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Essex Council meeting notes - Monday, March 2, 2020

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault  

Essex welcomes new Director of Infrastructure Services

CAO of Essex, Chris Nepszy, was pleased to welcome Kevin Girard as the new Director of Infrastructure.

  Girard, a Certified Professional Engineer with a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Engineering) and Diploma in Civil Technology, came to Essex by way of Lakeshore, where he served as the Manager of Environmental Services. He brings with him experience from also working for the Town of Kingsville and Coco Paving.

  As Director of Infrastructure, he will lead capital works, drainage, environmental services, and operations. He will also coordinate maintenance of infrastructure, including roads and sewer systems.

  Council passed a bylaw to appoint Girard to the position.  

Cassidy gets Council to send letter

of support for auto strategy  

Council made a special motion to allow Dave Cassidy, Essex resident and President of UNIFOR Local 444, to speak regarding, “Last week’s bad news...announcing the elimination of our third shift at the Windsor Assembly Plant.”

  He asked Council to write a letter collectively to support a Canadian automotive and manufacturing policy.

  “We need to make sure that we keep these corporations from reaping tax benefits and then moving away from Ontario and Canadian jobs.”    

  Cassidy added, “The devastation is going to happen on June the 29th. It will not only affect those 1500 potential members at Windsor Assembly Plant, but all our feeder bases as well.”  

  In Essex alone, Cassidy said, there are around 3500 active and retired members of UNIFOR. He was worried about job loss in the area.

  “We are losing jobs and we’re losing out on new investment,” he said. Since 2006, ten of the 16 bids to build new automotive manufacturing plants in North America were won by Mexico, with the remaining six going to southern US.”

  He added between the years of 2009 and 2018, automotive companies have spent $124B on investment. Of that, only seven percent went to Canada.

  He has been able to have discussion with area politicians at the provincial and federal levels of government about the importance of an auto strategy.

  Mayor Larry Snively said he agrees with Cassidy and had no issue sending a letter of support.

  Councillor Kim Verbeek put forward a motion that Essex send a letter supporting an auto policy, which passed.


Essex Municipal Property Assessment presented to Council   

Essex Council received a public presentation from Tracey Pringle, an Account Manager of Municipal and Stakeholder Relations for the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), regarding a property assessment for the Town of Essex.

  MPAC, a Crown corporation headquartered in Pickering, determines the assessed value of all properties in the Province of Ontario.

  “We maintain a comprehensive database of property information for each of the more than 5 million properties in Ontario,” Pringle explained. “The information gathered, informs revenue and taxation decisions, and can help us understand how your community is changing. At the end of last year, we delivered an assessment role with 5.3 million [Ontario] properties valued at $2.96 trillion dollars.”

  In Essex, residential properties make up the vast majority at 71 percent, followed by farm and commercial assessments.

  The current assessment, based on real estate value data from January 1, 2019, will be in effect through January 1, 2024. The next assessment date is scheduled for January 1, 2023.

  “Most residential properties are assessed using the direct comparison approach,” Pringle said, explaining that the home is estimated comparatively to other properties in its respective area.”

Additionally, the income approach is tied to a commercial property’s ability to earn revenue on its real estate, not necessarily the business that is run from it.

  “For example, the property owner landlord that rents to Walmart, the income approach is on the rent for the Walmart, not on what Walmart itself can make,” Pringle explained. “The third way is the cost approach, and this is when a property is unique and rarely sold or traded on the market. We can’t rely on sales and we can’t rely on income in these cases, [so] the property’s value is estimated as the current cost of rep.”

  If individuals feel that their property has been assessed incorrectly, they can file for an appeal through MPAC.

  Property owners can find their own assessment and comparisons online at aboutmyproperty.com.

  Council received the presentation.


Essex thinking of re-naming Essex Community Centre after Maedel

Doug Sweet, Director of Community Services, said administration, in working with the Essex Municipal Heritage Committee, would like to rename the Essex Community Centre, located at 25 Gosfield Townline, Maedel Community Centre.

  He said a name change would be desirable to avoid confusion with facility users as the Essex Community Centre, and two other Town-owned facilities – the Essex Recreation Complex and the Essex Centre Sports Complex – have similar names.

