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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council Notes for Monday, June 18

Essex Mayor Ron McDermott (left) and Essex Fire Chief Rick Arnel (Right) recognize Captain Joe Meloche of Essex Fire & Rescue for having saved his neighbour’s life by using medical intervention.

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault

Captain Meloche saves neighbour

On Monday evening, Essex Council recognized Captain Joe Meloche, of Essex Fire & Rescue, for his live-saving skills and dedication.

  Meloche, along with many other individuals, were recently recognized at the 2018 Essex Windsor Emergency Medical Service Survivor Day ceremonies for their efforts that contributed to saving a life.

  Essex Mayor Ron McDermott said Captain Meloche was at home on December 9 of 2017 when he received a page for a person in distress, who happened to be his neighbour. He responded directly to the call. He performed medical intervention and his efforts, along with the EMS personnel who also arrived on scene, helped to save his neighbour’s life.

   “Thanks for what you did that day, Joe,” McDermott said. “Every day, you contribute to the safety of our community.”

  Meloche is also a Constable with the Essex OPP.


Tender awarded for sidewalk work

Essex Council received Infrastructure & Development’s report, “Results of Request for Tender-Concrete Sidewalk Construction 2018,” and awarded the RTF to L.V. Giorgi Construction for $169,251.56.

  Of the four tenders submitted, L.V. Giorgi Construction submitted the lowest compliant bid.

  Funds have been allocated towards concrete sidewalk construction in Operations Department, Community Services Department, and Environmental Services.


Town Clerk Robert Auger presents Essex Mayor Ron McDermott with the new Chain of Office. 

New Chain of Office

Town Clerk Robert Auger presented the new Chain of Office to Mayor Ron McDermott, at the meeting on Monday evening. He said the piece of hardware is steeped in historic tradition, dating back over 1000 years. Today, Mayors all around the world still wear them.

  The new Essex Chin of Office includes a suspended medallion of the Town’s logo, the provincial and federal Coat of Arms, and name bars for the Mayors who have served the community in the past, Auger said.   

  The design and production of the new Chain of Office had been quoted at $2,399, plus HST and shipping. The expense will be taken from Council’s operating budget.


Essex Fire & Rescue assessment breakdown

Essex Council received CAO Donna Hunter’s Report, regarding a breakdown for the cost of the Essex Fire & Rescue Workplace Assessment.

  At the June 4 regular meeting, Council learned the Essex Fire & Rescue Work Assessment cost $113,950.80. At that meeting, Councillor Randy Voakes was vocal about what he thought was a high cost of the assessment. A majority, recorded, Council vote passed Voakes’s motion to get a financial breakdown, including total hours of interviews per station, with Councillors Voakes, Ron Rogers, Shelley Bondy, and Deputy Mayor Meloche in favour. Councillors Steve Bjorkman and Larry Snively, and Mayor Ron McDermott, were opposed.

  According to the chart Hunter submitted to Council on Monday, it notes the consultant, Shearer Parnega LLP, charged $14,697.19 for Station #1, which included travel time and expenses, and the preparation and conduction of interviews of the 20 firefighters, administration members, and five second interviews. The interviews totalled 37-and-a-half hours.

  For the same service, $9,504.30 was charged for Station #2, with just over 19 hours of interviews conducted. $11,758.79 was charged for Station #3, with just over 25 hours of interviews conducted.

  Other expenses included discussion and emails with Town Administration, follow-up with firefighters, reviewing and drafting of report, and providing recommendations and compiling background information, for a total of $61,336.29.

  In all, Shearer Parnega LLP, charged $97,296.58, and Hicks Morley/Gordon Strategy, for labour relations, charged $16,654.22.


2017 audited financial statements

Council received a public presentation from Mike Cowan, a Partner at BDO Canada, a public accounting and business advisory firm, breaking down the 2017 financial statements for the Town of Essex.

The independent audit report looked at various subjects in the Town’s financials, including long-term debt, cash reserves, investments, and total revenue as it appeared on December 31, 2017.

Some points brought forward during the presentation were the increase in the Town’s long-term debt, a higher cash reserve, and the overall healthy nature of the cash position.

With the Town’s accumulated surplus, total reserve funds have gone from $39.5 million at the end of 2016, to $45.7 million at the end of 2017. This leaves Essex with a significant amount of reserves.

At the conclusion of the presentation, Councillor Steve Bjorkman asked Director of Finance and Business Services, Jeff Morrison, if the Town should feel comfortable with the direction the report seemed to indicate.

Morrison explained Essex is in a “nice position with the surplus” and that the Town’s five-year financial plan is a stepping stone to trend the direction of the Town’s projected future financials.


Colchester Park parking expanded

Council received a report from the Clerk’s Department, regarding an amendment to parking Bylaw 224, which would officially designate the 14 angled parking spaces recently constructed on the west-side of Jackson Street in Colchester, at the site of Colchester Park.

With the continued and ongoing park and development improvements happening in Colchester Centre, there has been an expressed desire for additional public parking. These newly designated parking spaces will allow members of the public to park on a short-term basis, while visiting Colchester and its waterfront amenities.


