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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Bondy questions why her motion to talk about road concern was pulled from agenda

- She wanted to discuss puddling and damage on Gore Road and the 8th Concession -

by Sylene Argent

At the Essex Council meeting held on Tuesday, September 3, Councillor Sherry Bondy put forward a Notice of Motion – the process by which members of Council can put forward a topic for discussion for the following regular meeting – that she wanted to discuss continued concerns with Gore Road and the 8th Concession, including water puddling and damage.

  She said has heard concerns from residents recently that when it rains, there is puddling. She is worried the sitting water could cause vehicles to hydroplane or that the excess water could seep into the road base and cause harm in winter.

  The item was pulled from the September 16 Council agenda, and she is questioning why that happened.

  In August of 2018, a 3-4 vote awarded the Request for Tender for the cold rolled recycled surface treatment rehabilitation on the Gore Road, from Wright Road to Essex County Road 20, and Concession Road 8, from Coulter Road to Ferris Road, to Norjohn Contracting and Paving Limited for $549,157. This company was the sole bidder on the project.

  At the time, during the previous term of Council, Councillors Bondy, Voakes, and Rogers were opposed, and Councillors Snively and Bjorkman, and Deputy Mayor Meloche and Mayor McDermott in favour.

  This issue was first dealt with at the July 16, 2018 meeting. After much debate, then Essex Mayor Ron McDermott motioned to table the file to the next meeting to provide Council members time to do a little more homework on the matter.

  Concerns brought up last year at the Council table included with the process selected as it was said during this meeting there were issues with this resurfacing method in the past, and if specifications in the RFT were a little more open, there could have been more bidders.

  At that time, Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche and Mayor Ron McDermott were in favour of the process, noting members of administration are experts on the matter. At the July meeting, Snively noted he was not in favour, but changed his opinion for the August meeting.

  In a video Bondy posted to Facebook on Sunday, which she filmed from the 8th Concession, she asked “Why are our Essex Councillors handcuffed and muzzled from talking about important issues brought to our attention by our residents?”

  In the video, she said the 8th Concession and Gore Road have been hot topics of contention in Council as there have been what she called “close votes” on the cold rolled recycled method in the past.

  “My question is, why was it pulled off,” she asked, adding shouldn’t Council members be able to talk about issues?

  Bondy told the Essex Free Press she is livid her Notice of Motion was pulled, especially since it was a 45-minute Council meeting, which would have provided plenty of time to talk about the issue.

  “It is no small potatoes,” Bondy said of the issue. “Roads are a main Capital budget item.”

  If her Notice of Motion was to be pulled, Bondy said she would have preferred it to take place when she brought it forward at the September 3 meeting. That way, it would not have been publicized as being slated for discussion at the following meeting, which residents may have shown up to, specifically for this topic.

  Mayor Larry Snively noted Bondy’s Notice of Motion was already discussed in June at a special Council meeting designated to allow Council and administration to discuss roads.

  “Administration will come up with a solution,” he said.

  The issue, he noted, can be discussed at budget time when Council discusses projected road projects.

  At that roads meeting, however, Bondy said she had a lot of questions that she did not get answered. She also noted the June roads meeting was public, but was not filmed for viewing on the internet like a regular Council meeting.

  At the June roads meeting, some of the members of Council voiced dissatisfaction with how the roads turned out.

  As far as Gore Road, because of timing construction delays on both ends, the final lift was put on too late, it was noted at the meeting. The weather was also cold, CAO Chris Nepszy explained then.

  Council had also discussed other possibilities that could have led to a less than desirable result.

  On May 27 of this year, the contractor came back and fixed the Gore.

  At the June roads meeting, Mayor Snively said he voted for the cold rolled recycled, but was not happy with the product on the last pieces done on the Gore Road. He said at that time he would like to see if the product holds up. He thought Council should hold off on using this process until about three years have passed on what was just done.

Councillor Steve Bjorkman at the June roads meeting said Essex has a small sample size of cold rolled product and the Town has had good results from the process in the past.

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