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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Continued Essex Council notes - July 18, 2022

by Sylene Argent

Consultant to be appointed for Colchester Sanitary Sewage Area for MCEA

Council authorized Town of Essex Administration and the developer to appoint the most suitable consultant to provide consulting services to complete a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) for the Colchester Sanitary Sewage Area.

  In addition, Council approved By-Law Number 2178, to enter into an agreement with Lankor Horizons Inc. and Colchester Bay Inc., for the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for the Colchester Sanitary Sewage Area.

  The Colchester Sanitary Service Area is serviced using a communal-type gravity sanitary sewer system, complete with six lift stations, and directs all wastewater to a main pumping station located west of Colchester Village, on Cornwall Beach Road. It is then pumped, via force main, into the Colchester Lagoons for treatment, the Report to Council notes.

  In order to accommodate growth, the existing sanitary service area requires a study to ensure there are no negative impacts to existing properties as a result of proposed development outside of the sanitary service area.

  Kevin Girard, Director of Infrastructure Services, said the Town will manage the EA to ensure it is completed to the Town’s standards and follows the Environmental Assessment Act.

   The costs for this project are to be fully recovered by the Town from the developer.

Development up 73.5%, comparing June 2022 to 2021

Essex Council received the Development Overview for the Town of Essex for the month of June.

  Compared to development that took place in June of 2021, there was a 73.5 percent increase in June of this year. The total construction value for June 2022, including all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments that required a building permit, was $27,477,200.

  The average home sale price in Wards 1 and 2 was $572,778, which was significantly higher than the $433,307 recorded in the same month last year. The average home sale price in Wards 3 and 4 was $607,692, which was higher than the $562,806 recorded in the same month last year.


Access agreement with Cogeco approved for fiber optic infrastructure project

The Town of Essex voted to enter into a Municipal Access Agreement with Cogeco Connexion Inc, and passed a By-Law to authorize the execution of the Municipal Access Agreement.

  The Report to Council notes Cogeco seeks to provide new telecommunications services, in the form of fiber optic infrastructure, to various areas within the Town of Essex, as part of funding received under the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Program. Cogeco’s intent is to build this communication infrastructure by the end of the fall of this year.

  Providers are required to obtain approval from municipalities in the form of a Municipal Access Agreement. Council approval and consent was needed to enter into a Municipal Access Agreement with Cogeco Connexion Inc.

Council only received Correspondences from Owen Sound seeking a study on recalling Councillors under carefully prescribed circumstances

Councillor Sherry Bondy asked Council to receive and support correspondence from Owen Sound. Owen Sound’s Council recently passed a resolution to send a letter to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, asking for a study of the merits of allowing the recall of municipal Councillors under carefully prescribed circumstances. This would include displays of hatred, misogyny, and all forms of discrimination; and facilitate strengthened and ongoing orientation and training sessions for councils, local boards, and committees.

  She believes this is worthy of support, citing articles she has read regarding these types of instances.

  Though he believes the conversation is important, Deputy Mayor Steve Bjorkman said he did not know he supported this particular request as he cannot agree with the vagueness.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said of course Council is opposed to bad behaviour, whether it be on social media or in the Council Chambers, however, he agreed the resolution was vague, as Bjorkman had pointed out.

  Councillor Morley Bowman said it comes down to how provinces deal with their councils.

  A majority of Council did not support the correspondence. It was only received.


NoM: Administration to report on the cost of waiving multi-residential DCs and review all DC exemptions and waivers

At the July 4 meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy put forward a Notice of Motion, for discussion at the July 18 meeting, that Council of the Town of Essex direct Administration to cease the multi-residential waiving of Development Charges (DC), unless the new proposal is deemed to qualify for affordable housing.

  Council amended the motion after some discussion on the matter, and instead moved to direct Administration to review and create a report regarding the cost of waiving multi-residential Development Charges. The report will include a review of all current DC exemptions and waivers.

  Bondy said when developments come forward for approval, she looks at how much the Town is incentivising the development, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  It is great that new apartments are coming, and they are wanted, but she does not believe it is sustainable financially for the Town to cover that waiver via tax dollars.

