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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council notes for Monday, August 20

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault

Council had to decide who would chair the meeting

With Mayor Ron McDermott and Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche absent from Monday’s meeting, the remaining Councillors had to decide who would Chair the meeting.


Councillors Randy Voakes and Sherry Bondy declined to act as the chairperson f or the meeting, leaving councillors Larry Snively and Ron Rogers, both of whom are running for mayor in the upcoming election. Councillor Steve Bjorkman was also absent.

  Administration had suggested pulling a name from a hat for transparency and to ensure no one appeared to be a favourite.


Councillor Snively made a motion that a name be drawn from the hat, as administration suggested. Councillor Voakes recommended Councillor Rogers be given the opportunity as Councillor Snively has stepped in as Chair in the past.


Snively’s motion was defeated and Voakes made his suggestion into a motion, which was carried. Bondy said she supported the motion to move forward with the meeting.

“H” holding designation on Levergood Lane removed

Essex Council received the Planning Department’s Report “Removal of ‘H’ holding designation on Levergood Lane properties (Ward 3)” and further supported the removal of the holding designation for lands on the south side of County Road 50 and the east side of Levergood Lane.


Bylaw 1738, being a bylaw to amend the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw for the Town of Essex, was also passed.

  In the report to Council, it notes the property is zoned ‘H’ R1.1, which permits the construction of single-detached dwellings, subject to removal of the ‘H’ holding designation. The holding was issued because of a servicing agreement, which executed the development of two lots on the south-side of County Road 50 and up to three lots the east side of Levergood Lane, the Report to Council notes.


The report continues this will provide opportunities for new home construction.

Audit Committee

Essex Council received the Clerk’s Report “Municipal Elections Compliance Audit Committee” and further approved the revised Terms of Reference for the Municipal Elections Compliance Audit Committee. This provides for the Clerk to establish additional administrative practices and procedures for the Committee as needed.


The report notes this change is in pursuant to Section 88.37(1) of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. Before October 1, in an election year, municipalities are required to establish a Compliance Audit Committee to consider applications for compliance audits of candidates’ or registered third parties’ campaign finances and determine if audits are needed.

  Members of this Committee are expected to have professional designations or related experience.

  Councillor Randy Voakes asked if this Committee, in its role, would review what candidates put on their literature, like taking accolades, in what he believes they had nothing to do with.

  “I’m not worried about anyone running against me, trust me. But, I got concerns about fair play,” Voakes said.  

  Councillor Snively said he can see where Voakes was coming from, but some of the things completed as a Council on a whole, Councillors sitting at the decision-making table should take credit for some of those things being done.

  “We did it all together and if you are one of those Councillors that get it done, you should be proud of what you got done,” Snively said.

  Voakes, again asked for clarity on the Committee’s role. Councillor Sherry Bondy called a Point of Order, noting the discussion was getting off-topic.


Town Clerk, Rob Auger, suggested Voakes bring his specific concerns to him, as the Returning Officer, for him to review as the Committee deals with campaign finances and contraventions.

Mural planned for Parkette

Essex Council received the Department of Community Services report, “ACT Committee-Essex BIA Mural” and passed Bylaw Number 1739, to enter into an agreement with Art Attack Windsor (with artist Jill Thompson) to paint a new mural on aluminum panels. The mural, when complete, will be fixed to the west wall of the 47 Talbot Street North facility, which will be inside the Essex Centre Parkette.


The report on the matter notes the Essex Centre BIA approached the Arts, Culture and Tourism (ACT) Committee with a proposal to partner on a mural project.  The BIA provided $10,000 for the project.  


The Request for Proposal for a new mural was issued in May, but there were no submissions. Invitations were then extended to known artists. Art Attack Windsor then provided an artist and concept, matching the scope requested by the BIA, the report to Council notes.  


The ACT Committee reviewed the standards and scope of the mural and the BIA approved the final concept. The new mural is anticipated to be completed in September, the report notes.


Councillor Voakes asked if Harrow Artist David Creed was contacted. He painted the Spitfire mural, visible from the Heritage Gardens Park. He believed Creed should have been directly contacted about the project.

  Cynthia Cakebread, Manager of Culture and Recreation, said Art Attack Windsor was contacted and asked to forward options regarding an artist when the Request for Proposal did not get any response as it is a group the Town has had success with in the past.


Councillor Sherry Bondy said Creed could be kept in mind for the future, but in terms of this project, she said she believes administration did what it was supposed to do. There are other artists in the community as well, that could have been called.

  In a recorded vote, Councillor Voakes was opposed. Councillors Bondy, Snively, and Rogers were in favour.

Harrow Rotary requests to install a pergola at Soccer Complex

Council received a report from Director of Community Services, Doug Sweet, regarding the Harrow Rotary Club’s request to install a pergola, a garden structure of posts with vertical crossbeams that is usually adorned and strewn with various flora, and to plant trees in recognition of past Rotary Club members at the Harrow Soccer Complex.

The request from the Harrow Rotary Club asks for 100-square feet for the project, which would be placed next to the 1.2-kilometre walking track. This would allow for some much-needed shade and a place to rest in the expansive, open field.

This project will come at no cost to the Town of Essex, as the Harrow Rotary Club is covering all costs associated with the endeavour.

Council further directed Administration to work with the Harrow Rotary Club to select the best location at the Harrow Soccer Complex to install the proposed pergola and memorial trees.

