New Annual Report by Planning Division

In 2020 CAO Tracey Vaughan commissioned a Service Delivery Review followed by an organization review which resulted in comprehensive reports with recommendations – some of them contentious.  One of the results was a re-organizing of the Planning Department.  The simultaneous retirement of its long-time Director – Glenn McGlashon – and the hiring of a replacement – Anne Taylor Scott – allowed for some fresh thinking.  Economic Development was moved under this Division and a new manager hired (Daniel van Kampen). Planning was then split into long-range, under long-term incumbent Rob Franklin, and Development Review (approving applications etc) under new hire Vanessa Reusser.  Also new is an annual report on activity in this division – including a review of external factors and some tracking of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).  The first annual edition of this report called Planning & Development Division 2022 Growth Trends Review, will be presented to Council at their Committee of the Whole meeting on 21 February.

Note: also reporting into this Director is “Chief Building Official” Dave Hancock who looks after building permits.

The “Growth Trends Review” is a report of activity in 2022 plus a look at the coming year and is divided amongst four areas as defined by the four managers in the Department:

  • Economic Development and performance at the Venture13 Facility;
  • Development Application Activity ;
  • Status of Long-Range Planning Projects;
  • Building permit activity.

Economic Development

The Economic Development team promotes Cobourg as a destination for investment and helps create more local jobs through:

  • marketing (online, social media, print)
  • attendance at trade shows and economic development conferences
  • membership and liaison with industry associations and coordinating efforts with private sector organizations.

Significant Economic Development comments and projects

  • The manufacturing sector has been a strategic growth sector for Cobourg up to and including 2022.
  • The Venture 13 Innovation and Entrepreneurship centre provides support to the local business community.
  • V13 PoliceTech Accelerator is a joint initiative of the Cobourg Police Service and Northumberland CFDC and was active with young entrepreneurs.

There are five active development applications and projects in the Lucas Point Industrial Park.

  • Davey Tree – warehouse at 560 Thompson Street
  • Coba Steel propose a rebar production facility at 555 Dodge St
  • Cardinal Industrial Solutions offered to build at 585 Dodge Street
  • Brock Street Holdings Inc. is a craft brewer and cocktail beverage company that plans to construct a packaging and canning plant.
  • GVK Chemicals are proposing to construct a building to produce iron products such as iron metal powder and iron metal.

Northam Industrial Park Area: there is an active planning application to subdivide 15.3 acre industrial property along Kerr Street to 6 lots for general industrial use.

The Economic Development Team also coordinates efforts with the County’s Economic Development function, with the Town responsible primarily for business retention and expansion and County responsible primarily for inbound investment attraction and agri-food sector growth.

Fourteen new businesses, investments, retained and/or expanded businesses in Cobourg in 2022 with support from Cobourg’s economic development team (see report for list)

2023 Plans in Economic Development

  • Develop a new 5-year Economic Development Strategy to guide direction.
  • Address the challenge of limited industrial space and land
  • Address the challenge of labour shortages.
  • Engage in Ontario East Economic Development Commissions investment attraction initiatives and service their investment leads
  • Update marketing materials

See the full report for a lot more detail on activity in this department.

Planning Department

Now operating in two sections: Development Review and Long-Range Planning.  As well as the organization change, there have been a number of process and productivity improvements.  In addition, a work program is being developed to respond to provincial changes from Bill 109 and Bill 23.
The department is now fully staffed with 6 land use planners.

Development Review section
Responsible for the processing of applications under the Planning Act.

The report lists 113 separate applications, letters requests etc.  “However 2022 development applications overall were slightly down from 2021 by 18%. This has allowed staff to catch up on processing previous years applications that remain under review.” As a result of this work, 33 items came to council for approval. “In addition, Staff held 14 Pre-Consultation meetings and issued 14 Pre-Consultation Checklists.”

Long-Range Planning section
Responsible for updates to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law, special planning projects and heritage conservation.

Long Range Projects with Status (slightly abbreviated)

Project Next Steps Timing
ICSP (Integrated Community Sustainability Plan) Recommend approval. Spring 2023
Tannery District Secondary Plan Recommend approval Spring 2023
Comprehensive Zoning By-law Update 1. revise mapping and text
2. Statutory Public Meeting
3. Recommend approval
1. Fall 2023
2. December 2023
Affordable Housing Community Improvement Plan 1. Recommend approval of 2022 Applications
2. Intake of 2023 Applications
1 Spring 2023
2. Commence Spring 2023 (pending Budget Approval)
Heritage Conservation 1. Revised Delegation By-law
2. Kick off New Heritage Conservation District
3. Address properties on Heritage Registry as per Bill 23 limitations
1. Spring/Summer 2023
2. Fall 2023
3. Ongoing – 2-year time frame
Land Inventory (Furnace St) 1. Sleeping Cabin Proposal
2. Long term disposition plan
1. February 2023
2. Spring 2023
Lands formerly owned by the School Board Report back with options for disposition March 13 Committee of the Whole
Short Term Rental Accommodations Co-ordinate with Clerks and By-law Enforcement 2023

Building Department

The Building Department is led by the Chief Building Official and includes 3 building inspectors/plans examiners.

