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One of the goals of the Downtown Vitalization project was to produce a Master plan for Downtown Cobourg – and it was unveiled at an open house Wednesday evening. It is intended as the Vision for Downtown and a guideline for development - some might call it a wish list.   Although, when approved, it will have no legal authority, a companion plan – the Community Improvement Plan - will allow for incentives.  Also, when and if approved, the Community Improvement Venture Initiative (CIVI) will help with financing.

There are no really new ideas – and the big question, what to do with the Trailer Park, is left unanswered.  The plan is meant to cover the next 20 years and to be used when developers come to the Town with a proposal.  At that point, their idea will be compared with the plan and if in compliance, would get smooth sailing through the bureaucracy but if not, would meet with resistance and encouragement to be in line with the Plan’s vision.

The plan looks good – see the image below.  The idea is to have a walkable green downtown with lots of development.  In the plan displayed, all the proposed developments were shown completed.  That includes the Legion condos, development of the Quigley lot, completion of development of the area along the south east end of Albert, infill in the parking lot at the south end of Legion Village, development of the CDCI West building and playing fields, completion of the development of the old Curling Building on Queen and more.  If all these happen, the increase in downtown population would by itself be a big help.

So what exactly is proposed?

  • Convert Second Street alongside the Market square into a part-time pedestrian square.  Some days (e.g. Saturday morning) the street would be closed to traffic.
  • Improve the pedestrian connection between Rotary Waterfront Park and Third Street with landscaping enhancements to the existing LCBO parking lot.
  • Improve the existing Covert Street parking area with pathways, landscaping and lighting.
  • Enhance the trailer park site as a key downtown community amenity and destination. (Whatever that means)
  • Enhance the existing boardwalk.
  • A public plaza along the central promenade wall.   [I’d call it the Esplanade or Marina area].
  • Redesign the Eastern Pier with potential redevelopment of the Coast Guard Building (restaurant, snack shop. rentals. etc.) overlook seating and enhanced boardwalk.
  • Redevelop existing vacant parcels to 'fill-in' the gaps between Downtown areas and the Waterfront.
  • Provide limited infill development of the Seniors Village site with compatible residential typologies, enhanced open spaces and other amenities.
  • Redevelop the CDCI West playing field site with a range of high quality townhouse and condominium typologies [there's that word again]. Provide a new public open space that interfaces with the development and Waterfront and provides a gathering place for residents.
  • Encourage outdoor cafes/restaurant space at the McGill Street and King Street intersection to act as an interface to Victoria Park and as an additional amenity that serves park users. [Maybe Hoolee Gardens will finally re-open?]
  • Redevelop the existing Park Theatre block as a key entertainment destination in the downtown [all it needs is money].
  • Redevelop the former CDCI West site as a key amenity and 'urban magnet' for the Downtown (education, university department. cultural/ business/ innovation incubator). Integrate appropriately-scaled residential development.
  • On the north side of King Street between Ball Street and Spring Street, enhance the existing heritage structures and redevelop the remaining block fronting onto King Street. Create a gateway design statement and parkette at the north-west corner of King Street and Spring Street to help frame the entry into the Downtown and to create a sense of place.
  • Develop the First Street Pedestrian connection between the Waterfront and King Street.
  • Provide a pedestrian path that connects Third Street with Hibernia Street.

All Downtown streets should have street trees and a consistent design palette throughout.

The good news is that this provides a direction for where the Town is heading.  All that remains is for developers to come up with the plans (and associated money) to implement these ideas.

When the plan is posted on-line (as promised), a link will be provided here.  Public input is solicited but so far no published way to do that other than email the Town.

The proposed plan is below – the orange blocks are additions/changes. Click to enlarge.

 plan

Links

Community Improvement Venture Initiative
Community Improvement Plan

 

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