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At the C.O.W. meeting tonight, Council debated whether to gather all the information over a period of 6 or 18 months but then decided that the outcome would be the same so voted to stop any further plans to add boat slips to the West Harbour.  The West Harbour Marina expansion project is now dead.  Although confirmation is needed at next week’s full Council regular meeting, because all councillors voted the same way, it is unlikely that the decision would be reversed.

marina demonstrationBefore the meeting, there was a demonstration outside Victoria Hall organized by the Cobourg Preserve Our Heritage Harbour advocacy group - one person counted 45 people and there was a Police cruiser parked nearby – no doubt sent to make sure it was peaceful, which it was!

The Council gallery was standing room only and started with three presentations.

  • Beth Bellaire, Commodore, Cobourg Dragon Boat and Canoe Club said their presentation would be focused on youth and introduced Head coach Jeremy Fowlie who put a (young) human face on the issue. In addition to his impassioned plea to preserve his “ball diamond” and showing a video of paddlers who obviously need more space than a restricted west harbour, he introduced two young coaches, a teenaged paddler and even a 10 year old paraplegic paddler.  He was obviously making it an emotional issue.
  • Deb Panko, was speaking as a member of the Willow Beach Field naturalists, a member of the Preserve Our Heritage Harbour group and a Cobourg taxpayer.  She explicitly asked that Theresa’s motion to postpone a decision to December 31, 2016 be modified to instead stop expansion at any time in the future.  She commented that the West Harbour was good for people who did not have a cottage and also that “the harbour parking lot for boats would help downtown about as much as the WalMart and Home Deport parking lots”.
  • Paul Pagnuelo as usual addressed the financial aspects.  He gave reasons why the Marina was mismanaged financially and that expansion was not needed for financial reasons as the Marina Manager claimed.  Gil Brocanier asked if he had discussed his numbers with the Marina manager or Town staff and he said no but that he was willing to do so.  Paul also commented that the Strategic Plan referred to “Complete and implement the Cobourg Marina Expansion plan” but John Henderson’s answer to a comment referred to the “Waterfront Master Plan”. He asked which is it?  Later comments by John and Theresa Rickerby made it clear that the intent is to have a Waterfront Master plan in the future but none exists now. Download Paul's complete analysis here.

Theresa Rickerby put a motion that:

WHEREAS the Cobourg Marina Expansion Operations and Facilities Study (Shoreplan Engineering Ltd. December 2014) and any amendments be received for information purposes; and
WHEREAS any further discussions regarding the expansion of slips at the Cobourg Marina into the West Harbour cease effective immediately through December 31, 2016 to allow for further deliberations; and
FURTHER THAT Council authorize that the current Marina Expansion Steering Committee (Working Group) be dissolved and be replaced with the newly formed Waterfront Advisory Committee.

There was a long discussion on this. Some were concerned that the new Waterfront committee thought their mandate was primarily about the Marina but in fact it's a much broader mandate.  Initially there was an amendment proposed to reduce the delay time to 6 months (by Larry Sherwin).  Forrest Rowden agreed but Theresa wanted 18 months to allow adequate discussion; others wanted to decide straight away.  Through all the discussion, it was apparent to the gallery and to the councillors that none were really in favour of the proposed expansion – the discussion was about process and how long it would take to decide.  In the end, Brian Darling moved an amendment so that the second paragraph of the motion read:

WHEREAS any further plans regarding the expansion of any slips at the Cobourg Marina into the West Harbour cease effective immediately.

As Brian said: “We’ve flogged the horse and it’s dead”.

His amendment passed and the amended motion passed.

The West Harbour Marina expansion project is now dead (subject to confirmation at the regular council meeting next week).


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