There were ~120 new unit starts in 2022. See graph in full report.

“Construction activity and new unit starts continue to be strong and in 2023 are expected to surpass previous years with development starting in Cobourg East Community.”

Real Estate and Economic Trends

Trends in local Real Estate
A key source of data for the department is the CREA web page here.
Note that separately, this data is used to generate a trend graph by Cobourg Internet – go here.

Trends in the economy
The overall Canadian economy is monitored.

Looking Forward to 2023

Summary of work (2023)

  • Ongoing work related to the Cobourg East Community. Tribute is likely to seek permits for most of Phase 1 in 2023 which, once registered, will create 182 units. It is anticipated that upwards of 50 new homes in Phase 1 will be occupied by the end of 2023
  • East Village subdivision will continue to build out with between 80-100 new units starting in 2023
  • New Amherst subdivision will continue to build out
  • Finalization of the flux of Site Plans received in the last number of years will result in increased permit activity.
    • Marshall Homes (160 Densmore Rd) – 123 Units
    • Beachwalk Flats (185 Division St) – 23 units
    • Trinity Housing (25 James St E) – 27 affordable units
    • LeBlanc (Nickerson Woods) – 24 units
    • Mason Homes (425 King St E) – 25 units
  • Changes as a result of Bill 23 – 3rd units permitted as of right, Development Charge incentives.
  • An increase in Pre-Consultation requests in late 2022, which may result in active applications proceed in 2023

Hopefully the revised organization will result in improved service in the future and this new report is a positive step forward in transparency. 


See also previous Cobourg Blog reports

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1 year ago

This is a very self serving Report that Certainly Explains why there has been
very little in the Way of New Projects . Must have taken a lot of time to put that together this Report . Just another Report
What happened to the likes of the Campus of Care that was to happen on DePalma Dr. Creating & Preserving about 200 Jobs ,or the New Hotel or the Apartment Building & Town homes on Elgin st next to the YMCA that was proposed well before the Expensive Non affordable apartments put up by Bolder . All these items indicated under the Finalization of Site plans have been on the Books of this Town for 2o years We have recently seen several Business sell and or relocate as something as simple as a Building Permit request to expand a existing Industrial Building or put up a New one has taken 18 Months + .
Lets Get Real There is No Cohesion between the Planning and Engineering Depts Planning approves something Engineering holds it up for the Lack of or No Service Capacity Why don’t Both Departments sit down together at the same time , same room and review submissions
instead of blaming each other for Hold ups . These departments need to both be informed and
work in Synchronicity as ONE . and in a Timely accountable fashion

SW Buyer
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 year ago


Some big dangerous words in there: timely, accountable, informed

Are you sure staff will understand?

Reply to  SW Buyer
1 year ago

Your Wright They do not Understand that
Time Costs and Accountability that rules the private sector
Taxes, Mortgage Payments , Dead Money stuck in Cobourg Land
Accountable should mean if The Town Suggest Cobourg wants your business in their Pre Consultation Due diligence Meetings and that services etc are hear and available
then Developers & Industry should not be held up doing studies on the Towns infrastructure for 9 to 12 months because the various departments don’t know if Capacities really exist . When you spend a couple of $ million on land Hundreds of Thousands on Building ,Planning & Engineering Consultants plus the average of 3 to 5 yrs of carrying costs to put forth a proposal and work it through all the Depts. and Red Tape , Public circulations etc the last thing you want to receive is a letter
stating ” The Town Engineering does not have Capacity data , Its up to the Proponent to demonstrate that capacities of existing Town services is adequate for the proposed development.” Why would the Planning Dept be planning on anything without the confirmed accurate up to the minute knowledge of adequate capacities & Infrastructures

Reply to  Sandpiper
1 year ago

Sandpiper how many times do you have to be told to explain why some developers fail to carry through with their plans and others do!

“What happened to the likes of the Campus of Care that was to happen on DePalma Dr. Creating & Preserving about 200 Jobs ,or the New Hotel or the Apartment Building & Town homes on Elgin st next to the YMCA” 

This old whine is getting old. The development next to the Y has been at the siteplan stage for forty years surely you can’t blame the Planning department for that – well you can but it is a little hard to take. How about the developer who sat on it for twenty years and then a succession of failed developers – again all the fault of the Planning Department?

As to the developments on Strathy Rd – hotel etc., why did the developers get so far as drawings and plans and then stop – the lack of due diligence. Surely a responsible developer would have investigated the servicing problems before spending money.

But go ahead and smear the Planning Dept. and fail to tell us the other side except with innuendo and gossip.

Last edited 1 year ago by ben
Reply to  ben
1 year ago

Ben can you explain what is holding up the construction at 415 King W? Seems to be under construction for a very long time.

