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Essex Council Notes for February 3

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault



Congratulatory Celebration held for newest Fire Recruits

Essex Fire Chief Rick Arnel hosted a congratulatory ceremony for the four new Fire Recruits for their successful completion of the 2019-2020 training program.

The new recruits are: Aaron Langlois - Essex Station 1; Logan Malenfant - Essex Station 2; Jacob Morassut - Essex Station 2; and Cayla Mursall - Essex Station 3. They were all presented with the Essex Fire & Rescue uniform badges and Project All In Coins, which is a coin handed to first responders that allows them to signal to others if they are in need of mental health help.

Essex Fire Chief Rick Arnel announced, “We are here after nine long months of training.” He added that for the first time, Essex Fire & Rescue brought the ceremony to Council, so the local municipal reps could help welcome the new recruits.

Deputy Fire Chief Rick Malott said the new recruits logged in over 180 hours over the last nine months to complete the training through Essex’s new program. “What it means is that our recruits can graduate, ready to put boots on the ground.”

Malott explained the method and culture has been changed in regards to how new recruits receive their training. The training included learning about building construction, fire dynamics, fire suppression, technical rescue support, vehicle extrication, hazardous material response, and community risk reduction.

Arnel thanked Council for welcoming the newest members of the team.

Mayor Larry Snively congratulated each of the new recruits on graduating the program.

Council received the presentation.

Applications close this Friday for the 2020-2021 recruit class. Anyone interested can find out more information at www.essex.ca/en/live/firefighter-recruitment.aspx

 

Bylaw to establish and regulate fire services updated

Essex Council approved the passing of Bylaw 1870, to establish and regulate fire services, which repealed the previous Fire Services Bylaw 1500.

  This updated bylaw is compliant with current provincial guidelines that state all municipalities must establish a public education program with respect to fire safety, as well as certain components of fire prevention. Other fire protection services, as determined, may be necessary in accordance with each municipality’s needs and circumstances, must also be provided.

  The document lays out the authority of the Fire Service to operate, how services are provided, and the overall structural hierarchy of the organization.

  This bylaw provides the Fire Chief and Fire Service the authority to deliver their services, including fire suppression, rescue services, code compliance, and public education as part of fire prevention strategies, confined-space extractions, and emergency medical services. In addition, it includes the entirety of the training required to provide these services.

  This updated fire services Bylaw 1870 provides the most up-to-date services provided by Essex Fire & Rescue as approved by Essex Council.

 

Removal of Holding Designation Jakana Subdivision

Essex Council received the Planning Department’s report “Jakana Subdivision Removal of Holding Designation,” and further approved Bylaw 1884, which removed the Holding ‘H’ designation.

  The area affected is located on the west side of Hanlan Street, north of Fairview Avenue.

  The Jakana subdivision, the Report to Council notes, was zoned HR1.1, the ‘H’ being a hold on the issuance of building permits until specific development preconditions have been met. The preconditions included plan of subdivision approval and the execution of the servicing agreement.

“This is great news. We can see we are moving forward with this subdivision,” Mayor Larry Snively said.

 

Dog Pound Committee minutes

When receiving correspondences, Councillor Sherry Bondy, who sits on the Dog Pound Committee as the rep from Essex, said fewer dogs from Essex have been put into the Dog Pound in Lakeshore.

  She also noted funding was put in a reserve for future infrastructure costs.


Tecumseh Declares Climate Change Emergency

Essex received correspondences from the Town of Tecumseh that it recently declared a Climate Change Emergency.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said Essex should be declaring an emergency also as if local municipalities band together it gives a greater voice to the cause.

  She said the Town has flooding and shoreline issues, and so does its neighbouring communities.

  Essex is forming a Climate Change Advisory Committee, and she thinks declaring a Climate Change Emergency would help this new forming Committee have a stronger voice. Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche thought the new Committee should look at the issue and come to Council with its findings.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said he voted against ERCA declaring a Climate Change Emergency as he sits on that Board. He said when he, and others voted against that motion, that did not end up in the minutes, which he hopes has since been corrected so that information is available 20 or 30 years down the road.

  “Yes, climate changes every day. It is called weather,” he said.

  Mayor Larry Snively said he has noticed changes in climate over the years.

  “You can see climate change; there is no doubt about it,” Snively said.

  

NoM: Verbeek wants Old Malden Road work completed, five-year road plan

At the January 20 regular meeting, Councillor Kim Verbeek put two Notices of Motion forward for discussion at the February 3 meeting: That Council get the road work on the Old Malden Road completed in the 2020 budget and that administration look to see how that could be funded;  and that Council be provided with a five-year road plan.

She hoped that if the road work on Old Malden Road Project could not be completed in 2020, that a five-year road plan would help get the work done as soon as possible.

