: “What’s Next for the Memorial Arena?” and “Potential Affordable Housing Sites Survey” and Phase 2 on the ICSP.   The first two are getting a lot of attention by Council and both open up cans of worms with no simple answers so there will no doubt be a wide range of opinions for both.  … Read complete articleThree New Surveys Issued

Cobourg Planning Department Calls New Rules Unfair

On March 30, the Ford Government introduced Bill 109 to reform the processes governing municipal approvals of new housing.  Comments were requested with a deadline of April 29 – however, the bill was fast-tracked through Parliament and received Royal assent on April 14.  But Cobourg’s Director of Planning, Anne Taylor Scott, was not happy with some of the changes and submitted a report to Council at Monday’s Committee of the Whole with the intent of meeting the April 29 comment deadline.  There are two main concerns: 1) late approvals will mean fees charged to applicants must be refunded (details below) and 2) the Provincial Minister will get more power to over-rule decisions by the Town.  Councillors were also concerned that… Read complete articleCobourg Planning Department Calls New Rules Unfair

Third 401 Interchange Planned

With the development at the north end of Brook road now moving ahead, also moving forward is planning for a third interchange with the 401 at Nagle Road. Currently, Nagle Road has a bridge over the highway but no access to the 401. Starting in 2017, MTO started the process to plan upgrading the 401 to 6 and ultimately 8 lanes from Cobourg to Colborne (more in Resources below). This will involve rehabilitating or more likely replacing seven bridges; the process starts with an Environmental Assessment (EA) which looks at natural, social, economic and cultural issues and includes public consultation. The Nagle Road Interchange is a separate project and is a Town initiative but will also require an EA, so… Read complete articleThird 401 Interchange Planned

Taxi Fuel Surcharge Approved

As reported two weeks ago, Council approved new higher fares for Cobourg’s Taxis – but they deferred a decision on a fuel surcharge.  Taxi owners are struggling to break even and gas at around $1.70/litre is not helping. At the Council meeting on March 14, Council asked staff to report back at the next Committee of the Whole meeting (CoW) and that was tonight (March 28).  Brent Larmer provided the report but left a decision to Council.  His report said that only a few municipalities on the East Coast have implemented a fuel surcharge but that if a surcharge were to be implemented that taxi meters should be recalibrated and the recommended $1 should be added to the pick-up charge. … Read complete articleTaxi Fuel Surcharge Approved

Sunshine List – Local Highlights

A few days ago, the Ontario Government published the annual “Sunshine List” – that’s where they name every person employed by a Government agency who made $100,000 salary or more in 2021.  It’s justified as being information that should be available to taxpayers who ultimately fund these salaries. They are after all,  “Public Servants”.  There are 244,390 names on the list and it’s easy for interesting facts to get lost.  I have extracted the people who are working for municipalities in Northumberland County and this reduces the list to a manageable 167.  Below are some things we can learn from that list – but note that I focus on job title and not names.  The full list is public so… Read complete articleSunshine List – Local Highlights

Is Cobourg’s Engagement Policy Working?

The Town of Cobourg prides itself on its engagement with residents but it has problems.  Currently there is no-one in the position of communications manager – at least not officially.  Ashley Purdy had the job for 10 years but recently moved to the HKPR District Health Unit where she goes by the name Ashley Beaulac.  But she’s still helping out at the Town so she’s still listed as the Town’s media contact – and there’s no visible active recruitment effort to replace her.  Recently, Cobourg citizen Ted Williams wrote to Council with concerns about the Town’s Complaint Policy.  It was shown on the Council’s Agenda for March 14 – item 16.2 but as usual with correspondence, the Town simply accepted… Read complete articleIs Cobourg’s Engagement Policy Working?

Update on Memorial Arena Re-Purposing

The Cobourg Community Centre opened in 2011 with two ice pads and made the Jack Heenan and Memorial Arenas on Furnace Street redundant.  The newer Jack Heenan Arena was taken over by the West Northumberland Curling Club and in 2019 the Memorial Arena was shut down. I believe it was Cobourg’s first publicly owned Arena. It’s now 70 years old – it was opened in January 1950 but a fire in 1953 closed it until it was rebuilt in 1954. In 2019, staff thought that the Cultural Plan might suggest uses but that didn’t happen so eventually an Ad Hoc Committee was formed to suggest what might happen to it.  (By-Law 021-2021 was passed 20 September 2021). See links below… Read complete articleUpdate on Memorial Arena Re-Purposing