Ben Burd

A truly Jekyll and Hyde moment

Will the real Forrest Rowden stand up! At the Council meeting of June 11th Councillor Rowden (of Cobourg) obviously had a flashback and travelled back in time to his illustrious (????) career as Mayor of Hamilton Township. In his questions to a delegation, who appeared to question a servicing agreement between Cobourg and Hamilton Township He pugnaciously engaged in questions with the delegation seriously defending Hamilton Twps’ interests. Surely this Councillor in his peculiar inaction to defend Cobourg’s interests has demonstrated just where his interests lie. Truly this guy’s “buy before date” has expired. To prove the point he spoke at length about the time he was on a Hamilton Twp’s visit to Woodstock. He spoke glowingly about the tax-sharing agreements that that Municipality had secured with its neighbours when it supplied cross-border services, and then refused to even consider such an arrangement in the servicing agreement in question – confusing.

Weekend Jottings

Had an interesting email exchange this week with the guardians of the public agenda:

On Tuesday evening the Publisher of the BR emailed the Municipal Clerk a request to be placed on the agenda for the June11th Regular Council meeting. Using the somewhat unfriendly application form , unfriendly in that on order to attach the form to an email the form needed to be filled out, printed, scanned and then attached to the email. Perhaps a “mailto” button could be put on the form to eliminate this? The bylaw, on the Town’s website dated 2016, asked that an outline of the presentation be submitted by Friday of the week. He received a confirmation email on the next day timed at 9.13 am. At 11.18 of the same day another email came from the Municipal Clerk:

Thanks for your Delegation request. In regards to your request the Mayor is asking that all delegates follow the Procedural By-law 079-2018 and you should provide myself the Municipal Clerk with an outline and a hard copy of your delegation to be included on the agenda of what you plan on presenting at the June 11th Regular Council Meeting, to provide Council and the Public within information. Please submit a hard copy to myself by Friday at 1:00 P.M in order to be included as a delegation for Monday June 11th, 2018. 

Well, that started an investigation with the procedure, what the Publisher discovered was that the bylaw on the website was an old one – 079-2016 had been replaced by 079-2017, and 079-2018 didn’t exist; but the website had not been updated. This bylaw was not written very well and confusing at first glance. Needless to say the requirement for the supply of a hard copy of the remarks is not in the bylaw – just an outline required. This is because some Councillors, as well as the Mayor wanted to know what was going to be said before it was delivered from the podium. It was explained to me that “councillors want to be ready to ask questions”. An ironic suggestion considering that some delegations never get asked questions as it is the ultimate political insult that can be applied by a sitting Council to a Delegation they either don’t like or don’t want to see. On reflection, it seems that the Mayor is bound and bent on trying to control public access to Council. We’ll see if it succeeds – just how many people will be upset by these attempts to restrict. Oh by the way the Publisher did not submit hard copy of his presentation – just an outline as prescribed in the bylaw.

Well aren’t we glad that is over – the election that is!

We at the BR would like to point out that Ontario is not “FordNation”. This disgusting way of labelling a Province into a Tribe is a silly way of classifying people. However we do note that although Mr Ford did win the majority of seats with only 40% of the total vote one can honestly say that he does not enjoy majority support. Let’s hope that he resists the normal Conservative way of ruling – only for his supporters and neglecting the opinions of the others. This attitude is summed by the phrase – “We won you didn’t – Go Away”. Any bets on how long Mr Ford pulls the usual political trick – “We have examined the books the the Liberals left us and they are in bad shape. We cannot fulfill the promises!” Gee there goes our “Buck a Beer” promise – the only one (promise) that made sense to us. 

There will be an interesting delegation to Council on Monday

The Publisher of the BR – Ben Burd will be speaking as a delegation about something he feels strongly about, and wrote about in a post (read here) last week. The outline of his remarks are here, on the agenda, but tune in to see what he really thinks he will be speaking to those points.

