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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council meeting notes - January 17, 2022

by Sylene Argent

Closed meeting report

Director of Legislative Services/Clerk, Robert Auger, said Council met for an in-camera meeting on Friday, January 7, at 2pm, to discuss matters about an identifiable individual and to receive solicitor advice, which is subject to solicitor/client privilege. This was in regards to a matter before the courts or administrative tribunals.

  At the meeting, Council received information concerning the matter before the court and tribunal, and Council was provided with legal advice in connection with that information.


Council recognizes Candy Cane Lane Contest 2021 Winners

Cynthia Cakebread, Manager of Recreation and Culture, took the opportunity to announce the Candy Cane Lane Christmas Light and Decorating Contest winners on behalf of the Arts, Culture, and Tourism (ACT) Committee, which organized the festive competition.

  The contest was hosted in partnership with the Essex Centre BIA, through sponsorship of prizes.

  “The ACT Committee challenged residents and businesses to put their best lights forward for this festive celebration. The contest was open to all residential properties and businesses in the Town of Essex,” Cakebread said.

  Contest participants were listed on a map, so residents could enjoy a self-guided tour in which they were able to get out and see the displays. 

In the Merry and Bright category, where homes competed to be recognized for the best use of design, incorporation of lights, and other illuminated features, first place, for a prize of $1,000 worth of Essex Centre BIA Winter Downtown Dollars, was earned by 124 Turnhout Crescent. Second place, $500 worth of Essex Centre BIA Winter Downtown Dollars, was earned by the home of the 6060 Catherine Duransky Drive. Third place, $250 worth of Essex Centre BIA Winter Downtown Dollars, was earned by 134 Kim Court.

  In the business category, The Little House of Cupcakes earned First place, winning $700 worth of Essex Centre BIA Winter Downtown Dollars. Second place was earned by Stationery & Stuff, winning $350 worth of Essex Centre BIA Winter Downtown Dollars. And, Crafty Candles earned third place, winning $200 worth of Essex Centre BIA Winter Downtown Dollars.  

  Cakebread recognized the efforts of all participants and said she hoped to see everyone participate, in addition to new competitors, next year.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman recognized all the work individuals and families put into their displays. He said it is a fun competition.

  Council received the information.


Dave Mota to present on affordable housing

Originally scheduled for Monday evening, Colchester resident, Dave Mota, will approach Council about affordable housing at the Monday, February 7 meeting. He organized affordable housing rallies in Harrow and Essex last November.


Land Acknowledgement statement permanently adopted

Essex’s Land Acknowledgement Statement, which was provisionally adopted on June 7, 2021, was permanently adopted on Monday evening.

  Since June, it has been read at the beginning of all regular Council meetings and at other special events.

  The statement is as follows: “We acknowledge that this land is the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations (comprised of the Ojibway, the Odawa, and the Potawatomi Peoples), and of the Huron-Wendat Peoples. We value the significant historical and contemporary contributions of local and regional First Nations and all of the Original Peoples of Turtle Island who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial.”

  Director of Legislative Services/Clerk, Robert Auger, said the trial period of six-months has passed. That period of time was meant to allow for additional feedback.

  Since the provisional adoption, administration has not received much feedback on the matter, either positive or negative.

  It will continue to be read at the beginning of Council meetings and at special events, Auger said.


Development down 22 percent in 2021, compared to 2020

-average sale price for a home around $130,000 more in 2021 than 2020-

Essex Council received the 2021 Development Overview for 2021 for information.

  The Report to Council on the matter notes there was $83,277,375 in total construction value for 2021. This included all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments requiring a building permit.

  This was down 22 percent from the previous year.

  The average sale price for a home in Wards 1 and 2 in 2021 was $504,179, which was significantly higher than the $367,686 recorded in 2020. This is a difference of $136,493. The average sale price in Ward 3 and 4 in 2021 was $540,536, which was also significantly higher than the $406,867 recorded in 2020. This is a difference of $133,669.

  In total, 429 homes were sold in 2021.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said she was celebrating more residential permits were taken out for Ward 4 than the other Wards last year.


Administration to continue to implement the Town’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Essex Council received Human Resources’ Report “COVID-19 Vaccination Policy – Three Month Review,” and further approved Administration continue to implement the Town’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

  In the Report to Council, Brandi Sieben, Manager of Human Resources, noted the report had to come forward at this time as Council requested a review of the policy every three months at the October 18, 2021, regular Council meeting.

  The COVID-19 Vaccination Policy became effective on October 19, 2021. All employees, members of Council, and Committee members were required to provide their vaccination status using one of the seven status options by October 26, along with any associated vaccine documentation, the Report to Council notes.

  The Report to Council added all employees provided vaccine status by the deadline. Of the Town’s 193 employees, 95 percent were double vaccinated, one-percent was partially vaccinated, and four percent was unvaccinated or selected not to disclose vaccination status.

  The Town did not receive any requests for an accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) for a legitimate medical condition or bona fide religious exemption, the Report to Council adds.

  All employees who are unvaccinated, or selected not to disclose their vaccination status, have undergone bi-weekly rapid antigen testing with the Town’s Nurse Practitioner since the week of November 8, 2021. The testing program has yielded two positive test results.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen asked how many employees tested positive over the past three-months. Sieben said around five to seven.

  The Town has seven more weeks of testing kits on hand, but has been informed by its supplier of a shortage of rapid antigen tests, and that there will be no additional availability through the month of January.

  The Town does not anticipate the current shortage to interfere with the testing program. The Town has also been approved to order with Supply Chain Ontario should the current provider’s availability remain limited.

  To date, the Report continues, the Town has only received responses from 37 percent of all Council and Committee of Council Members, for which there are 62 members in total. Of that 37 percent, all have provided documentation of being fully vaccinated.

  Most of these individuals are hosting meetings online. Those entering facilities have to provide vaccination status and documents, Sieben said.

  To date, the cost of implementing the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy has been $400, which was a result of using a third-party testing over the Christmas break for employees scheduled to work, when the Nurse Practitioner’s office was closed. No additional costs are expected at this time, the Report to Council concludes.

  Sieben said Administration suggests the Town continue with the policy and review it again in another three-months.

Road Salt Hauling awarded to Quinlan Incorporated

Council awarded the Results of Request for Tender for Road Salt Hauling to Quinlan Incorporated. The contract period is from February 01, 2022 to April 30th, 2024.

  It was recommended Council award the contract to Quinlan Inc in the amount of $6.51 per Tonne for the first year.

  Council also permitted the Treasurer (with Chief Administrative Officer Approval) to fund any over expenditure in relation to the Salt Hauling contract, from the Winter Control Reserve.

  The average yearly expenditure for this work is approximately $23,000, the Report to Council on the matter notes, adding the unit price will be adjusted annually based on the year-over-year change in the Total Consumer Price Index.

  Winter Control budgets are based on a 3-5 year rolling averages to predict upcoming expenditures, it continues.


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