Somebody asked “Hey Ben, what would you do?”

cdciwest1917“With the CDCI building and land”

I replied:

“Glad you asked, this is what I would do if I was the “Money Fairy”

  1. Buy the land and building using the Holdco or Northam reserves.
  2. demolish the four additions leaving only the original structure
  3. offer the land by means of an auction, the reserve price being the Town’s costs, and find a developer interested enough to build residential development, at the maximum density
  4. Watch the Community use the remaining (original) building for community uses and enjoy the additional number of people living downtown, in the newly constructed housing units, most of whom would contribute and encourage a larger commercial base.

That’s what I would do and it would be a ten year building project.
thanks for asking

Finally a post!

You may have noticed that there has not been a post on this site since August 25th many weeks ago. I owe you, the faithful readers an explanation – ennui and a sense of “what’s the point” set in. It hasn’t completely disappeared but as I prepare for the radio show this afternoon, it would help us all if I jotted down the talking points. So here they are:

  • The discussion about the “Seniors’ Fitness Stations” still is going on and it appears that two schools of thought are emerging. The first group is the group of elders who refuse to admit they’re aging and still live in a sixteen year olds body. These people think that there is absolutely no need to have exercise stations geared to aging bodies and if they do it is, to quote a comment on Cobourg News from a person who calls himself “Ronald Coleman” (bet it is not the film star!) “This is as demeaning as playing with balloons in a nursing home. Someone get a grip! “ The other school relishes the idea that Elders can exercise at their own pace on equipment geared to aging bodies and will welcome it.
  • Changes at the Town’s economic development offices – none appear to be good. Cobourg has not had a Director of ED since the last one left Town in a blur of ignominy. There is currently a vacancy in the position of “Business Retention” but to be fair we never had  one as the previous occupant of the position was charged with Downtown revitalisation and left town to go to Port Hope. The senior person in the department is a Manager and probably down the grid as far as pay goes. I mention this to show the importance that the Town appears to put on ED – not a helluva lot. Now there are big changes coming – basically an outsourcing of the department to the County. In the guise of setting up a business hub – how did that work out in Port Hope? The downside of this is that there will nobody to staff the Marie Dressler Museum, after spending all that money on it will it be kept open?
  • It has been long expected that with the improvements to Victoria Square a new role for the Market Building may emerge. A clue this week. A new office, probably the upstairs one, will be expropriated by the Town for a new Tourism/DBIA office. The report calls for a public use for the remainder of the building but us sceptics will watching for the elimination of that public space soon – never met a CAO who doesn’t want an empire.
  • Councillor Larry Sherwin’s house has been sold and he will probably complete arrangements for his move to family in Kingston. So when will he resign – tonight maybe? But if he does will we have the song and dance about an election being too expensive and then go down the list to appoint the next loser on the list, or will we follow newly adopted policy to have an interview process? The next loser is Gudrun Ludorf-Weaver, currently getting her feet wet in the committee system of the Town she may get the next callup to the “show” but with only 20% of the votes cast last time out is that “significant” enough? Or does the power structure have another candidate, one that was too busy or unconcerned to bother running in the last election, in mind for an appointment?
  • The CDCI West building is listed at $1,300,000. A steal at any price. Surely the Town could have been bothered to make an offer, if they have we haven’t heard about it, it is still buried in the secret back room. 2.4 acres with such a building on site is a flip for anybody. If the old ‘Quigley’ site is the same price for a third of the size and no building what an opportunity to snap up. But will this bunch of “go alongs and status quoers” have the imagination for such a move. Mayor Brocanier was involved in the discussions to acquire the Thomas Gilbard School (it failed) – where is he on this one?

Well that should be good enough for 45 minutes and we will fill up the rest of the airtime with anything that we – Dave Glover, and me, can think of.

Jottings from everywhere

The chickens have come home to roost:

NTT-Cover-ENThe Ontario Ombudsman issued a scathing report (click on the image to read it ) about the treatment of Adults with development disabilities. Basically it lists the problems that have accrued since the “deinstitutionalisation” of these folks. It has a Cobourg connection since D’Arcy Place, an Institution for the Mentally Retarded was a Cobourg workplace. Of course we don’t use that language anymore. Casting back to the time of the emptying of the “Cobourg Hospital”, located on College St./University Ave, we can remember telling the powers to be that such events would happen. But the pols of the day refused to heed the warnings and now the mess has got the attention of the Ombudsman. What he can do isn’t much if the Government of the day doesn’t accept the recommendations.

We hope that Minister Helena Jaszek acts on the report and helps the adults trapped in the maze of regulations and poor funding.

Port Hope makes a change:

1297870061126_ORIGINALFire Chief Jim Wheeler has been retired. Not by his choice but by the new broom of the Council. Apparently the Chief has two years to go on his contract but there is a clause in it to say that the Council can invoke retirement. Now the BR doesn’t have a copy of the contract but at least the Chief should be consulting his lawyer to increase his severance – six months pay after thirty-seven years is a little short of the mark. Considering that he was not let go because of any performance issues it could be considered to be a dismissal without due cause. Get a lawyer Jim!

