Mayor announces Town Hall Meeting

As Mayor Lucas Cleveland said at Monday’s Council meeting, people only want to hear about one issue: the encampment.  It’s all consuming. “No-one is paying attention to other good things being done by Council.”  However, Lucas responded to this and spoke about what is happening on the encampment.  He said that the community seems to think that Councillors are burying their head in the sand but “that is not at all what is happening”.  Further, “this council is working with every single member of the community involved: Police, County, Province, MPP and MP”.  “It’s not a simple problem.”  But “Council cannot come forward with information that’s being discussed in closed sessions.” “Council has to follow certain rules and regulations and legal procedures”.

Given the large crowd expected, Lucas announced that a Town Hall meeting would be held at the Cobourg Community Centre at 6:30 pm on December 5.  More details will be announced soon. The meeting will start with a 30 minute presentation on what Cobourg Council and the County Council have accomplished in the last year – with successes and setbacks.  The presentation will be followed by a Q & A session with the Mayor answering questions.

Lucas then commented on the encampment situation:

  • The reality is that the encampment is on I.O. (Infrastructure Ontario) lands.  The I.O. is not directly overseen by the Provincial Government so letters to MPP Piccini end up stopping there because he does not have any oversight of I.O. – and neither do any of us.
  • Council needs to communicate with the Public.  We understand that this (the encampment) is the number one concern of many of our residents.  We (also) understand that this is the number one concern of many of the advocates in this community.
  • Lucas says he fully stands behind the Police Service but Council is not in charge of deciding how Police do their job.
  • And the Police Board is not in charge of deciding how Police do their job.
  • The Police are maintaining safety in this community while balancing the difficult Political situation.
  • We are all working to a resolution that is best for the community and for the individuals who find themselves at the encampment.
  • This is not a solution that will happen tomorrow but is one that will require careful planning, very careful legal understanding and very careful procedures as we move forward.
  • Any action will have repercussions.

Lucas said that announcements are coming and will be provided when possible.

Resources

Addendum

Letter from Infrastructure Ontario
To marya – commenter on Cobourg news Blog – in response to her letter a month ago.
15 November 2023 – 10:29 am

Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the property at 390 King Street East, Cobourg.

The province has been continuously engaged with the County of Northumberland and the Town of Cobourg, including police and fire authorities. For inquiries specific to by-laws, please contact the Town of Cobourg directly.

Outreach workers from Northumberland County Community & Social Services and partner agencies have been engaging with individuals tenting on the property to support transition from the encampment to community services. Individuals tenting on the property are encouraged to access safe shelter alternatives and other community resources.

In addition, Infrastructure Ontario has implemented additional security protocols to help improve safety and security at the site. This includes hiring security patrols, engaging with local police services, as well as installing new safety equipment in the area.

Please be aware there are legal implications that must be considered in our management of this matter.

Best,

Infrastructure Ontario

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Rob
5 months ago

Watching the Mayors live town hall and I’m left with a terrible pit in my stomach. I’m suggesting we look at every legal option available to immediately challenge the SWM fee and have it removed. The Mayor appears quite pleased with the fee and lacks any sense/care for the damage it is doing. When the community was asked for input during the early consultation process the full extent of the individual impact was not accurately expressed. With only 5 cities currently managing SW, none of them with small populations this is unacceptable overreach and we were hoodwinked.

Side note – this event did nothing to enlightening taxpayers, Cleveland was predictably patronizing and frankly and IMO has hurt his public perception.

The Town is broken.

Greg H
6 months ago

I am concerned that the council or mayor does not wish to disclosed information from closed meetings.

