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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council meeting notes - July 5, 2021

by Sylene Argent

Council approves two Essex Tourism Events Fund applications

Essex Council approved the distribution of $1000 to each the Rotary Club of Harrow and Heritage Colchester from the Essex Tourism Events Fund.

  The Rotary Club of Harrow intends to use the funding its upcoming annual Rubber Duck Derby.  Heritage Colchester intends to use the funding to market its upcoming Colchester Village Market.

Development Charges By-Law amended

Council adopted By-law 2043, to amend By-Law 1850 respecting Development Charges (DC), to reflect the changes under Bills 108, 138, 197, and 213.

  Background information on this matter was discussed at a special Council meeting in May.

  This includes removing the mandatory 10 percent deduction for certain services, DC installment payments; DC rate freeze; interest policies; mandatory exemption for new ancillary units; and mandatory exemption for universities receiving operating funds from the Government. It also includes refined definitions where required.

  In the Report to Council, it noted that on April 6, the Town gave notice to, and placed on the public record, a background study “Town of Essex 2021 Development Charge Update Study,” which Watson and Associates Economists LTD. prepared. Further, a public meeting on the matter was held on May 3.

  In support of the above, on June 7, 2021, Council adopted By-law 2030, to charge interest on outstanding Development Charges equal to the Town’s burrowing rate, plus two-percent, fixed at the date of building permit issuance or at the date of the relevant planning application, compounded annually.

  The Report to Council continues that the Town of Essex imposes development charges to recover capital costs arising from the increase in needs for services or infrastructure related to growth.

  Lori Chadwick, Director of Development Services, said the By-Law required the amendments as legislated by the Provincial-level.

  Kate Giurissevich, Acting Director of Corporate Services/Treasurer, noted as part of the annual budgeting process, past trends will be looked at and that funding is incorporated into the Operating Budget. A transfer to the DC Reserves then takes place, so when an infrastructure outlay occurs, it is not a funding shock.

Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche asked how the number of Secondary Dwelling Units could be forecasted in any given year.

Giurissevich said that will be tricky as this is a new venture for the Town of Essex. When budgeting, staff may have to look at comparable municipalities to come up with a prediction.

Mayor Larry Snively does not want to see a big impact in 2022 as it relates to Secondary Dwelling Units.

 Council approved St. Peter’s ACHS College leasing Harrow Lions Hall

Council approved entering into a one-year agreement with St. Peter’s ACHS for leased space at the Harrow Lions Hall, located at 206 McAffee Street.

  The lease will commence on August 1 of this year and will conclude on July 31, 2022. There will be an option to renew for an additional two-years, subject to the general terms and conditions as outlined in By-Law 2044, which also received all three readings.

  The proposed lease will require the tenant to pay an annual rate of $10,025.36 a year, for a monthly total of $835.45. This is based on $4/sq foot, plus HST.

  ACHS has also requested the use of one dressing room at the Harrow Arena at no charge for weekdays only as a location for students to shower after training, and to have designated space on the property to park three of their school vans.

  The Harrow Fair Board, which has exclusive use of the Lions Hall two weeks prior to the annual Harrow Fair and one week after the fair, will not require its use this year.

King-Queen traffic signal replacement

Council approved the additional expenditure of replacing the traffic signals at the King Street and Queen Street intersection, in the amount of $170,820, as part of the Harrow Streetscape project. A severe thunderstorm in June caused permanent damage and failure to multiple components within the Traffic Signal cabinet, including the controller.

  As part of the approved 2021 Capital Budget, the Harrow Streetscape project was tendered and awarded to JCS Construction. Included in the project was the rehabilitation of the traffic signals at King Street and Queen Street, with provisions to construct the underground infrastructure required to install new traffic signals in the future when the traffic lights reach their useful life, which would be in seven years or less.

  $33,870.82 was added in the budget to aesthetically rehabilitate the existing infrastructure. The additional cost to repair is around$36,000. The total cost to rehabilitate and repair the traffic lights to around $69,870.82. This will not extend their life cycle.

  The total cost to purchase and install new traffic signal infrastructure, including, poles, arms, traffic signal heads, surge protection, battery backup, and audible pedestrian traffic signals, is around $170,820.

  It notes there is sufficient, unallocated dollars remaining in the 2021 approved capital budget for the additional expenditure of $170,820 to replace the existing traffic signals.

