By Cecilia Nasmith
Cobourg council this week set a timetable for the start of public engagement on the town's east pier and Victoria Park campground.
Both have serious issues associated with aging infrastructure, and the east pier was in fact closed to all vehicular and pedestrian traffic,
Councillor Emily Chorley made a motion to hold a public open house in early September at the Cobourg Community Centre that will offer an opportunity to discuss the options and conceptual drawings in the Waterfront User Needs Assessment and the Shoreplan East Pier Engineering Assessment.
Chorley's motion sees this as a good use of the new Bang The Table public-engagement software, which she hopes can begin next month and be used for this purpose for at least six weeks.
Then, the motion continued, council can take all input into account for a report to council by Oct. 15, which will include a request for council authorization to begin the procurement of engineering or other services to develop drawings, costs and tender documents for preferred options in preparation for a further public meeting – with additional estimated engineering and construction costs to be submitted through the 2020 budget process.
The original motion (which Chorley amended) called for the report to come back to council by Nov. 4, and director of community services Dean Hustwick noted that there's a lot of detail to be reviewed by members of the public if the exercise is to result in what he termed a meaningful and credible engagement process – different lighting options, various types of paths and gateways, possibly even a round-about at the bottom of Division Street.
Hustwick stated that the timeline for public engagement is about half of what he would normally recommend.
In his report to council, Hustwick reiterated the four options Shoreplan put forward in its December plan for the east pier.
Option 1 closes the pier to traffic and naturalizes it as park space, with the only permitted use being pedestrian traffic (no ability to use the space to remove or launch boats or to operate a midway).
Option 2 would replace the top fill material and then repave the surface. This would allow foot traffic and some small vehicles traveling at low speeds, but no midway and no boat launching or lifting.
Option 3 would add a stable concrete deck with a steel piled foundation, 10 metres in width. This would strengthen the structure so that there would be no restriction on how it is used.
Option 4 is a combination of Options 1 and 2, which would include park space with a paved pedestrian walkway, and light vehicle use on the west area.
As for the campground, Hustwick's report contemplates a reconfiguration of the boardwalk to provide more of a buffer between campers and the other beach and waterfront users. Furthermore, he added, the Canadian Coast Guard is in the process of redesigning its beachfront facility to align with the Waterfront Plan.
It's an area of keen importance to the community, Mayor John Henderson said.
“It's important to get this right and not unduly delay the process, because we all know how much the east pier and the campground and the Coast Guard mean to Cobourg.”
Councillor Aaron Burchat requested a recorded vote on the motion as amended by Chorley. He joined Councillors Nicole Beatty and Brian Darling in opposing it, but the remainder of the council carried it in a four-to-three vote.