Tannery District Public Meeting – November 2021

The Tannery Project began in 2009 and since then: has had three open houses (including the initial Charrette); a special page was created for the Town’s web site; a special Community Improvement Plan (CIP) was created to allow the Town to spend money on it and on Monday, a Council Public Planning meeting considered a Secondary Plan and Rezoning Bylaw which would effectively implement the Consultant’s master plan.  See the links below for more detail. Once again, the consultant Matt Reid, presented his plan: over 30 citizens were online to hear what he said and 10 participated – mostly in support.  There are two aspects of the plan that generate support:  first, It’s “Green” and sustainable and second it promises to provide affordable housing.

Although the Town owned Tannery Property is at the centre of the declared Tannery neighbourhood (or district), the plan proposes major changes for much more than that.  See the image below for what is planned.  The intent is that future development would follow the direction given in the Secondary plan although the current owners of properties in the district were assured that they can continue as they are – the implication is that if they were to sell, or redevelop their properties, they would be bound by the secondary plan which modifies the Town’s Official Plan for that area.  One major property owner is the GM dealership on University right where the Spring Street extension is planned.  They have said that they have no intention to move or sell.

Tannery District Plan
Tannery District Plan

But the plan would be implemented in phases (see Presentation) with the first phase limited to the Town-owned land.  This would be a housing development with some “park” area.  It’s not known how many units there would be or what proportion would be affordable although the overall goal for the district is 25%.

Some of the plan’s supporters urged the Town to participate by paying for roads as well as support per the CIP and others asked for additional constraints on developers.  There is no word whether any developers are in fact interested.

Note that to fully understand this project, you really need to study the information available at the links below.

And as Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin said, this plan could take 20 to 30 years to be fully implemented.

Although there have been a good number of Public meetings including several open houses, one that was scheduled for November 25 seems to have simply not happened!  In any case, it seemed superfluous given the November 29 meeting. [More – see note below]

There was also no mention of land remediation issues which seemed to be an earlier problem for developers.

Although a good number of the public in Cobourg are supportive of this plan, there’s no way of knowing if and when it will proceed.  Currently there are no budget implications but there are also no developer applications pending.

[Note: Added Dec 1. The mysterious meeting on November 25 did happen but was only accessible to those who registered and not to anyone who just wanted to see what was said – although I guess you can say you want to participate then don’t participate.]


To better understand the Tannery project, you need to read at least some of the articles in the following resources.  It’s a significant project with a lot of background/history.

Consultant’s Documents

Earlier Cobourg News items and documents

Town of Cobourg

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Irene Kavanagh
2 years ago

Question: Since the town owns the Tannery district can it not be open just as green space until plans are finalized. Nice for walking or biking?

Reply to  Irene Kavanagh
2 years ago

Much of it was accessible the last time I checked, but very rough terrain with dense bush & weeds. The remnants of the buildings are probably hazardous for strolling and therefore fenced off.

You can get through across the top end by bike from George St. to Ball St. along Princess St. but the lower end is blocked by a fence, so it’s a cul-de-sac there.

Seems highly likely the coyotes we see occasionally in the area have their home base right there. Take heed.

Last edited 2 years ago by JimT
Reply to  JimT
2 years ago

Not having checked previous discussions on this property, I would hazard a guess there may be Environmental issues with the soil?
Would be a nice spot for a ‘walking park’, or something similar!

2 years ago

“It’s not known how many units…would be affordable
although the overall goal for the district is 25%.”

There’s that coy euphemism “affordable” again. “Affordable” to whom? And if 25% are “affordable” are the other 75% “unaffordable”?

If it means that ¼ of the units are to be subsidized by government to make them available to those who would not be able financially to purchase them otherwise, then let’s call it what it is: subsidized housing.

Last edited 2 years ago by JimT
2 years ago

John as mentioned by Miriam the PH did happen but you are correct in saying that the Zoom details were not published, in fact most of the people who wanted to attend had to fight for the details and then circulate them amongst themselves.

One advantage of the public meeting was that the presentation by the consultant was only 45 mins – he took an hour at the PH.

2 years ago

John, the November 25 Open House did happen. Not many people attended. Many thanks for your detailed coverage of this topic. There is also a video on the Town Council meeting web site of the public meeting held November 29.

Reply to  MiriamM
2 years ago

Perhaps the Town’s protocol for public open houses could change. The open house was not posted on e-scribe, but it is not the first time. There was another public open house for a proposed development in town I wanted to attend earlier this year and I missed that meeting!
Below is the link to the Town’s public news piece with title:

“Residents Invited to Public Meeting and Public Open House Concerning Proposed Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments for the Tannery District Secondary PlanPosted on Wednesday November 10, 2021”