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Using the Town’s Strategic plan as a guide,  the Economic Development Advisory Committee has created a plan to set Economic goals for the remainder of Council’s term.  It covers Tourism as well as Economic Development since that is part of the Economic Development department’s current area of responsibility.  The plan will be presented to Council for approval at next Monday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting.   The Goals and Actions presented include some that are not popular with all residents.

The Strategic Plan will be presented to Council by Wendy Gibson, Economic Development Officer, and Suzanne Séguin, Chair, Strategic Plan Steering Committee (photo at right).

Suzanne SeguinThe process included soliciting input from the business community and an online survey.  As a result, the following priorities were established:

  1. Continue downtown vitalization
  2. Marketing for business attraction
  3. Agri-food focus
  4. Business retention & expansion
  5. Four-season tourism strategy for culture & events

You can download the Proposed Plan here but I have extracted action highlights:

  1. Execute signage and property enhancements (2016/2017)
  2. Complete the Community Improvement Venture Initiative (2016)
  3. Complete the Downtown Master Plan integrating the Heritage Master Plan (2016)
  4. Update and execute Victoria Square Precinct Plan (2017/2018)
  5. Obtain public input on use of Victoria Park Campground as a site for a potential Four Season Tourism Attraction (2016)
  6. Leverage the Cultural Master Plan components for business attraction (2016/2017)
  7. Support an entrepreneurial business hub (2016)
  8. Update municipal development by-laws conducive to business that fit our vision for Cobourg (Ongoing)

There are a lot of other actions that are not controversial – at least I don’t think so.  Most of us expect the town to market the Downtown (plus other areas) and pursue business attraction and retention and they will be doing this. The Town is currently looking for a Manufacturing Attraction Specialist to fill the vacancy caused by Kevin Narraway who went to Port Hope to become their “Marketing Manager”. 

A separate document gives detail of the planned actions and estimated budget required..  (Numbers correspond with action highlights above)

  Action Time Budget
1 Parking & Pedestrian Wayfinding Signs 2Q 2016 $100,000
2 CIVI: Secure funding, complete legal review, set-up corporation, create board of directors
Hire Executive Director and implement plan
2Q 2016
3Q 2016 Onward
3 Integrate the Heritage Master Plan with the Downtown Master Plan 3Q 2016 Budgeted 2015
4 Review and revise the Victoria Square Plan
Implement the Victoria Square Plan
5 Obtain public input on use of Victoria Park Campground as a site for a potential Four Season Tourism Attraction Process Plan
Utilize public process to determine viability of the results of the tourism asset feasibility study
2Q 2016 No Cost
6 Complete the Cultural Master Plan
Implement the Cultural Master Plan with a focus on attracting businesses identified in the plan
3Q 2016
2Q 2017
Parks & Rec. Budget
7 Support an entrepreneurial business hub
Support the Business Advisory Centre Northumberland in the creation of a virtual youth incubator pilot project
Continue to operate the Youth Entrepreneur Partnership and promote and encourage participation in the N100 program to encourage innovative fledgling businesses to establish operations in Cobourg

1Q 2016

2016 Ongoing


8 Update municipal development by-laws conducive to business that fit our vision for Cobourg
Identify changes to zoning by-laws

3Q 2016

No Cost

I have to assume that “no cost” means no cost other than the cost of existing employees’ time.

Download the complete proposed Action Plan here.

Disclosure – I was a member of the Economic Development committee and the Strategic Plan Steering Committee that prepared these documents.  But my 6 year term is up and a replacement will be appointed in closed session at Monday’s meeting.


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