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On Wednesday afternoon, there was an opportunity for citizens to let Council know what should or should not be in the 2017 budget.  Deputy Mayor John Henderson was generally thanked for his efforts to get the budget completed by the end of December or early January but all submitters had specific requests to either do something that was not being done or to not spend on specific projects such as a Travel Lift for the Marina.  Details below.

Travel Lift

Bryan Lambert showed his accountant’s expertise when he demolished the business case for a Travel Lift for the Marina.  It was proposed last year and again this year as an enhancement and safety upgrade.  However, Debra McCarthy and Dean Hustwick said it was a “place-holder” with the implication that it would not be approved this time – it would need to be considered as part of the comprehensive Waterfront Implementation plan now being organized.

Here is the essence of Bryan’s analysis:

  • The Travel Lift cost is $600K. A 3% 10-year loan costs $5,794/month, or $69,528/yr.
  • Assume operating cost for wages, insurance, maintenance, fuel etc is $15K/year.
  • Therefore $84,500/year is needed to service the 10yr loan.
  • On the revenue side, based on rates in Whitby, lift in and out for a 35' boat would be $550
  • 154 boats would be needed to generate the $84,500 needed to service a 10yr loan.

This is 3.4 times the current number of boats launched in Cobourg in 2016.

Looking at it another way, earlier this spring, about 45 boats were lifted in at the marina so if we use that number, the launch/haul-out fee would have to be $1,878/boat to service the 10yr loan.

Bryan also described why the safety issue is a red herring.  His full transcript is here.

In Bryan’s submission, he also said:

On Wednesday, September 28 at the 2017 Preliminary Budget meeting, Councillor McCarthy asked if the Marina was fully user funded. The Mayor replied (paraphrased) that since the marina expansion didn’t go ahead, the Marina does not generate enough funds to cover its needs and therefore requires funding from the Town.
This appears to be a significant shift in policy and appears to have occurred without any discussion, debate or public consultation.
Can you confirm that this is now Town policy?

In the meeting Mayor Brocanier confirmed Bryan’s quote.

In a separate submission, Dennis Nabieszko said:

In talking with my neighbours, friends, and local businesses, there was not one person that supported the purchase of a Travel Lift. This is a significant expenditure and cost to local taxpayers, especially to those on fixed incomes. One of the arguments for this purchase is the safety of the current method using volunteers. If that is the case, professionals should be used and the boaters should be paying for it. This Travel Lift only benefits a few well off people and not the retiree or the single mother struggling to make ends meet. Please don't approve the Travel Lift as a budget item.

Sand on Boardwalk

beach sandKeith Matthews made his fourth request to Council to do something about the sand continually encroaching on the "boardwalk" at the Eastern end of the beach (photo at right).

In several places along the eastern half of the beach Walkway the grassed banks have eroded, leaving areas of just sand. This sand spreads down on to the Walkway, oftentimes covering as much as half of it. The Town's maintenance staff simply clear the sand from the Walkway by throwing it back to where it came from and within half a day it is all back on the Walkway.

Council seemed sympathetic but also seemed to think there was little to be done; Keith simply asked that it be restored to its previous condition even if it needed to be done every few years.

Tree planting funds

Terry Marrocco, Cobourg Resident requested an increase in the 2017 Budget to increase Tree Planting funds to $40,000.  She spoke passionately about the value of trees – council seemed sympathetic.

Milestone Park

Ken Lee requested that funds be set aside in the 2017 Budget to bring Milestone Park (a naturalized park in West Park Village) to a standard including a maintenance program comparable to other residential parks in the Town of Cobourg.  However, Council remembered that considerable consultation had been done before it was decided that the Park should be natural but it now seems that some residents have changed their mind.

Electrical Upgrade in Victoria Park

Michael Mclellan, Rotary Club of Cobourg requested funding in the 2017 Budget to investigate and put a plan in place to upgrade the electrical system at Victoria Park to meet the needs of the Cobourg Rotary Ribfest and the needs of other community groups who utilize the Park.  Council noted that Lions want the same for the Waterfront festival.

Upgrade of sidewalks

Former councillor Bill McDonald asked that new sidewalks be constructed such that they did not have the cracks which were like speed bumps for motorized wheelchairs.  This caused scooter users to use the smoother road which was dangerous.  Council thought that perhaps bicycle trails on the road might meet the need.

The CTA (Cobourg Taxpayers Association) also made submissions – these will be covered in a separate Post here.


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