Cobourg Council News

Cobourg Council Chambers.jpg

by Cecilia Naismith

Cobourg beach will feature inflatable water playground this summer

An inflatable water park for all ages is planned to open for the summer at Cobourg's Victoria Park beach, starting June 23.

At the April 2 committee-of-the-whole council meeting, director of recreational and cultural services Dean Hustwick said it would be an exciting new attraction for the Cobourg beach, not to mention a revenue generator. His report called for the preparation of a contract with ATL Distributing of Peterborough to install and operate a floating playground for two years (with an option for a possible third year), with the town receiving 10% of gross sales.

ATL (which stands for At The Lake) was the winner of the RFP issued by the parks department in January, beating out PT Watersports of Alberta.

“They will be able to operate a very professional, very successful and, of utmost significance, a very safe operation for this community,” Hustwick stated at council.

His report shared some of the features of the ATL proposal, such as a separate child's area for children aged three to nine (parental accompaniment required), delineation of the area with special orange markers, a requirement for life jackets at all times, and a maximum capacity of 120 to 135. The company has also provided proof of $10-million in insurance.

It will operate daily until Sept. 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (8 p.m. on weekends). Each shift will end with the equipment inspected, cleaned and maintained if needed, and the equipment complies with industry standards.

A representative from ATL said this kind of attraction is becoming popular around the world, as well as a number of locations in Canada and Ontario. Perhaps the closest one is in Barrie, and one is slated to open in Orillia this summer.

He described the sturdiness and safety of the Aquaglide commercial equipment they will be using.

“If you can picture an inflatable boat, it's that type of material – no sharp edges, no splinters, usually a very low risk of injury,” he said.

Location of the complex is yet to be determined. The flow and force of the waves at the pier must be considered, and for now the suggested location is south of the third lifeguard station from the pier. This would leave adequate room for swimmers, boarders and other beach users.

In an area measuring 192x80 ft., the adult equipment will be set up. It will include a catapult swing above the water, a Thunder Dome swing-and-bounce, a monkey-bars challenge, a Jungle Joe climbing challenge with 12-ft. slide, a King of the Mountain climbing challenge with seven-ft. slide, a Jungle Jim climbing challenge, a Neptune obstacle challenge, a Foxtrot obstacle challenge, extreme-freefall 10-ft. slide, Cyclone hamster wheel and a large water trampoline, all connected by a system of runways.

In an area measuring 80x60 ft., the kids' park will include a Foxtrot obstacle challenge, a five-ft. Zulu slide, a Sierra climbing structure, a Vista climbing structure and several bouncers, also connected by a system of runways.

“They have a lot of wow factor,” the ATL rep said.

Communities with such an attraction find they are a boost to tourism, as people come to town specifically to enjoy them and often stay longer than they had originally planned.

At the same time, he said, they want to be good citizens for the town's own people. Twice-weekly twilight hours will be for residents only, and he plans to establish special partnerships and promotions for local organizations like the YMCA, day camps, the campground and marina, and local businesses. As well, they will be providing eight to 10 summer jobs for local residents.

Proposed per-person fees will be multi-structured: two hours at the kids' park for $10, two hours at the full park for $15, a half-day at the kids' park for $15, a half-day at the full park for $25, a full day at the full park for $35 – with group rates available. Life jackets are included in the fees, and wet suits will also be available to rent.

The ATL agent said lifeguards will be stationed on the structures and nearby on stand-up paddleboards, four at any given time.

Councillor Forrest Rowden applauded the company's attention to supporting the community, and his delight that a company so near by could provide the service.

“I think half of Peterborough comes here in the summertime,” the ATL speaker replied.

“I think this is a great proposal,” Councillor Aaron Burchat said.

“As a father of three, I think this is great – the fact that you can be in the water to watch your kids and have something for the whole family to enjoy.”


