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  • ESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council meeting notes - September 6, 2022


Amy Brett, Zak Kolasa receive Rescue Award of Merit

Essex Council received correspondence from the Lifesaving Society of Ontario – a national, volunteer organization – that awarded Amy Brett and Zac Kolasa with a Rescue Award of Merit.

  This award is presented to individuals who are involved in water-related rescues, as well as Lifesaving Society award-holders in non-aquatic rescue situations.


  Essex Recreation Complex staff member, Sarah Newton, and George Turnbull, a staff member for the Town of Lakeshore, presented the awards on behalf of the Lifesaving Society.

  In January of 2020, Brett came upon a two-car accident in Windsor on her way home from work. As a former employee of the Essex Recreation Centre, she had taken the Society’s First Aid course. Utilizing her training, she tried her best to stabilize one of the driver’s head and airway, as he was slumped over and bleeding heavily. She kept the individual calm, while updating the individual on the phone with emergency services on his condition.

  “Amy was quick to credit her years of training with the Town of Essex in helping her feel confident enough to step in,” the correspondence to Council noted. “The victim suffered serious injuries and faced a long recovery, but Amy’s care and assistance helped to keep him alive.”

  In July of 2020, Kolasa – a highly skilled Lifesaving Society Examiner Mentor – was at Holiday Harbour Resort, when a family friend called for him. A migrant worker had gone missing and was submerged.

  He sprang into action, using his legs to sweep the area where the person in distress was suspected to be. After feeling the victim with his shin, he dove down six-feet, retrieved the unconscious individual, towed him back to shore, and began compression-only CPR – as an AED or masks were not available – with the help of others.

  “One of the police officers on the scene mentioned that in all his years attending emergency scenes, he had never seen such a spontaneous, coordinated effort to reach out and help,” Newton said. 

  Unfortunately, the individual passed.

  The Lifesaving Society has been teaching water safety and water rescue in Canada since 1896.

  On behalf of Council, Mayor Richard Meloche congratulated Brett and Kolasa on their courageous efforts.

  “It is nice we have people in the community like that, who are willing to step forward and put out there what they do know,” Meloche said, noting it can be challenging to jump in and act when an emergency comes up.


Council members present on AMO Conference

Four members of Essex Council detailed their involvement with the recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference that took place in Ottawa.

  Councillor Morley Bowman and CAO Doug Sweet approached the Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport about how the Town will need further investment from the province, and the federal government, for the Essex Sports Fields.

  Bowman spoke about hearing about a female Councillor in another municipality, who decided not to run again because she could not afford it. He noted, often, Councillors work on a part-time wage, and demand on the position can be a lot, which can discourage individuals from wanting to get involved.

“That is probably the biggest hindrance, not only to women in the political realm, but anybody who is in the minority position in society,” he said.  

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen spoke about the MPAC update he attended at the conference. Bad news, he said, is the new assessment continues to be delayed. Good news is that the expanding property value bubble “that has been scaring everyone, especially in the Toronto area, has peeked. It is hoped the delay in the MPAC assessment means the changes in property valuations will be less sharp than what they might have been. MPAC noted it would advise in the fall when the next valuation will take place.”

  MPAC, he said, records the value of homes and buildings. The Town only collects more money if it raises taxes.

  Councillor Jason Matyi sat in with the Ministry of Transportation about possible grant money for a bus line, and the Ontario Minister of Infrastructure about aging infrastructure in the Town of Essex.

  He decided to go to the conference when he learned the theme was on diversity and inclusion. He has been hearing the Town wants more diversity and inclusion, so he went there searching for more practices on that. He spoke on yearly training on the matter.

  “It helps us become the conscious and ethical leaders that our constituents want,” he said, hoping the conversation continues.

  Barriers he heard during the conference, he said, included the polarizing effect of social media and how it finds ways into Council Chambers, and officials are not connecting with constituents enough.

  Mayor Richard Meloche spoke about his meeting with the Ministry of Transportation. He said the Town will put forward a request to get a transportation line from St. Clair, up Walker Road to McGregor and Harrow, and then into Colchester. He tried to tell the Ministry about the need for this line.

  He also spoke about a joint-meeting including County of Essex and City reps, with the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade. Additional road money was requested at the meeting, because hundreds of millions of dollars will have to be implemented around the upcoming EV battery plant.

  “Overall, AMO was an excellent opportunity for learning,” Meloche said. “It gives us an opportunity to present Essex’s request.”

  Council received the presentations.


 Additional funds approved for

Heritage Gardens Park washrooms

Council approved the revised project cost of $343,440 for the Heritage Park Washrooms and that the project overage, in the amount of $43,440, be funded from the Parks and Recreation General Reserve.

  Council also approved an operating transfer from the Urban Revitalization cost centre in the amount of $10,000 into the Parks and Recreation General Reserve to be used towards the project.

  Installing the washrooms is a joint project between the Town of Essex, the Essex Centre BIA, and the Rotary Club of Essex.

  During the 2022 budget deliberations, Council approved that Parks and Facilities build washrooms at the Heritage Gardens Park to promote events and tourism, the Report to Council notes.

  The approved budget for this project was $300,000, including a $50,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Essex and a $100,000 donation from the Essex Centre BIA.

  “It shows what can be done when all of our groups come together with a common goal in something that benefits the town,” Deputy Mayor Steve Bjorkman said, who added the washroom addition will allow families to spend time downtown and at the Heritage Gardens Park, and not have to head home as soon as the first person in their group announces they need to use the washroom.