  He asked that Council defer the decision to make the change for one month to garner public feedback from the community on the potential name change.

  The Report to Council notes the recommendation to change the name of the facility was in honour of Edward Charles Maedel.

  In 1908, the Report to Council notes, Maedel purchased a struggling soft drink company on Talbot Street and renamed it “Maedel Beverages.” There, he manufactured soft drinks and sold the product by driving his soft drink truck throughout the County. In 1935, Maedel received the first Pepsi Cola franchise in all of Ontario, and the second franchise in all of Canada.

  He later built a new shop at the corner of Talbot and Brien Avenue. In 1989, the Maedel family sold the business to a company from Toronto, but the local Pepsi factory is the direct result of Maedel’s efforts, the report states.

  “Administration feels Edward Charles Maedel is a worthy candidate for renaming the Essex Community Centre to the Maedel Community Centre as he was a true community man as he was part of the group that built the former Essex Band shell, he was a volunteer firefighter, a lifelong Rotary Club member, volunteer with scouting, baseball and other youth activities – all in addition to successfully running the Pepsi Cola business here in Essex,” the Report to Council continues.

  In the 2020 approved Capital Budget, funds were set aside for a new outdoor pylon sign, which will include the new name of the facility.

  Council voted to defer the file for a month.


183043 Ontario Limited Rezoning Application

Essex Council received the Planning Department’s report “183043 Ontario Limited Rezoning Application” and further authorized the submission of a rezoning bylaw to permit multiple unit dwellings within the lands identified as the Gianni Estates subdivision, which is located east of Gosfield Townline and west of Fairview Avenue.

  The proposed multiple residential site would front on the future Hanlan Street extension and border the Town’s recreational facilities associated with the Essex Centre Sports Complex.

  The Report to Council notes that through a rezoning application, 1830343 Ontario Limited, Peter Valente, agent, seeks to permit the construction of a multiple dwelling on a portion of the future Gianni Estates subdivision.

  The aforementioned land is approximately 37-acres. It has a 514-meter frontage on Gosfield Townline.

  In the Report, it notes approval of this incentive would help the Town achieve its mandates under the Official Plan and Provincial Policy Statement to provide for a mix of housing types to meet the varied needs of its residents.

  It is currently zoned R2.2, which permits single-detached, semi-detached, and townhome dwellings, secondary dwelling units, and accessory uses. The applicants are requesting that the zoning be amended for a parcel of this land to permit multi-unit dwellings at this location in addition to the range of residential uses presently permitted under the existing R2.2 zoning the Report to Council notes.

  Town has not received a formal application for site plan approval to date.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy wondered if the Planning Department got any concern about the building potentially being six-stories high.

  Lori Chadwick, Director of Development Services, said the input has been positive. Folks are looking for another housing choice, she said. Next step, she added, when the applicant is ready, is to seek Site Plan Control.

  Councillor Kim Verbeek said the feedback she has heard has been positive as well. She is happy to see more housing coming to the community.

  Mayor Larry Snively said this is a beautiful development, a beautiful building, and it will be in the right location as it will be close to the arena and close to shopping. He said he supports it one-hundred percent.


Council approves trial of council meeting livestreaming

Essex Council approved a report from Deputy Clerk Shelley Brown, directing Council to enter a three-month trial service with current Town meeting broadcaster CFTV to livestream Town of Essex Council Meetings over the internet.

  Currently, Essex tapes the regular Council meetings through third party CFTV, where they are then posted to YouTube several days later, as well as rebroadcasting on Cogeco channel 100, Gosfield North IPTV channel 34, and on Bell TV satellite channel 586 on a weekly scheduled basis.

  CFTV has offered to provide live streaming through YouTube at no additional cost to the Town’s current contract.

  To provide this service, the County of Essex has agreed to provide CFTV with a direct connection to the internet in the Council Chambers.

  The public would be able to access the live webcast through a link on the municipal website, which would direct them to YouTube. CFTV would use its current camera equipment and be able to provide various angles and descriptive text during and as part of the live broadcast.

  At the conclusion of the live broadcast, the video would be archived so that it is available to the public for later viewing.

  It is not clear at this time if closed captioning services can be provided by the current service provider, and if the livestreaming were to go beyond the three-month pilot project, closed captioning will be required for all recordings of Council meetings that are published by the Town as of January 1, 2021.


