Council to Decide on Boardwalk Replacement

The approved 2023 capital budget includes $810,000 for the replacement of the West Beach Boardwalk but before proceeding, the Town had an online survey asking citizens what option they wanted.  It turns out, they don’t want an elevated boardwalk and they do want the walking surface to be wood – not concrete, asphalt or a composite material.  The final preferred option was not one of the options originally suggested by staff – it would use “a composite substructure and a wood deck at the existing grade elevations”.  The basic problem is that the substructure is in contact with sand – the existing substructure is wood and after 15 years has deteriorated – the composite material would have a longer life. But let’s look at the details.

Boardwalk - April 2019
Boardwalk – April 2019

At the Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on 26 June, Council will be asked to approve moving forward with this “hybrid” option.

In creating options, one of the concerns of staff was the possibility of high lake levels and to avoid the worst case, the boardwalk would have to be raised 2 feet for the west portion.  But this would mean railings which could be wood or metal.  To ensure a long life and low ongoing maintenance costs, staff proposed that the east portion would be concrete or asphalt. They also recommend that “the width of the replacement boardwalk will be 4m wide”.

Options proposed

  1. Wood boardwalk similar to existing for entire length
    Lowest initial capital cost ($870,000), $4.2M lifecycle cost over 75 years
  2.  Elevated Wood boardwalk with wood railings for west portion; Asphalt path for east portion
    Second lowest initial capital cost ($1,010,000), $1.97M lifecycle cost over 75 years
  3. Elevated Wood boardwalk with wood railings for west portion; Concrete path for east portion
    Middle initial capital cost ($1,155,000), $1.99M lifecycle cost over 75 years
  4. Elevated Composite with metal railings for west portion; Asphalt path for east portion
    Second highest initial capital cost ($1,170,000), $1.95M lifecycle cost over 75 years
  5. Elevated Composite with metal railings for west portion; Concrete path for east portion
    Highest initial capital cost ($1,215,000), $1.98M lifecycle cost over 75 years

But the survey indicated a strong preference for a wood surface and no elevation so staff are now recommending the hybrid option:

  • A composite substructure and a wood deck at the existing grade elevations. [So it would look like the current boardwalk for the entire length – except wider, 4m vs 3m ].

Further, “Staff are proposing to have Public Works Roads Staff construct the boardwalk” – although there are some “conditions and expectations” – see the full staff report in Resources below.  As a result, the cost is expected to be $750,000 which is well within the approved budget.  Of this, $450,000 would be covered by a grant.

Resources

Addendum – Update 27 June, 2023

At the CoW on 26 June, Council approved going ahead with the 4 m wide boardwalk as proposed by Staff.  There was some debate that maybe it could be 12 ft instead of 4m but the actual will depend on availability.  The decision will need to be ratified at the next regular Council meeting.

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Lemon Cake
11 months ago

Cobourg (and the surrounding area) is an amazing place to bike. I absolutely love it – and I think the boardwalk should be able to accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians. A wider path will help – while I tend to ride early in the morning, I do avoid it and opt to take Sydenham later in the day on the weekends particularly in the summer months as it’s too dangerous. More room would help as would clear markers and signage about how to safely share the path.

Rob
1 year ago

The Boardwalk should be a point of pride in this community. We have high density living all along our waterfront where seniors and families reside and this provides a safe and enjoyable path to get their blood pumping. Our beach, waterfront, downtown and marina are critical asset and an attraction for visits and taxpayers alike. Spend the money and do it properly. This is a prime example of when people who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. IMHO – they would be wise to spend every penny of budgeted amount – there will be no kudos for saving 50-60k – buy cheap, buy twice.

Finally, while I do bike along the boardwalk from time to time, without incident, I agree bikes do not need to be there. Perhaps in the future it might be a nice addition but not now…

Local cyclist
1 year ago

As a local (tax paying) cyclist who can’t always walk long distances due to arthritic problems, a bike ride along our beautiful safe boardwalk, without worrying about cars is something I cherish every day. It’s there for everyone to enjoy, whether you’re pushing a walker, a baby carriage or riding a bike. Most respectful cyclists are very considerate of pedestrians. Which is more than I can say for most drivers on our streets. Stop complaining folks, get out there, be courteous of others, share the road as the sign says, and enjoy!

