The Committee of the Whole Council meeting on 9 January was probably the shortest ever (less than an hour). The big item on the Agenda was a review of unfinished business from the previous term but Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty moved that consideration of it be moved until after Council had met to create a new Strategic Plan. This would mean that action schedules and even “disposing” of actions could be set in line with Council priorities. Councillor Miriam Mutton wanted to discuss several items but in the end voted with other councillors to accept Nicole’s deferral. She wondered about the Strategic planning session schedule (not yet set) and whether it would include the Governance review (No). The dates for budget reviews were postponed a couple of weeks so these other sessions will likely be late February or March. That means the unfinished business items will not be reviewed until at least March.
Unfinished Business List – summary
Note that these are actions for staff as directed by Council – not actions for Council.
- Research whether there should be a social planning and/or community development advisory committee to advise how affordable housing and other community health priorities fit within the strategic plan. Due: June 2019.
- Report on feasibility and options for use of Municipal land for affordable housing including use of parking lot at Memorial Arena for Tiny Home Demonstration Development. No due date set.
- Review how to handle Uber in Cobourg: Due June 2020
- Report on how to manage Airbnb’s (Short Term Rentals): No due date set.
- Related to above: report on possible Accommodation tax: No due date set.
- Review Development Charges Addendum Process: Due 20 September 2022
- Review Energy Star Benchmarking Tool for Municipal Buildings: No due date set.
- Review Waterfront Resident Parking passes: Due in time for 2023 budget deliberations
- Develop detailed design of Daintry Public park – include public meeting: Due in time for 2023 budget deliberations
- Report on removal of barriers to Urban Agriculture (e.g. Chickens): Refer to new Council
- Review zoning by-law for rehabilitation treatment centres and Crisis Centres including a public meeting: Due 6 December 2021
It seems that the “unfinished business” item was added to the Agenda by Staff in an attempt to get a decision from Council but a review in an open Council meeting would in effect require Council to set priorities which could well be different than the previous Strategic Plan. So Nicole was astute in requiring that the issue be deferred until after the new plan is decided.
Other items at the meeting
- The Finance Department together with KPMG said that the 2021 (not a typo) financial statements had a clean audit – that is, accurate and no fraud detected. Lucas asked if 12 months after year end was unusual – yes, it’s usually 6 months – but the schedule is not legislated.
- Cobourg resident Paige Wiggans pointed to a disconnect with what the By-Law manager told her versus the winter by-law covering parking on cul-de-sacs and wide corners. It seems the By-Law manager gave her incorrect advice – the Town’s web site is correct. Brent Larmer apologized. Paige said “turns out we are on the same page”.
- For the first time the open Forum was used by someone from the Gallery – he (Mr. Dexter?) asked whether the Town had a dollar figure for the impact of Bill 23 – the answer was No. He also asked about revenue opportunities (3 in unfinished business). Lucas assured him that he (Lucas) at least would be looking for revenue generating opportunities.
- Cobourg Blog report on Unfinished Business – October 2022
- Council Debating Governance – 26 November 2022
- Council Meeting dates including Budget Reviews
- Memo from Staff to Council on Unfinished Business as of 9 January 2023
- Town page with Agenda which includes Appendices referenced in above Memo