EssexWorks online report a problem system launched

Essex Council received the Communication Department’s report, “Launch of EssexWorks Online Report a Problem System for Citizens.”

  The Report to Council noted that at the May 6, 2019 Regular Meeting, Council approved using $6,000 from the Municipal Modernization Grant to implement an Online Service Request System.

  The new EssexWorks system provides an online form on the Town’s website and puts citizen service requests directly into the CityWorks system. With the new system, citizens will be able to submit information using their home computer or smart mobile device.

  Once submitted, the citizen would receive confirmation email. When the work has been completed, or a relevant update has been made, another automatically generated email will provide an update to the resident.

  We are really closing the loops,” Alex Denonville said, who is the Manager of Communications for the Town of Essex. “It improves our customer service.”

  Another benefit is that this system offers consistent and standardized tracking of requests, Denonville added.

  It is also important to note, citizens will not be limited to how they report problems. Calling or visiting Town facilities will remain an important way for staff to receive information from citizens, the Report to Council notes.

  Councillor Kim Verbeek said this program is exciting and thanked staff for putting in the time.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman said the biggest benefit is that the system offers tracking, which will be great in keeping a resident informed about the concern they have sent to the Town.


Harrow Chamber disappointed it has no rep on Climate Adaption Committee

Tammy Affleck, President of the Harrow & Colchester South Chamber of Commerce (HCSCC), sent a letter to Council that commended the Town of Essex on what she said was taking an important step to creating a Climate Change Adaption Plan.

  In the letter, however, she said the Town reached out to the HCSCC, and other agencies to serve on the new Essex Climate Adaptation Team (ECAT) Committee. She expressed “concerning disappointment” that the member of the Chamber appointed to be on the Climate Change Adaption Plan, former Essex Councillor Bill Baker -who is now Vice-Chairperson of the HCSCC) was not even considered to be brought forward to the decision-making Striking Committee, which recommended 12 candidates from a list of 50 interested applicants.

  Essex Council approved the Committee roster at the February 18 Council meeting.

  “As Harrow, Colchester South’s business advocate, we do applaud the Town of Essex for the support you have provided the HCSCC on many initiatives and your focus for a Climate Change Adaption Plan. However, in this regard, we are deeply disappointed that the voice of the business for our members will not be represented on the ECAT Committee,” Affleck concluded.    

  At the February 18 meeting, Lori Chadwick, Director of Development Services, explained that experience and education were considered when forming the Committee, in addition to what the applicants could bring to the table in contributing to the climate adaptation plan. They also looked at picking individuals from different sectors.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said he would like to hear from Baker as the climate adaption plan will affect the whole municipality, and Harrow has a manufacturing area.

  Council allowed Baker to speak on the issue. He reiterated that the HCSCC represents many business sectors, but he, appointed by the HCSCC, was not selected by administration to make the short list.

  Lori Chadwick, Director of Development Services, said there are many opportunities for groups to provide an avenue for public and stakeholder input. There will be multiple opportunities to do that over the next year.

  The Town received over 50 applications. The applications were impressive, she said. The adaptation plan, Council will eventually adopt. It was a very onerous task, but at the end of the day, the Town needs to make sure all voices across all sectors are heard, she said.

  Vander Doelen wondered who would be speaking for the industrial jobs in the community. He worried it would affect jobs with the HCSCC not a voice for them at that table.

  “I am worried that there might not be enough consultation, closely enough, basically with our industrial base. This climate change adaptation [plan], has to do, I am sure, with the use of heat, and welding, and…solvents.” He wondered who would be speaking for those industrial businesses in Harrow. “That is basically all the industrial jobs in the community.”

  With the Chamber not on the Committee, he worried the industrial businesses’ voices will be close enough to the core of the report.

  Steve Bjorkman suggested adding the additional person to the committee.

  Council put forth a motion that an additional seat be added to the Committee, so the HCSCC can have a seat on the ECAT.


NoM:

• At the previous meeting, Councillor Kim Verbeek put forward a Notice of Motion that she wanted Council to discuss the potential of putting surveillance cameras at Co-An Park. She asked this discussion be moved to the second meeting in March.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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