Town Considering Trial of Micro-Transit

At the Council meeting on Monday and at the Budget meeting on Tuesday, Council were briefed on a proposal by Director of Public Works Laurie Wills to conduct a trial of a possible Micro-Transit system in Cobourg.  It would use full–size buses for the trial since the Town already owns these but if successful, new buses would be smaller and would possibly use hybrid technology.  The idea is that instead of a fixed route, buses would be effectively on-call with routes determined by software and based on demand. The advantages of a micro-transit systems are many: lower cost per rider, pickup locations closer to home, improved accessibility, far less wait times, faster and more direct trips, higher vehicle utilization, and… Read complete articleTown Considering Trial of Micro-Transit

Cobourg Community Centre closed until January 11

Last Friday, the Cobourg Community Centre was closed for the weekend with a promise to thoroughly clean and then reopen Monday morning.  This was because “facility users (came) into close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19”.  While the cleaning and sanitation did happen, the Town’s Emergency Control Group, in consultation with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR DHU), decided to “err on the side of caution and extend the closure of the community centre over the holidays.”  Re-opening is now scheduled for January 11, 2021 although this will depend on a reassessment based on the numbers at that time.  The Town’s announcement said that “the decision was based on overall community safety with the… Read complete articleCobourg Community Centre closed until January 11

Busy Council Meeting

The Monday Committee of the Whole Council meeting was busy and productive. Reported earlier were the VanDyk homes project, the Q3 Budget Variance report and the Second Street parking lot but several other topics were discussed and approved.  As usual, they will have to be ratified at the regular Council meeting on December 14. Additional items included Indigenous Land Acknowledgement, a new Advisory Committee, approval of a development on Nickerson Drive, an increase in Planning fees and looking into different kinds of buses.  The meeting started with a presentation by Jack Gibbons on the climate crisis and a request to Council for support of his idea.  There were also a number of other motions passed – more below.  It was… Read complete articleBusy Council Meeting

Budget Meeting Disappointment

There are two reasons to be disappointed with Tuesday’s budget session.  First, most departments asked for a whole lot more money than the Deputy Mayor’s target of an increase of just 0 to 1% and secondly, most of the presentations were about what had been achieved instead of how they were keeping their budget under control.  That is, they talked about why their department is important and presumably deserves a whole lot of money. Numbers were provided to Council that detailed what the money would be spent on but only a few numbers were included in presentations that could be downloaded by the public.  I guess it’s unrealistic to expect draft budgets to be made available online since they are more… Read complete articleBudget Meeting Disappointment

Van Dyke Homes Development Plan

Monday’s Committee of the Whole Council meeting was long but included several key decisions.  The hottest and most contentious issue was whether to proceed with approving the development by Van Dyke Homes next to Canadian Tire but it wasn’t the only issue.  The others will be reported later this week – but given the intensity of feelings of neighbours on Carlisle Street and the quite long debate in Council, let’s try to understand the issue. Background The land in question is adjacent to Canadian Tire with a commercial frontage on Elgin Street.  The intent is to build 62 townhouse units and 10 semi-detached units with access via a loop accessed via a single road from Carlisle Street. The residences would… Read complete articleVan Dyke Homes Development Plan

Fewer Community Grant requests

For several years now, the Town has followed a process for awarding grants to Community organizations.  Requests must be submitted by the end of October, an opportunity is provided to make a presentation to Council – basically to sell the idea – Council sets a budget total to be distributed, then the budget amount is allocated to lucky organizations. In 2018 there were 24 requests for community grants for $77K from the 2019 budget and 18 were approved for a total of $51K.  In 2019, 30 applicants asked for $143K with 26 awarded for $49.5K.  But in this Covid-19 era, only 10 applicants asked for $32K. All 10 applicants wanted to present to Council but at the last minute, one was… Read complete articleFewer Community Grant requests

Second Street Development on hold

In 2017, when there was a lot of talk about vitalizing the downtown, it was proposed to spend $1.5M on a multi purpose square behind Victoria Hall.  Around the same time, a developer wanted to build “Live and Work” Condos on the “Quigley” lot across the road at 202 Second Street.  However, the square depended on Provincial or Federal money which was not forthcoming so it was put on hold. Then the Farmers’ Market moved across Albert Street to Rotary Park and the Condos were shelved (more details on these below). The owner tried to sell the lot for more than $2M and meanwhile the empty lot was leased to the Town on a month to month basis for $2500… Read complete articleSecond Street Development on hold

Major Harbour Repairs Required

It’s not just the East Pier that needs fixing, it’s the whole harbour. Teresa Behan Deputy Director, Community Services, estimates that “repairs to all aspects of the waterfront area may be upwards of $12M including all fees (see table below). This does not include any ‘enhanced features’ and landscaping that will be proposed for the final design of the east pier project.”  Major Repairs are required for both the east and west breakwaters, the basin east and north walls and minor work on the centre pier. In addition, the estimate for rehabilitation of the East Pier has been revised upwards.  The project will also include assessments of the Fuel Dock and Coast Guard Wharf.  The amounts shown are still estimates… Read complete articleMajor Harbour Repairs Required

Woodlawn Re-Purposing Explained

On Monday November 30, a public meeting was held to explain the re-zoning and re-purposing of the Woodlawn Inn as a drug and alcohol addiction re-habilitation Centre.  Ryan Guetter of Weston Consulting explained that Canadian Centre for Addictions is the new owner of the property and sees a need for their services in Cobourg.  They currently own and operate a similar facility in Port Hope.  But before the meeting got very far, three Councillors declared a conflict and dropped out of the meeting leaving a bare quorum of four.  Both Brian Darling and Emily Chorley said they owned properties within 120 metres and Aaron Burchat has done work at the related Port Hope facility.  Ryan made a presentation with details… Read complete articleWoodlawn Re-Purposing Explained

Third Quarter Budget Update

At the next Committee of the Whole Council meeting on December 7, Treasurer Ian Davey will present a report on operating budget performance up to the end of the third quarter – September 30.  Since the budget is annual with no quarterly breakdown, Ian presents performance in terms of percent of the budget remaining.  If there were no seasonal factors, then the remaining budgets for both revenue and expenditures should be 25%.  There are of course seasonal factors so this measure is not much use.  Instead, Ian also provides last year’s report at the same point.  According to my analysis, there is a shortfall in revenue compared to 2019 of approx. $3.5M.  But expenditures have been reduced and Ian’s numbers… Read complete articleThird Quarter Budget Update