Progress on Transition House Agreement

Sometimes, not much happens at Council meetings – an example was last night’s. Arguably, the only item taxpayers would care about was an update on negotiations about the new Transition House location – 310 Division. As reported previously, the intent is to end up with a three way agreement between Transition House, the County and the Town and a draft agreement was provided that went a long way towards what was wanted. Written by County CAO Jennifer Moore, and reflecting her discussions with the Town’s CAO Tracey Vaughan, there were two contentious points beyond Tracey’s responsibility: 1) A request to repeal the recently passed licensing by-law and 2) the agreement would terminate “if the Town makes efforts to regulate shelters… Read complete articleProgress on Transition House Agreement

Provincial Grant for Transition House.

At a special County Council meeting to authorize acceptance of a Provincial grant for $2,469,500, Warden and Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander asked if the money was to be used to clean people out of the encampment. The answer is NO. The money is for capital costs to support conversion of the 310 Division property: that is, for upgrades and renovations. It is not to be used for purchase of the property – this was funded by County reserves. In any case, clearing the encampment is outside County jurisdiction. However, Rebecca Carman, Associate Director of Housing & Homelessness said that it is hoped that the 310 Division Street project would (this is my paraphrasing) be more attractive to folks currently unhoused… Read complete articleProvincial Grant for Transition House.

County decides to negotiate re 310 Division

In a letter to Cobourg’s Mayor, Northumberland County has requested their staff to “negotiate an Emergency Shelter Agreement” and to delay the March 28 implementation of the ECE bylaw.  At the County meeting on March 6, County Councillors expressed concern that if the bylaw were enforced as it stands, then the future of both Cornerstone and Transition house could be in jeopardy.  Mayor Cleveland said that an exemption would cover the concern re Cornerstone but the requirement for board members to be responsible for the behaviour of residents within a 500 metre radius – plus other requirements of the bylaw – could cause Transition house to not be viable.  The decision to negotiate appears to be what the Mayor was… Read complete articleCounty decides to negotiate re 310 Division

Cobourg Council to Regulate Transition House

As previously reported, Cobourg is negotiating with the County to establish what is allowed at the new Transition house location at 310 Division. The idea is to get an agreement similar to what was agreed in Whitby. But there is a “Plan B”.  If an agreement cannot be reached, then Council has voted to implement a By-Law that would require “Emergency Care Establishments” to be licensed with requirements similar to that agreed in the “Whitby” agreement. At the Council meeting on 28 February, Council passed the Licensing by-law to be in effect March 28 which is the day after the next Council meeting. The date is a month later than the timeline originally proposed so it can be repealed if… Read complete articleCobourg Council to Regulate Transition House

Trinity Affordable Housing Phase 2 re-organized

In 1990, Trinity Housing opened a 20 unit apartment building at 25 James Street East (corner of John Street) for low income tenants with Rent Geared to Income.  But around 2018, an expansion of 27 units was planned and Trinity Housing of Cobourg Phase 2 (THCP2) was formed. Like phase one, the expansion would be a not-for-profit corporation owned by Trinity Church.  In January 2019, they asked Cobourg Council for financial support but only a fraction of their ask was approved.  Early this year, the managing board decided that “this endeavour has proved to be more difficult than imagined. The many drawings, plans and studies required resulted in many upfront costs and the estimate for the cost of construction has… Read complete articleTrinity Affordable Housing Phase 2 re-organized

Town gives update on 310 Division

At the Council meeting on 31 January, Council asked staff to report back on the situation at 310 Division Street.  Brent Larmer has now written a 25 page report with considerable detail on what’s happening.  There are also 4 draft bylaws to be approved which would implement some of the changes recommended – notably amendments to the “nuisance” by-law to prohibit consumption of controlled or illegal substances in public places.  The report talks about Transition House and the ongoing discussions with the County about various aspects (but not yet with Transition House) .  As Brent says, although looking after homelessness people is the responsibility of the County, there is a large impact on the Town.  There is only one such… Read complete articleTown gives update on 310 Division

More Concerns about 310 Division

With the Provincial Government now selling the Brookside property, some are hoping that the illegal campers will move to the new Downtown Transition House.  But there are many Cobourg residents who are unhappy about that.  A petition to the County to stop the opening of a large Transition House in Downtown Cobourg got 1000 signatures but because it was online it was not accepted.  But that does not mean the unhappiness goes away. There were 24 items of correspondence received by the County at their Social Services Standing Committee meeting on February 7 (see below).  Although there were duplicates, it’s clear that most want Transition House, the County and the Town to get an agreement together similar to the one… Read complete articleMore Concerns about 310 Division

Council to Pursue Agreement with Transition House

At the January 10 meeting of the Standing committee for Community Services, Protection, and Economic Development, Dr. Hillary Allen & Mr. Jeff Crowley asked Council to implement an agreement with Northumberland County and Transition House similar to the agreement made by Whitby and Durham. The committee endorsed the idea – or to at least to look into the idea – and it came up again at the Regular Council meeting on January 31. This time there was a delegation from Transition House management: Board Chair Neil Ellis, Board Treasurer Meaghan Macdonald and newly appointed Executive Director – Ike Nwibe. They tried to re-assure Council and residents that they would be good neighbours. Although they did not directly address the idea… Read complete articleCouncil to Pursue Agreement with Transition House

Move to get Agreement on Rules for Transition House

On January 10, at the Community Services, Protection, and Economic Development Standing Committee meeting, Dr. Hillary Allen & Mr. Jeff Crowley asked Council to implement an agreement with Northumberland County and Transition House similar to the agreement made by Whitby and Durham concerning an “emergency shelter” similar to the Transition house planned for 310 Division St. If implemented, it’s expected to help Transition House’s successful “operation and integration into the community”. Such an agreement between Cobourg, the County and Transition house would be a commitment to a wide range of actions that would be a “response to numerous failed examples across Ontario” – that is, in my words, it would go a long way to resolving concerns on the new… Read complete articleMove to get Agreement on Rules for Transition House

Encampment People Settling in for the Winter

It seems that the 18 people encamped outside Brookside have no intention of accepting Transition house as a place to live.  No doubt they have trouble accepting the rules so they are soliciting donations for heating equipment and firewood to allow them to stay where they are.  A Press Release today by Jenni Frenke linked to a Go Fund me page which has so far raised $13,486 of a $16,700 goal.  The money is used to buy winter tents, “Cobourg Fire Department approved stoves” and firewood.  Jenni reports that so far “we have been able to provide 9 individuals/couples with a hot tent and wood stove” plus “we also were able to purchase a large community tent with two stoves… Read complete articleEncampment People Settling in for the Winter