Community Grants Process stirs up Council

For the past several years, Cobourg Council has awarded grants – in kind or cash – to various local organizations that took the trouble to apply. During the 2024 budget sessions, Mayor Lucas Cleveland and Councillor Darling were unhappy with the process. An initial list created by Councillor Burchat was not approved – instead a budget of $30,000 was approved with instructions to staff on creating a new process. It was not entirely clear to Councillors, Staff or me but the idea seemed to be that some grants should be given ongoing approval – especially in-kind and/or those who have generally been approved every year. At the Standing Committee meeting on April 2, staff put forward an analysis of previous… Read complete articleCommunity Grants Process stirs up Council

YMCA Re-starts Joint Pool Discussion

In 2015, the YMCA and the Town of Cobourg decided that they wanted to build a new aquatic centre (pool) alongside the Cobourg Community Centre for as much as $25M. The idea included some form of merger between the YMCA and the CCC. Considerable work went into the study but in the end, the idea was abandoned – see Cobourg Blog reports in Resources below. However, at the time a draft MOU was written, perhaps signed. At the next meeting on April 3 of the Community Services, Protection, and Economic Development Standing Committee, the idea of working together and an MOU will be discussed. Although not mentioned specifically, building a joint YMCA/Town pool at the CCC seems to be back… Read complete articleYMCA Re-starts Joint Pool Discussion

Cobourg Needs an Overall Master Plan

At Cobourg Council’s regular meeting on 27 March, retired Urban planner Keith Oliver (not Kent Oliver as shown in Agenda) will once again be presenting his ideas. This time, Keith asks “do we have the tools needed to guide Cobourg’s future growth and development to the benefit of all”. He uses two examples but does not actually spell out what I would say: Cobourg needs an overall Master Plan. There are multiple specific master plans such as for Parks, the Waterfront, Culture and Downtown but no over-riding master plan for the Town that pulls it all together. The Strategic Plan might have been a way to do that but the current plan lacks detail and instead calls for annual “operational plans”. So… Read complete articleCobourg Needs an Overall Master Plan

Are the Town and County using KPIs?

A KPI is a Key Performance Indicator and some commenters on this blog have questioned whether they are being used by Town and County staff.  As management guru Peter Drucker said: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” But it seems that, scientist Lord Kelvin beat him to the punch and called out a similar principle even earlier: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. So KPIs are clearly important. Certainly in the last year or two, there is evidence that both the County and Town Staff are using KPIs. Further, the County has put a “KPI Performance Dashboard” online with 22 KPIs that measure performance. Of course measuring is just the first step – but from the measurement,… Read complete articleAre the Town and County using KPIs?

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

Council Agrees to Fire Fighters Museum Lease

As reported on Cobourg blog (see Resources), the Town is working with the Fire Fighters Museum Board to lease the Memorial Arena as their new location.  In a repeat report at the Council meeting on 28 February, the lease was again discussed with a report by Director Geerts and a verbal presentation from the Fire Fighters’ board (speaker not identified).  One key point as made by Director Geerts, is that the lease looks like a good use of the Arena and “we don’t have a better idea for the Arena”.  If the Arena is not leased, the Town would still have the cost of operating an empty building.  One new issue debated was the board’s request for free rent for the… Read complete articleCouncil Agrees to Fire Fighters Museum Lease

February Council Update

The Council meeting on Wednesday February 28 was busy so my reporting will take a few days. There were decisions on 310 Division, the Firefighters’ museum and Parking, plus Miriam Mutton was really unhappy about the way an upgrade to Council Chamber was handled. Although Mayor Lucas Cleveland said he understood and appreciated her concern, he said she is one of seven and the others don’t agree. This post will cover Parking and Miriam’s concerns – the others will be covered in later reports. As well as these four items, Council covered 28 other items (by my count) including approval of seven sets of minutes and two closed session matters. I note that it now seems that closed sessions happen… Read complete articleFebruary Council Update

RFP Issued for Development of Old CDCI West Playing Fields

Officially known as 117 Durham Street, the Town bought the land in 2022 but it took until March 2023 before Council directed what should be done with it.  And now, an RFP has been issued on February 23 to call for development proposals. Although the “primary objective of the call for proposals is to recuperate costs from the purchase of the property” it is also hoped it will help “address the housing crisis”. Council directed that “the lands be a balanced mix of parkland, market and affordable residential units.” Some of the property is “designated as an Environmental Constraint Area” but “Guidance on the developable limit has been informed by an Environmental Impact Study completed in February 2024”. That is,… Read complete articleRFP Issued for Development of Old CDCI West Playing Fields