Parks Master Plan Implementation: Phase I Waterfront Use and Design REPORT #: September 7, 2016 File #

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1 0 'O DI Lan THE CORPORATION OF THE TOWN OF COBOURG..,. STAFF REPORT TO: FROM: Mayor and Members of Council Dean A. Hustwick, Director of Recreation and Culture DATE OF MEETING: Committee of the Whole September 12, 2016 REPORT TITLE/SUBJECT: Parks Master Plan Implementation: Phase I Waterfront Use and Design REPORT #: September 7, 2016 File # 1.0 STRATEGIC PLAN The Town of Cobourg Strategic Plan ( ) established the vision of the community being a "progressive, vibrant lakeside community" with several important objectives including the implementation of the 2013 Parks Master Plan and Waterfront Plan: 1. Ensuring open, clear and timely communications 2. Supporting the preservation and enhancement of the Town's arts, culture and heritage 3. Promoting diverse economic development opportunities 4. Managing sustainable growth and development, including the following Strategic Actions: o Develop an implementation plan for the Parks Master Plan, including the waterfront o Implement the Cobourg Waterfront Plan as noted in the Parks Master Plan 5. Improving efficiencies and effectiveness in municipal operations The manner in which we implement the Parks Master Plan will help the Town achieve each of its five objectives by: 1. engaging the public early in the planning process in an open and transparent manner; 2. incorporating within the planning process the principles within the Heritage Master Plan while keeping in mind potential arts and culture needs of the community; 3. investigating opportunities to expand municipal and private sector business opportunities that: o expand programs and services for the public; o create new employment opportunities; and o generate additional revenue for the municipality. 4. creating dynamic and integrated green spaces while finalizing the waterfront design and development process that started decades ago to establish a world-class lakefront for current and future generations; and 5. enhancing municipal operations through a newly created Division designed specifically to manage parks and recreation activities.

2 2.0 RECOMMENDATION It is recommended: THAT Council approve implementation of Cobourg's 2013 Parks Master Plan in phases beginning with a waterfront user assessment and detailed waterfront design; and FURTHER THAT the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee be asked to act as a Steering Committee for this planning process by providing input and advice to the Director of Recreation and Culture who will: procure expert services with considerable experience and expertise in the design of waterfront communities and stakeholder management; engage the public and all local stakeholders with an active interest in the design and use of the waterfront to develop a comprehensive user needs assessment; and create a comprehensive waterfront design to be presented to Council for its consideration by the spring of 2017; and FURTHER THAT the $45,000 allocated in the approved 2016 Budget for the West Harbour be reallocated for this planning process; and FURTHER THAT the Director of Recreation and Culture, in consultation with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, prepare a report to Council if additional funds are required to complete this phase of the implementation process. 3.0 ORIGIN Prior to the establishment of the Strategic Plan, on May 13, 2013, Council established the recently completed Parks Master Plan as the formal guide for future parks and waterfront development: WHEREAS the Committee of the Whole has considered a report from the Director of Public Works regarding the Town of Cobourg Parks and Waterfront Master Plan; NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Council receive the Parks and Waterfront Master Plan prepared by peter] smith and company inc. dated April 2013 as presented and utilize the plan as a framework within which to guide the development of specific parks and waterfront projects. 4.0 BACKGROUND Throughout much of its rich and long history, Cobourg's physical, commercial, cultural and social characteristics were influenced very heavily by the transportation of coal, iron ore and oil through the community and its harbour. However, beginning in the 1980s, this changed when the Town acquired the harbour from the federal government and introduced a new waterfront vision.

