Economic Development First Annual Report

When Wendy Gibson retired from her position as Manager of Economic Development in the spring of 2019, she was not replaced. Soon after, the Economic Development Advisory Committee was dissolved and it was thought that the County’s efforts would be enough.  But in October 2022, our (relatively) new CAO Tracey Vaughan hired Daniel Van Kampen as a Manager of Economic Development and he has been quite active; at the next Committee of the Whole (CoW) Council meeting he will present his first Annual report.  His office is in Venture 13 space and he works closely with them but he reports to Director of Planning, Anne Taylor-Scott.  This will be the first opportunity taxpayers have had to see what he is working on.

The report is formatted in a “simplebooklet” – that’s an online presentation that works like a book – you click to see the next page – 24 of them.  Although supposedly online at “Invest in Cobourg” – a page on the Town’s web site – no surprise, it’s nowhere to be found (at time of publishing – Update: but it was fixed on May 8).  However, with some high tech sleuthing I found it and it’s available in resources below.

It’s long, so I have extracted some highlights.

What does Economic Development Do?

  • It’s “focused on addressing the creation of more local jobs in our industrial and downtown commercial areas”.  Activities include marketing, attending trade shows, and liaison with industry associations.
  • Coordinates efforts with the County – the Town is responsible primarily for business retention and expansion and the County is responsible primarily for “inbound investment attraction and agri-food sector growth”.

Venture 13

The Venture13 Innovation and Entrepreneurship centre provides support to the local business community, including programs focused on entrepreneurial development and skills training, pitch competitions for entrepreneurial start-ups, community discussion panels, mentoring and coaching and technical and entrepreneurial programs focused on youth.


Daniel and his team.

Name Title Contact
Daniel van Kampen Manager of Economic Development [email protected]
905 372-5481 x 2302
Melissa Graham Economic Development Coordinator [email protected]
905 372-5481 x 2303
Ryan Warner Program & Operations Coordinator [email protected]
289 677-5490 x 2102
Lauren Brouwers Program & Operations Assistant [email protected]
289 677-6490 x 2103



  • Police Tech Accelerator – Jointly with Police and Northumberland CFDC promote youth entrepreneurs with ideas to help improve policing.
  • Help promote startup entrepreneurs – 6 listed

Investment Attraction

Economic Development team members are involved in enabling non-residential development when a business expresses an interest in expanding into Cobourg.

Lucas Point

Five Planned additions – 4 are pending land sales.

  • 560 Thompson Street – Davey Tree – Tools and Equipment Warehouse
  • 555 Dodge Street – Coba Steel – Rebar production – 20-30 employees
  • 156 Willmott Street – Brock Street Holdings – Craft Brewer and Cocktail beverages, packaging and canning – eventually 75 jobs
  • 585 Dodge Street – Cardinal Industrial Solutions
  • 565 Dodge – CVK Chemicals – Iron Products

Northam Industrial Park

Subdivide 15.3 acres into 6 lots – between Kerr Street and Railway line

Marketing and Promotion

  • Partner with NMA (Northumberland Manufacturers’ Association) on a workshop
  • Social Media Posts (8 examples)
  • Partner with Realtors on an event
  • Two Venture 13 Youth events


  • DBIA – supports meetings and helps with grand openings
  • Northumberland CFDC who provide Federal Funding to small and medium businesses
  • Northumberland County Economic Development and Tourism
  • Northumberland Manufacturer’s Association
  • Northumberland Central Chamber of Commerce
  • Ontario East Economic Development Commission

Committee Involvement

  • Northumberland Small Business Working Group
  • Economic Development Council of Ontario

Business Investment

Supported small business – 14 Official Businesses retained or opened in 2022

Priorities for 2023

  • New 5 year Economic Development Strategy

Key Business Challenges

  • Limited industrial and commercial space and land (more in next 2 paragraphs)
  • Labour shortages
  • Engage with existing businesses in a structured and routine basis
  • Engage in Ontario East Economic Development Commissions investment attraction initiatives and service their investment leads
  • Update marketing materials

Industrial Areas – There are few locations available. Currently undeveloped land includes two municipally owned lots in Lucas Point – 10 acres and 25 acres.  Also DePalma Lands, 190 Normar Road, Danforth Road, Kerr Street East Extension and Workman Road.  Also some in Northam Industrial park.

Commercial Areas.  Downtown Cobourg has seen the lowest available commercial space in the past 10 years, with only a few available units left.  However, Cobourg has seen new commercial developments on Elgin Street West, Strathy Road/DePalma Drive and Division Street North.