  Adding a public washroom downtown was discussed when he was on the Essex Centre BIA 11-years ago.

  This is a really big deal for our downtown community, our businesses,” he said.

  He thanked Council for supporting the additional funds, noting the benefit outweighs the additional dollars needed to install the washrooms.


 Expansion of Public Works facility at Ferris Road approved

Council awarded the Result of Tender for the Operations Facility Expansion to Barrineti Construction Ltd. in the amount of $625,824.

  In addition, Council approved the additional funding of $130,583 from the Development Charge Reserve - Transportation for the building expansion and washroom upgrade project.

  The approved 2022 Capital Budget included $495,241 for the building expansion and washroom upgrade.

  The Report to Council notes the existing Public Works facility at Ferris Road no longer adequately meets its operational needs, so a stand-alone 75 foot x 80 foot shop expansion was tendered. This facility will also aid in the protection of valuable assets that are currently stored outdoors.

  Administration will move forward with the washroom upgrade in 2022.


 CSCEC seeks support to transfer sale management from Essex Retirees’

Essex Council received correspondence from the Community Support Centre of Essex County (CSCEC) regarding the transfer of Management of Senior Active Living Centre (SALC) from the Essex Retirees’ Social Club to CSCEC.

  Council will send a letter of support to the Community Support Centre of Essex County to confirm Town of Essex’s support for transfer of Management of SALC and commitment to maintain its financial support of the SALC.

  The correspondence to Essex Council on the matter notes the two organizations have proceeded with integrative discussions.


 NoM: free business registration

At the August 22 regular Council meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy presented a Notice of Motion for discussion at the September 6 meeting, that asked Council to consider directing Administration to set up a free business registration section on the Town website, where businesses can select a ribbon cutting and obtain information about Town services.

  Bondy said businesses have loved the ribbon cuttings the Town offers. She gets messages about some businesses that may be missed for this opportunity when they open. This registration can be used to inform Town staff about the new businesses, so they can ask for a ribbon cutting.

  In the past, discussion has surrounded starting a process on registering businesses, Deputy Mayor Steve Bjorkman said, asking about an update on the project.

  CAO Doug Sweet said the Clerk’s department has been working on the matter, and the Economic Development Officer has been working on a ribbon cutting policy. It is hoped to tie these two components together.

  Council moved to ask Administration to report back to Council on both procedures at a future date.

  In the meantime, staff will look to promote that new businesses can reach out to the Town if they would like a ribbon cutting, and will look to place information on the Town’s website.

Councillor Joe Garon suggested compiling criteria as to who can apply for a ribbon cutting.


  NoM: making the active transportation trail at South Talbot more accessible

At the August 22 regular Council meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy presented a Notice of Motion for discussion at the September 6 meeting, that asked Council to consider directing Administration to make the active transportation trail more accessible by installing two curb cuts on the bike lane on South Talbot Road, across from Diane Street, so residents can access the walking path with walkers, wheelchairs, bikes, and strollers.

  How the MTO got away without a curb cut is beyond her, she said, adding it makes sense to have residents on the trail and not on the road, as residents have come to Essex Council recently regarding concerns with speeding.

  Director of Infrastructure, Kevin Girard, said the trail was designed by the MTO as part of the Highway 3 expansion. He added the South Talbot Road Trail is temporary. Just south of Diane Street, it will be relocated closer to the highway. Town Administration has told the MTO there is a desire for more accessibility for the final design of the trail.

  Councillor Morley Bowman said by adding curb cuts at the different intersections, the Town is promoting crossing at the stretches, where there is no mitigation for traffic to slowdown. He believes this needs to be looked at more when the Town gets control of it.

  Whether it is temporary or not, Bondy thinks this trail will be in place for a few years still. She said a letter needs to be sent to the MTO noting some of the most vulnerable residents cannot use the trail.

  The motion was defeated, with Bondy and Councillors Kim Verbeek and Jason Matyi in favour.  

  Bondy put forward a second motion, that Council would like to see the MTO plan an accessible trail on South Talbot Road when the permanent trail is created.

  She wanted Council to be proactive in planning.

  Motion carried.


 NoM: invite to E.L.K. to update Council on OEB application

At the August 22 regular Council meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy presented a Notice of Motion for discussion at the September 6 meeting, that asked Council to consider inviting the E.L.K. Energy Board to provide Council, as its sole shareholder, with an update on its most recent Ontario Energy Board (OEB) application.

  She said the OEB recently approved the most recent E.L.K. application for a rate increase. She thought it would be a good idea to keep communication going between the E.L.K. Board Members and Council.

  Deputy Mayor Steve Bjorkman said it is not a bad idea to have the E.L.K. Board report to Council once or twice a year.

  After discussion on how the Board could present as five members of Essex Council sit on the E.L.K. Board, the motion was amended, and passed, to ask the E.L.K. Energy Board Chairperson to provide Council with an update.


 NoM: installing updated and new population signs

At the August 22 regular Council meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy presented a Notice of Motion for discussion at the September 6 meeting, that asked Council to consider installing updated and new population signs based on the most recent census.

  Bondy said the population signs are outdated and ugly. She hoped new signs can be purchased to also complement the down streetscape projects for Harrow and Essex Centre.

  Director of Infrastructure, Kevin Girard, said Town staff contacted the County of Essex, as the sign and right-of-way owner, and should have an update in the near future.

  Deputy Mayor Steve Bjorkman asked if there is a process followed to replace the signs. Girard said there is not formalized process to replace the signs.