  It was explained at the meeting that work on the gravel road began in 2015. The idea was to have it tar and chipped. Around $140,000 was spent to create the base, but the remainder of the project has been pushed out every year since.

  She said it would not cost the Town a penny to put the file to tender so an exact cost in regards to completing the project can be found.

  If the money is found in the budget, the Town could still have a zero percent increase with the budget. She added that there is potential for $122,000 that Council could claim as the school board levy is expected to be lower than originally thought. She said there is also the Council Contingency Fund of $50,000 that could go towards this project.

  She added that residents who responded to a survey last year noted they wanted Council to spend more funds on roads.   

  Her concern is that the work already done on the road will be lost if the project is pushed back too far. She also noted this project is a special case since the residents of the 14 homes and six farm operations on this two-mile long stretch of road have been waiting for the project to be completed since it was started five-years ago.

  Residents of the road were able to speak about the issue, and voiced their desire to get the work done, noting the Town has to grade the gravel, an expense that would not exist if it were tar and chipped. They also spoke of safety issues in having to travel along a gravel road.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said she understands the frustrations of the residents on Old Malden Road. She said she was in support of getting the road done. She said the residents deserve the road. She compared debt attributed to Ward 2 to other Wards in the municipality and noted it was much lower.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said everyone deserves nice, smooth roads. But, the road system needs to be looked at as a whole. He said it is not fair to other residents on other gravel roads to put special attention to this file. The roads need to be ranked. In his opinion, Old Malden Road is in better shape than other gravel roads.

  He was also concerned with keeping the tax increase to zero this year as it has been a while since that has happened. He suggested getting the road done next year.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said these residents were led to believe this road work was to be completed as the project was started, but never finished.

  Mayor Larry Snively noted a lot of road work needs to be done, in the Town centres, which is embarrassing, he said. He said that includes Irwin Avenue and Victoria Avenue in Essex Centre. There are priorities, he said, and there is only so much money.

  In a recorded vote, the motion that Council consider the possibility of completing the Old Malden Road work in 2020 and to have administration look at funding options was defeated. Bondy, Verbeek, and Meloche were in favour. Councillors Morley Bowman, Vander Doelen, and Bjorkman, and Mayor Snively were opposed.

  Verbeek then brought up her second Notice of Motion in regards to having Administration create a five-year roads plan.

  CAO Chris Nepszy said administration would need more information so they know what options Council would like them to consider when preparing such a document.

  Mayor Snively said this discussion could take place during the Roundtable Special Meeting on Infrastructure planned for Monday, February 10.

  Verbeek suggested an amendment to her motion to remove the request for a five-year road plan and instead put forward a motion that Council ensure Old Malden Road is in the proposed 2021 budget. This would not be a pre-approval.

  Vander Doelen said this puts this project in a special category. He said he did not think it was fair to do and would set a bad precedence.

  Bjorkman said he does not think putting Old Malden into the 2021 budget now is the correct protocol. He said it is up to Councillors to keep the issues known with administration.

  Bondy said the most transparent way to get something in the budget is at a public meeting. She said she has never seen anything like it in regards to asking for something to be added to a budget at a public meeting and having some Councillors take issue with it. Whether it gets passed in 2021, it has to be voted for, she said.

  “Now, I have really honestly seen it all,” she said.

  In a recorded vote for the motion to have Old Malden Road added into the proposed 2021 budget, Bondy, Meloche, Bowman, and Verbeek were in favour. Vander Doelen, Snively, and Bjorkman were opposed. The motion carried.


Playing of O Canada to resume at Council meetings

Essex Council passed a Notice of Motion to resume the playing of O Canada at the commencement of all Regular Council meetings.

  Mayor Larry Snively put forward the Notice of Motion at the January 20 meeting, saying the playing of our national anthem before meetings was an appropriate way of honouring our country.

  “I think in respect for our country, our beautiful country of Canada, and our freedom that we have here in this country, and how hard we went through the wars to bring freedom to this country, I think I’m not asking too much to play the national anthem at the meeting,” Snively explained.

  The playing of the national anthem prior to Essex Council meetings was stopped around the time the tradition of an opening prayer prior to Council Meetings was ended a few years ago, in the wake of public schools in Ontario ending the allowance of a mandated Lord’s Prayer in 1988.

  “I did get a call from another Councillor from another municipality, that he’s going to bring it forward [in his town],” Snively said. “I think it’s the right thing to do in respect to our county.”

  The motion passed unanimously.

 

NoM to be discussed in March

Councillor Sherry Bondy would like to have Council discuss the tendering of cold rolled recycled and pulverized tar and chip methods.

 

Election update to come

Councillor Sherry Bondy said to her knowledge there will be an election update coming by March.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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