Letter to Council on Abbott Blvd. Sidewalk

April 6, 2021
Delivered to each Cobourg Council member by email:

Dear Council Members:

This email is about the proposed sidewalk on Abbott Blvd. Last year this was proposed and on a closer inspection, it was justifiably turned down. Now it has come up again. It seems that staff, when thwarted on their first attempt, simply changed the criteria for sidewalks, seeming to specifically include Abbott Blvd.

The designation seems entirely arbitrary. It appears to depend more on staff’s stated intention to do a sidewalk a year, whether it’s needed or not, than on any real need or desire by the citizens.

Abbott Blvd. does not need or want a sidewalk. It is one of the widest residential streets in the Town. It is not a main artery or even an overused thoroughfare. People will certainly continue to walk in the street whether or not there is a sidewalk in place, as they do on D’Arcy, Bay St., Paul Currelly Way and Perry Street to name just a few. A sidewalk will irrevocably alter the character and ambiance of Abbott Blvd.

In light of this, the enormous cost is an extravagant and unjustified waste of tax-payers funds on something so unnecessary and unwanted; not to mention that the great preponderance of the residents do not want a sidewalk. One place a sidewalk is actually needed is on Lakeshore, where the traffic is significant and often at unnecessary speeds, there are no real shoulders to get away from the vehicles and the visibility is constrained. But this would be a much more expensive sidewalk to install.

In view of the unnecessary implementation of this sidewalk plan and the residents’ opposition to the installation and the significant waste of tax-payers’ funds, it appears that the council has simply bowed to the designs of certain staff and forgone its obligation to represent the citizens in a democratic, fiscally responsible or representative manner.

I understand that a RFP was put out and accepted. The vote in council was taken with virtually no notice to the public and this has all been done very quietly until it is a fait accompli.

This is all a very serious failure of this council to represent the citizens of this town in any sort of reasonable or democratic fashion.  If there is any way that this can be undone this council should readdress this issue.

The public is aware who voted in favour of this boondoggle. A number of people, myself included, will work during the next election to replace each councillor who so thoughtlessly thwarted the actual intentions of the citizenry.

James McGrath