Cobourg’s East Pier or Marina: Which should be given priority?
Everyone agrees that our spectacular waterfront is an invaluable asset and that the protection and preservation of it is a given. It is an asset that requires a solid financial foundation and ongoing investment.
The East Pier is a Cobourg icon. It has been enjoyed by walkers, strollers, surfers, teenagers, classic car enthusiasts, and drivers with coffees who enjoy watching the sun rise or set, the waves – calm or crashing – the birds and the people.
Given that we are delving into history, we thought we could look at the history of how our tax dollars have been spent so far.
For many years the Town has been aware of the pier’s deterioration and the need for an influx of taxpayer dollars.
More than 7 years ago our newly elected Mayor and Councillor at the time, John Henderson, raised safety and liability issues at the June 6, 2011 Council meeting.
In 2011 Rob Washburn reported:
“Public Works Director Barry Thrasher said the east pier will be closed all day to allow the company to do the $6,000 study and a draft report is expected within a few days to settle growing concerns about the safety of the rides for the Waterfront Festival on Canada Day weekend.
“We all knew the sounding would have to be carrier out, if not prior to this event, we knew we were going to do it later,” Thrasher said following the council meeting Monday.
Residents spoke out on John Draper’s Cobourg Blog:
Its funny Council would over look or Leave out such a large expenditure It’s been in a failing state for years and the Town’s Professionals have been studying it for at least 3 yrs now. Perplexed
Considering this item was a priority in the Harbour master plan and left uncosted Council has a major decision to make about how much remedial work needs to be undertaken and to what standard. Ben
The pier has been closed since February 2018. Groups such as Rotary have been forced to relocate the midway to the park – creating extra work and stress for already stretched to the limit volunteers. The midway move to Victoria Park has also unnecessarily annoyed neighbours and further destroyed the park’s landscaping. Rotary’s midway was threatened with the same structural issues during 2011. Why wasn’t the pier fixed in 2011?
Some town staff feel that borrowing to meet needs is preferable to setting aside funds for future repairs. However, it doesn’t appear that either strategy was applied to the pier. Why not, we wonder?
Instead of maintaining this existing major waterfront asset, beloved by Cobourgers, the Town has been allocating time and money to study grandiose plans for the future. One example of misdirected resources being spent on future-based plans is the highly contentious proposed marina expansion into the West Harbour with an accompanying travel lift. The Town said it is important and hired yet another team of consultants to prepare a Waterfront Needs Assessment Plan to prioritize what they think we need. Residents know what they need – their pier. It is a pity the Town didn’t just ask them.
As the new council begins their term it’s important that we start a public conversation to assure taxpayers that investments in current projects and problems are given priority over future investments. Not instead of, just ahead of.
Unlike our 19th century leaders, we do not want to be wearing rose-tinted glasses about the future while ignoring the realities we face today.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” –George Santayana