Tourism – Municipal Candidates’ Positions

The second “leading question” asked of all candidates in the upcoming election was “Tourists – Are they good for Cobourg?”  Many of the Policies and decisions made by Cobourg’s Council encourage visitors to Cobourg.  There are Town staff whose job it is to cater to Tourists; the Town has a web site that provides information for Tourists yet not all Downtown merchants and citizens see a benefit. Although the DBIA organizes many events downtown, it could be argued that these are intended to attract residents to Downtown and not necessarily visitors.  Tourists spend money in Cobourg but they also cost for more policing, garbage collection and they create crowds.  Is it worth it?  Should Tourists be encouraged?  Each Candidate gives their view on this question.

Tourist Booth 1 July 2005
Tourist Booth 1 July 2005

At one time, a Tourist booth was erected outside Victoria Hall and provided answers to anyone who asked.  The photo at right is the booth on July 1, 2005. The Waterfront Festival on the July 1st weekend has traditionally been one of the busiest days for Tourism in Cobourg – although the Sandcastle Festival weekend is catching up.  This booth is no longer used – instead visitors can go into Victoria Hall’s lobby, drive up to the CCC or get information from a booth at the beach.  Dressler House is currently not a source of Tourist information.


John Henderson (acclaimed) Cobourg has had a Tourism slogan for an extensive period of time, we know it as the “Feel Good Town.” Collectively, I believe our Council members, staff and citizens are open and welcome visitors to our wonderful community. This can be seen in a number of Town events such as our recent Canada 150 Year celebrations, the Sandcastle Festival and our upcoming Armistice 2018 to name a few.
With that being said, the Town due to the volume of tourist in the summer months means a greater focus on litter collection, limited parking, limited washrooms and a sense that Cobourg citizens are secondary. I believe the new Council must work to address these concerns to find a more equitable balance between Town citizens and tourists/visitors. [Response abbreviated]

Deputy Mayor

Randy Curtis Tourism is essential for a vibrant downtown. We have many attractive features in the community which bring tourists who spend money in our shops and restaurants creating jobs and putting money in our town.
Suzanne Séguin Tourists can be good for Cobourg in that some of them stay in our hotels, shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants. The not-so-great tourists spend nothing here and leave their garbage behind for us to clean up. We need to measure the impact of tourists better to attract more of the former. Consider a Pay to Play Plan.


Nicole Beatty I believe that tourists are good for our community.  Through my work in destination development I’ve come to learn that tourists include both local residents and external visitors.  I believe that tourists bring character and gratitude to our community as well as economic benefit through shopping, dining and overnight visitation.  As a Cobourg resident I too enjoy our local events and experiences, staying and exploring local when and where I can.  Yes, tourists can create traffic congestion but I think this can be addressed through innovative services such as affordable shuttle services from car parks uptown to downtown and parking, rideshare and cycling incentives for locals. [Response abbreviated]
Aaron Burchat I absolutely believe that tourists are beneficial to Cobourg! Many businesses within the town see a large increase in sales during the summer months when tourism is at a high. We are able to host more events that are fun for local residents when we have added bodies in the town to help make the events worthwhile for the host (for example, higher ticket sales for plays, that might not be able to run if we had to rely solely on our residents purchasing tickets). When people think “tourists” they tend to think of just the ones who go to the beach, but our community is able to bring in arts and culture tourists, as well as sports tourism when traveling teams come to play here. We have many residents of Cobourg who were once visitors to our area and loved it so much they decided to move here, and that is a direct benefit to our local economy.
Adam Bureau Tourists are great for Cobourg and a lot of businesses profits because of it. However, my campaign is “LOCALS FIRST”.  The tax rate is very high and I think the town should start catering to our local tax payer. i.e., parking, snow removal, housing and transit.
Emily Chorley Tourism can bring benefits, but we should recognize that residents are impacted by tourism and major events. I would only support municipal investments that deliver a better place to live and visit, with the emphasis firstly on creating a better place for residents and businesses, and secondly for tourists.
Brian Darling Yes, I do believe tourists do contribute to Cobourg’s economy.  According to the Waterfront Report 80% of the 2000 surveys said tourism is important to our economy.
Karl Vom Dorff Yes. Finding a politician to argue contrary would be difficult. In perspective, tourists are always beneficial; Cobourg included.
Travis Hoover Yes 
Miriam Mutton As welcome visitors, yes, tourists are good for Cobourg. But first, it is important that Cobourg be good for its citizens, both people who live here and businesses who operate here.
Johnny Percolides Tourists (just like locals) can be both good and bad. Maybe the question should be do we want/need them? In my opinion, Yes absolutely!

Candidates listed in last name alphabetical order.
Some responses have been abbreviated from the originals submitted. No text was edited but where noted, some submitted text has been omitted.

The next question to be answered is “Downtown Vitalization – What should be done about it?”


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5 years ago

Tomorrow is going to be a beauty!

5 years ago

“The not-so-great tourists spend nothing here and leave their garbage behind for us to clean up.”

I have touristed all over the world and never have I seen delineations of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ tourists nor have I ever been asked to take my garbage home with me.

Maybe if Cobourg can solve this problem Dean Hustwick could tell Barcelona or Venice how to do it!

Reply to  ben
5 years ago

Unlike many of our tourists perhaps you purchased locally so there was nothing for you to take home.

Reply to  ben
5 years ago

The problems in Venice and Barcelona should be a warning/lessen for Cobourg. Albeit on a smaller scale, we could experience the same types of problems here. Latest in the news… Croatia.