According to the Ontario Municipal Act all council meeting must be open, withe only the following exceptions:

Closing a meetingA meeting or part of a meeting may be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered is:

  • the security of the property of the municipality or local board
  • personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees
  • a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board
  • labour relations or employee negotiations
  • litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board
  • advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose
  • a matter in respect of which a council, board, committee or other body may hold a closed meeting under another Act
  • information explicitly supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board by Canada, a province or territory or a Crown agency of any of them
  • a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information, supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board, which, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to prejudice significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the contractual or other negotiations of a person, group of persons, or organization
  • a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial or financial information that belongs to the municipality or local board and has monetary value or potential monetary value
  • a position, plan, procedure, criteria or instruction to be applied to any negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of the municipality or local board

The only possible exception in the case would appear to be ” information explicitly supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board by Canada, a province or territory or a Crown agency “. But why would the province wish to keep matters secret?

I think the Mayor and Council should be challenged on its secrecy.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Greg H
6 months ago

John just posted a News Update, on the Dec. 5th meeting. I see LC has changed his 30 minute speech/lecture to the words following a brief presentation. There is a link to send questions to the mayor in advance. Let’s hope he will answer the questions directly.

Dave
6 months ago

I have been reading about COVID outbreaks in Northumberland County and surrounding counties.

It would be interesting to have a pre Covid count and a follow up Covid count after the meeting.

small town Ontario
6 months ago

Congratulations marya you are a very special person, the only person that I am aware of that has received a letter from IO.
Did a person sign the letter, or just use the company name.
I do not think this was written by a person from IO. Communicating with the public is not within their range of operation.
Chairman of the B of D of IO communicates directly with the M of I, and it would be the office of the M of I who probably sent you that letter.
The letter is telling you what the province is doing, what the county if doing, and what IO is doing on site.
Ending the letter on a very positive note, their need consider legal implications, the Province owns the land not IO.
Anyway, be off with you to the dollar store and get a lovely frame for this letter.

mary
Reply to  small town Ontario
6 months ago

Just the Company name and the I. O. logo was at the bottom of the emailed letter. It reads like a form letter telling us nothing that we did not already know.

small town Ontario
Reply to  mary
6 months ago

Thanks, marya, it is called political maneuvering

Rob
6 months ago

75% of Cleveland’s time was spent patting staff, Council, CPS, the County, the Province and others on the back and explaining why there is a lack of information sharing taking place; 10% was spent telling us who is or isn’t responsible to certain aspects of the problem; 5% was spent talking about the open house; 5% was spent feeling sad that there is so much incredible work being done and no one wants to hear about it.

You are correct, while the house is burning, no one wants to hear about the manicured gardens.

Why did he apologize to Council for having to spend 10 minutes talking about (what he recognized as) the single most important issue facing our community. He should have apologized to the community for the fact that he has been radio silent on the encampment issue with no demonstrated or expressed progress. By the way, a public Council meeting isn’t for Councilors, it is for the community and apologizing to members of Council to having to speak to the community demonstrates a lack of humility.

These 10 minutes were a start. The open house is a start. They have a considerable hill to climb in demonstrating leadership and taxpayer representation – they have lost a significant amount of credibility in my opinion.

Tell us what you’re going to do. Tell us what you did. Tell how it worked. And repeat…every month. Those are KPI’s.

Last edited 6 months ago by Rob
Give me a break
6 months ago

This IO stuff is a lot of BS ….. they already screwed over Port Hope last year ….. why is our MPP not helping this along with his Premier Buddy ….. lot of red tape and usual bureaucracy by civil servants with no accountability …

Are_n
6 months ago

 “No-one is paying attention to other good things being done by Council.” 

Exactly what “good things” has this council/mayor accomplished?

Lets see if we can itemize some of them:

  • The new stormwater management fee that is raising our monthly bills?
  • The all expense paid junket to India
  • The impending collapse of the downtown core due to addicts and homeless
  • The lack of progress in repairing our pier
  • Property taxes that are poised to be raised
  • A increased lack of transparency in local government
  • Crumbling streets/infrastructure

I’m sure others have more examples.

