First look at New Strategic Plan

At the Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on October 16, Council will be asked to approve asking the Public for feedback on the “Strategic plan for 2023-2027 and Beyond”.  After getting feedback and making (hopefully) minor changes, the plan will come to the CoW on November 6 for final approval.  Guided by a consultant, work started on the plan with a two day meeting of Council and Staff on 27 and 28 June.

There are a few things different about this plan (apart from being 9 months late):  It’s less ambitious (it has only three “Strategic Priorities” and the five “Pillars” are not used) and it avoids giving Operational directives (e.g. specific projects).  It was noted that the Town did not have the capacity to do all items in the previous plan.

Vision and Mission

These were completely revised although they don’t contradict each other.

Vision

2019 – 2022 Strategic Plan
A vibrant inclusive community where everyone has access to meaningful opportunities and experiences

2023 – 2027 Strategic Plan
Welcoming community; thriving town.

Mission

2019 – 2022 Strategic Plan
The Town of Cobourg is committed to open and accountable governance and the provision of quality, accessible programs and services in a sustainable manner

2023 – 2027 Strategic Plan
Exceeding expectations through quality experiences.

Strategic Priorities

2019 – 2022 Strategic Plan (with Pillars)

  • People – with 5 actions
  • Places – with 7 actions
  • Programs – with 6 actions
  • Partnerships – with 5 actions
  • Prosperity – with 6 actions
2023 – 2027 Strategic Plan

  • Thriving Community – with 4 actions
  • Service Excellence – with 4 actions
  • Sustainability – with 4 actions

It was agreed that KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are required and although they are not yet included, there is a commitment to develop them during the timeframe of the plan (Action #4 under Service Excellence).  In addition, “Cobourg’s Senior Management Team will be responsible for developing the operational plan each year. The operational plan will be brought to Council for approval and will form the basis for regular reports to Council, and the public, on the progress that is being achieved.”

Another addition for each Strategic Priority is a list of “Strategic Questions”. These help staff “evaluate projects to ensure that they are consistent with the direction set out in the Strategic Plan.”  For example, under Sustainability, “Is it affordable now and in the long term?”

List of Actions

Thriving Community

  1. Provide the physical infrastructure to support a healthy community that will enable each of us to flourish and reach our full potential
  2. Institute development policies that promote the provision of a mixture of housing options that support the community
  3. Invest in programs and services that encourage active lifestyles for all age groups
  4. Maintain resiliency and competitiveness through investments in people and resources in collaboration with other public sector agencies and levels of government.

Service Excellence

  1. Assess points of contact with customers to identify ways to streamline communications, increase stakeholder engagement, demonstrate user friendliness and provide optimal service
  2. Embrace new technologies that will improve customer service and increase efficiency and accessibility
  3. Ensure that human resources policies and practices make Cobourg the employer of choice to attract and retain the best talent.
  4. Develop and implement Key Performance Indicators and Continuous Improvement Plans for municipal programs and services to measure Customer Satisfaction, Community Impact and Efficiency

Sustainability

  1. Preserve and promote the heritage, history and culture of Cobourg to sustain it as a vibrant and appealing destination.
  2. Protect Cobourg’s harbour and waterfront for use and enjoyment by residents, visitors and future generations.
  3. Take a community approach to making the future of Cobourg equitable, resilient, and sustainable in response to our ever changing natural environment, including efforts to address climate change
  4. Enhance our Financial and Asset Management Plans to provide appropriate levels of services and ensure long-term sustainability

The next step will be to “initiate a community engagement program starting Tuesday, October 17, 2023” including setting a date/time for a public meeting.

See Resources below for a copy of the draft plan and the report from Staff (CAO Tracey Vaughan).

Resources

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Eastender
6 months ago

Thriving Community? I don’t shop anywhere on King or surrounding area any longer due to crime, lack of policing, and open drug use, or getting the bums rush.

Service Excellence? This has certainly got to be a section specifically used to get a rise out of anyone who has tried, and tried to call, e-mail, or meet Town staff.

Sustainability? We can’t even repair the east harbour, the Victoria Park infrastructure has gone downhill since the good works of Mayor Chalovich,
have not, developed the Tannery Lands.

Doug Weldon
6 months ago

All I see hear are a bunch of platitudes. Not one statement has any clear meaningful happenings attached to it. What is the town of Cobourg going to do? Well their release says Cobourg will spend $26,000. That would be just about enough money to pay about 1/3rd of a starting salary. So Cobourg could hire a newbie who could spend a third of each work day putting together another totally meaningless gospel to be released in 2024. That would equal this years accomplishments.

