Unfinished Business – May 2021

The good news is that by keeping an Unfinished Business List, Town Clerk Brent Larmer is doing a good job of keeping track of the promises by Council and Staff to look after issues.  In most cases, the “business” listed was the result of a motion by Council asking a particular Department to report back to Council at a specified date.  The bad news is that target dates are often not met. But there is some progress: since September last year, three items have been completed although with new ones added the overall number of items has been fairly steady.  Transparency has improved since there are now more details in the status reports.  By my count, of the 14 projects still unfinished, six items are later than the date requested by Council, three have taken over a year (although no dates were specified) and five are on track. There’s more detail below.

Unfinished Business Summary
All items included but with abbreviated descriptions.  Responsible Department in italics.
Late; More than 1 year since requested; On-Track.

Project: Review setting up a social planning and/or community development advisory committee to determine how affordable housing and other community health priorities fits within a municipality’s strategic plan. Legislative Services.
Due: June 2019.- requested January 2019
Status: Staff are currently working with the County and with the Northumberland Affordable Housing Committee on 2 Affordable Housing projects as well as on the Affordable Housing CIP. 50% complete.

Project:  Develop a Long Service Recognition Policy. Human Resources.
Due: Requested September 2019. No due date specified.
Status:  This is on the Municipal Corporate Policy Review Team Agenda. A report should be presented to Council by May 2021.  80% complete.

Project:  Investigate and report on Crime around Transition House.  Multiple Departments.
Due: February 2020 – requested December 2019
Status: Police report was provided in March 2020.  It was then lost but since tracked down. 50% complete.

Project: Put together an inventory of potential municipal-owned surplus lands, buildings and/or facilities.  Report on Cobourg News Blog here. Planning and Development Services Department
Due: March 2021 – requested November 2020
Status: Referred to a new Ad Hoc Committee who will provide a recommended shortlist and implementation plan to Council by September 13, 2021.  On Track.

Project:  Draft an Accessible services policy to address Driver responsibilities.  Legislative Services and Public Works Departments
Due: June 2020 – requested January 2020
Status: Will come back to Council with the draft policy for review in Spring 2021.  80% complete

Project: A Citizen asked “Can a Cannabis odour in a back-yard be stopped?”  Requires a by-law review. Protection Services
Due: Requested 14 December 2020 with no due date specified.
Status: Staff is reviewing.

Project: Investigate the Innisfil ridesharing transit model and report on its viability in Cobourg. Legislative Services.
Due: June 2020 – requested January 2020
Status: On hold as a result of the Public Works On-Demand Transit Trial

Project: Update Taxi by-law to regulate Uber etc (when they get here) plus encourage accessible taxis. Legislative Services
Due: Requested January 2020 but no date set.
Status: On hold during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Consultation with taxi companies and the public wanted.  Meanwhile an updated by-law helps. Since the pandemic took hold, the Town has not heard from 3 companies that might be interested in providing an accessible service.  By-Law should be completed in 2021.

Project: Decide on operational model of how to handle Animal Control when Cobourg exits current agreement at end of 2021. Legislative Services
Due: Requested Jan 2020.  Required before budget deliberations for 2022.
Status: On Track

Project: Report on feasibility of suggestion by Judy Sherwin – primarily that residents pay a lower parking fine than visitors. Legislative Services
Due: Requested January 2020 – no date specified
Status: Staff will provide Council with a report if still considered a priority.

Project: Draft a Flood Mitigation and Response Plan.  Chief Administrative Officer
Due: September 2020 – requested April 2020
Status: This report is currently underway and has been placed on hold due to a Staff Member currently being on leave.

Project: Prepare an MOU for the Cobourg Library.   Chief Administrative Officer
Due: June 2020 – requested February 2020
Status: Complete as of May 17, 2021.

Project: Obtain a legal opinion on Cobourg’s authority over the harbour. Community Services
Due: Requested July 2020.
Status: Complete. (Report on Cobourg News Blog here)

Project: Strike a joint working group to create a consolidated safety procedure and emergency manual – Aquatic Safety Audit.  Community Services
Due: Ahead of the 2021 boating season – Requested July 2020.
Status: Meetings have been ongoing throughout the start of the year. Waiting to hear back on the legal opinion prior to any finalization.

It should be noted that this Unfinished Business list is on the Agenda of every Council meeting but it’s rarely reviewed – just accepted.


Reviews of Unfinished Business by Cobourg News Blog

Council’s Unfinished Business Lists

Note that some of these lists have links to Council Meetings or Minutes which no longer work because Cobourg’s Civic Web is now offline Note also that headings of these pdfs often have out-of-date “As of” dates.  Dates shown below are correct “As of” dates.

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Gordon Gilchrist
2 years ago

Where do we stand on the matter of a drug rehabilitation center as a neighbour to two schools? Is this going ahead or has it been shelved or just delayed and kept out of public sight?

Small town lover
3 years ago

I didn’t see anything about our beach. What happened with the suggestion survey? Will the beach be opened and if so were any of resident suggestions considered? I realize this is a heated topic on both sides but avoiding the issue won’t make it go away.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Small town lover
3 years ago

I’m sure we’ll see what happens this coming week-end.!

Michael Sprayson
3 years ago

Looking at the above list, only 36% of the items are on track – not necessarily complete, but so far, on track. This leaves 64% of the items long overdue and incomplete. I find it difficult to reconcile how those numbers are accepted. Who is accountable? Why is the list simply accepted as a line item every council meeting?
Teenagers who work part-time at fast food establishments are subject to performance reviews. People who work contract by contract are subject to satisfactory performance reviews or contracts do not get renewed. Why are the public sector well-paying, secure jobs in Cobourg not minimally subject to performance reviews? They are good for everyone. They help determine goals, track progress, they find gaps in performance, they provide guidance for improvement. They provide a structure for rewards and justification for disciplinary action.
It’s wonderful to have transparency. But, without accountability, the purpose seems lost and it’s just business as usual.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
3 years ago

Damn good points. I lived most my working life on contracts in the private sector. It was a method of refreshment. And accountability. My performance reviews were very good. Why? Because I wanted time to trip around on my own in East Europe or elsewhere. After money got low in a few months, those performance reviews were the ticket to re-employment. FREEDOM!

Reply to  Michael Sprayson
3 years ago

It is good to have this list. To make improvements it is important to know the current situation, compare it to some kind of standard and take action accordingly. If the goal is to complete all items on time then deadlines need to be given and monitored. If the deadlines are not realistic then some items will not be completed on time. What I find interesting is the number of items that require reports before decisions are to be made. The Taxi by-law, partly to encourage accessible taxis, is important to residents needing this service yet there is no date. This by-law and the Accessible services policy on Driver responsibility have the potential of making a real difference to accessibility. Good news for those concerned about accessibility is the Abbott sidewalk is progressing well. I do not know who this will help access what. Accessibility was a reason for building it yet there may be issues for some people accessing their driveways. There are lots of ups and downs to this project, come take a look. The Matthew St. rebuild last year decreased accessibility for snowplows. What is the purpose of the report on crime around Transition house? Is it to provide information to council to delay a debate on ways to reduce disturbances for local citizens? Are we going to need a report on Area51 John St. or is it close enough to be included in the Transition House crime report?

3 years ago

Report on feasibility of suggestion by Judy Sherwin – primarily that residents pay a lower parking fine than visitors.

Dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.
How did this even make it this far and stay on a list?

Last edited 3 years ago by Frenchy
3 years ago

In regards to long service recognition, aren’t both the police and fire dept employees given an annual increase in wage depending on their length of service?