Personally I wish Ontario had a recall law of sorts that would let citizens ask the province to intervene and overturn / replace councils that are accomplishing “good things” like the above.

John St resident
Reply to  Are_n
6 months ago

The India trip was paid for by the conference planners from my understanding, let’s not spread misinformation.

Rational
6 months ago

From comments on this and in previous Blog postings it is clear the Mayor/Council, County and Province will not bring any satisfactory resolution to Cobourg’s unacceptable current situation of drugs, crime, Encampment and unsafe downtown. Cobourg has been out of control since May and it is only getting worse as enablers and Encampment residents are empowered due to lack of ineffective responses by Leadership and Law Enforcement. This all really started directly after last years municipal election.

So – back to Cobourg to deal with its problems. We are not totally helpless. While Cobourg residents can’t legally do anything – the Mayor, Council, By Law and CPS can. They can make it so Cobourg becomes an undesirable location for the enablers, encampment residents and drug dealers by not accommodating to their wants and demands. No more 40 people controlling 20,000.

As a start:

1.) No relocation from Brookside to anywhere in Cobourg. This is their last stop even if it takes another 6 months to get rid of them.

2.) An absolute NO to Tiny Homes in Cobourg – don’t give in to the Enablers. They want a Tiny Home – go to Peterborough or now Port Hope.

3.) An absolute NO to the DBIA’s current proposal on the table to welcome and make drug addicts feel homey downtown.

4.) Question every encampment resident wanting to use the WMCA for showering through ID Verification, Pictures, Date and Times in and out.

5.) Stop and question every drug addict or derelict roaming the streets of Cobourg, huddling in Bus Stops, spinning like tops as they are high, lying on the streets. See if they have drugs, move them along. You may find various reasons to charge them. Don’t make living in Cobourg easy for them.

6.) Give MPP Picinni regular documentation on what is going on so he can go to IO (notwithstanding what the Mayor says) with something to initiate action with. MPP Picinni still represents us – so no free pass.

7.) A By-Law Blitz enforcing every broken By-Law/Police Law relating to vagrancy, stealing, trespassing, public nuisance Document these- have it on their records. Put reports forward to Picinni/IO or anyone else – give them data to work with.

The strategy is to make their lives difficult. Get the word out they are not welcome here if they are going to break the law – and newcomers will pass by Cobourg. Don’t sit on your hands Leadership/CPS/By-Law – do something. I am sure you would be if an election were 2 months away.

Give me a break
Reply to  Rational
6 months ago

Great points. Why not relocate a few to Port Hope Tiny homes (didn’t know that they had some???) or to Brighton or Campbellford. We also need to weed out the enablers who pretend to help and obstruct entry or civil discussion with some of the homeless. How about GWC,MM and Grogan getting a few of these folks engaged in clearing and cleaning up their former home on Division which was condemned.

Rational
Reply to  Give me a break
6 months ago

Port Hope Council has instructed staff to amend By Law to allow Tiny Homes on the vacant George Hamilton Elementary School property in Welcome. Proposal expected to go through, but will be voted on in a couple of weeks.

Rob
Reply to  Rational
6 months ago

I am curious, are there many examples of communities where tiny homes were successful and the tiny home residents were active drug addicts who were knowingly participating criminal activity?

Just wondering how well these tiny homes communities have done without a requirement that all residents participate in sober living.

For me, that is a non-starter. No drugs. No dealing. No crime/violence.

Give me a break
Reply to  Rational
6 months ago

Great news ….. does that mean that we can help a few folks at the Cobourg encampment to move there …. welcome to welcome …. Nothing nearby for these folks.

Rational
Reply to  Give me a break
6 months ago

Residents from Welcome are upset/concerned and were at the last Port Hope Council meeting. They were advised no questions at first as it was only a motion, but Council relented as the residents were a bit testy. The Port Hope Politics open facebook has comments on the meeting – Nov 8th posting.

