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At Monday’s Council meeting two items on the Agenda refer to Downtown: 1) the Planning and Sustainability Advisory Committee (PSAC) says that the CIP (Community Improvement Plan) should have “criteria to evaluate individual applications, criteria for measuring results and a protocol for distributing monies and grants” and 2) the Downtown Coalition Advisory Committee provides an update on their work over the past year.  Included are some numbers they have collected that measure activity in the Downtown.

Another item concerning Downtown is that the new DBIA Board members will be ratified by Council in a closed session.  This is needed because many of the board members resigned which necessitated a General Meeting and election of a new board and chair.  The new Chair is reported to be Adam Bureau who was previously vice-chair.  The previous chair was Andrew Stewart.  The first item of business for the new board will be to hire an events coordinator to replace Maggie Darling who moved on to a better job.

The Report by Carol McCann on the progress of the Downtown Coalition Advisory Committee (DCAC) is quite long (download here) but the most interesting section is where they show statistics on Downtown.

Downtown Cobourg Prosperity Measures

Prosperity Measures 2013 2014 2015 2016
Vacancy rate in commercial units       TBD
Number of businesses in Downtown 249 254 243 249
Number of business openings   26 30 19
Number of business closings   24 37 16
Number closed on King St   15 26 8
Commercial construction (permits)   $154,500 $871,801  
Business property tax revenue     $1,932,063  
Parking meter revenues     $260,555*  

* 11 months

Carol made it clear that the item "Number closed on King St." refers to just King street but the others refer to the whole Downtown area which goes from James in the north down to the Lake, and from Bell in the West to Church streets. [This text edited after actual presentation on Oct 31st.]

Downtown Cobourg Liveability Measures

Liveability Measures 2011 2013 2014 2015 2016
Number of residential  properties (RTEP)       571  
Number of residential condo units       378  
Residential construction permits     $91,000 $1,255,500  
Residential property tax revenue       $2,388,828  
Number of residents 1,555       TBD
Median age of residents 61       TBD
Pedestrian counts at King & Division         TBD

Lots of missing numbers but this kind of data would go a long way to measure the health of Downtown.  It's good to see that this committee wants these numbers.

DCAC admits that there is a lot of work yet to be done and specifically itemizes these:

Some Issues in Vitalization Progress

  • Better communication of progress needed
  • Newsletter dropped [The last one was July 2015 - more here]
  • How to address buildings or storefronts that are consistently vacant.

Future steps:

  • Monitor CIP; if CIP is unsuccessful in accelerating building vitalization
  • Revisit CIVIC proposal and/or
  • Consider purchase of Downtown building for redevelopment
  • Press forward with business & customer attraction through marketing
  • Complete signage plan
  • Revisit Action Plan objectives to pick up any missing items
  • Further implementation of Downtown Master Plan recommendations
  • Engage with Culture Master Plan process
  • Implement additional measures and data collection (e.g., CIP, pedestrian counts)

Looks like they are on the way to responding to the PSAC request for measuring results.


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