Why not solicit every need, desire and thoughtful new idea from every citizen of Cobourg. Try to rank them all. Separate out safety achievements, improved town procedures, beneficial programming,structural improvements etc., etc.

Have several open town meetings to take in all input that community members want to submit . Work towards open meetings were ideas can be discussed, ranked and perhaps even voted on. Set CONCRETE GOALS and work on them. Evaluate progress and reevaluate goals every year and on and on. Then Cobourg (All of us pulling and working together) could and would be achieving excellent results based on excellent goals.

Suddenly everyone in town would see and believe that we have an excellent set of goals and that we are achieving excellent results for our whole community.

I personally (Please Forgive Me!) see everything written above by the town of Cobourg to be totally meaningless blather with no objectives, not even a suggestion of one single objective. Was someone actually paid to prepare all these meaningless pages with NO information? That was a waste of our time and money. I would be embarrassed to put my name on anything like the above town statements.

Goals are real things, they are not platitudes.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Doug Weldon
6 months ago

You think this is meaningless you should have attended the Venture 13
event on Thursday 8 am that started 1/2 hr late
The Real-estate & Development Event more than 1/2 of the 27 people that we counted in the seats were Town Employees and Dept heads all patting them selves on the Back
Projects they were using as a reason to exists were all more than 5 yrs in the works
and still going no NO where fast . The Video presentations each dept had must have take a week to put together useless . NO Meaning Full Happenings here either in the last 3 yrs anyway

cornbread
Reply to  Sandpiper
6 months ago

Venture 13…A waste of money from the start. Get rid of it now!

Frenchy
Reply to  cornbread
6 months ago

Empire building at it’s finest.
We were sold a bill of goods at the start of V13.

Kyle
Reply to  Sandpiper
6 months ago

The only success is the money the executive director pockets for running a government sponsored snake oil show.

Frenchy
Reply to  Kyle
6 months ago

Does the Communities Futures Development Corp. even pay rent to our town?

Bryan
Reply to  Frenchy
6 months ago

Frenchy,

According to the v13 2023 operations budget:
the CFDC pays $20K per year, up from $15K in 2022
The cops pay $60K per year,
Transient tenants pay $65,840 per year, up from about $45K in 2022
Events generate about $12.5K, $0 in 2022(??)

The net cost to Cobourg taxpayers to keep V13 open in 2023 is $222K.

What will we get for our $222K in 2023 and our $1,225,000 total subsidy for 6 years of operation (Dec 2023)?

Unknown!!!

As you note in your following comment, V13 has never published an “achievements” scorecard outlining their successes.

The V13 media release (May 2017) sets a two-year targeted growth of 73 jobs and 16 new business start-ups. V13 has never reported on meeting these targets or any follow-up thereafter.

Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
6 months ago

Brian, are the amounts paid by CFDC and the Cops rent or utilities (hydro) costs? There was some discrepancies in the past.
I think it has been established that the cops don’t pay rent, rather they are getting free rent as a form of loan repayment from what was supposed to be their initial $1,000,000.00 plus investment (not loan). At least that was the way it was sold to the public back at the beginning.

and…

“The net cost to Cobourg taxpayers to keep V13 open in 2023 is $222K.”
Remember the good old days when it only costs us $90K to keep the place empty but serviced?

Frenchy
Reply to  Frenchy
6 months ago

Sorry, Bryan not Brian.

Bryan
Reply to  Frenchy
6 months ago

The CFDC lease indicates rent for about $2,000 sq ft. Common area charges are based on about 5,000 sq ft (2,K sq ft office plus 3,000 sq ft “VentureZone” area.

The cops pay for utilities and common area maintenance. I agree with your understanding of the cops “free” rent. I believe that the cops deal should be with Northam (their building) and leave V13 out of it.

I remember S Peacock saying that the mothball cost was $70K per year

Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
6 months ago

“Transient tenants pay $65,840 per year, up from about $45K in 2022”

Another thing…
Is that $65,840 figure after CFDC gets it’s cut of the transients rent? For some strange reason, they get a part of the transient’s rent paid. Why?
Who was our negotiator on that deal?

