More Public Input on Budget

Council held a special meeting on Monday, 23 January, to accept public input on the budget. As well as receiving the report about the online survey per my previous report, there was a presentation by Johnny Percolides wanting a second dog park (at Donegan Park) and presentations from Community groups requesting a grant. The total requested is $87K but unlike previous years, no target total has been announced. Last year’s total was $30K but some previous years were $50K. No decisions were made at Monday’s meeting but there were 14 presentations plus 4 others who did not make a presentation. I sorted the applications based on whether they were new for 2023 and whether they made a presentation. For those… Read complete articleMore Public Input on Budget

Predictions for 2023 – Opinion

At this time of year, I like to look ahead and try to predict what will happen in the new year.  But first let’s see how I did last year. In 2021 I had four categories: Politics, Covid-19, Town and the Economy.  In Politics I predicted the Provincial election result but missed by predicting Emily Chorley would run again. I was right that the Cultural Plan would be ignored.  With Covid-19, I was mostly right but I thought we would still be mandated to wear masks indoors.  For Town activities, I was mostly right although I thought that the Province would have made a decision on Brookside by now.  I correctly predicted no action on Sidbrook, the Tannery property, the Park… Read complete articlePredictions for 2023 – Opinion

Merry Christmas from Cobourg News Blog

It looks like we are now in a “Post-Covid” era. Enough people are sufficiently vaccinated – or have caught the bug and recovered so are close to immune – that most activities are getting close to normal. Cinemas and theatres are operating although not quite at normal schedules (see Rainbow’s schedule) and most people (although not all) are leaving masks at home. Although this time of year is when cases of respiratory diseases increase, it is also a “time of good cheer”.  As I said last year at this time: “it’s a time when we put any animosities behind us, any differences are not important – what’s important is that we are all special and deserve happiness despite any problems… Read complete articleMerry Christmas from Cobourg News Blog

Council Makes some Key Decisions

At Monday’s Council meeting, several contentious issues were decided – but first there were three delegations from citizens about stormwater fees and one about “sleeping cabins” for the homeless. Council approved a plan for the Albert Street Shelter, moved forward on the sleeping cabins, approved stormwater fees and quickly approved free downtown parking until January 1, 2023. Although the delegations strongly criticized the new stormwater fees, Council’s only concession was to review them after a year. Most debate is supposed to happen at the Committee of the Whole meeting a week earlier but Councillors did discuss at length what they heard from the delegations. However, in the end, Council mostly went with Staff recommendations. Along the way, there were things… Read complete articleCouncil Makes some Key Decisions

Cabins Proposed to Help Homelessness

There has been a lot of talk recently about homelessness and affordable housing and citizens are trying to find ways to help.  The Northumberland Sleeping Cabins Collective has announced that they are hoping to raise enough money to build 6 cabins to accommodate perhaps 10-12 individuals.  Not all details are available nor problems solved but the immediate goal is to raise the money to provide a better solution for some homeless people.  A cabin can be built for $5000 although that’s just sleeping quarters – more detail is provided below.  Kitchen and washroom facilities would be provided with separate buildings and shared.  It is hoped to find a location in each of Port Hope and Cobourg although so far there… Read complete articleCabins Proposed to Help Homelessness

Unusual Request for Citizen support

Usually, when people are asked to support a project it means they are being asked for money – but not this time.  Five Counties Children’s Centre (FCCC) has a property in Cobourg at 800 Division Street that has a large “backyard” which would be great if kids in their program could use it but they cannot.  They say that: “There are safety and accessibility issues from a nearby drainage ditch [South boundary] and traffic from an adjacent driveway and parking lot. The vision is to put up fencing and install an accessible playground, sensory play equipment, accessible garden area, gazebo, storage space and eventually a track.”  But all that will cost $255K.  They have so far raised 40% of that… Read complete articleUnusual Request for Citizen support

Accessible Washroom in Victoria Hall

At Monday’s Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee recommended that the Accessible Washroom in Victoria Hall be left open.  Currently, it is locked but a key is available upon request.  It seems the EDI committee felt that it was asking a lot of potential users to go ask for the key.  Brent Larmer explained that it was locked to minimize an abuse of it – there have been cases where someone would lock themselves in and stay for an excessive amount of time thereby denying access to others.  Since it has been locked, usage has actually increased. However, despite this, Councillor Beatty moved that the EDI Committee’s recommendation be followed and that the… Read complete articleAccessible Washroom in Victoria Hall

Restoring St Peter’s Church

One of Cobourg’s significant Historic Buildings is St. Peter’s Anglican Church.  Like Cobourg’s Victoria Hall it was designed by architect Kivas Tully and like Victoria Hall (in the 1950’s) it now needs major restoration.  It’s not quite the same situation since it’s a Church and not owned by the Town but the Church is hoping citizens who are not Anglicans or even Church-goers will be supportive of restoring this property.  The oldest parts of the building are already temporarily closed and its bells stopped ringing last year. The total cost is estimated at $2.7M and of this, $1.35M still needs to be raised (more below).  The Church has recruited a committee led by Peter Delanty and have launched a fund-raising… Read complete articleRestoring St Peter’s Church

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

Predictions for 2022 – opinion

Last year at around this time, I gave my opinion on what might happen in 2021 – I got more than half right – see report in Resources below.  With both a Provincial and Council election scheduled, one major issue for 2022 will be politics.  The other big issue will be the economy: with inflation getting significant, interest rates will go up and therefore the housing market will cool or possibly tank.  Covid-19 will not go away but will become just one of the things we cope with – it’s unlikely that there will be any lockdown or major restrictions although people will remain cautious.  All this means that local issues will get most of our attention.  Here are my… Read complete articlePredictions for 2022 – opinion