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  • ESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council notes for Monday, February 4

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault

Council to ask Provincial government to reconsider

cuts to program supporting those with special needs

Delegate Karen Balind asked Council to consider sending a letter to the Provincial government in support of the critical role the “Ontario Independent Facilitation Matters” plays in the lives of adults with development disabilities and to ask the Provincial Government to reconsider the decision to cut funding to the program.

  Karen introduced herself as Dan’s mom, who she said asked her to explain what individual facilitation means to him.

  Dan, and his Harrow-based family, has been receiving support from Windsor Essex Brokerage for Personal Supports for the last five years.

  Through the organization, Dan has been learning to cook, do laundry, and walk alone with the help of a circle of friends, people her son knows upon which he can rely.

  “Rick and I won’t be here forever,” Karen said. “We need a facilitator to be there for Dan.” That includes teaching Dan to reach out for help so he can do things on his own. “Our facilitator helps Dan become more confident.”

  The next step for the Balind family is to find a place for their adult son to move out into, Karen noted.

  She asked Council to tell the provincial government that individual facilitators matter.

  It was noted during the meeting that the project money is done March 31. There are 46 people who utilize the program funding in Essex County, including Dan and his family, in addition to 62 in Windsor.

  Mayor Larry Snively is involved with the Harrow Legion, where Dan works part time, and noted he is a hard worker. He said he does not agree with the cuts the provincial government is planning.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman said it is terrible what is happening to the program and others like it. He added most individuals know a family that has challenges like the ones heard during the presentation.

  “We can’t leave people behind,” he said.

  Essex Council moved to receive the presentation and send a letter to the Provincial government asking for the reconsideration of the decision to cut the program. The letter will also be sent to the appropriate minister and Essex MPP Taras Natyshak.

Further cycling infrastructure sought

Representatives from local businesses and the Windsor-based cycling advocacy group, Bike Windsor Essex, made a public presentation to Council regarding the continuing importance of cycling infrastructure and the impact it has on local businesses from a tourism standpoint.

  The delegates asked Council for support in developing further bicycling infrastructure on County Road 50, with significant attention to development eastwards towards the Arner Townline.

  Megan Balsillie, the proprietor of Farm Dog Cycles, a bicycle rental company located on County Road 50, near Oxley, explained extending County Road 50’s paved bicycle lanes towards the Town of Kingsville will help to ensure the continued success of the many local wineries and tourism-related businesses located along Essex’s northern shore of Lake Erie.

  “I, along with [other local business owners] would like to encourage you to move forward and fill that gap by connecting the Essex portion of the bike lanes on County Road 50 to meet Kingsville at the Arner Townline as soon as possible,” Balsillie said. “Our customers frequently comment on how much more comfortable it is to ride on the bike lanes. To them, it feels safe, they’re able to relax, and it just provides an overall better experience to them.”

  Lori Newton, a representative from Bike Windsor Essex, said having a strong cycling infrastructure can improve the lives of everyone. That could go beyond a health and fitness standpoint to possibly supporting the many area businesses.

  “Like so many residents from across the region, I can think of no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon then taking the Chrysler Greenway and riding our bicycles from winery to winery, enjoying not only the wine, but also the scenery and beautiful views everywhere you look.”

  This presentation tied into a planning report pertaining to the County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) Project Funding Request 2019. Council was asked to pre-approve funding for the extension of the paved biking shoulders on County Road 50 from Evergreen Drive to County Road 23.

  This would include $868,000 under the 2019 Capital Budget to be funded over the course of the next two years in accordance with the CWATS Plan. This is Essex’s 60 percent share of the $1,446,000.00 project.

  The motion carried.

Council amends delegations Bylaw

Council received a report from Essex CAO, Donna Hunter, titled “Amendments to Procedural By-Law for Delegations,” which sought to have Bylaw 1784 amend By-Law 1681.

  This would change the Procedural Bylaw mandating the deadline for receipt of Delegation Request Forms from 2 PM on the Tuesday preceding a Regular Council Meeting, to 4:30 PM on the Friday immediately preceding a Regular Council Meeting.

