Cobourg’s $50,000 Dock That’s Great for Ducks But Not Much Else

In Editor Choice, Local

For all intensive purposes it appears Cobourg has taken ownership of a $50,000 duck dock.

The accessible dock was first removed from the water on June 21, 2023 just days after being put in just to the west of the boat launch in Cobourg Harbour.

The problem – it wasn’t accessible.

At the time, it seemed the accessible dock seemed to sit higher in the water than the two docks by the boat launch area.

At the time Director of Community Services, Brian Geerts said the accessible dock has three focus areas to improve accessibility at the harbour:

-accessibility to the dock

-accessibility on the dock

-accessibility to the water

Geerts said at the time the dock was assembled and tested, “but it floated to high in the water and does not yet provide “to the water” accessibility.”

It was removed from the water and Geerts said at the time he was “confident that simple adjustments can be made to ensure we meet our three accessibility focus areas.”

But on Monday, August 7, 2023, Jeremly Fowlie who is Head Coach for the Cobourg Dragon Boat Canoe Club said the town got it wrong from the start.

“We’ve been waiting 12-years for an accessible dock – but it’s not an accessible dock.”

Fowlie said even though the manufacturer lowered the dock closer to the water for accessibility, it’s still to high.

“People who physically disabled cannot get from the top of the dock to the water.”

Along with the height problem, the ramp system to get on the dock has been washed out.

Fowlie said the dock has been in and out of the water three times this summer because of adjustments and working to correct the problem.

“They keep trying to make it work. But it’s not an accessible dock – so it won’t work.”

There are accessible docks throughout the province and Fowlie and others with the club have been around and used accessible docks for years.

Fowlie said they gave the town photos of accessible docks, along with links to facilities using them.

“We met with the town three or four times. This dock in particular we said is not accessible – so I’d have to say, they’re not listening to the experts.”

“It’s very frustrating because we’ve waiting 12-years and finally there was a budget and the budget went on a dock that we said it wouldn’t work.”

The dock cost approximately $50,000 and Fowlie said, it’s “useless.”

There is a bit of good news. A number of ducks were enjoying the new dock and even Fowlie said, “they have a lot of room.”

“Other than that, this dock is not what it was designed for.”

Fowlie e-mailed Geerts explaining the dock still isn’t useful on Friday.

Geerts emailed back stating, “We ordered lower floats and got the dock as low in the water as the manufacturer could. Now that the community can use it, we welcome any feedback that will help us optimize the dock’s use.

The dock is modular, and accessibility features can be added, removed, or changed. We would welcome all feedback since vou have a wealth of experience and many paddle-sport connections.”

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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