An interesting and creative play with the rules!

If one digs deep enough long term municipal ambitions can be discovered. As keen policy wonks know politicians are really only the face of the administration. They come and go but programmes never change and are always on track. Those programmes will veer left or right, depending on who has been elected but the the thrust never changes. And, the public can discover what is coming down the pipe if you know where to look. Capital budget forecasts are a good source but we see the best source this week. The Development Charges Bylaw.

A Development Charge is the amount of money that the Town extracts from Developers when they choose to build a unit, of any type, in the Municipality. In January 2017 the Town adopted a new rate of $11,308 for a single detached dwelling. With the adoption of the consultant’s report read here, that fee will jump to $16,603. In these times of rising house prices this jump will be hardly noticed but expect every bit of this fee to be passed on to the buyer. We at the BR expect no whines from local developers for a couple of reasons – a series of consultations took place in the past few months and because it will be passed on no big deal – blame the Town for that increase in the price of your new home. The Town will say to all and sundry “No big deal, we are still only 60% cheaper than Clarington.”

The item that jumped out to us was the inclusion of having DCs pay for a Marina expansion – 150 new docks and a $3 million admin building. This is where it gets interesting because Tourism Facility costs are not eligible to be funded by DC – see the discussion from the report below.

3.2 Issue —Question of the eligibility of marina services in the calculation of development
charges.
The Cobourg marina serves a tourist function by attracting people to Cobourg. As a tourism facility, it is an ineligible service for inclusion in the DC by-law because it is considered discretionary and not required for development to occur.
In that light the consultants have justified their reason for the inclusion – a very creative interpretation.
<snip>Marina services are not identified in the regulation as an ineligible service. Furthermore, the inclusion of marina services within the 2016 DCBS is justified as these services are designed to provide a service similar to that of parks and recreation. These facilities are not provided for the purposes of culture, tourism, or entertainment. Moreover, data relating to usage of these facilities shows that they are used predominantly by residents of the Town, providing further support that marina services are not provided as a tourism function</snip>
So having allowed themselves to dip into the DC reserves, and have done so since 2012 when the last study was adopted, we look at what the Town wants to spend that money on. Click on the image, expand it and you will see that a budget line for the Marina expansion is setup. This is prudent as circumstances change but if anybody thought the idea of Marina expansion was dead is celebrating too soon. It is not dead and already paid for.
click to enlarge

Now for a change in the topic: as readers should know there was an election in the UK this week. The Conservative  PM, Teresa May took advantage of favourable polls and an opposition party in chaos to call an early election. With polls showing her as being able to win 200 more seats she pulled the plug. Her election campaign has been described as the worst in memory. Using standard Tory tactics, she refused to debate opponents she relied on her personality (big mistake she hasn’t got one), had to change her policy midstream and generally became unelectable in a big way. In contrast Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition published a genuine left wing back to the roots manifesto. It took off and was enthusiastically received as an alternative. Corbyn, despite earlier claims that he was not a good campaigner proved his critics wrong and pulled crowds that resembled Bernie Sanders rallies. The end result was a shocker and one that put PMTM in a minority government situation. For a synopsis and commentary on this election I turn to a favourite of the BR. The first clip shows a very ‘clean’ Tom Walker, a comedian, aka Jonathan Pie, with a wrapup of the UK election from his perspective:

Another JP video, his jubilation – is profanity laced but if the profanity wasn’t used the impact of the message would be lost.

2 comments for “An interesting and creative play with the rules!

  1. Wally Keeler
    June 11, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks bunches for the info re Development Charges Bylaw. Instead of expanding the Marina docks into the west harbour, perhaps the money would be better spent developing a new storage area for the yachts, at least back enough so that ALL the people of Cobourg could enjoy a view of the harbour from the headlands, a lookout where pedestrians can sit, and enjoy the view. Build it up enough, it could double as a toboggan hill. It could be a trade off. There is enough room on the west side of the centre pier for several docks without them being intrusive into the traditional sublime view for over a century, especially, if the General Public were to be given the headlands lookout in return.

    Back in pre-CCC days the Town had a small percentage of the DC devoted to public art. Then CCC happened, the public art percent was ditched. Now it is entirely descretionary towards selected projects. This should be straightened out soon. Over the next 20 years, this place will grow, new houses, condos, suburbs, businesses. It would be a pity if Cobourg let all that go by without a coherent policy towards funding public art.

  2. Greg H
    June 14, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    I attended the “charrette” after it had been in operation an hour. The table concerning the marina and harbour was not approachable as it was dominated by by loud talking yacht club members. One of these later tried to tell me that they didn’t really own yachts as they were generally less than 40 feet long and therefore only “boats”. He was unable to explain why it is called a yacht club and has a commodore.

    I am totally surprised and upset that they are still lobbying for more boat or yacht accommodation as I am under the impression that the council had voted to abandon this idea. Perhaps that was only in another universe in another Cobourg. Or is it because we too now have politicians , bureaucrats and lobbyists who only believe in false news ?

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