With this change, the administration has determined the later deadline will allow for more transparency and provide the administration with a greater opportunity to research potential delegates and ensure Council has all the relevant information pertaining to their presentations.

  In regards to delegation approval with the new amendment, delegates wishing to address Council on a matter contained within the Regular Meeting Agenda would have the Town Clerk solely determine if the delegation’s subject matter pertains to the agenda at hand.

  This would change the procedures currently in place, where potential delegates must rely on Council to acknowledge them, and obtain a two-thirds vote of council members present in order to speak.

  The motion carried.

Simplifies Risk Assessment with Essex Fire & Rescue

  Essex Council received Fire Chief Rick Arnel’s report “Simplified Risk Assessment” for informational purposes.

  The report was meant to provide Council an update regarding the 2019 Simplified Risk Assessment for the Town of Essex. In the report, it notes, municipalities in Ontario have a provincial legislated responsibility under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 to provide public education and fire prevention code enforcement.

  Essex Fire Chief Rick Arnel said this Simplified Risk Assessment is completed every five years, as mandated through the Provincial government. The document highlights the risks of the community. Through its creation, building stock and Ontario building codes are looked into. Information is also pulled through MPAC so firefighters have an idea of the types of building in their community.

  In addition, with having that information, vulnerable occupancies are then looked at, and inspections are conducted where people gather, such as at schools and restaurants, to ensure safety, in addition to other inspections required.

  Since 2015, incidents have decreased, Arnel said.

  Conducting a simplified risk assessment for the community is the first step toward ensuring compliance with these requirements and providing the information necessary for municipal councils to make informed decisions about the programs and activities necessary to effectively manage the community’s fire risk.

  It also creates a community fire profile that the report notes will aid in identifying appropriate programs or activities that can be implemented to effectively address the community’s fire safety needs.

Firm will design and plan Essex Fire Station 2

Essex Council received the report “Prime Consultant Services for New Fire Station 2” and awarded the “Request for Proposal Prime Consultant Services for a New Fire Station 2” to Architecttura Inc. Architects in the amount of $105,830.40.

  After reviewing each proposal, Architecttura Inc. Architects received the highest overall evaluation, as well as the lowest costs.

  In the report to Council, the existing Fire Station 2 does not meet the current needs. This was highlighted in the Master Fire Plan 2017-2021.

  The report notes major issues were reported with the size of the apparatus bays, lack of a proper exhaust system in the apparatus bay area, no place to store or decontaminate personal protective equipment, no change rooms, no showers, no functional kitchen, no file storage, and no proper training room.

  Last year, the Town of Essex purchased land at the corner of County Road 15 and North Malden Road as per the Fire Master Plan for a new Fire Station 2.

  Fire Chief Arnel noted this project will result in a design plan for the new facility. It is hoped to get started on forming a steering committee that will seek crew input. 

Town seeks to improve internal/external communications

Council received a report from Communications Manager, Alex Denonville, regarding a summary of digital and print communications produced by the municipality over the course of 2018.

  Among changes made in 2018, 39 URL short links were added to the municipal website, Essex.ca, seeking to shorten the time it takes users to access information, such as town alerts.

  Gains were also made with the Town’s social media presence on popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter, with a 35 percent increase in its number of Twitter followers noticed.

  Employing this range of multimedia at its disposal, the Town used the success of cross platforming to hold successful Firefighter Recruitment Campaign, Heritage Week promotion, and Essex Alerts, which strives to keep residents informed in times of emergencies, such as inclement weather.

 Mayor Snively seeks updates from administration

At ta previous Council meeting, Mayor Larry Snively put forward a Notice of Motion that would administration provide periodic verbal and/or written reports to update Council on the status of various ongoing development matters or projects in the Town of Essex.

  “What I’m asking council to authorize, [is] if we could have a quarterly verbal report from [the Director of Infrastructure] on what [projects) are moving ahead for sure,” Snively said. “We want to know what is exactly happening in our municipality, so we can tell the public.”

  The Mayor added he would be fine with a quarterly verbal report as that would ensure Council is informed of all current municipal developments and allow them to pass on any pertinent information to their constituents.

The motion carried.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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