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As announced at the Council meeting on September 12, there are so many plans for the waterfront that a consultant will be hired to pull it all together (my paraphrasing).  The Request for a Proposal for a consultant was issued November 22 and closed December 20, 2016.  The objective is to consult with stakeholders (which includes the public) and come up with a specific project plan.  The budget is $75,000 and completion is required no later than the summer of 2017.  The scope is the entire Waterfront so would include the contentious Trailer Park and West Harbour as well as the Beach, Marina and West headland.

The project is called a Waterfront User Needs Assessment and Detailed Project Design Plan and is to be managed by a Steering committee (the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee).  The starting points are existing Town documents plus input from “Stakeholders”.

Paragraph 4 of the RFP says that the “Stakeholders” to be consulted are:

Including but not limited to municipal Departmental staff, Cobourg Council, the municipal Downtown Vitalization Action Team, residents and owners, the Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA), the business community, Friends of the Downtown, public agencies, municipal advisory committees, the development community, and community interest groups.

That’s pretty much everybody but other language in the RFP suggests that Stakeholders are organized groups.  Proposals were received from Urban Strategies ($75,000) and Thinc Design ($74,925).

Project Stages

  • Project Familiarization  - consultants are asked to read and understand the myriad documents, policies and plans created over the last 8 years or so.  The primary plan referenced seems to be the Parks Master Plan (available here)  but a full list of documents is referenced.  In addition to meetings with the Steering committee and staff, two meetings are to be scheduled:
  1. A stakeholder consultation session in the early stages – this seems to be not truly public but only for certain un-named selected groups.
  2. A public open house will occur at the end of this Stage – apparently to get input from other members of the public.
  • Preparation of Waterfront User Needs Assessment and Detailed Project Design Plan.  This includes one public open house at the end of this Stage to inform the stakeholders of the information produced to date and to seek further input. (If it’s public then it would have to be everyone, not just selected “stakeholders”)  In addition, the Consultant is asked to hold a design charrette for the town-owned properties and adjacent lands which would include both potential short term use and a long term vision with an economic, social and environmental lens.  I guess that means it would (finally) spell out what the waterfront might look like so the public can provide feedback on something specific.
  • Refinement and Final Adoption of the Waterfront User Needs Assessment and Detailed Design Plan  Based on the feedback, the Consultant will refine the Plan for final consideration by the Steering Committee.  The plan will then be presented at a public Council meeting – presumably for approval.  Finally, another public meeting will be held to review this “final Plan”.  This probably should be described as:  “This is what we came up with”.

So after 3 or 4 meetings open to the General Public, sometime around the summer of 2017 we get to see a Project Plan for the Waterfront.  Should be interesting.

Download the RFP here.

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