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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Continued Essex Council Notes Monday, June 19, 2023

by Sylene Argent

Additional $17k approved for

McCormick Beach Road cul-de-sac

Council approved $17,045.15 above what was already in the 2023 Capital Budget of $40,000 for the McCormick Beach Road cul-de-sac. The funds will come from the Public Works’ Contingency Reserve.

Councillor Katie McGuire-Blais understood the increase, but had a hard time spending taxpayers’ money on a cul-de-sac she said would only benefit a few residents who reside on the street.

The Town, she explained, took the $40,000 from the developer and did not do anything with it, and now a cul-de-sac is owed. She wondered if the Town could return the money, plus interest, and apologize for not completing the project.

Director of Infrastructure, Kevin Girard, explained the $40,000 was received due to the closure of road allowances at the neighbouring property. There were road allowances through that property that indicated the Town would receive additional accesses to McCormick Beach Road in the future.

When the request came in to close them, one of the conditions included the property-owner paying the Town to create a cul-de-sac to improve the radius for garbage trucks and snowplows, and would benefit activity in the tourism industry.

Update on water and wastewater

billing transition to in-house provided

In March, Council voted to bring the Town of Essex’s water and wastewater billing in-house. Previously, it was conducted through E.L.K., which the Town of Essex owns.

Since then, the Town has issued an RFP for software, developed an internal transition committee, solidified construction timelines and future work locations, hired the new water billing coordinator, and advertised for two water billing clerks, Director of Corporate Services/Treasurer, Kate Giurissevich, explained.

The first bill residents will see issued from the Town is tentatively scheduled to be delivered in November and December.

The largest impact, Giurissevich explained, is the savings of nearly $373,000 on the selection of software vendors through the Request for Interest process. Because there will be a period of time where the Town and E.L.K. overlap, the anticipated net savings is around $223,000.

Administration will provide another update in the fall. The Town will try to get residents to signup for preauthorized payment and e-billing.

Council received the report.

NoM: safety audit of Colchester Beach

At the May 15, 2023 Council meeting, Councillor Jason Matyi put forward a Notice of Motion for discussion at the June 19 meeting, asking Council to direct Administration to have a comprehensive safety audit of Colchester Beach and waterfront conducted by Lifesaving Society, and further develop a safety plan based on the findings from the consultant.

This matter came up with recent conversations when a delegate was seeking permission to install an inflatable water park at Colchester Beach.

It came to his attention that a safety audit has not been done for the area, and he thought it would be a good idea to have Administration come up with plans regarding any recommendations that may come from it.

Deputy Mayor Rob Shepley agreed that having a safety audit completed for Colchester Beach would be highly appropriate and likely needed.

Jake Morassut, Director of Community Services, said the price tag for such an audit would likely cost around $4000. Where the funding would come from would need to be decided. It would likely take a few months to get completed.

Shepley suggested placing the project in the 2024 Budget, as results would not come in until late in the season this year, anyway.

Matyi added to his motion that the funding come from the remaining funds from the Jackson Street traffic/parking study.

Director of Corporate Services/Treasurer, Kate Giurissevich, explained those types of funds are typically rolled into similar projects.

Matyi noted safety measures at the beach should be one of the things the money can be used for.

Motion carried.

Councillor Kim Verbeek liked the idea, but did have concerns as to whether or not the Town would be liable if it did not follow all recommendations provided through such an audit.

NoM: Making Jackson Street a

Community Safety Zone

At the June 5, 2023 Council meeting, Councillor Jason Matyi put forward a Notice of Motion, for discussion at the June 19 meeting, asking Council to direct Administration to make Jackson Street, south of County Road 50, a Community Safety Zone.

Matyi explained this motion came as a result of Council not adopting recommendations recently that were presented through a traffic/parking study completed for Colchester that wanted to make Jackson Street a one-way to create more parking.

Part of the study recommended a Community Safety Zone be created for Jackson Street.

He said traffic calming measures are needed in the area to curb speeding and to also complement the nearby Jackson Park.

Director of Infrastructure Services, Kevin Girard, noted the Town has a Community Safety Zone Policy, and with there being a Park on Jackson Street, the area would fit the criteria. He noted, however, he should provide a report to Council on the matter as part of the policy.

Costs associated would include the addition of the signage, which could be done through the Operations Budget.

Council directed Administration to bring back a report on the matter.

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