First Look at County Police Review

The consultant reviewing policing in Northumberland County will make their first report to County Council at their meeting on 17 April. The report describes what they plan to do and gives a final report date of “the second half of 2024”.  The project was initiated in January 2023 when Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander moved to include $75,000 in the budget to “update the 2007 Policing Study Final Report for Northumberland County.”  He was supported by Mayor Lucas Cleveland, Port Hope’s Mayor Olena Hankivsky and Alnwick/Haldimand Township Mayor John Logel.  The presentation by the consultant, StrategyCorp, points to options to be considered and criteria to be evaluated including “what next steps could be considered to support effective public safety services as… Read complete articleFirst Look at County Police Review

Total Eclipse in Cobourg – not just eye safety

By now, most will know that Cobourg is in the path of a total solar eclipse on Monday April 8 around 3:20 pm. At around that time in Cobourg, the sun will be blocked by the moon, it will go dark for just over 1 minute and then it will revert to a partial eclipse which will be not much different to normal.  So what does this mean?  Being careful how you view it seems obvious – use only specially approved glasses or create a pin-hole “camera” – but “emergency” organizations in the Town and County have listed a range of other concerns and all schools will be closed for a re-scheduled PA day.  Parents should check with day care… Read complete articleTotal Eclipse in Cobourg – not just eye safety

Police Force Expansion Linked to Possible New Building

At the Community Protection and Economic Development Standing Committee meeting on April 3rd, there was a motion made to “get the ball rolling” on the Police request for a new building. As reported earlier, Police believe that they have outgrown their existing building on King Street and recommend a new building at a new location for approx. $34M. The Standing committee members (Mayor Cleveland, Aaron Burchat, Adam Bureau) all agreed that this would be a long term project and that it should be considered simultaneously with the possible expansion of the Force or a merger. Mayor Cleveland emphasized that he was NOT suggesting switching services to the OPP but perhaps there should be a West Northumberland or County Police Force…. Read complete articlePolice Force Expansion Linked to Possible New Building

Community Grants Process stirs up Council

For the past several years, Cobourg Council has awarded grants – in kind or cash – to various local organizations that took the trouble to apply. During the 2024 budget sessions, Mayor Lucas Cleveland and Councillor Darling were unhappy with the process. An initial list created by Councillor Burchat was not approved – instead a budget of $30,000 was approved with instructions to staff on creating a new process. It was not entirely clear to Councillors, Staff or me but the idea seemed to be that some grants should be given ongoing approval – especially in-kind and/or those who have generally been approved every year. At the Standing Committee meeting on April 2, staff put forward an analysis of previous… Read complete articleCommunity Grants Process stirs up Council

YMCA Re-starts Joint Pool Discussion

In 2015, the YMCA and the Town of Cobourg decided that they wanted to build a new aquatic centre (pool) alongside the Cobourg Community Centre for as much as $25M. The idea included some form of merger between the YMCA and the CCC. Considerable work went into the study but in the end, the idea was abandoned – see Cobourg Blog reports in Resources below. However, at the time a draft MOU was written, perhaps signed. At the next meeting on April 3 of the Community Services, Protection, and Economic Development Standing Committee, the idea of working together and an MOU will be discussed. Although not mentioned specifically, building a joint YMCA/Town pool at the CCC seems to be back… Read complete articleYMCA Re-starts Joint Pool Discussion

Progress on Transition House Agreement

Sometimes, not much happens at Council meetings – an example was last night’s. Arguably, the only item taxpayers would care about was an update on negotiations about the new Transition House location – 310 Division. As reported previously, the intent is to end up with a three way agreement between Transition House, the County and the Town and a draft agreement was provided that went a long way towards what was wanted. Written by County CAO Jennifer Moore, and reflecting her discussions with the Town’s CAO Tracey Vaughan, there were two contentious points beyond Tracey’s responsibility: 1) A request to repeal the recently passed licensing by-law and 2) the agreement would terminate “if the Town makes efforts to regulate shelters… Read complete articleProgress on Transition House Agreement

Another Cinema for Cobourg

It’s not a cinema showing recent releases but it’s free – donations appreciated.  Not long ago, we lost the Loft which was a small cinema/theatre – Ken moved his shows to Victoria Hall and Michael Pepa moved his classical concerts to Trinity Church. The new cinema is at Dressler House; a room has recently been renovated to show movies and since it’s the home of the Canadian Women in Film Museum, it’s appropriate it will show movies with early film stars such as Mary Pickford, Marie Dressler and Norma Shearer plus other “women who have played pioneering roles, challenged gendered expectations, and paved the way for others in the film industry.” Dubbed Cinema trailblazeHER, it opens on April 8 with… Read complete articleAnother Cinema for Cobourg

Cobourg Needs an Overall Master Plan

At Cobourg Council’s regular meeting on 27 March, retired Urban planner Keith Oliver (not Kent Oliver as shown in Agenda) will once again be presenting his ideas. This time, Keith asks “do we have the tools needed to guide Cobourg’s future growth and development to the benefit of all”. He uses two examples but does not actually spell out what I would say: Cobourg needs an overall Master Plan. There are multiple specific master plans such as for Parks, the Waterfront, Culture and Downtown but no over-riding master plan for the Town that pulls it all together. The Strategic Plan might have been a way to do that but the current plan lacks detail and instead calls for annual “operational plans”. So… Read complete articleCobourg Needs an Overall Master Plan

Provincial Grant for Transition House.

At a special County Council meeting to authorize acceptance of a Provincial grant for $2,469,500, Warden and Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander asked if the money was to be used to clean people out of the encampment. The answer is NO. The money is for capital costs to support conversion of the 310 Division property: that is, for upgrades and renovations. It is not to be used for purchase of the property – this was funded by County reserves. In any case, clearing the encampment is outside County jurisdiction. However, Rebecca Carman, Associate Director of Housing & Homelessness said that it is hoped that the 310 Division Street project would (this is my paraphrasing) be more attractive to folks currently unhoused… Read complete articleProvincial Grant for Transition House.

Are the Town and County using KPIs?

A KPI is a Key Performance Indicator and some commenters on this blog have questioned whether they are being used by Town and County staff.  As management guru Peter Drucker said: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” But it seems that, scientist Lord Kelvin beat him to the punch and called out a similar principle even earlier: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. So KPIs are clearly important. Certainly in the last year or two, there is evidence that both the County and Town Staff are using KPIs. Further, the County has put a “KPI Performance Dashboard” online with 22 KPIs that measure performance. Of course measuring is just the first step – but from the measurement,… Read complete articleAre the Town and County using KPIs?