Jennifer Darrell
Reply to  Local cyclist
11 months ago

My complaint about cyclists is that many do not use their bell (if they even have one) to warn walkers that they are behind them. Many walkers have compromised hearing and a little call out of “cyclist!!” just doesn’t cut it. The potential to startle a walker, with more serious repercussions (tripping etc.) is accentuated as a result..

Bob LeDrew
Reply to  Jennifer Darrell
11 months ago

Bells are a bit of a mixed blessing when it comes to cyclist-pedestrian interactions. I tend to go with “on your left” or “passing on your left” rather than a bell, because I’ve seen too many people jump-startle from a bell-ring. Most commonly, however, I don’t do anything at all, because I don’t like to ride where there are pedestrians.

Dave
Reply to  Bob LeDrew
11 months ago

If you were the cyclist I suppose I would be more comfortable Bob. However I can’t count the times I have had a bicycle whiz by me on a sidewalk without any kind of warning. A full size one ridden by a supposed thinking adult. Should I have stepped either way they would have run right into me at quite a speed.

Bob LeDrew
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Bicycles (at least with adults / teenagers astride) should NOT be on the sidewalk. The law is quite clear on that, and there’s an abundance of research that shows that sidewalks are the MOST dangerous place for cyclists to ride, because of collisions with both pedestrians and motor vehicles.

Lemon Cake
Reply to  Local cyclist
11 months ago

I live next to the boardwalk and I regularly bike along it – I always move very slowly and cautiously and I give my bell a very light “ting” when I need to pass pedestrians walking side by side so as not to startle. Some are very gracious – however I have been shouted at on a few occasions and, the other day, told to get off my bike and pass pedestrians that way. It’s a mixed bag of experiences that’s for sure!

Cobourg taxpayer
1 year ago

Well if the removal of the accessible dock from the harbour is any reflection of the ability of town of Cobourg staff I fear for the boardwalk….

Marie
1 year ago

While we are spending money I support a real multi use (4 m wide) and urge the the town to also make it multi seasonal with a hard surface.
Only a hard surface could be winter maintained and eliminate the hazardous packed snow and icing danger. We do clear public sidewalks and other multi use trails – why not the boardwalk.

JimT
Reply to  Marie
11 months ago

Hard surfaces are unpleasant to walk on and tough on the joints.

The resiliency of the wood of the boardwalk is much more pleasant and comfortable for those of us who stroll that stretch regularly.

Dam_213
1 year ago

The boardwalk is fine as is. It can be maintained, it’s also mixed use. So get used to it.

Bruce
1 year ago

The boardwalk through the west beach is part of the Waterfront Trail which runs from Niagara to the Ontario/Quebec border. This is primarily a cycling trail although people certainly walk sections of it.

Municipalities were consulted when the route was established. Most municipalities, including Cobourg, wanted to put a “best foot forward” and show off their most pleasant sights along the lakefront. The boardwalk is considered a multi-use trail and bicycles are certainly permitted. I am sorry if some pedestrians have found cyclists to be rude or behave in an unsafe manner. As someone who teaches cycling skills and cycling safety, I always encourage participants to be at their most polite behaviour when sharing a space with pedestrians…ride slow and give people lots of warning before passing from behind.

marya
Reply to  Bruce
1 year ago

This is a reference to the bike trails that usually run parallel to boardwalks; two separate entities.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bruce
1 year ago

Allowing bikes on the boardwalk seems completely incompatible with use by walkers and wheelchairs. Insofar as I know Cobourg does not receive funding for the Waterfront Trail. Why should we allow bikes that are incompatible with the boardwalk’s intended usage? Further, the boardwalk is a designated nature park with rare and endangered native plants rather than a bike path. Surely we already have devoted far too much of our roads to the very few bikers who pay taxes in Cobourg!

