Review of Selected Major Projects

At a recent Council meeting, Director of Planning Anne Taylor Scott issued her second annual report on activity in her department – it’s called “2023 Growth Trends Report – Planning & Building Departments”. Anne notes that a full complement of planning staff would be 6 people but there are currently 3 vacancies – that includes Rob Franklin who is on a 12 month leave of absence. Her report makes it clear that her department has been very busy in 2023 with 138 new applications and 141 approvals. They ranged from Heritage Permit applications to Official plan amendments. One big change is the public availability of the Development Dashboard based on the Town’s GIS data – this allows the public to… Read complete articleReview of Selected Major Projects

Mayor Wants Parking Review

At a recent Council meeting, Mayor Lucas Cleveland gave “notice of a motion” to be moved at the next regular Council meeting “regarding Parking Rules, Regulations, and Fines in Cobourg”. His concern is that paid Parking is too complicated in Cobourg and needs to be simplified. It’s too hard to understand for both residents and visitors. He’s talking about downtown and the waterfront area since that’s where parking is “paid” – I’m not aware of any other paid parking. But Lucas also wants to minimize the loss of potential parking revenue. His motion asks staff to “report back … on the steps and recommendations to completely reimagine the parking program/regime within the town of Cobourg to one based on simplicity”…. Read complete articleMayor Wants Parking Review

By-Law Enforcement Report for 2023

At the Community Services, Protection, and Economic Development Standing Committee meeting on  February 7, Kevin Feagan, (Manager, Municipal Law Enforcement & Licensing Services) presented his annual report – this is the second one for this department.  As mentioned by CAO Tracey Vaughan, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are being used to measure performance and in the case of this department, they are called “Service Level Agreements” (SLAs).  Apart from Proactive Parking Violations, activity has not changed much from 2022 and SLA performance was not much different.  However, it’s good to see the report. Other departments with annual reports (as far as I know) are Planning, Economic Development and Police (links available in Resources).  As well as By-Law Enforcement, Kevin’s department manages… Read complete articleBy-Law Enforcement Report for 2023

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

New Policy to Manage Individuals with Unacceptable Behaviour

Council has acted to approve a Policy that defines what should be done about individuals on Municipal Property who have “unacceptable behaviour”. On Tuesday February 6, the Strategic Priorities and Policy Standing Committee reviewed a Policy written by staff – Keith Hearst and approved by Director Larmer and CAO Vaughan. “The purpose of the policy is to ensure an equitable and respectful environment in municipal facilities for staff and members of the public.” It was in response to “the increase in unacceptable behaviour at Town facilities and directed towards Town staff. There have been an increasing number of instances where Town staff are being harassed while doing their work, and upon entering and exiting municipal facilities.” Since all council members… Read complete articleNew Policy to Manage Individuals with Unacceptable Behaviour

More on Busy Council Meeting

The first regular Council meeting in 2024 was a marathon.  In addition to passing the budget, re-considering Stormwater fees and taking action on Transition House (see earlier reports on this blog), Council also heard an update on the leasing of the Memorial Arena as a Fire fighters’ museum, approved a request to make an exemption on a downtown sign that contravenes Heritage rules and heard about a significant increase in Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.  Firefighters gave a verbal report with little information but there is much more detailed information in their planned report to the Community Services, Protection, and Economic Development Standing Committee on February 7. (See the Agenda in Resources).  The sign is for Jacqueline Pennington’s new office… Read complete articleMore on Busy Council Meeting

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

Stormwater Fee Schedule to be Reviewed

At the Council meeting on Wednesday January 31, the gallery was full and even overflowed into the Courthouse. Most of these citizens were interested in hearing what Council might do to resolve the unfair stormwater fees for owners of large rural properties.  There were about 8 presenters – starting with Colline Bell who had previously spoken to the Strategic Priorities and Policy Standing Committee on the 10th of January (see report on Cobourg News Blog – link in resources). Colline pointed out that unlike a tax, a “user fee may only be charged in exchange for a specific service offered to the person paying the fee” yet Colline and other presenters said that they did not use any stormwater infrastructure… Read complete articleStormwater Fee Schedule to be Reviewed

Council Approves 2024 Budget – Unchanged

Despite several contentious items, when all debate was finished at the regular Council meeting on 31 January, Council approved the draft 2024 budget with no changes. Mayor Cleveland had one last try at reforms and he wanted to make drastic changes to the Community Grant Process but in the end, there were few changes to the budget. The budget increased by 9.91% but because of growth in the Town’s tax base of 1.85%, the increase in the levy is 8.06%. The issue of Stormwater fees was discussed but did not affect the budget; there was more discussion on Transition House as well as a few other items – stay tuned for reports on these.  It was a marathon meeting and… Read complete articleCouncil Approves 2024 Budget – Unchanged