Council hears the latest Sobey's news

The latest news on the new Sobey's that will replace the Foodland grocery store at 990-1000 Division St. was shared with Cobourg council at their April 2 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

MHBC Planning Limited submitted the plan three years ago on behalf of Sobeys Development Limited Partnership, planner Desta McAdam's report said, contemplating a new expanded supermarket and two new free-standing service commercial buildings.

The report contained a bylaw authorizing the mayor and clerk to execute a development agreement with the Sobeys corporation and Lakefront Utility Services Inc. to redevelop the property to erect a 32,547 sq. ft. supermarket and two structures known as Buildings B and C.

The new supermarket is significantly larger than the 15,288 sq. ft. Foodland. As well, the 1,400 sq. ft. restaurant immediately to the north will also be demolished for this redevelopment. Plans contemplate Building B to be 4,022 sq. ft. and Building C to be 7,976 sq. ft., though MHBC representative Oz Kemal told council this part of the plan is in the “distant future.”

“The intent is to have no down time with no store location – the new building gets constructed first before the old store is demolished,” Kemal added.

The new supermarket will be at the northwest corner of this 4.02-acre property “to frame and animate the corner of Division Street and Patterson Street in accordance with the Town's community design objectives and guidelines,” McAdam's report said. There will be 215 parking spaces, including seven barrier-free ones.

Consultation undertaken to date had expressed concerns with egress and ingress. The report said all three existing Division Street driveways will be closed and replaced with a new single full-move driveway off Division.

This was formerly planned to be at the southern end of the property. Newer plans have it moved 26 metres to the north, to give it a 40-metre separation from the Tim Horton's exit.

A second entry from the east end of Patterson Street will afford the use of the signalized intersection now in place. This will also be the primary service entrance. In anticipation of this increased usage of the street, McGlashon said, Patterson Street will be upgraded to urban standards with a turn-around installed at its east end.

At this point in the project, McGlashon said, the town has realized about $111,000 in development charges from this project, plus $11,000 for a municipal tree levy and $10,000 in planning fees and deposits, with $56,000 in building-permit fees.


Former Cobourg resident describes The Grand Gamble

John R. Taylor, the first executive director of the Society for the Preservation of Victoria Hall, is launching an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for a documentary to tell the history behind the structure he fell in love with at first sight 48 years ago.

Now working in the film and television industry in British Columbia, Taylor was back in Cobourg for a visit when he made time to address the April 2 committee-of-the-whole session of council to explain his project.

He is actually producing both a book and a documentary called The Grand Gamble, the story of how Cobourg's town fathers rolled the dice in 1853 and got into serious competition to be the new nation's capital. Part of the campaign was the Cobourg-Peterborough Railroad (which would boast the world's longest bridge spanning Rice Lake) and the construction of a worthy capitol building that we now know as Victoria Hall.

“The more you study the history of Cobourg, Victoria Hall and the railroad, the more you realize they are inextricably, completely intertwined,” Taylor stated.

“The town council of that day were such supporters and advocates of that railroad. In truth, they believed the railroad would bring Cobourg great prosperity.”

In the end, the railroad would run a grand total of six years before its owners realized they could no longer afford the yearly costs associated with repairs of that three-mile-long bridge across Rice Lake from the beating administered all winter. The bridge eventually fell into the lake.

Meanwhile, with the railroad not turning a profit, debentures were issued to pay for Victoria Hall – that would not be paid off until 1930. The grand structure fell into disrepair and, in 1970, was declared unsafe and was vacated. That's when Taylor discovered it and became part of the wonderful story of its restoration and rebirth.

“The Society for the Restoration of Victoria Hall is disappearing into the fog, and it clearly was a spectacular event,” he lamented.

Having failed to get Canada Council funding for the project, Taylor has been using his own money to bring the book to near-completion and to shoot the first footage of the 15-minute documentary.

“I have connections in Vancouver,” he said.

'It's a personal initiative to do it, or not ever get it done.”

Realizing that the council of 1853 had no Victoria Hall in which to meet and plan its construction, Taylor's research has led him to believe they would have had to rent a room for that purpose (“I assume it was one of the three or four excellent hotels along King Street,” he said).