Surface Treatment rehabilitation

Essex Council received Infrastructure and Development’s Report “Results of Request for Tender-Surface Treatment Rehabilitation 2018” and awarded the Surface Treatment Rehabilitation 2018 to Shepley Road Maintenance Limited in the amount of $164,991.12. The report notes quantities may be increased up to the existing approved 2018 budget.


In the report to Council, it notes the Town of Essex sought tenders for Surface Treatment Rehabilitation 2018, including the supply and application of Surface Treatment Pavement for various rural roads.

  A total of two tenders were received.

Supply of wheel loader for Essex

Council received the report Assistant Manager of Business Services, Jackson Tang, prepared regarding the Town’s acquisition of a new heavy machinery wheel loader for the Operations Department.

It was recommended in the report that Council award the Request for Tender Supply of the wheel loader, to the Kucera Group Tecumseh in the amount of $200,649.

Three tenderers were received and reviewed for consideration in supplying the new loader as part of the Town’s plan to upgrade and grow its vehicular fleet.

Kucera Group Tecumseh put forward the lowest compliant bit of the three suppliers, and after extensive review, it was determined it had supplied satisfactory similar loaders to other municipalities, including the neighbouring Town of Kingsville.

The 2018 Capital Budget had allocated $250,000 for the acquisition of the new loader.

Harrow Arena concession stand

Council reviewed several agenda items relating to the Harrow Arena and its concession stand and food options.


The first was correspondence received from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), requesting Council explore the idea of providing more nutritious food and beverage options at the Harrow Arena and all municipal facilities in support of a more health-conscious approach to snacking.


As part of the request, the WECHU suggested that with providing more healthy alternatives to the more traditional concession items, that they be priced competitively and placed where they are visible to consumers. It also suggested locally sourced food is offered with the hopes of building sustainable community partnerships for product distribution and further asked that the Harrow Arena develop and implement a healthy eating policy, which would include healthy food and beverage procurement guidelines.


In addition to receiving this correspondence, Council adopted the Committee Meeting Minutes from the Finance Committee meeting, held on August 13.

  In these Minutes, Council approved the renewal of the M&M Operating Agreement to operate the Essex Centre Sports Complex and Harrow Arena concessions for an additional two years, beginning this September.


Councillor Sherry Bondy suggested at some point in the future, administration should explore the potential addition of more office working space at the Harrow Arena.

  “I am hearing some rumblings from [Harrow Arena] staff, that we really need to address that,” Bondy said. “Having an update from Doug [Sweet, Director of Community Services] at some point in the next little bit as to what the plan is would be nice, because I don’t think staff are comfortable there at the Harrow Arena. I want to make sure staff are comfortable as well.”

Voakes questions Town’s decision on fundraising committee

During the Announcements portion of the agenda, Councillor Randy Voakes noted a group of residents wanted to help the Town fundraise for a park in the Galos subdivision. He said they suspect the amenity would cost around $350,000.

  He was approached by someone in the committee who wanted to know how this could be done. Voakes said he would link this individual with the Department of Community Services.

  Voakes said the Town had then informed him he could be in conflict of interest as it relates to the election coming up. He didn’t see any relationship in following up on the file, which was opened in May, and a fundraising event. He was asked to use one of the Town’s hall for a meeting about fundraising. He said in an email from the Town he was told if he wanted to meet with the group, Voakes would have to pay to use the facility. He wanted Council to waive the fee of the hall so he could meet with these individuals.

  CAO Donna Hunter said information she received on the issue noted this meeting would take place in November because, from what she understood on the matter, is that a decision was made with the Town and Voakes to have the meeting in November because it would appear the Town resources would be used to promote a personal Councillor project.

 Voakes vehemently disagreed. “That’s not even close to being true,” he argued. At which point Councillor Ron Rogers, who was Chairing the meeting, used the gavel to get the meeting back under control.


Hunter said, in her eyes, to make it less-related to the election and more-related to all of Council, this matter should include all Council members and residents.


She said a meeting in November was suggested to Voakes from the Director of Community Services and to her knowledge, Voakes agreed to that. She said this was not her decision.

  Councillor Snively called a Point of Order on Voakes when he began talking about an email he received from Hunter on the Saturday prior to the meeting.


“Enough is enough,” Snively said. “We dealt with this. Councillor Voakes, you got the email You know what is going on. Why are you making a big show out of this, here? You’re abusive. You abuse our staff…,” he alleged.


Snively was cut off by a Point of Order. Voakes could be heard, through commotion, accusing Snively of getting in a picture of the Mobi Mat that he claimed Snively had nothing to do with. This issue Voakes brought up previously in the meeting, without mentioning names or specifics.


Snively alleged Voakes had threatening him at the Mobi Mat unveiling ceremony. Voakes responded that he deserved it.


Councillor Rogers noted this section was meant for announcements and not discussions. He said the meeting would move on.


After the meeting was adjourned, Snively and Voakes crossed paths in the Council Chambers, at which point Snively told Voakes to never threaten him again. Voakes then called Snively a liar, asking him to name a threat. He said Councillor Bondy did all the work on the Mobi-Mat, and felt Snively was taking credit.  


The dispute carried on into the foyer of the Council Chambers until both members left. 

Notice of Motion

Councillor Ron Rogers put a Notice of Motion forward, for discussion at the Tuesday, September 4 Essex Council meeting. He would like Council to consider rescinding the previous majority vote that deferred proceedings on the Essex Town Centre subdivision until the new term of Council is formed.


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