Last edited 6 months ago by Rational
Give me a break
Reply to  Rational
6 months ago

I can see their concern. Why not convert the school into low rental units and only accept homeless folks with no addiction issues.

Lemon Cake
6 months ago

This is the biggest challenge Cobourg has faced arguably ever – people fear for their personal safety and their property. So it doesn’t help when the mayor starts out by complaining that his constituents aren’t paying enough attention to the great job Council is doing outside of the monumental failure of leadership that is the encampment. Poor messaging aside, I get that this problem is complex and will involve all levels of government blah blah blah – but it’s been months of passing the buck and failed accountability on all sides. It really makes me wonder what the purpose of yet another meeting will be and what they hope to achieve.

Dave
6 months ago

Trudeau/Liberal Feds made the laws – this is not just a Cobourg problem and I don’t see the other cities solving theirs. They are all bound by these laws. Eg: Toronto’s attempt to clear the Encampments – told they can not. You want to write letters? Write to him. And the new Federal Justice Minister – Arif Virani. Poilievre can’t do anything right now – he is not in power although he has been successful in getting some Federal policies changed by challenging the Libs in Parliament bring up such things as the Feds “wonderful” idea of supplying morphine to addicts which they were selling to buy Fentanyal. Think he would be a great leader!

Aleta
Reply to  Dave
6 months ago

You are point on (again)!

Sandpiper
6 months ago

I don’t believe that the Police department should be concerned about the balancing of a Difficult Political situation Not their Job Enforcement of the Laws as they exist today .
or is the Chief running in the next election .
and
Its not a Solution that’s going to come about tomorrow we know that — it should have been solved Yesterday . Stop waiting for all these other out of Town Political participants to do something
This is a Cobourg Problem right Now — Deal with it !

Gerinator
Reply to  Sandpiper
6 months ago

“Deal with it” love the sentiment but how is ‘it’ to be implemented. There is: – insufficient funding within the County and even less $s in Cobourg; – insufficient community buyin on what the solution/s is/are; – insufficient clarity in the current legal framework within the courts & guidance to Police; – insufficient (as in none) guidance being provided by either the Feds or Prov. I’m sure there are more constraints along societal lines. There appear to be models out there e.g. Peterborough recent implementation of a plan – but that gets us back to funding and community buy-in.
“Its not a Solution that’s going to come about tomorrow we know that — it should have been solved Yesterday.” Damn straight.

Cobourg taxpayer
6 months ago

Send emails to Minister Kinga Surma, minister for Infrastructure Ontario. [email protected]. Some one suggested Emergency Management Ontario may have influence that is [email protected].

small town Ontario
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
6 months ago

LC, said he is working with every single member of the community that is involved, but cannot disclose information from closed sessions. Why hold the Dec. 5th meeting then if he can’t answer any of the relevant questions that taxpaying residents need answered. Is the illegal encampment still there because those involved are waiting for the Kingston court decision? Closed meeting information???? How many people are at the encampment and why are those numbers increasing? Closed meeting information??? Are you against the Sleeping Cabins/Tiny Homes?? Yes or NO! Closed meeting information?? etc. I would also suggest you add along with Ms Surma’s e-mail Doug Ford, always nice to know the boss is on board and MPP’s do not like that, and David Piccini MPP
Also suggest e-mail Philip Lawrence MP, Pierre Poilevre his boss who is pounding the election pavement saying Jail not Bail, and I will change the laws.
e-mail Trudeau, and his Justice Minister Lametti, Trudeau gives his ministers mandates to follow.

Merle Gingrich
Reply to  small town Ontario
6 months ago

I would suggest that someone needs to contact the National News media, get their attention and Ford or his MPP,’s will respond. CTV News, Global News, but not CBC.

Jeffy
Reply to  small town Ontario
6 months ago

Lametti is not the justice minister.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Jeffy
6 months ago

Federal Justice Minister

John Draper
Reply to  small town Ontario
6 months ago

Lametti was replaced as Justice minister in July. The current Federal Justice Minister is Arif Virani.