  The life expectancy of a traffic signal is between 30-35 years, Kevin Girard said, who is the Director of Infrastructure Services.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said it was great to pull the project in through the Harrow Streetscape Project with excess funds available. He through it was wise to put in the new signals now.

Appeal Hearing with respect to a Dangerous Dog Declaration

and Issuance of a Notice to Muzzle

Council received the report, “Appeal Hearing with respect to a Dangerous Dog Declaration and Issuance of a Notice to Muzzle” and granted an exemption from the requirements of the Animal Control By-Law as it relates to the composition of the Appeal Committee. It was directed that the members of the Appeal Committee for the upcoming hearing be comprised of three members of the general public to be appointed, who have declared that they will serve impartially and that they do not have a conflict of interest in the matter to be adjudicated.

  In the Report to Council, it notes the members of the Animal Control Appeal Committee are serving an adjudicative role for a specific purpose, it is recommended that an honorarium of $200 be paid to each member to cover preparation time and the date of the appeal hearing.

Fireworks By-Law to be further discussed at July 19 meeting

Council passed the first two readings of By-Law 2011, to prohibit and regulate the sale of fireworks and the setting off of fireworks in the Town of Essex. This will also include Council directing Administration to review the feasibility of an appropriate fee consideration relating to the processing of an Application for Fireworks Display.

  Though administration’s recommendation was to have Council pass the by-law, Councillor Sherry Bondy said the public is being alerted to what the Town is doing on this matter at Monday’s meeting, so she suggested the first two readings be approved only, with the third to be held on the July 19 meeting. This will help ensure the By-Law is well tweaked and will not need to be revisited in the future. Council passed her motion.

  In the Report to Council, it notes that in accordance with the priority to create a safe, friendly, and inclusive community, Administration reviewed By-Law #124 being a by-law regulating the sale and the setting off of fireworks in the Town of Essex passed on October 4, 1999. The purpose of the update was to summarize the concerns or issues with the current By-Law and outline the key aspects of the new proposed fireworks By-Law recommended for adoption by Council.

  The key aspects of the proposed By-Law 2011 includes expanding the list of holidays which fireworks can be sold on; restricting the possession of fireworks to only competent person, defined in the By-Law as being at least 18-years of age and fully aware of the applicable legislative requirements; prohibiting the displaying, offering for sale, selling or setting off of firecrackers or flying lanterns at all times in the Town; making a distinction between three types of fireworks, each with their own definitions, restrictions, and regulations, such as: Family Fireworks, Display/High Powered Fireworks, and Pyrotechnic Special Effects Fireworks.

  The proposed By-Law also expands the list of holidays that Family Fireworks can be set off without a permit; prohibits the setting off of Display Fireworks, unless a permit has been applied for and granted with the approval of the Fire Chief; and requires those who wish to set off Pyrotechnic Special Effect Fireworks to follow the same permit application process as outlined for Display Fireworks. Pyrotechnic Special Effect Fireworks must be set off under the supervision of a certified pyrotechnician.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said he couldn’t help but feel like there would be push back from the community on essentially taxing on another field that was not before.

  Councillor Joe Garon wondered how the permit fee could be enforced, as By-Law Officers work during the week, during the day only. He wondered about guidelines for where fireworks could be set off.

  Fire Chief Arnel noted there is no permit for family fireworks, but there is one for Pyrotechnics and display fireworks.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche was concerned about the Town being too stringent on days fireworks are to be allowed to be used.

Policy to be prepared to use Community Centres

as cooling stations during heat alerts

Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche brought forward the idea of using community centres in all four wards for heat relief during extreme heat alerts or advisories.

  Director of Community Service/Deputy CAO, Doug Sweet, said Meloche’s motion is possible to do, utilizing the Colchester Community Centre, the McGregor Community Centre, the Shaheen Room inside the Essex Centre Sports Complex, and the Harrow Community Room. The Town will still promote its splashpads.    

  A process should be put in place. He suggested still following the Health Unit guidelines. He would like to come back to Council with a plan. He said it should be controlled through a system similar to the Emergency Operating Committee.  

  Council gave direction that it supports the initiative, and staff will work on a formal policy. It also gave direction in the meantime, that the process could be implemented prior, if a heat alert is issued before it is formally adopted.

 Snively comments on traffic enforcement issues Bondy posted

Mayor Larry Snively left his seat as Chairperson momentarily to speak about a posting Councillor Bondy put up on her website titled “Discussion on Traffic Enforcement Improvements: not welcome by Essex Mayor.”