Bryan
Reply to  Frenchy
6 months ago

Frenchy,
The $65K is net to the Town
I wasn’t aware that the CFDC got a cut. I’ll have to review the lease agreement again.
I think my assessment of the Town’s deal making expetise is about the same as yours

Frenchy
Reply to  Kyle
6 months ago

Still waiting for a list of how many jobs and companies V13 have created (and are still around) in our town since they set up shop. If there were some to name you’d think they’d be bragging about it.

Liz
Reply to  Doug Weldon
6 months ago

I can give them a plan that would jump start lots of hustle in this town. TAKE OUT THOSE PARKING METERS AND PROMOTE DOWNTOWN SHOPPING!!

Sandpiper
Reply to  Liz
6 months ago

Remove the Parking Meters Thats just like the New Accomodation Tax the Town wants to apply on B & B s Air B & B etc MAJOR INCOME SOURCES
and yet DETREMENTAL to the DownTown Survival
They all Need to Read that BOOK 13 Ways to Kill Your Community
by Doug Griffiths MBA
I think the Town must have had it removed from the Book stores
I had to order my 5 th copy as I keep giving them away to our Politicians

Frenchy
Reply to  Sandpiper
6 months ago

Ha!

here’s from one reviewer:

Reviewed in Canada on July 25, 2015

Having been elected as a first time Mayor, I was totally confused why, no matter how hard I pushed, nothing was improving. Reading this book gave me a “light bulb” moment. Mr Clemmer captured the real reason for the roadblocks and may have saved me years of frustration.
I am buying a copy for each of my councillors.

https://www.amazon.ca/13-Ways-Kill-Your-Community/dp/1897181426

Sandpiper
Reply to  Frenchy
6 months ago

Thats due to the Fact the Book was readily available and I gave him a copy

Dam_213
6 months ago

I recently asked about building a coach house in my backyard so my aging Mother in law can live with us when the time comes but will still have a sense of independence. A couch house that would abide by current rules to meet setbacks and heights etc. So for example I can build a garage of the same size with little or no issue. A coach house would be the same size but constructed with the intent of someone living in it. Right away it’s turned down, why? Because of our frontage! Apparently we need to have parking space for three vehicles. We currently have two spaces in our driveway and a garage that I put my car in. Not good enough, I have to have three spaces. Again I currently can park three cars but not good enough for the town. However I of course can appeal with full surveys, plans etc to show how we can create three parking spots. To the tune of about $4000-5000 with no guarantee of approval. In the day of age where we want to ‘go green’ the town would much rather I remove green space and lay asphalt than use my garage and current two parking spots. Email planning and you can expect weeks to pass before they even bother responding. There is zero accountability in this town. Also I might add serious lack of common sense.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Dam_213
6 months ago

Call Mr Ford

Sandpiper
6 months ago

A LOT of Words Just a little late in coming and with no Timing ,Direction or substance

Just like the Northumberland News Article that came out Oct 6 th shows 25 yrs of the Town doing Nothing and all it took was for a local Realtor to Sell the lands around it and Bring 30 + New Jobs and Industry into Cobourg . and 40,000 sq ft of industrial building back on its feet .
Not to mention it seems to be the only way to have gotten the Director of Planning out from behind her / their desk .
The Problem with the Towns idea of Affordable housing and strategic ???? ideas for this site
has always been a Pipe dream
Its Contaminated Very Costly to clean up driving the Basic land costs for Affordable anything through the Roof Even if you give the land away its an expensive venture .

cornbread
6 months ago

I’ve waited for 28 years for the town to repair the huge dips in the surface of Tremaine Street. This should now be part of their “New Plan”. Cobourg…get off your butt and do something!

Cobourg Taxpayer
6 months ago

Once again these are motherhood statements that no one can disagree with because they sound pretty good but say little that is meaningful. As John points out this plan is 9 months overdue so I certainly won’t hold my breath for the key performance indicators which are the true measures of success. Cobourg’s senior management team will be responsible for an operational plan and staff are to insure projects follow the strategic plan. However at this time the strategic plan says nothing meaningful so what will an operational plan entail and how will staff follow the plan? How exhausting it must be for municipal staff to follow this meaningless gobbledygook. No wonder job satisfaction is so low. How about some actual measurable goals (just a few) that council and staff can accomplish in a four year term or less???

Tucker
Reply to  Cobourg Taxpayer
6 months ago

Sounds like a bunch of “poppycock” to me that will never be attained. It’s like the lifeguard jumping in to save the drowning swimmer, oops, too late, they’ve drowned.

Kathleen
Reply to  Cobourg Taxpayer
6 months ago

…. ‘guided by a consultant’ no less!