Colchester North Public School parking area

Council received a report from the Planning Department, pertaining to the approval of a site plan control application from the Greater Essex County District School Board to permit the construction of a new parking lot and bus bays at Colchester North Public School.

In the report, it was noted that the school’s current parking lot is in poor physical condition and is too small for current school bus and automobile traffic.

The new design would provide 38 staff and visitor parking spaces in the centre and east side of the lot and loading areas for five buses simultaneously.

When completed, the new layout would provide a much greater functional space than the current lot in question.

The design of the improved lot has been the subject of a series of ongoing discussions and is potentially subject to minor revisions before construction begins.


Ag-related activities/zoning bylaw

Essex Council received the Planning Report, “Agriculture Related Activities and the Zoning Bylaw Wards 2 and 3” and approved Bylaw 1723, which amends the General Zoning Bylaw 1037 to specifically add on-farm diversified uses provisions.

  The report notes revisions to General Zoning bylaw 1037 were recommended to bring it into closer conformity with the Ontario’s “Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Ontario’s Prime Agricultural Areas,” regarding on-farm diversified uses.

  On June 1, 2018, Council hosted the statutory public meeting.

  On-farm Diversifies Uses, the report notes, are secondary to the principal agricultural use of the property and are limited in area. On-farm diversified uses include, home occupations, home industries, agri-tourism uses, and uses that produce value-added agricultural products.

Rental Housing Component of the Social Infrastructure Fund

Council received correspondence from the City of Windsor’s Housing and Children’s Services, inquiring if the Town of Essex would be interested in participating in the Social Infrastructure (SIF) Rental Housing Program in 2018.

With assisted funding from the Ministry of Housing, participating municipalities would receive funding for affordable and social rental housing, to be delivered under the existing Investment in Affordable Housing Program Extension (IAHE).

In order to participate in the SIF Rental Housing capital component of the program, the municipality must reduce property taxes for the rental housing project by setting the tax rate equivalent, equal, or lower than the single residential rate, or provide a grant in lieu of the lowered rate to have the same effect.

The SIF Rental Housing component of the program may provide funding for up to 75 percent of the total capital cost per unit, or $150,000 per unit, whichever is less, on a 20-year forgivable loan basis.

Council has until July 16, to notify the City of Windsor of their intentions.

The correspondence was received and supported.


Town of LaSalle: Widening of Highway 3

Essex Council received and supported correspondence from the Town of LaSalle (dated May 30), to the Ministry of Transportation, requesting the Premier and the Minister of Transportation reconsider the decision not to expedite the widening of Highway 3.

  A letter of support will be sent from Essex to the Minister of Transportation the Premier of Ontario, the Essex MPP, and the Town of LaSalle.

The letter states, “Public safety concerns persist today as it relates to the two-lane section of Highway 3 between Essex and Leamington, and continues to be a top priority for the County of Essex. It is a heavily travelled route for industrial and agricultural businesses with markets in the United States. A number of traffic accidents continue to occur, with the most recent two accidents having occurred within minutes of each other on March 23, 2018, near Division Road.

  “The Council of the Town of LaSalle respectfully requests the Ministry to reconsider the decision not to expedite the widening of Highway 3.”

Idling education

Councillor Sherry Bondy brought forward a Notice of Motion at the May 7 Council meeting, for consideration Monday evening, that Council review and bring about a bylaw prohibiting excessive idling of vehicles.

  Right now, a bylaw would cause a lot of headaches, she said on Monday evening. She got information about anti-idling campaigns and, at this point, would love to see the Town push out more information instead of perusing a bylaw prohibiting excessive idling. It’s about working from the ground up, she said.  She would like to see a bylaw in the future.

  She amended her Notice of Motion to do another public education campaign on the matter, instead of a bylaw. The motion carried.


Traffic Monitoring

At the June 4 meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy put forward a Notice of Motion for Council to consider on Monday that would direct administration to develop a system on how Councillors and residents can request the speed signs on roads to monitor traffic speeding.

She wanted to know what mechanism were in place to have a public meeting so conversations could be had about speeding issues.

  CAO Donna Hunter said residents can call the police, at the non-emergency line 1-888-310-1122, with concerns about speeding so the message gets to Essex’s Staff Sergeant Jeff Coulter and the monitor can be put out.

  Councillor Randy Voakes said a machine won’t slow anyone down, police presence will. An officer can not be there 24 hours a day, however.

  Councillor Larry Snively brought Bondy’s concerns of speeding on certain roads to the Police Services Board. Radar and signs were added to those areas, he said.

  Voakes wanted the minutes of that Police Services Board meeting to show that radar was issued to those specific area.

  Bondy withdrew her original motion.


Notices of Motion for consideration for July 3

Councillor Sherry Bondy would like Council to have a discussion on fluoridation in drinking water.


Volunteers needed for Fun Fest

Councillor Steve Bjorkman noted the Essex Fun Fest will take place July 5-8. He urged community members to sign up to volunteer a few hours of time.


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