  Though DC charges can be waived for the developer, it does not mean they are waived for the municipality, Lori Chadwick, Director of Development Services, explained previously. The funding for the waiver needs to come from somewhere.

  “I know we want living in the Town of Essex to be affordable for everybody, and it is going to be unaffordable if we keep growing, and we are growing, and I think we will. The good thing is, with our strong Directors and progressive and aggressive Council, we have been growing, and I think we are going to continue to grow. I don’t think developers are going to be as fixated on the development as they are on the community,” Bondy said.

  If the Town can keep that money in its pocket, it can be put into libraries, roads, parks, and taxpayers’ pockets.

  She hoped Administration could come back with a report on eliminating the waiving of multi-residential development fee and look at how the Town can still work with developers if they are offering affordable housing.

  She believes policies are needed to stimulate affordable housing.  

  Mayor Richard Meloche said the intent when Council put this in place was to collect those waivers over eight to ten years with the amount of taxes collected on the new construction. If there were no incentives on waiving DCs, the developments would not have come to Essex.

  The DC waivers can be eliminated, but he wondered at what point would no more apartment buildings come forward.

  Perhaps members of Administration could come back with a report on their thoughts, Meloche said.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said Bondy’s original motion is something that sounds good, but was not sure it would work in practice. Over the past four-years, he said, this Council has had to struggle to make up for several million dollars worth of development fees for projects in Harrow and Essex Centre.

  He could not offer a definition for affordable housing himself, because he said it does not exist. “All you are doing is transferring these costs from one group of taxpayers to another group of taxpayers, and we should not be bringing in some sort of blanket policy that does this. We should be doing this on a case-by-case basis as projects come forward.”

  He believes this would cause additional problems and not add to solving the issue.

  Councillor Jason Matyi is curious to see how Administration would define ‘affordable housing’ and how much waiving the Development Charges has cost the Town.

  If waiving DCs could be discontinued, he would like to. He would rather just give affordable housing developments a break with that waiver.

  Chadwick said the Town of Essex already has an exemption for affordable housing in its current DC By-Law for municipal-wide charges.

  “The definition for affordable housing, however, is quite flexible in that it is determined through a program, as administered through either the federal government, provincial government, or even the county or municipal level,” Chadwick said, adding it has to be a non-profit program.

  There is legislative exemption, if the Town did not have one in the By-Law, for profit multi-residential developments, that the developer has the option to pay the DCs in up to six instalments. This includes an option of paying the DCs in 21 instalments for non-profit.

  Kate Giurissevich, Director of Corporate Services/Treasurer, added in the DC By-Law, there are multiple exemptions. She suggested if Council wants to ask Administration for a report on the matter, that the various types of waivers be looked at so that Council has a clear understanding of all of the waivers offered.

  Bondy said that will be healthy and helpful information.

  Councillor Joe Garon noted the DC waivers were offered because there was a desire for the Town to grow. He is in favour of a report on the matter.

  “We are where we are today with development because of what we put in place six-years ago,” Deputy Mayor Steve Bjorkman said. “The incentives have gotten people to build, and to build multi-residentials.”

  He believes building more creates affordable housing.


Notices of Motion to be discussed at future Essex Council meetings

• At the August 2 meeting, Mayor Richard Meloche will ask Council to direct Administration to prepare a report on the Farm 911 Emily Project, and how this program can be rolled out in Essex. This project was created to assign addresses to rural properties to assist first responders when there is an emergency. The report would include costs for the program and from where the funding could be sourced.

• At the August 2 meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy will ask Council to consider sending a letter to Valente Corporation, requesting a retaining wall be installed behind the homes on Morris Drive in the Townsview Subdivision by November 30.

• At the August 2 meeting, Mayor Richard Meloche will ask Council to consider asking the County of Essex to perform a review of the County Road 12 and County Road 15 intersection, in hopes of providing better safety controls. At minimum, this would include larger stop signs on County Road 15, with perhaps better lighting.

• At the August 22 meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy will ask Essex Council to create a policy that amends the practice of verbal requests that stipulates when Town staff serve notices of infractions to residents, the notice must be in writing, referencing the policy violation and the by-law infraction or other issues where Town employees request resident cooperation.

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