Predictions for 2024 –  Opinion

Judging by my previous efforts. I’m not very good at predicting what will happen in the next year but it’s fun to do, so why not?  But first, how did I do last year? Out of 12 Town predictions, I got 9 right.  Notable misses were that I thought the harbour would get repaired (wrong!) and the web site would get fixed (ever hopeful). Of 6 predictions on the economy, I got 3 wrong – no Cannabis stores closed in Cobourg (although one failed to open), inflation improved and there was no recession.  For 2024, once again I predict no action on the Harbour, Sidbrook, the Park Theatre, the Tannery or Downtown vitalization. There will be some action at Brookside but probably not what we want and the Mall will not see any major change although Michaels will finally arrive.

You can see my predictions from last year here.

Predictions for 2024

  • Nothing will happen at the Harbour. The harbour walls will continue to deteriorate and the East Pier will remain closed.
  • Once again, there will be no action with the Tannery – there will be no building happening on the vacant Tannery property because no developer will be interested. (Latest Update here).
  • Sidbrook will continue to demolish by neglect.
  • The Park Theatre will continue to demolish by neglect.
  • There will be no Town sponsored Downtown vitalization actions other than a few CIP (Community Improvement Plan) cosmetic improvements.  (e.g. No progress on Victoria Square)
  • The Province will do something at Brookside although probably not what we want which is to shut down the encampment and sell the property for something useful. Provincial agency Infrastructure Ontario have been custodians since January 2022.
  • The Town’s web site will continue in bad shape with dead links and Contact information not updated.
  • The Hybrid Transit system (part fixed route and part on-call) will prove popular. (A trial of the fixed route addition will happen in 2024).
  • Michaels will open at the Mall but there will be no other significant change at the Mall
  • Taxes will go up around 7.5%
  • Cobourg Police will talk about a possible merger with Port Hope Police. (Report here)
  • Mayor Cleveland will continue to “stir the pot” on changes.
  • A developer will make a proposal for the CDCI West Playing Field.
  • There will be changes to the unfair Stormwater fee collection formula.
  • One of the Downtown lots currently used for parking will become the site of a condo development and cause a downtown parking crisis.
  • House prices in Cobourg will (on average) stay flat. (see the latest here)
  • The West Beach Boardwalk will be upgraded by late Spring.

But whatever happens locally, this site and other local sites will tell you all about it.

And to all my readers, thank you for your kind comments and I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

My earlier predictions

(Date is publish date)

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Gerinator
3 months ago

Another prediction John, the Highland Games are never coming back to Cobourg. The Town has given them sufficient reason to move onto, and see the benefits, Port Hope.

What'sUpDoc
3 months ago

I hope I have this information correct. I read Lenah Fisher led the charge to restore Victoria Hall. On completion it cost over $7 million. The article was written in 2018 and stated the equivalent amount in that year would be $45 million. The money was raised in many different ways and took several years to accumulate. If this is true, then what is stopping our community from raising $25 million? Perhaps the complainers could get it going…

Bryan
Reply to  What'sUpDoc
3 months ago

What’sUpDoc,

Your idea. Perhaps you could get it going!
The Town and Cobourgers have a long history of waiting for (or expecting) someone else to do something.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bryan
Old Sailor
3 months ago

In a couple of years Cobourg Harbour as we know it may just be a bird sanctuary/wetland.
Correct me if I am wrong, but the south wall is being hollowed out by waves and sand is pouring over that wall with the wave action. The east pier is going to eventually collapse due to a crumbling infrastructure under it. The north wall by the condo’s needs to be replaced. The west shore of the harbour is silting in and reducing the navigable portion of the harbour. Increased weed growth in the harbour is making landing a keel boat at dock a challenge at some docks. I wonder when the Coast Guard will no longer find Cobourg Harbour a useful search and rescue port? If Council is lucky all of these events will occur after the 2026 municipal elections.

cornbread
Reply to  Old Sailor
3 months ago

Return to nature…what’s wrong with that?

downtowner
3 months ago

Comments on the lack of progress to repair the east pier with monies that were allotted to assist in this endeavour [that appear to be unaccounted for from those comments] demonstrates to me that there is a clear necessity for citizens to continue to question the business of Town management.
We cast our votes with confidence in the individuals who put themselves forward into public service and relax feeling we have made good decisions for our town and ourselves going forward.
We hand the reigns to those who propose our progress and stability, Unfortunate though,as Kathleen points out, there seems to be a long standing pattern of incompetence of Town staff and it is difficult for newly elected folks to overcome without money in the coffers.
Not all problems are solved by raising taxes if that then new found money isn’t managed wisely.
As Cobourg continues to grow ,so does the variety of issues to be addressed. With our growth comes new minds and sensibilities, my hope [not so much a prediction] is that we have new individuals with greater experience and wisdom to help us shine again and sort out some of these long standing issues and clear them from the agenda

Bryan
Reply to  downtowner
3 months ago

Downtowner,
Some good points and assessment of the Town’s current state. We, the taxpayers, must also step up and take some of the blame. Councils of the past several terms have, for the most part, been “yes men”, lulled by the smoke blown by staff, who claim to be the topic experts. Each council had one or two stars who had both the brains and initiative to try and make things better. Sadly, they were usually outvoted.

