Since its inception, $350K of taxpayers’ money has been given to downtown property owners to help them repair their buildings. To date, there has been no accountability for the money spent; i.e. the public have not received any feedback or measurements of success or failure of this programme. Are you in favour of discontinuing this program?
I would like to add the following: I am in favour of municipal planning and financial tools that support revitalization goals in the downtown core. However, I strongly believe that an annual review of the CIP, its metrics and achieved impact is required to ensure taxpayer dollars are being maximized. With that said, as Councillor, I would ensure that an impact report that analyses and evaluates the CIP funding disbursed/allocated to-date is published to Council and the public before making a decision to maintain, increase or discontinue the program.
Community Improvement Program (CIP): Prior to making any decisions on the CIP, I would recommend a public evidence-based review of the program. I would proactively invite the input of downtown building owners, small businesses, commercial and private tenants, and Cobourg residents to assess whether the program represents a strong return-on-investment to Cobourg taxpayers.
It is important that we do not allow the CIP to create an environment that incentivizes property-owners to neglect the maintenance of their buildings, only to receive a grant or loan from the Town for their repair. Rather, the CIP needs to be a tool for vitalization that is used in conjunction with the proactive enforcement of the property standards by-law.
I would continue the CIP after a review of return on investment.
Karl Vom Dorff
Not at this time. I agree that the program could be enhanced to offer the public an insight into how the money was used to decide its value to taxpayers. For instance, applications could require successful applicants to take ‘before and after’ photos of their projects, and write a one page report on how the money was used to help them. The town could post the reports to their website. I speculate that CIP is a valid program and needed to help the struggling district where repairs and modernizations are more expensive to implement than elsewhere in Cobourg, however discontinuing the program without any feedback would be irresponsible.
I disagree with the statement by the CTA presented as fact with the question. From the information I am aware of, it is my understanding that analysis of results and assessment of programs involving various partners and processes is on-going and pilot projects have varying lengths of time involved. I expect reports will be provided.
I will continue to support the CIP with the current funding amount but as I have stated before the program is an evolving program.
As I’ve stated previously, Community Improvement Programs (CIPs) have been created in large and small communities across Ontario. They’re quickly becoming critical components of any community’s revitalization plans. As a new Councillor, I’ll be sitting down with appropriate staff and my Council colleagues to review and determine the success of the current model to see its effectiveness, and whether it needs to be enhanced in any way.
If your question is in reference to the Downtown Cobourg Vitalization CIP (Community Improvement Plan) instituted on March 21, 2016 in accordance with Section 28 of the Planning Act and aligned with Council’s Strategic Plan, then my answer would be “No”. The Community improvement Plan investment of $150 00 by Cobourg Council in 2018 has resulted in six of seven applications being accepted. I am pleased that the CIP is stackable which means the applicant can apply for up to eight programs to meet their needs. This year the estimated Return on Investment for the six applications was just under one million dollars invested into our downtown core. In discussions with the new Council, I would like the $150 000 CIP to remain in the upcoming budget. I would also like Council to consider increasing this amount if there was a major project to open up second and third stories for business-residential –commercial purposes or securing a landmark/anchor business. By bringing people and services to our downtown this will certainly move us forward in re-vitalizing our downtown which is a critical link to our waterfront.
I would be open to having further discussions with the public, including the CTA and Cobourg’s Planning Department on what additional measures or metrics could be added to the CIP to ensure the that taxpayers’ dollars are being maximized towards the re-vitalization of our downtown core. More importantly, to discuss how communications could best deliver these outcomes to the community.