Taxable Assessment

  Residential Non-Residential
% of total
85% 15%
Assessment Growth
2011 to 2020
37% 19%

Tax Revenue

  Residential Non-Residential
2020 Tax Revenue
% of Total
73% 27%
Tax Revenue Growth
2011 to 2020
32% 5%

It’s refreshing to see this degree of detail and transparency.  It was no doubt mandated by Director Anne Taylor-Scott since in February she produced a report on her department – including a shorter summary of her Economic Development department.

Be sure to use the links below to access Daniel’s report with a lot more detail (24 pages).


Economic Development – 2022 Annual Report

Town Links

Earlier reports on Cobourg News Blog

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11 months ago

The Town Economic Development staff should not be allowed to just state the obvious to ratepayers.
When we buy a house, we rarely want to know what materials it is made of. We want to know location; proximity to schools, shopping, access to transportation. As the saying goes–‘tell us the time; don’t build us a watch”…

Councilors–This report is a patronizing report about nothing.

Amazon just announced it’s new facility in Belleville…
VW in St Thomas….
Wonderbrands in Pickering…
Umicore Battery plant in Kingston….
Loyalist College’s new campus in Port Hope…

Where has Cobourg been when these deals are happening? Where is our funnel of meaningful jobs and tax generation?
Re-mentioning deals that were done by the County is not progress…

Pete M
11 months ago

Maybe Economic Development can help get the new Holiday Inn going by nudging the planning dept

Reply to  Pete M
11 months ago

Pete M,
The Holiday Inn, Tannery and all other development projects are going nowhere until the Town increases its sewage treatment capacity.

11 months ago

Labour Shortage – Could it be lack of rental housing that many would occupy that is at an amount an employee in one of these jobs would find feasible?
Is it the very generous government benefits plans to people of working age? Mothers of public school age children often took a job outside the home to assist in income. Now child benefits perhaps preclude the necessity.
Could it be also the many people in this town of working age who live quite comfortably with unknown income? There are many on disability benefits with attendant supplement to rental costs owning cars and various computer aids in their home right here in Cobourg.
Do we really need to import people or have people not just in Cobourg now fitting the description of Weeny, weedy, weakey the result of a culture now grown soft? Good luck with getting labour! With the new addiction programs perhaps there are many who can be “harvested” from the large homeless population spread across our land to be the workers in these planned often industrial jobs.

Last edited 11 months ago by Dave
11 months ago

In some respects it may seem as though the Private sector is Directly competing with the Town .
If one were to check into Competitive Lease and Land sales pricing the private sector can not
offer rents as low as they are say in Northam Industrial park or serviced land prices comparable to Willmott Industrial park thats taken 25 yrs +to fill back in the years when Angus Reid was Mayor . I would also like to see the Overhead Cost to keep all these people working as a Economic Development department Those Five planned additions moving to Willmott
have been on the books for a while now .

Doug Weldon
11 months ago

Amazing, John Draper, that you take all the time to go through this data to prepare your excellent report. All quite interesting. Should also be a great read for our municipal employees and councillors so they also know what is going on. Thanks for all the interesting and informative work you do.

11 months ago

Would love to see a Total Cost (to Cobourg) versus Benefit of Venture 13 over the past 4 years…or does our Economic Development Department cover this function in many ways?

Reply to  cornbread
11 months ago

V13, like the former Port Hope Idea Hub, has not lived up to its hype.
The Town’s 2017 press release announced “The primary focus of Venture 13 will be to ignite and drive innovation…The result will be a two-year targeted growth of 73 jobs and 16 new business start-ups.” Neither target was achieved…not even close.
In the 5 years of operations V13 has failed to deliver any significant benefit to Cobourg residents

The capital cost to “build” V13 was over $2M. About half was for the Police “crimcheck” business on the 2nd floor.

The 5 year net operation (taxpayer) cost for V13 is slightly over $1M. Budgeted 2023 operations will add $225K, bringing the 6 year total cost to Cobourg’s residents to more than $1,225,000

Note that no success metrics are provided for V13.
No deliverables,
No tangible (measurable) benefits
No jobs
No new businesses

It’s past time for Council to cut the losses and close V13.
Use the space for other staff such as planning or bylaw

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

Thanks Bryan, I drive by the V13 location very often during the day…Never see many cars…the lights are not on…etc. I thought this was a looser…whoever thought it up and whoever approved it need a “head shake”. How much did we pay the director of V13 each year? Was it politically arranged by Cobourg insiders?

Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

To clarify regarding closing V13:
The cops “crimcheck” business is not part of V13 and will remain
Tenants such as the CFDC and NMA will remain,
EcDev will remain,
The 90 seat lecture hall, the 36 seat and the two 18 seat seminar rooms would remain.

I’m curious as to what benefits the “thumbs down” feel V13 provides that justifies the continued $200K+ cost.

Last edited 11 months ago by Bryan
Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

Lets be Honest the venture 13 building was about the Town trying to find a tenant for a building that had been sitting empty for years, with the Town paying heat and hydro, with no foreseeable tenant.
The Police having an account flush with crimcheck money and needing to spend, but only able to spend on capital projects came to the Towns aid.
The Police needing to expand their crimcheck business contributed the funds for renos. The Town got and updated building and tenant.
And the public was told the rest of the building would be used as business incubator as a way to ensure citizens this was more of a benefit to community than just creating more space for police to expand their side business of crimchecks and one Town dept helping another Town dept

Reply to  Pete M
11 months ago

Pete M,

Interesting account of the event.
As for saving the mothball cost of $70K, we now have $200K+ wasted

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

Just think if they had focused more on sewers and waste management back when venture 13 was being proposed, they could have a Holiday Inn, the Tannery lands could be shovel ready?
The Town councils of past (waiting to see on the current) have been focused on being a business and generating revenue from their assets.

Their role needs to be in creating an environment that is conducive for businesses to locate here.

Good Roads, good sewer and water capacity, good hydro, and safe streets.

Do that and then solicit the businesses expounding on those benefits and businesses will locate here. Businesses that pay taxes and employ more than seniors seeking supplemental income.

Reply to  Pete M
11 months ago

Pete M,

Well said.
You have provided the basic outline of what the Town’s strategic plan should be.
Send a copy to Lucas and each Council member

Reply to  Pete M
11 months ago

The new development in Area C North of King East and up to the 401 is supposed to be serviced by the developers using a secured bond, Howcum the necessary expansion of plant 2 isn’t on the books?

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Pete M
11 months ago

So the return of industry etc now supersedes the previous town decisions of ,”tourism” being the main goal ?
Progress slow but sure..

Reply to  Pete M
11 months ago

“the Town trying to find a tenant”

A tenant that pays no rent.

Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

We’ve been had.
They will throw their hands up in the air and say “Covid”, but this thing was doomed from the beginning.
Empire building at it’s finest.

Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

Sell the building to the cops. There’s their new station.

Reply to  Frenchy
11 months ago


The building is owned by the Town: part of Northam’s portfolio
Putting a satellite police station there is an interesting suggestion.

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

Was explored when Garry Clement was chief. Deemed not suitable. Believe cost to renovate was too.prohibitive and location in centre of industrial lands wasnt best location. Remember the Horizons plastic Fire behind the building

Pete M
Reply to  Frenchy
11 months ago

Rather than that, how about they relocate to 1165 Division and in the process free up some cash for sewer capacity and more external development?

11 months ago

There is no sense in Talking about Industrial Commercial land development until
this Town has more serviced area that becomes available & when needed –No business or industry wants to spend 2 to 5 yrs in Planning and engineering spending money on Studies
ie : Sewer line Flow and capacity testing for 1 when they wish to relocate or expand
Time is Curtail
There is plenty of land but Industry likes to locate close to Transportation Corridors
these days and prefer not to be Crossing over CN CP Rail lines or at the extreme
south end of Town , near sensitive water fronts for Obvious reasons .
There have been talk of By pass down Worman Rd for decades just like discussions on the Tannery Lands Decades in the making

Reply to  Sandpiper
11 months ago


My understanding is that the Town does not have the sewage treatment capacity to support any new development.

Plant 1 is at or over capacity.
Plant 2 currently has actual capacity, but this capacity is committed to current development.
The Town has limited capacity (maxed out) to transfer “load” from plant 1 to plant 2
Plant 1 expansion is very limited due to flood plain and space issues.
Plant 2 expansion may be possible

Currently, the Town has not indicated that it has plans to expand sewage treatment capacity.

Assuming the above is correct, does the Town have an obligation to tell prospective land purchasers and developers about this.

To your knowledge, has the Town done so?

Old Sailor
11 months ago

Good reporting John.

Wondering what needs to be done to make these pending land sales close?

“Lucas Point
Five Planned additions – 4 are pending land sales.”