A few more candidates for October:

Four people had picked up nomination forms by the end of last week, one of them has said he has filed but the official list doesn’t show this yet. Johnny Percolides – Bio from CobourgNews – “A local real estate broker who has called Cobourg home for 10 years. Past experience in owning and operating a business, revenue and expense accountability and the ability to communicate with the public in three languages are some of my assets.  I am against any expansion of the Marina first and foremost because the local residents have repeatedly said they don’t want it.  It’s time for Municipal government to listen to their constituents and remember that they are voted in to represent them.  I believe the harbour and waterfront will be enjoyed by the majority today and for the future as opposed to the minority if the Marina were to be expanded.  I will be asking for your support on Election day to be your voice in Council who will listen and vote for what the clear majority wants.” We don’t understand the delay in filing with the other three – one of whom is a high profile person who used to be on Council, but surely more news soon. Other people have officially filed but they want to be School Board trustees:

  • Roger Brideau for the School Board – French Public
  • David Bernier for the English Catholic Separate Board
  • Anthony Caruso for the English Public School Board

One high point and a Verrry low point

The Waterfront saga rolls on. Council, rolled the dice on Monday evening, and lost. They had gambled that by cancelling the open meeting to be held at 1pm, where the merits of the Waterfront Report would be discussed by members of the public and wrapping it into a Committee of the Whole meeting they could control the process. Obviously they didn’t but set into motion a huge rubber stamp the next time it is debated. The meeting listened to twelve delegates and asked questions of the Consultants and the Direct of P&R. The result was a motion of deferral and a subsequent motion, from the Mayor “Restrict future delegations on the Waterfront Study to different presenters who had new information only that must be submitted for approval prior to delegation status approval” Hmm now the censors are coming into the act!

 

High Point of the meeting

The report was over 500 pages and most councillors agreed that they had not had sufficient time to understand all that it contained and also that the public would not have had enough time so a final vote on adopting the report was deferred to the Council meeting on July 3 instead of on June 11. It should be noted that those who complained about not getting the information had, or should have had, identical information if they read the documents from the Parks & Rec committee proceedings of May 16 (these documents had been posted on the internet at that time).

 

Low point

At the end of the meeting Mayor Brocanier put forward a motion that would “Restrict future delegations on the Waterfront Study to different presenters who had new information only that must be submitted for approval prior to delegation status approval”.  His idea is that he doesn’t want people presenting the same old information.  His motion passed. As said before the only comment to be applied to this motion is one of contempt for such a motion. Surely Council should be able to stand a few more people telling them how they feel! On a video review the notice of motion that the Mayor made was legal in a CoW but if he wants his name attached to it in a regular meeting he cannot – Roberts Rules state that the Chair of a meeting cannot make a motion. He must step out of the Chair to make a motion – let’s see if he does!

Weekend Jottings

The last week of the campaign – five days to go:

Will the NDP surge translate to seats? The consensus is NO. The Libs have conceded to the others but with a caveat – elect some of us and we will help to stop a majority government, they don’t answer the question of what will happen if they have to prop up Dug Ford. Watching this campaign has been like watching a re-run of the Trump campaign except this is an expected victory slipping away as opposed to a Trumpian surprise. Dug Ford winning will be no surprise but will still be greeted by the majority of voters as the dreaded apocolypse. Unfortunately we will discover that an effective opposition is powerless and we should look forward to four years of austerity, when we don’t need it and the extension of income equality.

A crowded afternoon:

Monday 4th June will see a crowded Council agenda. Originally it was planned to have a public meeting to receive/discuss the Waterfront Study /Master Plan. But the scheduled start of 1pm has been pushed back to the regular Council time of 4pm. The mind boggles as to the reasoning for this – thinking about it in the edit we have a theory on this – read  on. The BS answer given was to allow the public time to get off work and get to the meeting. Now the consultant’s presentation and public meeting will take up much of Council’s time. Look for a marathon session on Monday afternoon. Just means that any business on the agenda will get short shrift, after all the Council will want to get home on time. But back to that Waterfront meeting. The consultants will not be brief, after all they have a plethora of power-point slides to read back to the audience, and then the delegations will start. It now becomes apparent as to why the special meeting was wrapped into the Council meeting. A special meeting would have had an open invitation to the people who wanted to speak, a Council meeting means that people who want to say something have to register to speak – what a sneaky way to cut down the participation. Sorta makes a farce out of the Strat Plan #1 objective – transparency and open dialogue with the Citizenry!

King Donald the First:

Watching the events in the USA for the past couple of years have made our heads spin. With the powers of the Presidency being unassailable, especially by the clones and puppets in Congress, it is obvious to anybody watching that we don’t have a President in the White House but a Monarch with very little restraint from the Legislatures. With the latest move by the President’s lawyers issuing a leaked letter, which was from the Lawyers to the Mueller Investigation (and obviously leaked by the lawyers), in which claims that executive privilege exempts him from being questioned or answering to a subpoena, this effectively makes him untouchable and therefore the First Monarch of the United States of America. George Washington and the Rebels will be turning over in their graves. The New York Times analysis of the letter can be read here, read it – this letter will not be going away soon.

