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  • ESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council meeting notes - Monday, September 19, 2022

by Sylene Argent

Canada Community-Building Fund video received

Council received the Canada Community-Building Fund video, which the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) submitted for information.

  The two-minute video highlights the funds the Town of Essex utilized through the Canada Community Building Fund to support the Harrow Streetscape project. The planning of the project began in 2016, and through community input, the theme, which included its “farm roots” with “small town chic,” was selected.

  “We made that come to life in 2021, with the Harrow Streetscape project,” Kevin Girard, Director of Infrastructure, said in the video. He included the project added accessibility and active transportations features, such as accessible crosswalks, new curbing, rest areas with benches, and green spaces for those shopping or visiting the area.

  The beautification and underground infrastructure project area for downtown Harrow included Queen Street, from Colio Drive to King Street, King Street, from Erie Street North to Walnut Street South, and McAffee, Street, from King Street to Wellington Street.

  “There was a lot of mix-matched infrastructure in the downtowns. There was not much plant growth, and here we are, an agricultural centre,” Essex Mayor Richard Meloche said in the video of why the project was undertaken. “It gives the downtown a fresh new look for our businesses, so they can succeed coming out of these COVID times.”

  The Canada Community-Building fund is necessary to help the Town of Essex have stability and plan for the future, Meloche added.

  Thanks to the Canada Community-Building Fund, the Town of Essex was able to invest more than $5.4M into the Harrow Streetscape Project.

  Meloche thanked AMO for providing the video, which he said provides before and after photos of downtown Harrow. “It is night and day difference,” he said.


STR incident at Colchester Harbour

Council received the report that noted during the month of August, the Town of Essex had two incidents with the Short Term Rental (STR) units at the Colchester Harbour.

  Both complaints were noise-related due to partying, with area residents complaining to security and police, who responded to the incident. The owner of the STR also responded within an hour of being contacted.

  Security staff members have been told to reach out to the STR operator quicker to prevent the situations from continuing longer into the night, the Report to Council notes.

   Council permitted the STRs at the Colchester Harbour, directing Administration to provide monthly updates on any issues that arise from the STR operators.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy asked if there is a way security in the area could intervene if there are noticeable issues, like noise, before residents complain.

  CAO Doug Sweet said that has been discussed. Security, for the most part this year, has done a great job, he noted.

Essex Fire competes 86% of recommendations set out in the 2017-2021 Master Plan

Council received Essex Fire & Rescue’s report “Fire Master Plan 2017-2021 Summary Report” for information.

  Essex Fire Chief, Rick Arnel, provided a summary report on the four-year Master Plan.

  In 2016, the Report notes, Council approved funding to conduct a Fire Master Plan. PoMax was selected to undertake the project.

  Through the Master Plan, PoMax made 35 recommendations, ranging from low to high priority. “We were able to implement 30 of those recommendations over the past five-years,” Arnel noted in the Report.

  That accounts for 86 percent.

  Some of the recommendations included relocating Station 2; completing a Building Condition Assessment and Feasibility Study for renovation, addition, or new building for Fire Station 3, training enhancement and increased attendance; and the completion of an annual Community Risk Assessment.

  There were two high priority recommendations in the Master Plan, Arnel noted. The first was to ensure adherence to the department’s attendance policy. The summary noted in 2021, Essex Fire & Rescue hosted 315 training events, totalling 3,910,25 training hours, superseding what was achieved the previous two-years.

  The second high priority recommendation was to conduct an annual Community Risk Assessment. Arnel said this is done every year to determine next steps in how to combat what needs to be done and where to apply resources. This will be done next year in conjunction with the Master Plan update, as required though provincial requirements.  

  He explained why some of the recommendations were not followed up on, which included the fire service determining better solutions or alternatives.

  Arnel thanked Council for its ongoing support.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy asked about the location for the new Fire Station # 3 facility. Arnel noted as the Fire Master Plan will be updated next year, that will be left up to the consultant to connect with stakeholders to ensure the proper location is determined.


 Development of Water Model for Harrow-Colchester South approved

Council appointed C3 Water Inc and Stantec Consulting Ltd. to develop a water model of the Harrow-Colchester South Water Supply System in the amount of $35,210.69, with the cost of the project to come out of Water Reserves.

  “With increasing demands on water supply within the Town of Essex, there is a need to study and review, through the development of a hydraulic model, the Town’s water supply systems,” Director of Infrastructure, Kevin Girard, stated in the Report to Council.

  A hydraulic water model will allow the Town to analyze demand impacts from proposed development, evaluate system-wide fire flows, improve water quality, and improve operations. It will also allow the Town to input future growth data to evaluate and study high-level servicing plans for the purposes of developing a water servicing master plan, Girard noted.

  C3 Water has already developed a water model of the Essex-UWSS distribution system in 2020, the Report to Council adds.