Report May 2021 – 26 unit conversion of the former Cobourg Star building at corner of Tremaine Street.
Final paperwork and registrations are nearing completion to permit construction to commence.

Construction never seems to progress.

Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

No but just ask sandpiper he will tell you that it is the evil Town not the under-financed developers!

Reply to  ben
1 year ago

Hey its every day News on how underfunded , Municipal Govt is
its the pay cheque mentality of Departments that may be the issue .
What ever happened to Public Servants / Service ???????????

Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

Dave —Ask Your Councilor Brian Darling
I am sure he has First hand knowledge on this one .

Reply to  ben
1 year ago

Well to be Direct The Lack of Sanitary Sewer Capacity down stream
the Fact the Lack there of was never revealed The Never ending Down stream Storm water issues to the West Still unresolved by the Town , and Town ship & County . This is not Smearing Just searching for answers and understanding .
I have suggested in the past that a Independent Review be done Out side of the Towns control . By the previous Mayor just for his own Knowledge ..
They are looking to the Developers to solve every problem the Towns Planning & Engineering Depts have failed to act on DM WILLs & Assoc. should have finished the review & insisted the 3 levels of Municipal Govt. should Deal with with it But
15 yrs in the works No solutions ..and its holding up progress

Yes all the Design, Site plan work , Zoning & O P is in place on lots of Property ???— why is that , Do developers that invest in Cobourg want to loose $$$ on expensive Land aaand drive the cost of a project through the Economical roof
SO Now what ??? This is why the land next to the YMCA has been through 4 + Developers , The Project across from St Mary’s High school is finally getting off the ground after 4 Builder owners Blew their Budget and walked away 15 yrs in the works . Why did Special investigators walk into Planning 4 -5 yrs ago and make inquiries as to the losses and debt of the previous owner on this site when it went Power of Sale once again.
The VanDyke Project west of Can Tire Pre Sold 79 affordable units
walked away and returned all the Deposits ,
Why don’t you and the News People ever ask the other side Developers , Planning Consultants Engineers for their side of the story . Its not what gets published or Flaunted around Council .
You believe what the departments tell Council and Councilors
They answer we don’t know we are not Engineers or Planners
Bob Sanderson had the wright approach to this .

Reply to  Sandpiper
1 year ago

“SO Now what ??? This is why the land next to the YMCA has been through 4 + Developers “

That development was approved for site plan in the 80s right after the new trunk main went through Rotary Park not 100 metres away. There was plenty of capacity in that line before Plant 2 was built and even more capacity after sewage was being diverted from Plant 1 to Plant 2. Haynes and LeBlanc had no problem building 200 metres away – Oxford Court. Wimpey and Haynes and LeBlanc built plenty of houses on Frei Street and by Terry Fox school in that era.

So why four developers? probably because for years the Banks would not finance fly by night developers.

Why do you think the Hoffman condos at the Harbour have 10 condo corporations! Because James could only get financing to build what he sold.

Perhaps these underfinanced developers couldn’t match demand to build. Now we have hundreds of “Toronto refugees” – well heeled people with big bucks from a house sale in TO. The whole building industry is different even from 10 years ago.

Last edited 1 year ago by ben
Reply to  ben
1 year ago

“Toronto refugees”…
Referred to in the past as “metropolis migrants”

Reply to  ben
1 year ago

There where some very Big & Reputable Builders here that you are calling Fly By Night including the ones there now . So Tell me the real reason these developments did not get off the ground .
And why are Banks reluctant to Finance Development in Cobourg ??
have you asked ? Yes and those Torontonians are looking to retire here they are looking for a safe clean affordable retirement town ,Boy were they ever surprised when they got their first Property Tax Bill & saw how much more in Taxes they pay here .
All in All Development needs Straight forward ,Expeditious, Keep the Cost down and Fast Turn around Knowledgeable Planning and Engineering Depts Thes have always & are a necessity to meeting today demand for affordability at all price ranges .

Reply to  Sandpiper
1 year ago

There where some very Big & Reputable Builders here that you are calling Fly By Night including the ones there now .
No you are lumping all the builders together, there are bad guys – those who sat on land and speculated, those who failed to get financing etc. There are good guys too!

So Tell me the real reason these developments did not get off the ground .
No you tell me you appear to know them all.

Yes and those Torontonians are looking to retire here they are looking for a safe clean affordable retirement town ,Boy were they ever surprised when they got their first Property Tax Bill & saw how much more in Taxes they pay here .
Sandpiper you are in the Real Estate industry do you ever tell these naive buyers just how much they will pay in taxes, when they buy the cheap house of their dreams – people who fail to do ‘due-diligence’ will always be surprised and then blame someone else for their ignorance

Last edited 1 year ago by ben
1 year ago

So, of the 500 +/- new build starts in 2023, 5% will be ”affordable “.
I guess I’d like to see that be 10-15%.
And the Tannery District plans go on and on and on…..
Nice to see all the potential manufacturing/businesses at Lucas Point.
And now is the time to annex more lands to the east.