3 Over the last 30 years, the oil tanks, rail tracks and contaminated soils were removed while the Town's downtown, waterfront, parks and reputation have undergone dramatic transformations, establishing the community as an important tourist centre and destination of choice. Much of this change stems directly from the Town's significant investments in planning, public consultation and capital improvements. As outlined below, numerous reports and studies have -driven this process, including eight in the last five years alone that provide guidance, in one way or another, on the development of parks, recreation and the waterfront: In 1988, the Harbour Area Secondary Plan (Official Plan Amendment #24) was prepared, which described a development concept for the west harbour lands. In 1995, the West Harbour Waterfront Development Plan was commissioned, which investigated "opportunities for improving and expanding the harbour and waterfront facilities for a diversity of year-round recreational use. The purpose of the harbour study is to establish a rationale for improving the pleasure boating and other water-related activities.., that will encourage economic expansion through tourism." In 1996, the Town purchased 2.53 acres of land on the northern edge of the harbour and, in the following year, hired consultants to conduct a fresh round of public consultations and to develop a concept plan for this property, which resulted in the report called Cobourg Harbour Land Design Concept. In 2000, the Town completed a Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan which guided the expansion of recreational facilities during the first decade of the new century. In 2002, the Cobourg Conservation Area Master Plan Update provided specific recommendations for the Town's parks and natural areas. In 2004, the Cobourg East Community Secondary Plan Area and Urban Design Guidelines focused on creating a new progressive community that is closely linked to its natural and cultural heritage. In 2011, the $27.5 million Cobourg Community Centre officially opened, transforming the social, entertainment and recreational lifestyle of the community. Also in 2011, the Transportation Master Plan was completed that concluded that pathways, bicycle facilities and sidewalks need better connectivity to support and encourage alternative modes of transportation. In 2013, the Town unveiled a new Parks Master Plan, including a Waterfront Master Plan, that looked "beyond recreation facilities to improving and creating a comprehensive park system that enhances recreational potential, identity and health of the community." In 2014, the Cobourg Community Centre Campus Master Plan was finalized as a guide in the development of commercial and recreational opportunities and facilities around the Cobourg Community Centre.

4 In 2015, the Cobourg Marina Expansion Operations and Facilities Study was commissioned to assess the current and future operating needs of the Marina and to review and analyze proposed expansion plans. Also in 2015, the Town commissioned the Cobourg Tourism Investment Opportunities Study that identified potential tourism investment opportunities and a preliminary evaluation of selected sites. The report concluded that the Victoria Park Campground was the most suitable location for a waterfront Inn and restaurant. In 2016, the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) was completed, in conjunction with the Downtown Master Plan (DMP), to support the strategies and recommended actions contained in the Downtown Vitalization Action Plan (DVAP). These public realm improvements include such things as signage, paths, parking, lighting and expansion of major attractions such as the waterfront and marina. Also in 2016, the Town's Heritage Master Plan was completed and included recommendations on the waterfront. As a "significant defining feature of the community that provides a critical link to the downtown and an important recreational area," the report suggests that linkages between the waterfront and downtown should be enhanced. Also in 2016, through a grant from the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund, the Town is in the final stages of completing a Parks and Recreation Strategy and Implementation Plan to guide the development of recreational programs that strengthen the Town's sport and recreation program delivery structure and aligns it with the Canada Sport for Life model. While the findings of most of these reports are relatively consistent regarding parks and the waterfront, the Parks Master Plan (PMP) is the crucial document that recognizes the significant role that parks can play in the quality of people's lives and provides a strategy for achieving the Town's vision for a strong, livable and healthy community. This strategy involves three elements (along with various capital improvements): Key goals (and related objectives) are to guide the development of a first-class parks system: 1. Develop the parks system as an icon and defining feature of Cobourg; 2. Create an integrated and connected network of park and public open spaces; 3. Develop the parks system to provide a wide range of gathering, recreation, education and cultural experiences; 4. Preserve, protect and enhance the natural environment of Cobourg; 5. Ensure residents and park users have complete access to all parks and equal opportunity to participate in the parks system; 6. Supply and deliver parks, facilities and services to the public in an efficient/effective manner; and 7. Enhance the urban waterfront as the primary attraction and premier destination in Cobourg.

5 The following policies (abbreviated) are intended to guide decision-making: 1. Universal accessibility helps the inclusivity of parks; 2. Visibility and accessibility increase the profile of parks; 3. Safety and security are essential to inviting people into parks; 4. Maximize the use of space by utilizing multi-use and shared facilities; 5. Parks should be designed for four season use; 6. Parks should include public art/sculpture to enhance community identity; 7. Parks should provide a variety of sun and shade seating opportunities; 8. Parks should provide central gathering spaces and include a primary pathway that links key facilities/features; 9. Parks should be sufficiently landscaped to improve aesthetic quality and to enhance the tree canopy; 10. Acquisition of waterfront access to and along the waterfront should be of high priority; 11. Trails and linkages are important and all components of the community should be linked; and 12. The Town should work with the school boards to develop shared facilities accessible to the public. And eight recommendations are provided as the next steps for implementation of the plan: 1. Develop Waterfront Project Design Plans 2. Develop a Trails Master Plan 3. Hire a Recreation Coordinator 4. Conduct a Study to Investigate the Feasibility of Developing a Sports Dome 5. Conduct a Study to Investigate the Feasibility of Developing a Public-Private Restaurant 6. Develop a Dog Park Policy and "Pilot Project" 7. Support and Promote Fishing Where Permitted 8. Complete a Parks Maintenance and Operations Manual 5.0 ANALYSIS Through the recent organizational restructuring, the new Recreation and Culture Division has been mandated to address Council's Strategic Plan commitment to implement the Parks Master Plan (PMP). The importance of this process cannot be understated since the decisions we make today will determine the type of community we enjoy tomorrow. From the previous overview of the many different reports related to this subject, the PMP cannot be considered in isolation. Therefore, this is a complex process that will require time and dedicated resources to develop a comprehensive implementation plan. Executing the plan will be a multi-year process determined by the annual operating and capital allocations.

