Cobourg's waterfront is a winner

By Cecilia Nasmith

Six big wins Cobourg's waterfront operations can boast were on display at Monday's committee-of-the-whole council meeting.

This arm of the town's community-services division was selected for the spotlight in this month's This Is Cobourg initiative, communications manager Ashley Purdy said. The service chosen for this honour each month submits six big wins from the previous year to be shared in infographic form in social-media and print outlets as well as on the back of the town buses.

Marina manager Paul Gauthier acknowledged the honour and gave some details on the year's triumphs.

Winning the Five Green Leaf Anchors Award from the Clean Marine Program (which recognizes the highest environmental standards for marinas in the world) was a coup, he said.

“Cobourg is only the second facility to achieve a Five Green Leaf Anchors Award on its initial evaluation in the history of the program.”

The marina welcomes more than 7.000 boaters each year, filling its 218 slips with 155 seasonal boaters and 63 guests. This amazing venue also boasts a strategic location between the GTA and the Thousand Islands region.

The economic benefit between 2010 and 2016 is estimated at $12.2-million, he said, and this doesn't include spin-off benefits from boaters and campers who take advantage of the many shopping and dining opportunities within easy walking distance.

This kind of benefit has expanded with the marina acquiring the Great Ontario Salmon Derby, bringing national attention along with the economic spin-off.

The campground this year welcomed 5,700 campers, Gauthier said. And from 2012 to 2017, it has realized $880,000 in revenues.

“The marina and campground also contribute toward a critical mass of activity on the waterfront and a market segment that help support downtown businesses and special events,” he added.

Finally, there's the town's 2009 purchase of its own dredger.

“This has saved a substantial amount of money in dredging costs to keep the harbour navigable, and it's contracted out, which helps to further reduce the cost of maintaining the harbour.”

Though the dredger had not been contracted out this season, Gauthier added, they have been contracted for a future project in Brighton.

“These business units also provide employment, as well as direct spending for supplies and services in the community,” he said.

In his years at the marina, Gauthier has found Cobourg serves as a role model for other communities in terms of its waterfront. He has often heard it called the best marina on Lake Ontario, and he hears similar approving comments about the campground.

“Where else do you find a campground that is in town and on the beach at the same time,” he said.

“These facilities not only contribute to the quality of life for residents and visitors to the town,they also operate as revenue generators for the community.”