Statement by Warden Brian Ostrander about recent online commentary

In the interest of reporting all sides of a news story, I am reporting on a statement issued by the Warden of Northumberland County about the encampment. It’s good to get an update from the County – the following text is provided unedited from Warden Ostrander’s statement issued at 1:18 pm on June 14. Northumberland continues to face the significant challenge of rising homelessness. Today, like communities across the province, we are witnessing the convergence of multiple crises – an opioid addiction crisis, a housing affordability crisis, and the residual effects of a global pandemic, including a dramatic rise in the overall cost of living. These issues have been building for years, and people have been hard hit. This reality… Read complete articleStatement by Warden Brian Ostrander about recent online commentary

Update from Holdco – 2024

On June 13, a special Council meeting was called to hear the annual report by Holdco.  This is the organization that manages Cobourg’s Electricity and Water. I find it complicated but let me try to explain:  Holdco has two subsidiaries: Lakefront Utilities Inc. (LUI) which manages electricity and Lakefront Utility Services Inc. (LUSI) which manages water and some fibre Optics used for the Town’s Internet.  LUI owns the electric infrastructure but LUSI hires and manages all employees so the public deals with LUSI. So when Holdco reported on their year, there were actually four reports (more below). HOLDCO is owned by the Town so officially reports to Council but like the Police, they have a board with a Town representative: Mayor Lucas Cleveland…. Read complete articleUpdate from Holdco – 2024

County Report on Homelessness

The annual “Housing and Homelessness report” was presented today (June 5) at the Social Services Committee meeting. The report provides details on the number of people looking for affordable housing plus what the County is doing about that.  The report states that “the waitlist for social housing continues to be 10 years in some communities and has grown more than 300% in the last 10 years, with over 1,100 households on the waitlist. In 2023, the average vacancy rate in Northumberland was 1.3%. This vacancy rate is close to the 2023 provincial average of 1.7%.”  The report lists the new housing being built and lists buying 310 Division as an accomplishment but does not mention the encampment.  It’s as if… Read complete articleCounty Report on Homelessness

New Schedule for Zoning By-Law Review

For more than 10 years, the Town has been working on a review of the Zoning by-law 85-2003. This was originally passed in 2003 and would be expected to be reviewed once the 2010 Official plan was approved – this was late and finally happened in 2017. The review is being done by consultant Meridian Planning but they need the Town’s planning department and Council to review and agree to changes. According to a presentation by Meridian President Nick McDonald at last night’s Council meeting, there have been nine versions created so far.  Recently, delays have been caused by staff problems in the planning department (Rob Franklin away because of illness and Director Anne Taylor-Scott left the job suddenly) but… Read complete articleNew Schedule for Zoning By-Law Review

Message from the Mayor

Mayor Lucas Cleveland today announced a “Change in Office Hours”. He says that his “business partner at The Market & Smør announced that she will be moving on to new work opportunities. I will therefore be returning to the Market part-time for the next few months to manage the transition until a new team structure is up and running.” He provides no further personal details but his move to being a part-time Mayor is unusual.  Lucas does not give a time frame for how long this situation will be in place but he talks of “several months” and seems to be eager to get into business mode again.  His announcement talks about great things happening downtown with stores and residential… Read complete articleMessage from the Mayor

Dynamic Patrol Update

Starting May 1, Cobourg Police initiated their “Dynamic Patrol” which they describe as “one element of the Spring 2024 CPS Downtown Community Safety Action Plan”. In a surge of transparency, the Police are reporting on their activities on this Patrol which “will continue throughout the spring and summer. This initiative focuses on increasing police presence, engagement opportunities, bail enforcement, warrant execution, and probation condition compliance in the Town of Cobourg.”  The statement released today (May 23) about the period May 1 to May 20, reports that police conducted 102 foot patrols, responded to nine (9) suspected drug poisoning calls, and conducted 46 property checks within the downtown core, Victoria Park and east end towards the encampment. See below for more… Read complete articleDynamic Patrol Update

Police Chief reports on Shopping Cart Retrieval Project

On the Victoria Day holiday, Chief Paul VandeGraaf issued three Press Releases updating Police actions on their “Dynamic Patrol” as part of their “Downtown Action Plan”. One reported that 83 stolen shopping carts were recovered, 53 of these were from the encampment; the second reported an arrest of a woman with a stolen Winners cart containing stolen property; the third reported the arrest of a woman shoplifting downtown. More details are available below. These all happened on May 18 and 19. From this we can be assured that Police are active on weekends and that the shopping cart retrieval project has been successful with a large number retrieved from the encampment. No charges were laid relating to the retrieval of… Read complete articlePolice Chief reports on Shopping Cart Retrieval Project

Police Chief reports on Encampment

It’s not known why Police don’t issue useful reports on what’s happening with the homeless encampment but as reported on Pete Fisher’s web site, occasionally Police Chief Paul VandeGraaf does report to interested groups. On May 8, the Chief spoke to residents at Retirement home Palisade Gardens which is not far from the encampment. Pete’s report is long and comprehensive and I recommend reading it (see Resources below) but I will report on the highlights. Chief VandeGraaf spoke about no longer feeling safe downtown, is there in fact more crime now, why don’t Police kick people out of the encampment, why aren’t people who are acting crazy arrested, what’s happening with the Dynamic Patrol and more about the shopping cart… Read complete articlePolice Chief reports on Encampment

Waterfront Wisdom Pathway unveiling

At a big event on September 30 2021, a “Seven Feathers” crosswalk was unveiled on Albert Street (See report in Resources below). It was on the occasion of the first “Truth and Reconciliation Day” to remember the atrocities of the residential school system and the promises to First Nations that have been broken. The intention was good but the implementation not so much. The paint quality was poor and was worn away by vehicle traffic in a day. It was repainted in September 2023 with better paint but that did not wear much better so a new idea was found: a Waterfront Wisdom Pathway. This consists of a collection of 26 banners created by local Indigenous artists Rick Beaver and… Read complete articleWaterfront Wisdom Pathway unveiling