Letter to the Parks & Rec Committee on the Waterfront Assessment

This is a letter that Ted Williams sent to the Parks and Recreation Committee on the Waterfront Needs Assessment

To: Parks and Rec Committee Members
March 29, 2017

Waterfront NEEDS Assessment
Defining the Assessment
We should be clear in what our goal is with this assessment. To strive to be impeccable with our word is paramount to success. “Needs” is misleading and in the interest of accuracy, this word should not be used. Reference to any dictionary, indicates needs means that which is essential. I would suggest the word “Wants” be used.

What exactly is this assessment.? When I walk along the Waterfront I pass the Boardwalk / West headlands preserve / Winter boat storage / Sail Club Storage / Parking lot and small beach / public boat ramp/ Yacht Club / Marina office / Marina / Div St. Pier / Trailer Park and Beach, the Waterfront is all finished, it’s fully occupied – what are we studying?

If the Committee wanted to commission an engineering Study of our Town-owned Harbour (meaning the piers, break wall etc.) that may discover that we may need millions of dollars in future years to reinforce deteriorating foundations and sinkholes – I would be strongly in favour.

Public / User Hearings
To paraphrase what I have heard from the residents of Cobourg on this matter of the Waterfront – here are some comments for consideration:

  • If you had asked the Public first you would find the majority do not want to spend $ 130,000 on another out-of-town Consultant study. The Master Plan of 2013 was not received very well. Think of what we could purchase for the Waterfront with this money, instead of asking outsiders to determine, for us, what we want in our Town. Better still, lower our taxes.
  • If you really feel you need to look at certain areas, the Director of Parks and Rec could better facilitate any assessment. He is very articulate and knowledgeable about the Town. Why do we keep contracting out, what should be done by own staff? The public are growing very weary of spending on consultants.

There are two groups that have a permanent seasonal rental arrangement right on the Waterfront – the boaters and the RVers.

Over the past years the wants of the boaters has been meticulously documented through many discussions around the failed Marina expansion discussions and then again through the attempt of the boats asking the taxpayers to fund the $ 630,000 travelift. The boaters even have a rep. on the Committee itself. On the other hand the RVers who occupy 15% of the downtown waterfront frontage are not being considered. They should have a prominent place at the table. This campground is the only Municipal run, permanent entity, that makes a large profit year after year. They also supply a wonderful “vacation atmosphere” to our waterfront. Why are they being ignored? Why does the Town not reach out to them?

Public Wants
Over the past years I have spoken to hundreds of residents down at the Waterfront. Here are some of their/our “wants” for consideration:

  • At least 1 hour of free parking, Mon – Fri (a window sticker could be inserted in their property tax mail out) Many residents are very annoyed to have to pay for parking to visit their own Beach.
  • More public bathrooms
  • Return the 70 boat slips to Cobourg boating residents (stop treating our visitors better than our own citizens)
  • Stop attracting more people to our Beach- it is over crowded now.

An additional item that would be appreciated:

  • A public rack to store kayaks / canoes for the season. (Many residents living in condo’s have no place to store them)

Respectfully submitted for a better Cobourg

Ted Williams