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  Frenchy
5 years ago

Closer to home, Prince Edward County is also having some issues with tourists/short term rentals if you read their local press and last weeks article in the G &M.

Reply to  Mrs. Anonymous
5 years ago

We stopped visiting The County years ago.

Reply to  Frenchy
5 years ago

Think of the REVENUE! Dean is probably salivating.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  ben
5 years ago

One new election candidate I see encourages the use of shuttle buses to assist in helping to solve the parking disaster during summertime.
I see so many shuttle buses pass by my house daily always empty (maybe two people inside on rare occasion ) while a steady flow of circling cars continously patrol the streets in search of parking./offload their gear for the beach and park.
I suspect that no efficiency record /passenger count is taken to know the cost effectiveness of providing this bus service.
as it is repeated each year with the same empty buses.
Littering ( totally ignored) ) has for some reason or other now become an accepted practice and out of control yet nothing is done other than pick up after the offenders.
So many children to adults are willing participants as there are no consequences Whatever became of respect for other’s property and public pride in one’s community ?
Living near the park I daily pick everything up from beer bottles on my property ,empty cigarette packs,and food wrappers etc..
Discarded food boxes ,Timmie cups ,cans ,and even dirty diapers are placed by the curbs.
During the summer months particularly,it is disgusting to see the condition of the park,beach and surrounding streets with littering
The town employes on grass cutting machines in the park just cut the litter along with the grass,scattering it everywhere without picking it up first.
The litter outside the town hall grounds itself doesn’t even get picked up so why bother anywhere appears to be the attitude.
In the town stats published for bylaw infractions ,I have never seen one ticket issued for littering yet it’s common everywhere.
One just have to look at our streets in the town itself to see the lack of concern and littering now is invisible to most members of the public.
One summer the young town “good will ambassadors” handed out black refuse bags for visitors to use in the park and yet rubbish was still left everywhere.
Those who perpetuate this disgraceful behaviour go unnoticed as it appears that we wouldn’t want to offend anyone.and endanger the “Feel Good town” mantra so proudly boasted by the town.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bill Thompson
5 years ago

Whatever became of respect for other’s property and public pride in one’s community?

Indeed. Go take a look at the condition of the trash bin that serves the Zone of Respect around the Cenotaph. Go take a look at the condition of the trash bin serving the Bandshell. These ugly bins stand there unnoticed by ALL. Yes, where is the public pride in our community? Why the indifference to such an ugly trash bin, right there within full view of yourself day after day after day. Why has this been acceptable to you?

Bill Thompson
Reply to  ben
5 years ago

Maybe you and I like most people disposed/dispose our garbage in the proper receptacle or took it with us when there were none available.
It appears those days are long gone.
Possibly that’s one of the spinoffs that are part of today’s much mooted change being inevitable and desired by so many as the answer to progress in order not to stand still.

Walter L. Luedtke
5 years ago

Well, well!
Seems that our candidates are galloping off to the other end of the pasture on tourism.
Love the slogan “Locals First”.
I don’t think any of the candidates are contemplating putting ‘Locals’ second.

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
5 years ago

The Mayor and many of the current Councillors have put tourists ahead of locals. We can only hope that the new Council puts locals first.

5 years ago

Exactly how much money will be spent this year by Cobourg to promote tourism including salaries etc.? Let’s see a full line by line analysis of where the money went. What does the town earn in real profit (not revenue) versus this cost to taxpayers?
Perhaps we would do better if we did not promote or Town as a tourist destination. One heck of a test for next year.

5 years ago

Let’s improve our tourism vision by doing the following:
1. Implement a beach tag program for tourists, where they can purchase the tags at a beach kiosk. Say a twoonie a day.
2. Eliminate parking meters from downtown and near park/beach.
(Who cares how long people stay, as long as they stay, right?)
3. Stop closing King Street for sales, festivals, etc., and put
those events in Victoria Park or Marina side.
4. DBIA, convince your members to open on Sunday and
stay open until 9:00 during summer months.

Reply to  Eastender
5 years ago

I think the only person to answer this question with enough real time experience is Adam Bureau

The rest sound like politicians from what we see living here at the beach
The Tourists Come for the Cheap Beach experience
Dragging everything with them from Giant water Toys and Floats , Kidssss and as many Coolers as they can carry or drag . They park as close as they can or off load at the beach and then go find parking . Obviously nothing was purchased locally The same when they leave as fast as they can

Reply to  perplexed
5 years ago

And what is so wrong with the cheap beach experience, to advocate anything else reeks of snobbishness and NIMBYism!

Reply to  ben
5 years ago

The residents pay for the cleanup and suffer from the congestion. Why should Cobourg residents pay for the “cheap beach experience” of others?

Reply to  Eastender
5 years ago

“A twoonie” …is that all our beach is worth? Eliminating parking meters near the beach would give residents nowhere to park and shop downtown. They would all be taken up by weekenders! I care about how long visitors stay because I can no longer go to the beach on weekends, in the summer.
Residents in Cobourg deserve to have their own families visit, at the beach,
on weekends. Young families work all week and visit their family, in Cobourg, on weekends. Myself, I threw out family picnics at the beach during the summer. Town council care more about visitors, who may or may not purchase anything in town, than they do about the residents in our town

Cobourg Person
Reply to  Carter
5 years ago

“…I can no longer go the beach on weekends”

I have a young family and I go to the beach on weekends. If you feel you can’t attend the beach then that’s your issue, don’t blame tourists.