Ahewson
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 year ago

I’ve noticed a pattern with you. If Ken doesn’t utilize a service, it’s a waste of money. How the heck do you know how many people bike in Cobourg? You have absolutely no idea. Further to that, bike lanes are proven for their cost effectiveness, over and over in fact. They are the ultimate low impact mode of transportation. More people bike, less congestion, less wear and tear on roads, better air quality, better quality of life. These are all tried and true findings.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Ahewson
1 year ago

Ahewson, you are somewhat incorrect. I oppose wasting tax dollars on services that are not utilized by a large portion of our residents. If, as in the case of bike lanes, the service also adversely affects the non-users, that is an additional reason for opposition.

Cobourg’s already high property taxes are increasing by about 14.5% this year. Every spending decision should be carefully assessed for the benefits to our residents. Many cannot afford their ever increasing tax bills!

Ahewson
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

As I mentioned, the cost effectiveness of bike lanes has been proven time and time again. This becomes especially true if a proper network is established, as Cobourg is trying accomplish.

Small town lover
1 year ago

How many quotes did they get? Horrendous amount of money for a boardwalk.

cornbread
1 year ago

A nature walk does not need a boardwalk. A million dollars is a waste of money on a sidewalk thru a natural area of waterfront. Back to nature…let the bikers walk!

Beachwalker
Reply to  cornbread
1 year ago

You are obviously not in a wheelchair or use a walker or a scooter.

cornbread
Reply to  Beachwalker
1 year ago

You can’t please everyone with everyting…that’s why this country is so deep in debt. Get used to what you have.

Liz
Reply to  Beachwalker
1 year ago

Well said!!

michael hanlon
1 year ago

The staff suggestion seems a smart alternative. It could be left at its current width if the only wheels allowed were attached to baby carriages, wheelchairs and similar devices. It is, after all, a boardWALK.

Ahewson
Reply to  michael hanlon
1 year ago

Good luck enforcing that, though.

Cobourg taxpayer
1 year ago

I walk the boardwalk several times a month. The current width is adequate, no need for 1 meter wider. Also individual rotting boards could be replaced instead of the whole thing. That being said apparently Wills thinks staff needs an appreciation of their skills and abilities and a boost in morale by building this boardwalk, which will also boost community morale. Is this measurable?!!! I think I feel better already!!! As a taxpayer to hear that cost savings will occur is the biggest plus as it’s rare to hear that from municipal staff.

marya
Reply to  John Draper
1 year ago

Whew! Cyclists (for those over 14 years of age) on our boardwalks and on our sidewalks, believed to be forbidden, are problematic.

JimT
Reply to  marya
1 year ago

But it also doesn’t make much sense to force cyclists out onto a busy roadway such as University Ave, especially in slippery conditions, when there are long stretches of sidewalk right there with no pedestrians in sight much of the time.

marya
Reply to  JimT
1 year ago

Section 492.1 of the Highway Safety Code for Canada states otherwise.

Bryan
Reply to  marya
1 year ago

Marya,

What is the source for this?

I could not find information on “Highway Safety Code for Canada”
and the only reference i found for “section 492.1” was a criminal code of Canada section regarding tracking warrants.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
1 year ago

Bryan, perhaps Marya is referencing the Quebec code. See https://www.legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/document/cs/c-24.2

492.1. A cyclist may not ride a bicycle on a sidewalk except in case of necessity or where directed or allowed to do so by a sign or signal. In such a case, the cyclist must ride at a safe, reasonable speed and give pedestrians the priority.

Bryan
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

Ken & Marya,
Perhaps so. In which case it has no relevance in Ontario

marya
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

It was found by googling “Are bicycles allowed on sidewalks in Ontario?” Most municipalities include the concept as a by-law.