Persistence pays off

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Dave Tredree is a Cobourger from way back. A well respected hockey coach, in his time, and an all round good guy – and obviously a person in for the long haul.

Dave is probably the last known Radio Shack franchisee in the business. Years ago when RS decided to eliminate its franchises Dave took them on, as his was taken away. In the courts for years he finally prevailed thus showing obstinence, a clear sense of principle and obviously tenacity.

On the side he has dabbled in real estate development and picked up a piece of land, many years ago, just over the border, on Hwy 45, when nobody else wanted it; a piece of junk land covered in brush. But obviously an adherent of the Bob Hope school of millionaires, who famously quoted, “Anybody can make money in real estate – just buy the land on the outskirts of Town and wait!”

Well Dave’s ship has come in and his tenacity has paid off. On Monday evening at the CoW meeting there is an agreement between the Twp of Hamilton and Cobourg coming up for approval. This was discussed in the last post “Now for a bit of history” but we didn’t say that the report is looking to extend services to three areas (the new Hospice on Ontario St is the third one). But back to “The Tredree Lands” (as they are described in the report), this development is going to be a “an area of 9.32 acres, on a 22.30 acre lot, and the proposed development includes a food court. fuel/convenience facility, service repair facility and hotel”. The parking lot will have parking for 51 trucks and the hotel will be 14,500 sf. Quite the complex!

So the question is – what price will Hamilton Twp and the developer have to pay for the privilege of benefiting from Cobourg’s services. How much has the value of the vacant 9.32 acres increased by the addition of these services. If the value has increased how much will the developer pay to Cobourg for this value? Don’t forget the value would have never increased without these services!

What we do know is that the report from the CAO reveals that the cost of the services to cross the border will be at the developer’s expense – they will build the pipes. The cost of the services is based on the usual LUSI formula. But the costs are the same as being in Town, with the exception of an increased monthly charge for the water/sewage. LUSI will measure the consumption for water and the sewage charge will be based on the quantity of water delivered. The tricky question of selling Cobourg’s future sewage capacity is addressed as “Development Charge capacity loss compensation” which really means that if a developer was building this structure inside the border he would have had to pay a development charge, which has been established by consultants last year. If a developer is building outside the borders this compensation amount will be charged and based on the annual consumption. The question is HOW much should this compensation be? Just how much money will Cobourg make out of this development considering that all of the taxes generated will flow to Hamilton Twp. Surely a developer inside the border will pay a development charge but the structure built will generate taxes and benefits for the Town, can we say the same for a facility in Hamilton Twp? The Tredree facility has not had the amount determined yet but the Pentecostal Camp will pay a onetime fee of $70,884.60. We will wait for that breakdown and justification – it seems to minimal at first glance!

The final thing the BR will say in this report, they have an interview scheduled with the Town later in the week to check our facts and listen to the Town’s justifications, is that the size of the sewage pipe is the wrinkle in this debate. The proposed developments are not on the border but some distance away from it. That means there is developable land between the border and the new facilities. That means that unless the size of the pipe is geared to the facilities in question only, there will be excess capacity available to others that have frontage. These properties will be able to command to be hooked up. So the ‘giveaway’ really is bigger than at first glance.

Just wonder how many of these questions have been asked in the secret meetings that have taken place already in the back rooms?

Congratulations to Jorge DeSousa – whoever you are?

To This
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From This

Finally the biggest eyesore on King St is being renovated. On Monday evening 4th June the CoW will be asked to approve a planning application for 20 King St West – read it here.

This building has been massacred over the ages and left to rot by its present owner. In the 60s the building was used by Cobourg’s first woman lawyer – Daisy McCullogh and she ripped out the original store window and fixed it with 60s ‘modernism’ never a good fit and that became obvious as soon as the Heritage Movement came to Town. Then it became a Radio Shack, then a series of restaurants. Now it is unused and vacant.

Enter stage left and a Mr Jorge DeSousa. He has authorised Andrew Smith Design to renovate the front and replace the windows. Congratulations to Mr DeSousa for showing faith in downtown and doing this. A very good investment, as downtown real estate is dirt cheap and the potential to add a fine storefront – we don’t know what is going to go in but we would guess another restaurant (the double bifold doors would be a clue), and dwellings up top is there.