Take the current storm-water fiasco as an example. We re-elected four of the past Council that voted for this thinly disguised tax which has become a billing fiasco.
If we look back, we probably re-elected most of the council members who voted to buy the harbour and East Pier. After all, who could ignore all that free infrastructure (repairs needed) and $400K federal cash on the table. (the estimated repair bill is upwards of $25M)

We continue to pay $200k+ per year to fund V13 (almost $1.5M to date) and have received zero in benefits. The original promises of jobs and new business are unfulfilled and swept under the carpet. Port Hope ended their 6 year Idea Hub money pit. Somehow, Cobourg didn’t learn from their experience.

How do we get out of this mess?
-Pay attention to Town hall affairs.
-Don’t abdicate this responsibility because you don’t think it affects you.
-Use common sense and challenge Council and staff on issues that don’t pass the “smell” test.
-Participate: phone, email, face to face, attend Council. Make your views and concerns known
-Don’t accept “fluffy” explanations. If Council/staff answers don’t make sense, push back and demand clarity and transparency.
-Press Staff and Council to uphold and adhere to the Town’s Public Engagement Policy, ADM21. This policy requires much more than statistically invalid self serving surveys and notices in the local weekly newspaper.
-For projects, demand defined deliverables, KPIs, success metrics, delivery dates,
-Budget accountability: the CAO and directors should report quarterly on adherence to the budget and explain any variance.
-Force the CAO and directors to “manage”. If they don’t (won’t), find others who will.

Always keep in mind whose paying the bill and who Council and staff work for.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bryan
Kathleen
Reply to  Bryan
3 months ago

This!! 👏👏👏

downtowner
Reply to  Bryan
3 months ago

Bryan, so correct, l hesitated to label “The old Boys Club” which has been a recurring theme over the years. All those born in Cobourg do not necessarily have the ultimate wisdom on that which is the best path for our town . A familiar name is not the criteria for casting a ballot.
So true also, we, the citizens, must recognize our responsibility to affect change and improvement by educating ourselves and choosing wisely at election time………and actually going to the polls. A distinct apathy has developed in this area at election time. If nothing else this desperate state we find ourselves in can be traced back to extremely low voter turn out at the last election . We may hope that many new faces will feel comfortable in applying themselves to public service at next election time and that none of the position are uncontested.
With change ..progress may result

Kevin
3 months ago

John, your prediction about parking may be accurate but there doesn’t have to be a parking crisis. The 2nd street lot (I think that is what it is called, north of Albert and east of 2nd street) is privately owned, it could be developed in 2024. For the right price the town could likely buy it to secure more downtown parking. The cost of buying it would likely be less than building a parking garage on the Covert St. lot.

Kathleen
3 months ago

I have a question regarding the crumbling East Pier. Is that the same area that the Town of Cobourg purchased from the Province for a Dollar years ago and assumed all maintenance costs?

Bryan
Reply to  Kathleen
3 months ago

Kathleen,
Yes indeed.
Purchased for $1 and $400K paid by the feds in lieu of repairs.
I have not been able to find any record of where the $400K went or what repairs were made (if any).

trying2makesense
Reply to  Bryan
3 months ago

just a shot in the dark but maybe some of it might have found it’s way over to the ‘frink’…who knows. Well it’s a sure bet that someone knows plenty but ain’t sayin’.. and maybe for good reason!

trying2makesense
Reply to  Kathleen
3 months ago

It was a federal property, not provincial. Along with the property came a large sum of money to help towards remediation efforts which were well recognized at the time. One could ask, ‘what happened to that financial portion of the deal?’

cornbread
Reply to  trying2makesense
3 months ago

It will cost close to $25,000,000 to repair now…Cobourg does not have the money…We are broke..

trying2makesense
Reply to  cornbread
3 months ago

as with EVERYTHING, where there’s a will, there IS a way. The will is the key, and the will is emboldened by a vision that is championed by an occasional visionary and which resonates with a critical mass of the public.

