Cobourg Councillor Urges Caution on Surplus Declaration

In City Hall

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Councillor Miriam Mutton insisted this week that council is premature to pursue the process to declare as surplus the southwestern area of the property known municipally as 206 Furnace Street.

This was one of two motions spurred by council’s rejection last week of the Northumberland Sleeping Cabin Collective project of setting up sleeping cabins on this quarter-acre portion of the property.

The first motion directs staff to reach out to the County of Northumberland to explore any interest they may have in the 23.5-metre x 44-metre portion of the site as a means to further their affordable-housing targets and – in the event they choose not to pursue the site – proceed with a formal Request for Proposal process for the disposal of this piece of property.

The second motion directs staff to begin the process of declaring it surplus. This follows up on last year’s exercise of identifying a list of surplus properties in the town an effort to look at potential areas that might someday be used as part of projects to develop affordable housing.

Mutton – who was not a member of the council that initiated the review – noted that the remainder of 206 Furnace Street has two former arenas that now have lessees. The former Jack Heenan Arena is now home to the West Northumberland Curling Club, and the former Cobourg Memorial Arena will soon be home to the Canadian Fire Fighters Museum.

“We have lease arrangements, and I don’t know if we have met their parking needs,” Mutton insisted.

“There’s a lot of moving parts. Yes, let’s go forward, let’s address this, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”

She considers it “incumbent” to get community feedback on this, including from the two leaseholders.

“I have driven by and, on a good night when curling is in full force, the parking fills out. There’s quite a few cars parked there, and even cars on this gravel portion.”

Director of Community Services Brian Geerts said the two leaseholders treat the parking lot as a common area, a shared asset.

“The curling club is aware of the land inventory. The gravel lot is considered to be separate, and the Fire Fighters Museum is aware it may not be able to use the gravel lot. So both groups are proceeding with that in mind,” Geerts explained.

When the vote was called on the motion to proceed with the Declaration of Surplus Lands, Mutton requested a recorded vote. It turns out she was the only one voting against the motion.

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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