What has changed since 2010 – nothing

-241299_ORIGINALAnd they want to add to the original problem without fixing it, despite promises. We refer to the recent advertisement that proclaims that the Town of Cobourg has received an application to develop a strip pf land that is now zoned “Open Space and Environmental Constraint”. Located on the South side of Nickerson Woods in the D’Arcy Elgin area.

Bit of background on this development: a long established piece of land developed by local builders Bob Haynes and Al LeBlanc in the early 90s, Bob is now living in the Kingston area after selling his last successful development to VanDyck after splitting with Al many years ago, Al is still developing what land he has left in the Densmore Rd area but has always tried to develop this patch. He was successful years ago in getting planning permission for the houses he did build but it was a struggle because the land sits in a flood plain and has been identified as “Environmental constraint” in the OP for decades. Previous Councils defined the boundaries years ago and the question to be asked now as he wants to build is “What has changed to redefine the boundary?”

Nothing has changed for the good, in fact flooding conditions have become worse. Subsequent building in the Elgin St. area below the St Mary’s School necessitated the construction of a spillway and retention ponds to slow down the rate of flooding in that area. Severe flooding in the MidTown Creek is a regular occurrence every twenty years or so because of the combination of rainfall and frozen ground (read the GRCA comments about the flood here). Spillways don’t work well when iced over and especially this one, the one that flows around the LeBlanc Corporate HQ at Elgin and Birchwood, because of the two right angles in the design.

Read about the most recent flood in 2010 in this NorthumberlandToday article here A most distressing time for those unlucky people caught in the three foot high water. An earlier flood occurred in 1986. So these freaks of nature are frequent and deadly. In the aftermath of these happenings the Council of the day received remedial plans and these plans have yet to be implemented.

But these plans assumed that the boundaries of the Flood Plain would not be tampered with. The new application proposes that 24 condominiums be built up to the backyards for the existing dwellings to be accessed by a laneway, all encroaching into the Open-Space. Obviously building on this land will reduce the amount  of land that could hold water. But if the water in a flash flood is contained in a smaller area the velocity of the water as it travels toward the Elgin Division St intersection will  increase therefore the anticipated future flooding, in the same weather conditions as 2010, could be worse. In that case why should any more dwellings be built if the conditions have not been improved?

So what happens now? The notice has been published, the Planning Department will produce a report, complete with bureaucratic language that approves it, after all Mr LeBlanc has contributed the maximum amount to many selected Council members in Municipal Elections in the past. So we see that Mr LeBlanc is a valued member of Cobourg’s development industry and has friends on Council so why wouldn’t his applications get a smooth ride? But on this one he will have to pull all the political strings he can to get approval because of entrenched boundaries and the risk of greater flooding due to subsequent building downstream. But after the application notice the application and the Staff report go to the Planning and Advisory Committee. This committee has few experienced members who would challenge the report as well as a neophyte coordinator. We wish them luck and courage but advise them all to ask for the flooding reports of the past and ask the simple question – what happens in the case of a flood and more importantly why must the boundaries be moved – other than for commercial gain.

Also as a word of warning to Council expect homeowners to appear before you on this one. They have objected every time this application is broached – a classic NIMBY situation and a worthy one as we see it. For the last public comment on this from the homeowners and Mr LeBlanc read this.


A new year time for progress and a little reflection on last year before setting out in the new year. Given that we at the BR appreciate the chance that the interwebthingy has given us and as the masthead says this the place for alternate opinion.

But everybody needs renewal and the next three months will be ours. The BR will come to life from time to time and articles will pop up from time to time. So to avoid the problem of checking out the site for new stuff and not finding it please go to the box in the left sidebar and register for new posts. Sign up and you will never have to waste your valuable time again. New posts will turn up in your mailbox, please rescue the posts from the ‘junk’ file and read them on a sporadic basis.

So once again thanks for the readership over the past year and our best wishes go out to all in cyberspace.

So see you on a regular basis in April.

Suggestions accepted

suggestionsFor the first four Council meetings the Mayor and Council in Cobourg will be listening to the Citizens. Starting on January 12th anybody who wants can speak to Council for five minutes. So folks take them up on it. We will not be there because of our winter sabbatical but the suggestions that would have made are already submitted. If anybody is interested in what the BR had to say look here.

