Cobourg Council – Town Refuses County Requests on 310 Division Street

In City Hall, Local

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
At its March 27 meeting, Cobourg council did not stand in the way of its Emergency Shelter Agreement and Emergency Care Establishment Licensing Bylaw going into effect March 28.

The result to the operations of a prospective homeless shelter at 310 Division St. is to scuttle a draft agreement among the Town of Cobourg, the County of Northumberland and Transition House.
Council received a letter from the Northumberland Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Moore that set out the bare bones of the agreement as it stood following the March 12 meeting between her and Cobourg CAO Tracey Vaughan, setting out recommended terms for an agreement, including three terms that apply to Cobourg.

This includes the repeal of the Emergency Sheltering bylaw before the agreement can take effect, the termination of the agreement “if the Town makes efforts to regulate shelters through any other bylaw or permitting process” and the continuation of the town to work with Northumberland County “to expedite reviews and inspections, where reasonably possible, to operationalize the site.”

Subject to agreement in principle by both the town and the county, it concluded, a formal agreement will be drafted.

Vaughan briefly commented on all the terms, including those directed at Cobourg, explaining that community concerns and input had played a significant role in their development. She also stressed to council that she had made clear to Moore that she has no authority in these three areas that apply to the town, and that it would be up to council to act – or not.

As well, council received Warden Brian Ostrander’s formal request to council “to delay the March 28, 2024, force and effect date” of the bylaw “in order to allow County and Town staff time to continue productive negotiation of an agreement.”

Both pieces of correspondence were put on the floor, with the response of a motion to receive for information purposes – in essence, to take no action on the requests.

Asked by Councillor Miriam Mutton for details of what’s going on at county council, Mayor Lucas Cleveland said he endeavours to keep as much of the discussion as possible in open session, though not always successfully. But he said he has found a great deal of support and understanding from fellow county councillors about the needs of the town in the context of the needs that would be addressed at 310 Division St.

“There are some very specific requests to repeal the bylaw. I don’t recall that being ever asked at the county level as being part and parcel of the request of county council,” Cleveland stated.

“County council directed county staff to engage in negotiations with Cobourg to come to an agreement, and that’s still ongoing.

“I am still very hopeful, looking forward to an agreement between Cobourg and the county and Transition House regarding the operations. That agreement will be best practices and a wonderful opportunity to move forward.

“I don’t believe we need to repeal the bylaw to get to that agreement, and I look forward to moving forward.”

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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