Council Negotiating with Second Street Developer

On Monday, 14 August, the Committee of the Whole meeting started with a special meeting to consider the 202 Second Street Lease Agreement.  In other words, to negotiate with the owner of the property commonly called the “Quigley lot” and now used for parking.  It was a closed session and not open to the public but at its conclusion, it was made open to the public and is now available as a video on e-scribe – see Resources below.  The open session started with a motion made by Mayor Lucas Cleveland to “allow the owners of 202 Second Street to charge for Parking for the next two weekends of August, 2023”.  Councillor Mutton seconded.  Lucas clarified that town-issued parking passes will be honoured and “It’s just that they will be allowed to charge on top of those”.  However, it’s not clear what “honoured” means in this context.

At no point in the meeting was it indicated what fees might be charged by the lot owner nor how fees would be collected.  The implication was that there would be someone onsite collecting fees – probably in a booth.

But there was little debate – perhaps there was information available to Council from the closed session but the whole issue was not clear.

Councillor Adam Bureau said he would not support the motion since the public would be getting too little notice.

Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty said she would also not be supporting the motion because of the confusion that would be caused and not knowing the rates to be charged.

Lucas said he wanted to speak to the reasons for the motion: 

  • We are in a negotiation period with the developers
  • We are still respecting the parking passes with this motion
  • We are still providing public parking during the weekends
  • We are simply allowing our staff and the developers an opportunity to find common ground and to move forward.
  • This is a very reasonable request from the developers, who have seen their interest rates doubling and who have seen carrying costs on this property move up.
  • Their ask is not necessarily to change the situation, but for them to have the opportunity to make money in addition to the parking passes and the prearranged agreements.

Lucas said that “while I do understand that it might be difficult for individuals on such short notice, this is not a new item that has come before council; it is an item that we have been working with and trying to solve for several months [JD Note: but not in public sessions]. This is simply a two-weekend opportunity to show good faith from this council that we are trying to find a solution that meets all parties. It’s not an attempt to side with anyone. It’s simply an attempt to find the best possible solution for all parties involved.”

Councillor Miriam Mutton wanted a mass e-mailing and thought it could be worded in a positive way.

CAO Tracey Vaughan said that once the developers (owners of the lot) provided information on rates (Hourly? Flat rate?) then a reach out via Social Media channels could be provided.  However, there may be a problem extracting contact info from pass-holder data on file – it may be email, phone, mailing address.

There was no real clarification as to how Town passes would be verified or honoured.  Providing signage by the weekend will be difficult.

In the end there was a recorded vote (requested by Councillor Bureau) with voting:

Miriam Mutton – Yes
Randy Barber – Yes
Nicole Beatty – No
Lucas Cleveland – Yes
Adam Bureau – No
Brian Darling – Yes
Aaron Burchat – No.

So the motion passed.

I suspect there’s more information that we did not get that would clarify what was agreed and why.

Last time a number was available, the lot was valued at $2M to $2.5M.  But there is an ongoing fear in the town that the lot will be developed as condos so the Town would have a major parking problem.  The only offered solution is a multi-level parking lot on Covert Street.  The good news is that this lot will continue to be available for parking albeit at a cost.


Update – 16 August 2023

Here is the official announcement from the Town’s web site.

On Monday, August 14, 2023, Cobourg Municipal Council agreed to permit the use of the Second Street Parking Lot for two weekends in August to the property owners, Balder Corporation.

Upon the request of the property owners, Council has agreed to allow the private use of the Second Street Parking Lot, located at 202 Second Street, for two weekends in August. On August 19 and 20 and again on August 26 and 27, 2023, the lot will function as a private parking lot, however, Balder Corporation has agreed to honour Town of Cobourg Downtown Parking Permits.

The Town of Cobourg will place temporary signage at the lot to indicate this change in use.

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Cobourg taxpayer
8 months ago

Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought the town rented the Quigley parking lot for over $200000 per year from the owner in order to allow parking downtown. If this is the arrangement how can the owner now decide to charge more and town council agree?

8 months ago

Another example of Council appearing to not being on top of the situation and seemingly being taken by surprise as they fumble to find a solution. In-camera scrambling, a lack of transparency and negotiating from a position of weakness while not having fulsome answers for the taxpayers. Interesting that the Mayor advocated on behalf of the private property owner and not on behalf of the taxpayers.

This feels not that dissimilar to the encampment issue – why was it that Pete Fisher and taxpayers identified this as a significant issue. Why wasn’t the Mayor, Council, the Police and the CAO out front of this rather than scrambling to respond after the fact? When the people were removed from the homes, why didn’t the Mayor, perhaps via the County, know what would happen after the free stay at the hotel was done? Who’s responsibility was it to monitor and report on the situation? Why was legal counsel not engaged until days after the the encampment being established and the issue being made public? What higher priority issue do they have to deal with at the present time?

Given that it isn’t illegal to camp and take hard drugs on the beach, can people now bring a bottle of wine to their beach picnic (asking for a friend)?

Old Sailor
8 months ago

Please correct me if I am wrong. I thought that the reason Condos were not built at the 202 Second Street lot was that due to the presence of an underground stream and the lot’s proximity to the harbour. Underground condo parking on that lot is not possible/practical. And that the only commercial use of the property is for parking. If that is the case, wouldn’t the purchase of that lot by the Town make more sense than building a multi level garage on Covert Street?

8 months ago

The lot is privately owned (like the one across Albert Street) and the owner could terminate the lease with the Town and cordon the entire property off and/or charge $_____ for parking like they do in most cities. Be thankful this interim parking arrangement still exists until development occurs in the next several years. The owner has the leverage in this situation. The Town needs to move forward on finding a permanent parking solution in the downtown to offset the pending loss of these two parking lots and fast.

8 months ago

I guess I will pass on my weekly trip to the farmers market and to to Port Hope instead.

8 months ago

The parking fee charged on the last 2 long weekends was $30 per day. People with passes, or claimed they had passes, were not charged. Some people who were only going to be parked for a short period of time were not charged because usually it is 2 hours for free. Some people were quite upset and drove off without parking. Most people seemed to accept the fee as the cost of visiting Cobourg. This is from my observations and talking to the parking attendants.

Reply to  Kevin
8 months ago

I tried to park there just before 9am on the Saturday of the long weekend just to go to the market. I let them know that is what I was doing as I do every Saturday. They would not allow me to park for even 20 minutes. I still supported the market by parking on Covert. I then spoke to Adam, so I am happy that he voted no.
I always support the downtown businesses but it is becoming more difficult with the parking situation.

Reply to  Kevin
8 months ago

No they were not honouring Town paid parking passes. I had my Town monthly pass in the window & discussed with them but they insisted on additional payment so I left without my market shopping. I told them it would be posted on Facebook but they didn’t care.

8 months ago

I am surprised the Town and Council think they can still Build a Multi story parking structure on Covert for less They must be smoking something in thosed Closed meetings . This has been on this Towns mind for over 20 yrs
yet like every thing else Never Happens . The Fear is that it will once again kill every business on King st while the lot is under construction under construction for 2 yrs +++
Every Private parking lot the town leases in the downtown core has a plan on it to build something of residential nature .in the next yr or 2 . So whats the Town going to do??
Hold up Private Development and drive up the owners costs and the cost of housing

8 months ago

If I owned the property and was pay tax on it, I’d want a return also. Surprised it’s taken so long to be honest. There is a lot of money to be made.