  He said that was false and he has had traffic radar set up on concession roads, he and the Deputy Mayor went out to Ferris Road recently to speak to residents about speeding concerns. He said Bondy needs to be careful about what she posts about him.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman called a Point of Order, asking the Deputy Mayor, who took over as Chairperson for Snively momentarily, what was urgent or minor, which a matter needs to be, to be considered new business.

  Snively said the point is, he has been trying to get traffic control in place.

  In the post, Bondy talks about how residents asked to bring up a discussion at Council about an increase in traffic enforcement. On June 23, she asked that the Notice of Motion that Council have a discussion about a traffic enhancement in the OPP contract, so traffic enforcement could be discussed in a public and transparent manner.

  The Essex Mayor, she further wrote, declined this Notice of Motion, citing procedural and operational reasons.

  Meloche said the post could be misleading as it could be misconstrued that only one Councillor was concerned about speeding. Everyone on Council cares about speeding in the Town of Essex, he said. The one matter that was asked to be discussed that was not discussed, has been discussed in the past and is in the process of being put in place. He said everyone should be careful about what they post on social media.

 NoM: barbeques at Town of Essex parks

At the June 21, regular Council Meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy put forward a Notice of Motion for consideration at Monday’s meeting, that Council have a discussion regarding barbeques at Town of Essex parks to determine what is and what is not permitted.

  Director of Community Services/Deputy CAO, Doug Sweet, said the Town’s best practice includes only using gas barbeques. Charcoal can be used, but is a safety hazard. The Park’s By-Law notes fires cannot be lit in a park, with the exception of areas designated by the municipality. Such fires must be in approved containers, designed for outdoor cooking.

  Colchester Park allows barbeques, but not the beach, he noted.  

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman added that perhaps barrels could be provided to allow park visitors to safely dump their charcoal. Sweet will have his staff look at that as an option.

NoM: Organics waste program

At the June 21, regular Council Meeting, Councillor Kim Verbeek put forward a Notice of Motion for consideration that Council discuss and provide direction regarding the organics waste program the Essex Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA) is proposing.

  Verbeek said the time to remove organics from waste is coming. This is an initiative spearheaded by the City of Windsor. Essex County Council reps on the Board, she added, voted to put the brakes on, as they had numerous concerns and requested a peer review.

  The City is on a timeline and has to move into the organics program. County municipalities are not under the time restraint.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said a decision has to be made by the end of the year. If the Board votes no before the end of the calendar year, the matter will not be brought up again until 2023.

  The Essex Landfill Committee, Verbeek said, sent a letter to the EWSWA that it does not want to host organics programs. Windsor has to come before all County Councils to get buy in.

  She wanted Essex Council, as the landfill host municipality, to send a letter to County Council and EWSWA to put focus on other potential sites for the program.

  Verbeek is not necessarily opposed to the program. At one point, she said organics should be taken out of waste. She had concern with the cost of the program and is opposed to hosting it in Essex as it is not known the draw its technology will have on water and power. She also noted there were concerns about smell.

  Councillor Morley Bowman said a lot needs to be done from Essex’s standpoint. He was not sure if the current agreement for hosting the landfill site would encompass this type of operation. He thought a legal consult may be needed to look at the agreement, so the best service is possible, if the Essex site is used.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said the City is trying to railroad the region into spending around $200m or more on a plan to recycle organic waste. He said many do not believe it is worth it.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman said there could be benefit to Essex, through tipping fees. What he is hearing is fear of what could go wrong, but not the benefits. He said he does feel for the residents around the landfill. He wants more information to make a decision on the matter.

  Council passed Verbeek’s motion. In a recorded vote, Bjorkman was the only one opposed.   

 NoM: install a turtle/snake crossing sign on Iler Road

At the June 21, regular Council Meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy put forward a Notice of Motion for consideration at Monday’s meeting, that Council direct administration to install a turtle/snake crossing sign on Iler Road. She noted the Youth Action Committee has agreed to donate $50 towards the cost of installation of the sign.

  Director of Infrastructure Services, Kevin Girard, said the Town is not the sole authority for species at risk, or designating areas that are vulnerable for wildlife crossing roadways. He suggested Council direct admin to work with ERCA to determine if there is a section on Iler Road that is vulnerable for turtle crossings.

  Council agreed to have administration speak to ERCA on the matter.  


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