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On June 22, the consultant recently hired to develop practical plans for the Tannery District held two key meetings.  (See links below for more on what the Tannery District is).  The first was with stakeholders – current occupants of the designated district and Cobourg residents already working towards a greener more sustainable Cobourg.  The second meeting was an open house for the general public – about 35 showed up.  The idea is that the Tannery district will become a showcase sustainable district.  With enough pre-planning and support from the Tannery District CIP (more below), it is hoped a developer will be encouraged to take it to the next step.

The Town owns the core vacant 7 acres with no encumbrances so this land could be free or at least cheap.  The remaining 23 acres are currently owned by other residences and businesses.  The consultant has led projects like this before so it is hoped the new Master plan will not be simply shelved.

Planning Manager Rob Franklin told me that he has a lot to learn from Cobourg people who are very familiar with sustainability concepts – an example would be the Tannery District Citizens Group who made a proposal to Council in January 2015.  Make no mistake, the intent for the Tannery District is very much environmentally and sustainability oriented.

The first meeting spent time going over the 10 “sustainability principles” and the public were free to also contribute (photos below from public meeting).

The ten sustainability principles are:

1. Health & Happiness. Encourage active, sociable, meaningful lives to promote good health and well-being. 6. Local & Sustainable Food. Promote sustainable humane farming and healthy diets high in local, seasonal organic food and vegetable protein.
2.  Equity & Local Economy. Create safe, equitable places to live and work which support local prosperity and international fair trade. 7. Sustainable Materials. Use materials from sustainable sources and promote products which help people reduce consumption.
3. Culture & Community. Nurture local identity and heritage, empowering communities and promoting a culture of sustainable living. 8. Sustainable Transport. Reduce the need to travel, encourage walking, cycling and low carbon transport.
4. Land & Nature. Protect and restore land for the benefit of people and wildlife. 9. Zero Waste. Reduce consumption, re-use and recycle to achieve zero waste and zero pollution.
5. Sustainable Water. Use water efficiently, protect local water resources and reduce flooding and drought. 10.  Zero Carbon. Make buildings and manufacturing carbon efficient and supply all energy with renewables.

Input wanted

The Consultants and Planning staff wanted answers to some specific questions;

  1. Looking 15-20 years in to the future, describe the future ideal state for residents, employees and visitors to Tannery District.
  2. What unique site and neighbourhood opportunities are available for the Tannery District?
  3. What related policy directions, commitments, existing town initiatives and challenges will affect the ideal state?
  4. Who needs to be involved to make this happen? Champions, partners, collaborators.
  5. Which topic areas should be prioritized and why?

Owners of businesses in the District were obviously concerned that they might be forced to move.  Director of Planning, Glenn McGlashon assured them that there is no intent to do that, instead  these owners would now have additional options.  I would expect that development would start first in the 7 acres owned by the Town.   It is currently vacant and environmentally safe as long as you don’t access the groundwater.  But it does not meet standards for housing and some remediation would be required. However, that should be viable given that the Town has the CIP (Community Improvement Plan) for the District and I would think would offer the land at an attractive price (I’d suggest free).

The photos below of the Public meeting include some of the wall charts of the sustainability principles. That was the way groups and their inputs were divided,  Each chart had dozens of post-its with suggestions and comments.

  Tannery open houseJune22Tannery open houseJune22




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