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

Provincial Grant supports Police CCTV expansion

D’Arcy street was closed around noon on Friday while an announcement was made outside the Venture 13 facility.  The Provincial Government announced a grant of $200,000 to Cobourg Police to implement CCTV for their “Next Generation Community Safety Strategy”.  The grant covers 50% of the cost of the project which will integrate CCTV cameras installed by the Town and private businesses plus some new ones.  The location of some of the new ones will not be disclosed.  The idea is to improve public safety since if criminals know they will be caught, they are less likely to offend.  The announcement was made by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones with supporting remarks by Mayor John Henderson, MPP David Piccini, Police Services Board… Read complete articleProvincial Grant supports Police CCTV expansion

Fire Hall Renovations to Accommodate Female Firefighter

As Cobourg resident Ken Strauss pointed out in his critical “Letter to the Editor”, at the Committee of the Whole Council COW) Meeting on November 16, Fire Chief Mike Vilneff asked for budget pre-approval of $240K for renovations to Cobourg’s Firehall.  He said that this was required because these renovations were needed to accommodate a female firefighter who had been hired earlier in the year. Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin said that early approval was not needed since regular budget sessions were imminent. When asked, the chief was not able to provide a detailed breakdown as to what exactly was needed to accommodate the female firefighter versus other included items. So after considerable discussion, the original motion to approve the full… Read complete articleFire Hall Renovations to Accommodate Female Firefighter

Covid-19 Northumberland Update 2

The Province has introduced a more complex system of assigning risk levels to Health Districts with five colour coded levels: Green (Prevent), Yellow (Protect), Orange (Restrict), Red (Control) and Grey (Lockdown).  As the labels suggest, these go progressively from mild restrictions to severe.  Cobourg is in the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit and is currently assigned Green.  Links below give more details but I will summarize what this all means for people living in Cobourg.  The whole process is based on science and measurements – the first measure is Weekly Incidence Rate and to be classified as green, this has to be less than 10 cases per 100,000.  At the other end of the scale, Red is more… Read complete articleCovid-19 Northumberland Update 2

First Council meeting re 2021 Budget

Cobourg Council has released a schedule of seven meetings where the budget is developed and the public is invited – albeit virtual (see link below) – and the first one was held at 5:00 pm today.  In introducing the meeting, Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin said that it would help Council decide on “Areas of Focus” – but she did say that this year the target would be a 1 to 2% increase.  Suzanne then discussed the meeting schedule and this prompted Councillor Nicol Beatty to ask about how well the second meeting about Community Grants had been publicized.  She pointed out that the web site still had year old information.  Brent Larmer took responsibility for the oversight but said that… Read complete articleFirst Council meeting re 2021 Budget

Community Improvement Plan up for Final Approval

In late 2019, the Town launched a plan to make it possible to subsidize affordable Housing in Cobourg. A seemingly straight forward task, a consultant was hired to report by May 2020 but due to delays caused by Covid-19, the report will finally be approved at Monday’s Council meeting.  Affordable housing in this case means affordable rental housing which is generally in short supply in Cobourg, affordable or otherwise.  My understanding is that the Plan is required to make it legal for the Town to use Taxpayers money for this purpose.  This initiative is being done by the Town despite the fact that the County has responsibility for social services including affordable housing although the plan does talk about working… Read complete articleCommunity Improvement Plan up for Final Approval

Council Agrees to Open Outdoor Rink

With concerns about Covid-19 on everyone’s mind, Council briefly debated on Monday whether to open the Outdoor Rink in Rotary Park this winter.  They were presented with three options ranging from closing it to fully opening including the Transit shelter.  Instead they chose the middle option: “authorize municipal staff to open the outdoor rink as soon as weather permits, that signs be posted for social distancing rules and that the transit shelter remain closed for the 2020-2021 season;”  With the Transit Shelter closed, there was concern about washroom facilities and places to put on skates.  This concern would be resolved with porta-potties and six benches placed around the rink with social distancing. Porta-potties would require electricity to power warming cables… Read complete articleCouncil Agrees to Open Outdoor Rink

Service Levels Review – Final Report

In March of this year, the Province provided $86K to fund a review of delivery of services which would hopefully find ways to reduce costs and therefore Municipal taxes.  Given the short time frame, Council agreed to sole source this to KPMG.  Part of the project was a survey of the public and on 28 August, KPMG reported on what 307 participants thought – see link below.  Then on 26 October, Oscar Poloni reported his initial findings.  In the end, taxpayers will want to know “can taxes be reduced?” or given the pandemic, “what services can be reduced or modified to keep taxes under control?”  The KPMG report is detailed and in its 119 pages contains a lot of useful… Read complete articleService Levels Review – Final Report