This kind of research went into making the most accurate recreation possible of the scene he shot of the in-camera council meeting with young architect Kivas Tully to compliment him on his plans (and then press him for other things like a courtroom, a third floor and a more impressive ballroom).

“It's wonderful when history comes alive,” Councillor Suzanne Seguin declared.

“It's quite a difference to read and know the history, and to think I am sitting here today because of that beginning,” Councillor Debra McCarthy added.

Taylor's Indiegogo campaign seeks to raise $25,000 to finish this work that is so important to him, and this particular site allows him to build in incentives. For example, every $100 donor will receive a credit on the documentary and a copy of his book and a print of an 1859 bond certificate.


This Is Cobourg spotlights its parks department

Cobourg communications manager Ashley Purdy has announced the parks department as recipient of the monthly spotlight in the This Is Cobourg campaign.

Each month she researches a different department and creates an easy-to-enjoy pictograph to explain why it's worth celebrating, with the pictographs available for inspection on the town's web site, advertising and transit buses.

“With over 30 parks and a beautiful waterfront, Cobourg will continue to be a great place to enjoy outdoor spaces,” parks supervisor Jason Johns told council at its April 2 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

The town has just been awarded the International Blue Flag designation for a second year, in recognition of the clean, accessible waterfront.

In the category of 15,001-to-50,000 population, Cobourg won the National Communities In Bloom Award,

Almost unique among communities its size, Cobourg has its own greenhouse, a structure on Thompson Street with 7,000 sq. ft. of growing space. Each January, more than 100,000 plants and flowers are cultivated from seed and put to good use – some 300 hanging flower baskets for the downtown, for instance, or the 4,000 begonias that created the Canada 150 emblem on the floral clock in Victoria Park last year.

The town's budget for plants is $5,000 a year, an amount that would not be possible to equal if they had to contract out or otherwise arrange their civic plantings and displays. Nor, Johns added, could the staff otherwise enjoy the scope and flexibility to grow their own plants.

“Don't think we are only busy planting trees,” he said – though they did plant 150 last year to augment the town's urban canopy, leading up to Cobourg's first Forestry Master Plan.

“Thank you for your outstanding accomplishments through 2017,” Mayor Gil Brocanier said.

“It's great to have all this work you are doing promoting Cobourg. And I can assure you it's all paying off, based on the compliments we get.”

Johns added that the department is hosting an open house at its greenhouse May 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


2017 expenses and remunerations reported

Cobourg treasurer Ian Davey presented a report at council's April 2 committee-of-the-whole meeting that is actually an annual exercise – a report on 2017 expenditures the town made for its councillors and certain advisory-committee members.

A requirement of the Municipal Act, the 2017 report prepared by Davey breaks amounts into remunerations and expenses for councillors, as well as members of the Police Service Board, Committee of Adjustment, and councillors' remuneration in their roles with the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority, Lakefront Utilities, county council and the Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

Mayor Gil Brocanier's name appears numerous times in the course of his duties. For Cobourg, council, his regular remuneration was $35,381 and expenses reimbursed totaled $4,187.50. For his work on the police-services board, he was paid $4,945.45. The mayor is also council's representatived to Lakefront Utilities, county council and the health unit for which he was paid (respectively) $6,200, $15,372.78 (plus $127.11 in expenses) and zero in remuneration (plus $616,68 in expenses).

Deputy Mayor John Henderson received $21,637.74 in remuneration and $1,040.25 in expenses.

Councillor Aaron Burchat received the standard remuneration ($17,355.91) and $2,506.12 in expenses.

Councillor Debra McCarthy received the standard remuneration and $1,287.89 in expenses. As council representative on the police-services board, she received $4,379.65 in remuneration and $1,301.94 in expenses.

Councillor Brian Darling received the standard remuneration and $3,340.93 in expenses. As council representative on the GRCA, he received $440 in remuneration and $102.97 in expenses.

Councillor Forrest Rowden received the standard remuneration and claimed no expenses. As council's GRCA representative, he received remuneration of $2,470 and $207.72 in expenses.