Another note from Port Hope – Dan Christie has an opinion:

The 15th Annual Port Hope All Canadian Jazz Festival is fast approaching. September 9,10 and 11. The organizers and volunteers spend all year putting this thing together. I applaud their efforts.

With that out of the way, (and bearing in mind that BurdReport bills itself as ‘A Place For Alternative Points Of View’) let me say this: As in past years, save for one, I won’t be attending The Port Hope All Canadian Jazz Festival. I won’t be attending any other jazz festivals either. To paraphrase the late, great Jeff Healy, it’s not my kinda jazz. Jazz -to me at least- always had a tinge of the illicit about it, a mild kind of wickedness that seemed somehow both dangerous and exciting. Speakeasies. Prohibition. Flappers and running boards. Ness and Capone. The 20s roaring with Fats and Louis and Bix and all that jazz.

And it only got better with age.

By the time the forties gave way to the post-war rebirth of the 1950s, hot jazz had turned cool. Real cool. The Birth Of The Cool if Miles had anything to say about it. And he said plenty. He said we’re going somewhere else now, somewhere we’ve never been. And we’re not coming back. It was all languid, leggy blondes draped over barstools in smoke-filled grottos waiting for Peter Gunn to stroll in and be so understated it hurt. It was Brubeck’s outfit, so uncool they were cool, looking like horn-rimmed high school math teachers,  -except for Joe Morello and his sunglasses looking like he was on the lam with a price on his head. Then, by the seventies it was Lee Morgan being shot dead on stage by a jealous lover at Slugg’s Bar in New York. And the news that Miles either had been or was a pimp. But we’d forgive anything if he’d just pick up that horn, something Lee would never do again. And it was Cannonball Adderley at The Colonial on Yonge Street as the sixties were on the way out. I might have been 18, the drinking age 21. But I got served and the whole scene changed me forever. Oh, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy alright. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.

And that’s why I don’t go to jazz festivals, which are everywhere throughout the summer. Everywhere. Ubiquitous. Like mushrooms after a rain. I don’t go because jazz to me is not -and never was- about small children gamboling on green lawns and poking their darling little heads out from under billowing white tents where, between acts, Hagendass and Perrier work their magic on new age jazz fans. In broad daylight no less. It just doesn’t feel right somehow. It’s like Jazz-Lite, a thoroughly sanitized version of what it used to be, that illicit tinge now reformed and 12-stepped straight into respectability, cleansed of any lingering bad habits. Perfectly suited to fans of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift alike.

As for myself, on all three days of The Port Hope All Canadian Jazz Festival, I’ll content myself with staying pleasantly stoned on (medical) marijuana, cold draught from my kegerator, watching Youtube reruns of Peter Gunn, and contemplating where jazz might be headed next.

Or maybe not. Maybe it’s better to just enjoy it for what it was.

Another one from Port Hope

Listening last Sunday to CBC’s ‘The One-Eighty’ with Jim Brown, I again heard the voice of one Jason Shron, train enthusiast extrodinaire, tireless proponent of high speed rail, and owner of Rapido Trains -which, it should be made clear, is a manufacturer of model trains.

Finally something we can get excited about

imagesIf one remembers the debate at Cobourg Council two months ago when the man with the most votes of the losers in the 2014 Municipal Election was appointed to replace resigning Councillor Rickerby one would also remember that a policy about filling future vacancies was commissioned.

How about some good news and then some really bad news

videoWith the welcome news that Cobourg Council will begin ‘streaming’ its meetings comes the absolutely horrible news that they will only be available for three months. For those who have waited for the campaign promise and strategic plan entry the news that ‘streaming’ video will be coming at us over the interwebthingy is  a big “What kept yah”. But the idea that only three months worth of history will available on “civicweb” is a big letdown and heresy to all of who value history as it is being made.

Summer Time send us your pieces.

From Dan Christie:

Donald Trump: Man Of Peace
One of my favourite Dylan albums is 1983’s ‘Infidels’. For the affecianado, all of Bob Dylan’s work contains insights, real or imagined, that can be conveniently applied this way or that to whatever argument a person might be making -especially as those insights apply to politics.

One of those “Oh No” moments

NonameAs a person who was born and raised in the UK,the events of the last few days have been puzzling to observe and even more puzzling to understand. What condition produced the surprising result of the Brexit debate – that to leave?

Assorted jottings and comments

Election Fraud:

It is unthinkable for the majority that such a headline might exist in the mighty Kingdoms of North America and those who propogate it could be considered to wear tin-foil hats. But the rumblings of such a thing gets louder and louder each day. This what one blogger wrote the other day,

A camel is a horse produced by a committee!

ymca1At the next CoW meeting Cobourg Council will read and discuss a report produced by a committee composed of Town Staff, Elected officials and YMCA members and Staff. This committee has been meeting since a resolution was passed by Council in April 2015 that discussions take place exploring the possibility of putting a shared facility at the CCC.

A shifting time

Cobourg_CoatofArmsThe busiest person in the Cobourg Town Hall this week was the poor sod who has to put names on plates and hang them in their respective doors or desks. One new Councillor, one leaving Director of Public Works and a new one taking his place.