We at the BR will be looking closely at this process just to see if it really happens – the listening that is. It is one thing to ask for comments and suggestions but unless the listeners can prove that they have listened then the whole process is a fraud. We are led to believe that all of the suggestions will be taken to the much vaunted Strategy Session that the new Council inflicts upon itself. Surely the best way to see if any new ideas are being hashed around as opposed to the usual bureaucratic ‘visioning sessions’ that all of us have been subjected to over the years, is to allow the public to watch the sessions.

Now that would be a show that we would pay to watch! And don’t give us any of the crap that goes like: “We cannot be free to say what we want to say if we don’t do it behind closed doors”. Democracy is messy and the messier the better, as far as we go. So unless we can see what happens to the public suggestions, in public we would consider the process to be half-baked.

So the Challenge from us to our new governors is simple – open it up and let us see what you think, after all you asked us what we think. and we told you.

PS If you are one of the Citizens who want to offer opinions why don’t you try them out here – put the suggestions in the comment box and we are confident that the good readers of the BR will tell you what they think – perhaps something that a few of the Councillors will not.

Four more years

brocanierFirst of all let us say four years is too long for any Municipal term of office. Secondly let us say we have a few things to say as we enter the start of this interminable term, and we say this to any Council not just this one.

These people talk a good tune!

Four of the seven new Councils have been inaugurated and in each one of the ceremonies the new leaders have told us what they would like to achieve. The leaders of the smallest municipalities have made a lot of noise about having to cut the cloths of their budgets and what they personally would like to do at the County level. This is where the action gets interesting

A Few Words About Flying Monkeys

droneThe recent dumping of lake-effect snow in Buffalo, upwards of 5 feet, brought with it a major dumping of media coverage as well. CNN alone dispatched at least three of its big names to take shifts standing on the same street corner where plowed piles of snow were particularly impressive.

Another Post from our Fearless Port Hope Correspondent

Fear Itself

 “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933.

 Rick Norlock is about to leave the building. He won’t be running in the next federal election to represent what is now Northumberland-Peterborough South. A combination of relief and nostalgia has descended upon the riding. As I sort through my stack of Rick Norlock constituency updates,

Went to a political meeting last night

And came away very depressed. Because it was just that – a political meeting designed to show off the talents of the two people wishing to be a candidate in the next federal Election. Both people demonstrated a wealth of knowledge about the policies they expect to defend. Both showed that they will be a credible candidate and will do the party proud. But what was depressing was the realisation that this next election is going to be like no other and consequently different tactics must be considered.

A Guest Post from our Port Hope correspondent

Death Of A Salesman 2.0

There’s an old salesman’s adage that says you can’t sell anything unless you sell yourself. Millions have taken to something called Linkedin to do just that -sell themselves.

I’ve never been a fan of Linkedin, partly because I have nothing to sell. I’m retired. I’m not looking for a job and I have no credentials to exaggerate or misrepresent. But a look at Linkedin this morning has me thinking I’m in the minority. There’s a lot of desperate people out there that will say almost anything -or worse- nothing, about their background and qualifications just to get a job.

If you don’t find this out of line you should be on Cobourg Council

coiAt a special meeting  of the outgoing Council it was supposed to be clean-up time – you know finish off the the business of the year before the the new guys come in. One of the items was the approval of the Town assuming the cost of building Home Hardware’s new driveway a.k.a Kerr St. This stub of a road is intended to allow the customers of the new store to drive safely from Division St into the new store without creating a traffic hazard at the old driveway.

Two days to go, if you count today

election snipAn interesting post on FB this morning. So where are the other 73% of eligible voters and will they vote this weekend. Unfortunately Voting Day is now a farce and for all purposes it does not exist any more. The ritual of leaving work early, going to the local polling station and putting an X on a paper ballot has been consigned to the rubbish of history.

I do not know who I will be voting for

electionBut I do know who I will not be voting for. If we hear any body else intone “wasteful spending”, “taxes are too high” (without the explanation of a solution), “I am for the people” and other useless election phrases we hear every four years from candidates without imagination or the brains to offer solutions, we will, as a commenter once put here “puke”.

First Impressions

pano2Went to an All Candidates Meeting (ACM) Thursday night and came away with the feeling that on the surface anybody on the platform could do the job of being on Council. But how does one filter out the ‘remainder’ and and leave behind the ‘winners’?