Councillor Larry Sherwin only served part of 2017 before moving out of the area. For that portion of the year, he received remuneration of $661.90, as well as $188.60 as a member of the police-services board.

His replacement, Counillor Suzanne Seguin, received $15,370.23 in remuneration and $2,450 in expenses.

Davey's report listed remuneration and expenses for police-board members in addition to Brocanier, McCarthy and Sherwin - $6,183.42 in remuneration and $1,065.08 in expenses for Bryan Baxter, and remuneration of $4,945.45 each for Marg Godawa and Gail Metson.

Robert Marr received remuneration of $850 for service on the committee of adjustment, with remuneration of $750 for all other members – Peter Delanty, W. Fernhout, B. Gutteridge and J. Nicholls. In addition, Delanty received $,182.93 in expenses and Gutteridge received $1,445.54 in expenses.

Deputy Mayor John Henderson thanked Davey for the report.

“We don't know of any category that has gone over its limit,” Henderson said.


One Cobourg address becomes 15

One Cobourg address will become home to 15 residences, when work is completed to tranform the eight-acre property at 589 King St. E. into a 15-lot subdivison called Cedar Shore Estates.

Council heard the details at the April 2 committee-of-the-whole meeting about an enigmatic address, where a fence post simply says The Cedars, and the driveway curves into the trees to the south and then out of sight. Not many people have seen the 100-year-old farmhouse and coach house at that location.

When the acreage is subdivided into 15 lots on an access road that ends in a cul-de-sac, these heritage structures will occupy the one-acre lot at the property's southeast corner. In fact, CIMA+ representative Will McCrae said that the preservation of this historic property – which he called a fine example of Regency architecture and landscaping - is a key element of the development.

The 1.12 acres of land along the Lake Ontario shoreline will become waterfront parkland.

McCrae listed the many studies that had already been done in support of the project, everything from environmental- and heritage-impact assessments to a bat-habitat investigation.

“It's a very high-quality residential neighbourhood,” Cobourg director of planning and development Glenn McGlashon said.

“The proponent wanted a very attractive, very positive development.”

Over the course of this project, McGlashon added, the town has to date realized about $238,000 in development charges, $13,335 in a municipal tree levy, $16,000 in planning fees and deposits and about $33,000 in an engineering review and inspection fees. Building-permit fees are yet to come.

Deputy Mayor John Henderson was effusive in his praise of the work done in advance of the presentation.

“In my time on council, I have not seen such a comprehensive summation,” Henderson declared.

“If there had to be a gold standard, I would say you certainly have emulated what a gold standard would be.”



CIP program set to grow in 2018

Two Cobourg properties will receive support for renovations under the Community Improvement Plan as the last properties approved in 2017.

Originating as part of the Cobourg Downtown Vitalization project, this program offers a range of loans and grants to qualifying properties within the subject area. Since its inception two years ago, a number of properties have been able to undergo work that has not only revitalized the buildings but lent an enhanced ambience to the downtown area.

Director of planning and development Glenn McGlashon reviewed the program at the April 2 meeting of Cobourg council.

Some 16 applications for this assistance were received, and 11 were deemed eligible for assistance based on such criteria as structural integrity, visual impact, heritage-conservation impact and the impact on target-business attraction.

A total of $85,653 was awarded to the qualifying projects, of which the final two of which were described for council.

At 77 Albert St., an $8,500 facade-improvement grant and a $2,200 building-improvement grant will permit work on windows and verandah roof.

At 33 Covert St., a $15,000 grant and a $15,000 loan will allow work on windows and exterior surfacing.

Deputy Mayor John Henderson asked if the program is getting to be known beyond the town, and McGlashon said he does get phone calls about it – some from communities that have the program and want to compare notes, some from communities that do not have such a project and want to establish it. In the latter category, he said, he's been having discussions with Port Hope.

McGlashon said that $150,000 had been allocated for the program in 2018.

“We are really optimistic, and hope we will have another successful year,” he said.