Mrs Bigley
Reply to  John Draper
6 months ago

Cobourg is not the only town/city that is experiencing the encampment problem – possibly connecting with other towns/cities to ask if they have any solutions – l realize our tent city is on land not controlled by Cobourg – surely other areas have experienced this particular problem – reach out – and find out

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Mrs Bigley
6 months ago

I wonder how Ottawa is doing re this drug problem…not much info re that area .

Aleta
Reply to  Bill Thompson
6 months ago

A CBC article about what is happening there — https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/homeless-encampment-guidance-1.7026672 The woman Ms. Farha who is leading the pushback has tremendous power, and has written “the guide” for Ont. municipalities on how to handle encampments.

Kevin
Reply to  Aleta
6 months ago

Interesting but it offers no solutions, thank you for the link. There is mention of safe injection sites being safer than using drugs alone in a tent. Not using drugs is much safer than either. Recently I spoke to a friend who provided some information that I have not checked on. Apparently it takes about 2 weeks of daily heroine use to become an addict. Street fentanyl only requires 2 uses. This is great for dealers getting customers addicted very quickly. It does show how important it is not to use drugs at all. Not even trying it once. With the legalization of cannabis the stigma of using drugs has decreased. For those already addicted they need to get off drugs if they ever want to have any kind of normal life. If they freeze to death in a tent, burn down a sleeping cabin, destroy more traditional housing, get a STD/STI while making money to buy drugs, fall or get electrocuted while stealing copper wire to sell for scrap it is all bad. We protect children by forcing them to stay away from dangers, elderly are sometimes given drugs to prevent them from harming themselves. Maybe we need to start talking about forcing drug addicts into rehab programs for their own safety.

small town Ontario
Reply to  John Draper
6 months ago

Thanks John I did not realize Lametti was ousted in July. Crime and Drugs a major problem in Canada and JT appoints a rookie to follow JT’s mandate, yet another poor leadership decision.

Give me a break
Reply to  small town Ontario
6 months ago

We have yet to hear from Polievre and Lawrence about their remedy for homelessness ….. of how they would handle this. Polievre was at the Convoy but haven’t seen him visiting some of the encampments not far from where he works. ……

Sonya
Reply to  Give me a break
6 months ago

Yes, he has visited the encampments personally. More than once.

Give me a break
Reply to  Sonya
6 months ago

I am assuming Lawrence only …… and ???????

Dave
Reply to  Give me a break
6 months ago

Lawrence in his reply to my inquiry stated he has not been invited to any of the Council meetings on the encampment drug problem here but had representation at the meeting with Piccini which he was invited to. I hope this answers your queries. He also held a meeting here in Cobourg recently which was very well attended on problems citizens were facing.

Dave
Reply to  Give me a break
6 months ago

Poilievre stated in Parliament he visited a brand new rehab facility in Winnipeg which he praised stating it offered excellent before and after services which provide on site housing, (live in) and after job training and placement once the programs have been completed and the person is drug free. For the initial drug free period they may occupy and continue to attend support programs.

Gerinator
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
6 months ago

IO Mission: We bring solutions to the table for government, identifying opportunities to work in partnership with the private sector. We are known for our execution. We bring a seamless “one-stop shop” perspective to turning government decisions into actions, through a range of contracting/commercial models. We take an enterprise-wide view to effectively provide leadership on assets and programs over their full lifecycle. Based on this Mission statement I don’t see where IO can help out and so suggest that we are collectively in the game of ‘pass the hot potato’. IMO this is a Fed/Prov problem, to derive solutions and to help fund Munis in the implementation of those solutions. I understand that BullyFord doesn’t like the Feds in ‘his‘ province but the Canada-wide problem requires multiple solutions given the situation on the ground.

Last edited 6 months ago by Gerinator