Cobourg Council – Council Takes More Direct Role in Approval of Special Events

In City Hall

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
With the vast majority of Cobourg’s summer events cancelled (or probably about to be), council voted Tuesday to take a more active role in deciding which 2020 events will proceed after summer is over.

Councillor Adam Bureau’s motion called for the temporary suspension of the Delegation of Authority bylaw to change how such events are approved by taking every event to council for a vote with staff recommendations.

This applies to events taking place between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, as the motion also cancels all community events over which the town has jurisdiction through Sept. 1.

“Not that I don’t believe in staff and their recommendations, but because we are in a COVID year,” Bureau said.

“It’s an emergency year, and we don’t know how things are going to change.”

Mayor John Henderson pointed out that any new event does come before council. The Delegation of Authority bylaw gave staff authority to decide the continuation of long-running events that have gone on for years with no safety or health issues, saving council time for other business.

“I respect that committee 100% on their decisions,” Bureau reiterated.

“But during this emergency, hypothetically if the provinces opens up everything tomorrow, would we hold the Sand Castle Festival two days later?”

This only applies where there is any degree of town jurisdiction, such as the Downtown Business Improvement Area street festival in August – planned by the DBIA, but requiring a partial closure of King Street. A private function on private property, such as a backyard wedding, would not be affected.

Interim chief administrative officer Ian Davey recalled the time before the Delegation of Authority bylaw, when there might be a half-dozen or more events in a council agenda waiting for approval. The motion just takes council back to those days on a temporary basis.

“It’s not taking away any authority,” Councillor Brian Darling decided.

“It’s just adding a safety net, so there’s no doubt about what events are continuing or why they are continuing.”

The motion passed, with only Councillors Nicole Beatty and Aaron Burchat voting in opposition.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

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