When it comes to major decisions, Cobourg Council can never get enough information – or so it seems lately.  At last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting (on Nov 30), Council voted 6-1 to proceed with a new Works/Parks Building and 5-2 to give a subsidy to the Northumberland Medical Arts Inc. (N.M.A.I.) building on Hospital land – see links below to posts on these.  But tonight, these were not simply rubber stamped – several councillors wanted more information.

N.M.A.I.

During the week since the vote was taken, Mayor Gil Brocanier and Deputy Mayor Henderson and no doubt other councillors were inundated with questions about the project – presumably mostly by people objecting to it.  When the motion came forward to approve the recommendation from the C.O.W., John Henderson moved that it be deferred to the regular Council meeting on December 21.   He said that he had been asked many questions about it and he did not have answers to them so needed the extra time to find the answers.  His motion to defer was passed unanimously.

So there are two more weeks for the arguments to be thrashed out.  If the council has made the right choice, they should be able to satisfactorily answer all questions and objections.   If they can’t, they presumably will reverse their decision to waiver fees.

Works/Parks Building

Since the C.O.W. meeting, both Debra McCarthy and Theresa Rickerby said that they had reflected further on the subject and basically agreed with John Henderson that alternatives had not been considered – or if they had, the reasoning for their rejection was not included in Bill Watson’s report.  They said that in essence, the report was only about the recommended option and there was no analysis of alternatives. For example, not only was there no detailed analysis of a possible new building but no thought about separating offices from truck operations. 

There was discussion about the accuracy of the estimate with John Henderson saying that the project fit into “Class D” as defined in provincial Government documents and that meant an accuracy of plus/minus 20%.  Bill Watson said that this was not applicable since the estimates were specific to this case and were much more accurate than that. 

CAO Stephen Peacock said that the estimate for a new building was $8.5M compared to the proposed renovation at $4M.

After much discussion, there was a recorded vote as follows:

Gil Brocanier Yes Brian Darling Yes
John Henderson No Theresa Rickerby No
Debra McCarthy No Larry Sherwin Yes
Forrest Rowden Yes    

This means that the project is approved to go to tender.

In both case, councillors wanted more information than was initially provided.  The NMAI case is not yet resolved pending more information and the Works/Parks building came close to being deferred due to weak detailed justification.

Stay tuned.

Links

See also links at left under Related News Items.

 

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