6 While the PMP is a lengthy and detailed document, there are eight fundamental recommendations that inspired the bulk of the report. The following chart briefly summarizes the current status of each recommendation. Recommendation Develop Waterfront Project Design Plans Develop a Trails Master Plan Hire a Recreation Coordinator Conduct a Study to Investigate the Feasibility of Developing a Sports Dome Conduct a Study to Investigate the Feasibility of Developing a Public-Private Restaurant Develop a Dog Park Policy and "Pilot Project" Support and Promote Fishing Where Permitted Complete a Parks Maintenance and Operations Manual Implementation Status Various reports have been prepared with varying levels of design detail. However, there is not a single, comprehensive plan for the entire waterfront that addresses all of the planning and operational issues that have been identified. In 2014, Northumberland County completed a Cycling Master Plan and recently unveiled five formal routes. The Town of Cobourg is now in the process of mapping all current trails that will then be used to create a master plan that identifies opportunities to enhance and expand pedestrian and cycling routes that will also better connect our parks network. Through the development of the new Recreation and Culture Division, functions, roles and responsibilities will be reviewed carefully. This will be considered through the review of the upcoming Parks and Recreation Strategy and Implementation Plan as well as the Facilities Utilization Study. Customer service needs at all of our parks, particularly the waterfront which attracts tens of thousands of people each year, should be studied more closely. An important aspect of such a study involves assessing additional Revenue Generating Opportunities (RG0s) for the Town. In 2013, the Town leased property on Ontario Street and developed a large dog park that is currently in use. This park and the lease arrangement will be reviewed by A smaller dog park has also been incorporated into the designs for a new park that will be completed in the near future. Fishing is a highly regulated industry involving both the federal and provincial governments. Within Cobourg, fishing is further regulated by the Parks Use Bylaw, which was recently amended. A Parks Maintenance and Operations Manual exists but is out-of-date and requires a full review. In addition to these specific recommendations, the implementation plan for the PMP needs to consider how best to address its policies on an ongoing basis to achieve its goals on a long-term basis.

7 The PMP identifies the waterfront as "the defining element in Cobourg's park systems," but it is an element that requires a number of decisions related to high-profile public issues, including such things as: enhanced and managed user access to the beach/water; accessibility; canteen contract; boat lifting, launching and storage; marina wait lists; washroom capacity; parking; and capital improvements (asset management). 6.0 FINANCIAL IMPLICATION The Town's 2016 Budget includes $30,000 for West Harbour capital improvements and $15,000 for planning. It is recommended that before carrying out any significant capital improvements to the waterfront a user needs assessment be carried out and a detailed design be completed that will prioritize and guide future waterfront improvements. Therefore, it is recommended that these combined funds of $45,000 be re-allocated for this purpose. Depending on the outcome of the procurement process, additional funds may be required to complete this Phase in Capital improvement plans stemming from this planning process will need to be addressed in the 2017 Budget process. 7.0 CONCLUSION Council has identified the implementation of the 2013 Parks Master Plan (PMP) as a priority. However, the Town has produced many reports and studies over the years, particularly in the last five years, that are related and influence the manner in which we implement the PMP. These reports as well as the PMP's goals, policies and recommendations relate to many issues beyond simply parks and need to be reviewed carefully in order to develop a comprehensive, consistent and effective implementation approach. However, this would be a lengthy and large-scale task if it's not broken into components. Therefore, after considering the current status of the eight recommendations of the PMP, the Recreation and Culture Division recommends that the implementation be broken into phases, starting with the detailed design of waterfront improvements based on previous reports and a further assessment of waterfront user needs.

8 Specifically, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee is an ideal body to act as a Steering Committee to provide input and advice to the Director of Recreation and Culture who will: procure expert services with considerable experience and expertise in the design of waterfront communities and stakeholder management; engage the public and all local stakeholders with an active interest in the design and use of the waterfront to develop a comprehensive user needs assessment; and create a comprehensive waterfront design to be presented to Council for its consideration. Approved By: Stephen Peacock Department: CAO

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