Kevin
Reply to  marya
11 months ago

I did a Google search, as Marya did, and found this on an Ontario government web page:
“Children under 10 can ride on the sidewalk until they develop the skills to ride on the road with traffic.”
Cobourg has a by-law, 012-2016, stating no person shall “Operate, ride, and propel, a skateboard, in-line skates, roller skates, e-bike, bicycle, motorized scooter, segway, hover board, or similar devices on any Town of Cobourg Sidewalk”. If a child is a person, then children are not allowed to ride a bicycle on a sidewalk in Cobourg. It is unlikely police or by-law officers would charge an under 10 year old.
The boardwalk is not a sidewalk and I believe bicycles are allowed. It is multi-use. If, as Bruce suggests, cyclist are respectful of pedestrians there is no reason both can’t use the boardwalk.

marya
Reply to  marya
11 months ago

By-Law Number 012-2016
No person shall a) operate, ride and propel, a skateboard, in-line skates, roller skates, e-bike, bicycle… on any Town of Cobourg Sidewalk.

JimT
Reply to  marya
11 months ago

So Section 492.1 of the Highway Safety Code says that it does make sense to force cyclists out onto a busy roadway in slippery conditions, when there are long stretches of sidewalk right there…?

Last edited 11 months ago by JimT
Bryan
Reply to  JimT
11 months ago

JimT,
As others have noted, there is no sect 492.1 of the highway safety code in effect in Ontario.
As Ken S commented above, the reference could be to the Quebec code, which has no authority or relevance in Ontario.

RUSS
Reply to  John Draper
1 year ago

Isn’t this a BoardWALK ???? No Cyclists allowed !

Tucker
Reply to  RUSS
1 year ago

Cyclists don’t adhere to the rules, as witnessed by myself when one came along side my car on Hwy. 2 in front of Metro last Thursday, weaving in and out of traffic, when the bike path is clearly marked. By the time any Bylaw officer would be called it’s too late. Just like the skateboarders, there is a town Bylaw but IF anyone comes, they’re gone.

Bob LeDrew
Reply to  Tucker
1 year ago

I was not the mystery cyclist you encountered. But I am a cyclist, and usually a voice “bike paths” because in reality, they are paths that service multiple users, most of whom are far slower than I am. When it comes to bylaws, I’m assuming that you’re referring to section 4 a of this bylaw? https://www.cobourg.ca/en/town-hall/resources/Frequently-requested-bylaws/012-2016-Sidewalk-Usage-Skateboards-etc-.pdf

Frankly, if the cyclist was a significant barrier to traffic flow, he or she would be subject to a HTA offence, which would be far more serious than a bylaw infraction.

I won’t speak for anyone’s behaviour other than my own, but I treat operating a bicycle like driving a car; they’re both vehicles under the HTA.

That said, drivers break traffic laws far more frequently than cyclists because the consequences are generally far more minor for them. If my car collides with another car, I will probably have a bill to pay; if I’m on my bike collide with another car I may well be in the hospital or the morgue. When you think about traffic infractions, ask who follows the speed limit on route 2, or worse, the 401?

If the town chooses to exclude cycling from the boardwalk I will 100% follow that order, and it will affect my life not one whit.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bob LeDrew
Dave
Reply to  Bob LeDrew
11 months ago

The Woodbine beach in Toronto has a completely separate path for cyclists as they have proved to be a hazard with no plates and little enforcement as there are too many cyclists who zoom up behind and endanger all walkers at great speeds on their walking wood portion of the boardwalk. Unfortunately as cyclists are seldom ticketed you can’t compare infractions of cars and cyclists. However I am glad to see you practice safe cycling Bob just as I do as a car operator with years of recognized driver safety awards in commercial vehicle operation. As for my personal record it is clean as a whistle too. Too bad more do not feel safety is important and for that separation in this would be the best option but it is unaffordable so therefore the cyclists did themselves in in public opinion.

Last edited 11 months ago by Dave
Jade
Reply to  John Draper
1 year ago

I say no bike riders should be on there to begin with. It’s a walking path and should be just that.

Dam_213
Reply to  Jade
1 year ago

Lucky for most of Cobourg it’s not your decision. Yah multi use!