News Local

Major Cobourg projects complete

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today

Submitted Photo

From left, Councillor Brian Darling, Mayor Gil Brocanier, heritage planner Alison Torrie Lapaire and economic-development officer Wendy Gibson were among those who met on Division Street in downtown Cobourg Monday to check off the objectives on the Cobourg Downtown Vitalization billboard.

Submitted Photo From left, Councillor Brian Darling, Mayor Gil Brocanier, heritage planner Alison Torrie Lapaire and economic-development officer Wendy Gibson were among those who met on Division Street in downtown Cobourg Monday to check off the objectives on the Cobourg Downtown Vitalization billboard.

COBOURG -- The big billboard on Division Street just south of King Street in downtown Cobourg is now sporting a lot of large green checkmarks, as Downtown Vitalization objectives have been completed.

A review to announce these successes was held this week, offering a progress update on 11 major projects that began in 2014, many of which can now be considered completed (and therefore checked off the list).

The 11 major projects emerged from a process that began with the establishment of the Downtown Vitalization Action Team in order to revitalize the central downtown business district for the Town of Cobourg. The team worked in partnership with the Downtown Business Improvement Area and the Northumberland Central Chamber of Commerce on a series of strategic planning sessions from which the projects were identified.

The eight-by-20-ft. billboard was mounted as a communications project to give a visual timeline for the completion of these objectives. On Monday, an update was provided on each.

"All Downtown Vitalization projects on the billboard have now been addressed," Downtown Coalition Advisory Committee chair Carol McCann announced.

"Furthermore, eight additional Vitalization projects have since been identified by the Downtown Coalition Advisory Committee, and are either completed or in progress."

A press release following the event provided details.

  • Streetlight enhancement -- Begun May 14 and now complete. The downtown was given a warmer feeling at night as well as increased illumination through the replacement of current pole-top light fixtures. Six new 100 Watt LED street lights were installed July 2014.

  • Closed-circuit security cameras -- Begun summer 2013 and now complete. Three CCTV cameras were installed along King Street and are monitored by the Cobourg Police Service.

  • Vehicle way-finding signs -- Begun May 2014 and now complete. These signs were installed every half-kilometre along William and Division streets, directing vehicular traffic to the downtown core.

  • Gateway and parking signs -- Begun spring 2015 and now complete. Gateway arches will be installed at the downtown's east and west entrances to provide definition of the downtown core, and new parking-lot signs are under current review.

  • Henley Arcade -- Begun May 2014 ad now complete.This project included the reconditioning of Henley Arcade to improve lighting, signage, landscaping, walkway design and include a mural on the east wall. The result is a safe and well-defined connection between King Street and the Covert Street parking lot.

  • Community Improvement Venture initiative -- Begun Novermber 2014 and awaiting success of Community Improvement Plan. This initiative included various financial building-improvement tools for prospective building owners to leverage. This project will consist of marketing materials, a new website and a planned web-based 3D virtual tour of downtown, and an inventory of heritage-building assets. Armed with funds from the Town of Cobourg as well as financing from other sources, the goal is to see heritage buildings improved and to encourage new upscale retail businesses and the renovation and reclamation of residential units on upper floors. Phase 1, the legal aspects, is completed.

  • Cobourg Youth Entrepreneurship Pilot Project -- Begun March 2014 and now complete. The goal of this program was to provide youth of all skill levels (aged 18 to 29) with an educational entrepreneurship experience. Through mentorship and support, program participants received opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge in order to successfully operate a new business (or expanding an existing one) in Downtown Cobourg.

  • Building Asset Study -- Begun July 2014 and now complete. The goal of this project is to assist building owners in the assessment of their downtown heritage buildings, with an opportunity to review current assets and plan for future development and conservation of buildings on King Street, from Spring Street to McGill Street. The study may include an assessment of the age and condition of a building's infrastructure and structure, and an inventory of such attributes as exterior construction material, type of roof, type of windows, heating and electrical systems, total building size, commercial space vs. residential units. Once complete, this information may be added to the 3D model and then converted to a web-based virtual tour for marketing downtown properties to potential commercial business recruits, developers and new residents.

  • Heritage Master Plan -- Begun October 2014 and now complete. The Heritage Master Plan will provide the tools to identify, protect and celebrate Cobourg's rich and diverse heritage. It will offer comprehensive guidance for the management of heritage resources, including Heritage Conservation Districts, individually designated heritage properties and non-designated properties that are included on the Municipal Register of Properties of Cultural Heritage Value and Interest. The Heritage Master Plan will create policies and guidelines that leverage the unique and distinct character of Downtown Cobourg to support businesses, economic development and the goals of the Downtown Vitalization Initiative.

  • Tourism Asset Feasibility Study -- Begun Sept. 19, 2014, with Phase 1 now complete. As a component of the Downtown Master Plan, this study will concentrate on the value and potential uses of town-owned lands and buildings that may be developed to create a four-season destination in downtown Cobourg, and the positive impact of such a destination on overnight visitation and spending. Completion of Phase II is dependent on the completion of the Waterfront Master Plan.

  • Marketing and communications plan -- Begun June 2014 and now complete.  This plan was designed to keep citizens and key stakeholders updated on the initiative through a multi-faceted campaign.

    For more information on the Downtown Vitalization Initiative and project updates, visit www.cobourg.ca and search Downtown Vitalization.

    cnasmith@postmedia.com