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Cobourg DBIA to move into Market Building

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today


Cobourg council has agreed to an arrangement that will see certain services headquartered at the Market Building.

At last week’s committee-of-the-whole session, Deputy Mayor John Henderson shared the report that recommends the occupation of the heritage building at 201 Second St. by the Downtown Business Improvement Area co-ordinator, as a location to conduct DBIA business and share in offering tourism-related information to drop-in visitors.

With the need to work out terms among so many parties, Henderson said, it’s been a long time coming.

The report from chief administrative officer Stephen Peacock included a diagram that shows the office at the southeast corner of the Market Building.

The agreement provides a 10-year rent-free lease for the DBIA office with one work station, one computer and one printer. There is storage and meeting space in an upstairs office, and two parking spaces come with the lease.

The budget set aside $20,000 for the minor alterations that will be required.

The arrangement will allow the DBIA to divert part of its operating funds into programming and promotional efforts, while the town gains greater downtown presence and services at no additional staffing costs.

Three seasons will bring three staffing models:

• Peak tourism season of May 24 weekend to Sept. 30 will see a town tourism ambassador present at all times when the office is open.

• Shoulder season (October, November, April and the first part of May) will see the town’s tourism co-ordinator work out of this office, co-ordinating efforts with the DBIA staffer to maintain regular office hours and services for walk-in visitors.

• Low season will see the DBIA co-ordinator maintain office hours of at least four hours per business day to offer tourism service to walk-in visitors.

Councillor Debra McCarthy wondered about signage that would direct visitors to this building just south of Victoria Hall. As a heritage building, she pointed out, it could not have signage on the structure itself.

“I have a concern how the public will know this is the tourism-information centre. Usually when we visit a town, there’s some sense where it is,” McCarthy said.

“Can they put a sandwich board out, and perhaps one even closer to King Street?”

“We will look at approved sandwich-type boards in front of King Street and to the different side streets to direct them, as well as poles the DBIA can put their banners on that will direct them to the Market Building,” Henderson said.

“When it’s in use, this also makes the washrooms far more accessible to the public, which is really great news for everybody.”