Just goes to show that one of the ways to get people to invest in downtown is to push the fact that downtown property prices are dirt cheap compared to other places.

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The attacks begin

Bob Rae was an idiot say the Cons

Out of all the quotes you will see and hear about the problems of the 1990 NDP government you should read this snippet from Tim Armstrong.

This weekend will see the NDP fight the trolls. One such troll might have inserted a Nazi Meme into a candidate’s facebook page. The candidate denies ever putting it there so that’s that then?

The BR received this email from the Ford campaign minutes after the release of the latest poll on Thursday:

"publisher, we knew this would happen. 
The media, the pollsters, they don’t  want us to win. 
So they’re making up numbers to write stories about NDP momentum.
Forum released a poll saying the NDP is at 47%, with us at 33%.
Their own data shows this is a lie.
Buried on page 11 of their report it says the raw numbers are this:
PC: 40%
NDP: 36%
They “weighted” the NDP up 11 points.
Why?
The pollsters and the media are ganging up to try to keep us down.
They are scared of what happens when the people get a voice.
Because it doesn’t fit their narrative.
But publisher, don’t worry.
We’re going to win this election.
And we’ll get this province back on track.

Now for a bit of history

A friendly agreement or a colossal giveaway?

WCP2 – Normar Rd

In the 80s a series of discussions took place between the Town of Cobourg and the Municipality of Hamilton Township. The subject was amalgamation of the two entities. Needless to say it never happened, for a variety of reasons. One of the results of the failure to agree was the policy from both Cobourg and Hamilton Twp not to extend municipal services across the border. Call it spiteful, mean or just retribution it has stood for over thirty years.

Now, very soon, an agreement will be made between the municipalities to break that policy. In Cobourg sharp eyed observers will have sniffed something about this a couple of months ago when an agenda item, for a closed session, was noticed and also when an application was made by the Pentecostal Camp to extend water services. 

Now in a news story in CobourgNow an online publication; read it here, it was revealed that an agreement has been reached. WHY haven’t we in Cobourg been notified of this. WHY is it that we have overturned longstanding policy in secret. WHY cannot Cobourg citizens be trusted with this discussion in the open. WHEN are we going to be told about this.

Why is this so important to Cobourgers? Another bit of history – the farm field between Workman Road South and the Pentecostal Camp has been for sale for many, many years. Now there is a SOLD sign on it. Was this land purchased using inside information about the water/sewer extension? Because if it was then the cost of extending the water/sewage lines just became more valuable and Cobourg should cash in but will they? In Hamilton Township this is being touted as a no cost item as the developer will pay all the costs. But the cost to Cobourg is more than services. After all just how many houses will be built on this land? And remember the taxes will flow to Hamilton Township.

In 1985, after the election of a new Council the first order of business was to deal with the atrocious situation that residents in the Brook Rd and Coverdale subdivisions were faced with – overloaded septic systems. That cost millions to fix. It is not inconceivable to imagine that with rural building standards the same thing couldn’t happen again in the new planned areas.

But will taxpayers in Cobourg ever get to discuss this giveaway and impediment to further amalgamation, if wanted. Cobourg, unless it charges a premium for the water/sewage, will never gain from this deal – why are we doing it? Why are we using precious sewer capacity to service outsiders. Is Hamilton Township going to pay a fee for this capacity? How will Cobourg profit from this?

The bottom line is that Hamilton Twp is laughing all the way to the Bank and Cobourg, given the lack of public information to date is looking like a benevolent Uncle being taken to the cleaners by Slick Willy.

weekend jottings

Why does facebook waste its time:

Opened up FB to check on all the usual ‘stuff’ ad a video of Duggie came up. Labelled a political ad by facebook I clicked on ‘why this ad’ and saw this pic – snipped it for your education. Hmm facebook definitely has its algorithms wrong if they think I have been looking ad the PC’s stuff and even more wrong if they think I would want to see it.

 


 

A surge for the NDP:

Sunday poll results are in and the third party  is now the ‘nearly first’ party. Hmm will it last, or collapse as the fear mongers, dredging up the spectre of Bob Rae (the person that only old people remember) try to scare the voters into the arms of Rob Ford!

 


 

Walmart to dump self checkout tills  After the hoo-hah about Walmart using self-checkouts it seems that the great experiment is over – in the USA at least. Maybe Canada will follow suit. We certainly hope so. The “Guardian” newspaper published this great story about the problems with the tills and customers – Nation of shoplifters.