  Administration set aside $52,000 to complete a water modelling study of the Harrow-Colchester South Water Supply System, so there are sufficient funds to complete this project.

  This will help provide a comfort-level for future developments, Girard said.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen asked if staff was going to look into the possibility and cost of taking over the Amherstburg section that provides water to a portion of Essex. That may be useful to know as the Town has run into issues with not being in charge of all of its utilities.

  Girard noted the water model can be used to evaluate and see if that could be a potential option, however, there are extensive challenges to assume another municipality’s infrastructure.

  The Town of Essex is supplied by the Essex-Union Water Supply System (Essex-UWSS) and the Harrow-Colchester South Water Supply System (HCSWSS). In addition, there is a portion of the Town of Essex that is supplied by the Town of Amherstburg.

  Mayor Richard Meloche asked if Girard has heard complaints about water pressure in the Harrow-Colchester South system. Girard said the water model will look at that.


 Development up 131.3%,

comparing August 2022 to 2021

Essex Council received the Economic Development Overview for August 2022.

  The Report noted total construction value for August 2022 – including all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments that required a building permit – totalled $15,040,500.

  This was a 131.3 percent increase from August 2021.

  In addition, the average home sale price in August of this year for Wards 1 and 2 was $547,319, which was significantly higher than the $456,284 reported in August of 2021. The average home sale price in August of this year for Wards 3 and 4 was $467,404, which was significantly lower than the $617,241 reported in August of 2021.

  Deputy Mayor Steve Bjorkman said this data shows the amount of consistent growth in the Town.


 County to be asked to get rural services City

info to help get homeless on “By Names” list

Deputy Mayor Steve Bjorkman spoke of the Windsor’s Housing and Homelessness Advisory Committee (HHAC) and a recent presentation its representatives made at County Council. The City of Windsor is the purse-keeper of the funds for the region and provides them to areas in need. The decision for that is made by the location of the homeless.

  In the past few surveys, it has been found 90 percent or more of homeless are in the City of Windsor. Essex Mayor Richard Meloche challenged that data at the recent County Council meeting.

  At that meeting, Meloche noted the populations, and socioeconomic status, of the County of Essex and City of Windsor are similar, and questioned the measuring process.

  In order to be counted, County reps were told residents must be on the “By Names” list the City holds, which is compiled by staff who attend to kitchens, welfare offices, and other related resources.

  “There is limited contact with our organizations in the County,” Bjorkman said.

  He and Meloche sought endorsement from Essex Council to approach County Council to have its Administration put together a list of contacts of services within the County that assist the homeless, so they can be provided with the City contacts as a way to get county residents who are homeless on the “By Names” list.

  “We need names, phone numbers, and emails that we can distribute to our food banks and social workers and aid groups to ensure those many homeless in the County are identified and placed on that ‘By Names’ list,”” Bjorkman said.   

  Homeless, he said, is someone who has to move back in with parents, or seniors who have to move in with their children, because they cannot afford a place to reside, as well as those who do not have shelter.


 E.L.K. directs Council to website

after request for update

Essex Council received correspondence from Cheryl Tratechaud, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Stakeholder Relations for E.L.K. Energy.

  The letter was in response to a motion Council made in May, requesting reps from E.L.K. Energy present a progress update on the 2021-2022 Action Plan.

  The letter pointed Council to visit its new website elkenergy.com to view the Action Plan or the 2021 Ontario Energy Board (OEB) scoreboard.

  “As we prepare a report on the progress to date, we invite any further feedback from Town Council regarding specific issues or incidents of concerns,” she wrote in the letter, adding the utility’s commitment to working together with Essex to provide the highest quality of service to customers.    

  Councillor Sherry Bondy wondered why E.L.K. could not provide the same letter as it did for the Town of Kingsville recently, which she said contained more details on things it was doing, like replacing transformers, trimming trees, and working with Hydro One.

  “It is pretty pathetic, the letter, actually,” Bondy said. “And I don’t know why they could not treat us with the same respect that they did with the Town of Kingsville, considering we are the sole-shareholders.”

  She wanted Council to write back and ask for more details. If Council is asked to give further feedback, she said she wants the details about what they are doing.

  Mayor Richard Meloche said the website E.L.K. referred to was not available when it provided Kingsville a letter in the recent past. He believes if Kingsville asked at this point in time, it probably would have been able to go to the website to get the information.

  Bondy has been on the website, but wants E.L.K. to answer some of the questions Council has had.


 Notice of Motion for Council consideration at the October 3 meeting:

• Councillor Jason Matyi will ask Council to consider directing Administration to create a best practice policy on landscaping in the Town’s right of way.

• Councillor Sherry Bondy will ask Council to consider directing Administration to install the cornerstone from the former Harrow Junior Public School at the Harrow Hawk steel sculpture to commemorate it.