John Mead
Reply to  cornbread
2 months ago

Ok so fixed in everybody’s mind is a repeated figure of $25 million to stabilize the East Pier. a Big sum indeed but STOP NOW . Rethink !Engineering around the world has moved on. We are Luddite’s in this Town
God supplies to the West Harbour a constant supply of clean sand!! We dredge it each year and sell it.
A Freebee indeed! Grouting techniques and new water resistant additives have enabled Large tunnels to built where it was impossible only a few years ago. Surprise us Engineering Staff , Find a Worldly Consultant ,not a three man company to grant you an expert opinion. The South Pier break water will need addition RiRap as it is being eroded by the high waves on the winter Lake but local concrete plants can manufacture structures from the concrete left in the trucks at the end of their pours Slow but steady supply.
Additional stress rods drilled through the East pier will hold the sides to gether
Additional steel sheet piling can be quietly rammed into the ground. Oh don’t start me on the Old Tannery Static problem Brown fields approaches , new chemical engineering process’s can make this a viable project but shoot the NI MBY s first

Kathleen
Reply to  trying2makesense
3 months ago

Thank you Bryan and trying2makesense. It doesn’t hurt to educate and remind us Town folk on the long standing incompetence of Town Staff – especially when they continue to ask for raises.

Tucker
Reply to  Kathleen
3 months ago

Then why did you vote them back in. If you have ideas that you think would work better, then run for Council and be heard.

Bryan
Reply to  Tucker
3 months ago

Tucker,

Kathleen mentioned staff, not Council members. I believe the Town hires staff, we elect Council members

Is “you” generic for Cobourg voters or specific for Kathleen?

Run for Council would be nice but few are built for it or have the resources.

There are numerous ways to be heard:
-attend Council meetings
-email, write, phone, talk to Council members and staff
-attend town hall meetings
-participate in blogs like this one
-talk to other residents

Last edited 3 months ago by Bryan
Cobourg citizen
3 months ago

I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Draper for the time he takes to keep the citizens of Cobourg and Northumberland County up to date on all current events and issues. His task is time consuming and, unfortunately, taken for granted by so many of us. So thank you John for your time and efforts which this citizen greatly appreciates. All the best in 2024!

Liz
Reply to  Cobourg citizen
3 months ago

Amen to that!!

cornbread
3 months ago

This is what happens when “Protection” tax cost is the largest item on our Town Budget. Time for serious change.

Gerinator
Reply to  cornbread
3 months ago

That cost (and its % of the Budget) has been for years.

Tom Holden
3 months ago

Sorry to crash your first prediction, in part… the east pier was open at least a couple of days ago but is naturalizing!

Action
3 months ago

Great post and thanks for all that you do on this very informative site !!!

Your predictions for real action on all the very important topics you highlighted in Cobourg are not at all what I was hoping for but you are likely correct on most of them. Only time will tell for sure. Let’s see what the new year brings.

Gerry
3 months ago

My memory is faltering. Hasn’t John predicted the same things specifically, no action on the Harbour, Sidbrook, the Park Theatre, the Tannery or Downtown vitalization for a few years now? I could swear I read this same prediction about our first New Year in Cobourg back in 2013.

Gerry
Reply to  Gerry
3 months ago

OK, TD people, show me where any of the items I stated that were predicted by John AND have been completed. He says so himself here: “Judging by my previous efforts. I’m not very good at predicting what will happen in the next year but it’s fun to do, so why not?”

Kevin
Reply to  Gerry
3 months ago

Gerry, the TD people might agree with John’s predictions and your assessment that these are similar to past predictions. Maybe, like me, the TD people would like to see some progress made on the items you listed. Instead we are resigned to the same old politics. Not really a prediction, more of a promise, that many readers likely hope will be true is what John wrote at the end of his post: “..this site and other local sites will tell you all about it.” Yes, Happy New Year and please keep providing news.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Gerry
3 months ago

Yes and he has been Correct every year for the last 10 years
Even though the Town keeps Flogging the Tannery as a knew and great idea its a dead horse
This district has been on the Towns hot topic list since they got stuck with it
For nearly 20 years now The Town has used this along with other properties as all work in progress just to make us think ( Make Work ) they actually have an affordable housing development on the Go .
Now that the Large Factory and all the lands to the north and westerly of the Tannery lands have been Sold
Recently
We a New Industry brining lots of New Jobs into Town

Doug
Reply to  Gerry
3 months ago

TD Last I knew, TD stood for the TD Bank. If you decide to make a SF then put it in brackets so we can understand what you are writing. Short Form (SF) !
It would just be nice to understand what we take the time to read ! Please.

Gerry
Reply to  Doug
3 months ago

My apologies for not spelling it out first. I asked my 12-year-old grandchild if I needed to spell it out, and her reply was. “Papa, everybody understands what TD and TU mean. I will endeavour to do better!

Frenchy
Reply to  Gerry
3 months ago

Gerry,
So don’t be a jerk about it and spell it out for us OT (old timers).

Aleta
Reply to  Frenchy
3 months ago

Thumbs down, thumbs up

Gerry
Reply to  Frenchy
3 months ago

They are common abbreviations in the Internet and blog world; you might just be surprised at what you may learn should you choose to educate yourself further. Just a WAG on my part. Oops nearly did again, Frenchie, WAG stands for Wild Ass Guess; now you have two new ones to use. HNY (Happy New Year) Frenchie!