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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Continued Essex Council notes - July 6

by Sylene Argent

LIFE leases Kinsmen Fieldhouse

Council approved entering into an agreement with Learning in Friendship and Equality (LIFE) for leased space at the town-owned facility located at 50 Fairview Avenue West in Essex Centre. This will be for one year, commencing on August 1 and concluding on July 31, 2021.

  Council also passed the associated Bylaw.

  There will then be an option to renew for an additional two-years, beginning on August 1, 2021, subject to the general terms and conditions as outlined in Bylaw 1927.

  According to the Report to Council, LIFE will host a day program to offer individuals with intellectual disabilities to learn life skills.

  This facility was formerly the Kinsmen Fieldhouse, then housed a fitness studio until 2019. Town Administration then posted a public notice of a Request for Interest for any organizations that may be interested in leasing this space, and received three submissions– a sport organization, the LIFE organization, and a private business.

  A committee reviewed the submissions, and after review, recommended LIFE be offered to lease the space at the former Kinsmen Fieldhouse.

  The Report to Council notes the tenant will pay an annual rate of $5,424, including harmonized sales tax for a monthly total of $452.

  Mayor Larry Snively said he is glad the space will be utilized, and Councillor Kim Verbeek added she is glad this organization will operate within Essex.

Rotary Club of Harrow receives $1000 from Essex Tourism Events Fund

Council approved granting $1,000 to the Rotary Club of Harrow, from the Essex Tourism Events Fund. This is the maximum grant payable through the Essex Tourism Events Fund for projects with an operating budget of less than $35,000.

  The funds will be used to purchase gift certificates from 15 businesses in Harrow and Colchester for prize packages for the Rubber Duck Derby 2020, which is planned to take place on August 22.

  The Report to Council notes this year’s event, due to the COVID-19 emergency, had to be postponed and reformatted.


Site Specific Zoning Bylaw Amended for 128 Harvey Street

Essex Council adopted Site Specific Zoning Bylaw Amendment Bylaw 1923, to amend ByLaw 1037, the Comprehensive Zoning ByLaw, for the Town of Essex.

  The report to Council notes, Bylaw 1923 would permit a semi-detached dwelling and reductions in the exterior side yard width and setback from a railway right-of-way for the property at 128 Harvey Street (Lots 23 and 25 on Registered Plan 249).

  These are vacant residential lands. They are viewed as two 50’x100’ lots. They likely merged when titles were taken under the same ownership.

  The Report to Council continues the subject lands have full access to municipally owned and operated storm, water, and sanitary sewers, and fronts on public roads constructed to municipal standards.

  A statutory public meeting was held virtually on Monday, July 6, 2020, before the regular meeting.

  During this meeting Manager of Planning Services, Rita Jabbour, said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Site Specific Zoning Bylaw Amendment.

  The applicants, she said, are able to construct two single-detached dwellings on the property. They are designated for residential use, R1.1, which only permits construction of one single-detached dwelling. These lands are suitable for residential development, Jabbour said, because they are situated in a primary settlement area and fronts on a public road with services.  

  The applicants, Jabbour said, requested a Site Specific Zoning Bylaw Amendment to allow for the construction for one semi-detached dwelling on the site, which is not permitted on the R1.1. The Official Plan, however, allows for two-unit dwellings in areas designated residential, subject to a successful zoning amendment.

  She said there were no objects to the proposal from ERCA, Essex administration, or CN Rail. There was one objection from a resident, who had concerns about the potential destruction of natural habitat and potential parking issues.

  The subject lands, Jabbour said, are not within or adjacent to any natural heritage feature. One nearby belongs to CN Rail. The applicants will be responsible to provide onsite parking and install individual storm services to the satisfaction of the Town’s Department of Infrastructure Services.

  Another letter of objection, Jabbour said, had concern with setting a precedence if the bylaw was approved.

  A 20-day appeal period now takes place.


Results of Request for Tender - Surface Treatment 2020

Council awarded the Request for Tender - Surface Treatment 2020, to Shepley Road Maintenance Limited in the amount of $209,046.33.

  The 2020 surface treatment program includes the supply and application of surface treatment pavement in accordance with Ontario Provincial Specification Standards for various roads. This maintenance contract is used to conduct repairs on various Town roads to extend their useful life, the Report to Council notes.

The Town of Essex received two tenders, which were reviewed, Shepley Road Maintenance Limited bid $209,046.33 and Norjohn Contracting and Paving Limited bid $228,639.46.


Norjohn awarded Surface Treatment Rehabilitation 2020

Council awarded the Surface Treatment Rehabilitation 2020 to Norjohn Contracting and Paving Limited in the amount of $1,097,501.

  The Request for Tender was issued for the surface treatment rehabilitation utilizing a Cold Recycled Asphalt Mix Paving process. Two tenders were received. Coco Paving Inc. bid $1,143,884.67 and Norjohn Contracting and Paving Limited bid $1,102,022.64.

  The Report to Council noted that during the 2020 budget deliberations, Council approved the resurfacing of Gore Road (between Wright Road and County Road 13), the 8th Concession (between Ferris and County Road 23), and the 4th Concession (start at County Road 23).

  Prior to tendering, further investigation of the 8th Concession was conducted by Infrastructure Services and it was determined that the road surface had significantly deteriorated over the year and required pulverizing and grading to help shape the road prior to resurfacing, the Report to Council noted. This resulted in an overage of $78,451.64. To offset this additional expense on the 8th Concession, the 4th Concession resurfacing was reduced to accommodate the additional expenses.

  Though there has been much discussion in the past from Council on the use of cold rolled asphalt, no discussion took place during this meeting.


2019 Audited Financial Statements presented

Mike Cowan, Partner BDO Canada LLP, presented the 2019 Audited Financial Statements for the Town of Essex. Council adopted the report as presented.

  Cowan said BDO has been doing this annual audit for many years. He thanked the Town’s finance team for working with him on the project, through the COVID-19 pandemic.


NoM: Town to get a quote on E.L.K. Energy valuation

At the June 15 meeting, Sherry Bondy put a Notice of Motion forward to ask Council to designate funds from the 2021 budget process to hire a Consultant for a valuation of E.L.K. Energy, being that it is a Town-owned asset and knowing its value is important to shareholders.

  “I think it is important for us to have some idea of what the value of our asset is,” Bondy said, adding ELK is one of the biggest assets for the Town.

  Down the line, Essex may want to sell ELK Energy to do new roads or payoff debt. “We really don’t know what we own,” she said, adding she thinks there are many unanswered questions. The next step, she said, would be to have a meeting to talk about those unanswered questions.

  Mayor Larry Snively said he can’t see the Town selling a business that makes it almost a million dollars a year. Bondy noted the Town is currently not collecting dividends.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said taxpayers may want to be suspicious of the motives here. He suggested Bondy ask Council if there was a desire to sell. Getting the value first would be putting the cart before the horse. If ELK is sold, he suspects rates would skyrocket.

  Deputy Mayor Meloche thought the matter should be differed to the 2021 budget. He said this would not be high propriety for him. He added the Town is not getting dividends right now as it is trying to pay down the purchase loan.

  Councillor Joe Garon said Council should want to know what the Town’s assets are valued at. He believes that was the real intent of the motion.

  Book value is easy to ascertain, but the market value would need to be discovered, it was noted during the meeting.

  Bondy changed her motion that Council get a quote so a discussion can be held on the matter during the 2021 budget deliberations. A majority vote carried the motion.

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