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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council notes for Monday, June 5, 2023

by Sylene Argent

Joanne Hayes presented with Ontario Senior of the Year Award 2023

Essex Mayor Sherry Bondy was pleased to present the 2023 Ontario Senior of the Year Award to JoAnne Hayes.

This award provides each municipality in Ontario with the ability to honour one outstanding Ontarian, who after the age of 65 has enriched the social, cultural, or civic life of his or her community.

“This year’s recipient could not be more deserving,” Bondy said, noting Hayes was a dedicated teacher for over 35-years, where she played an integral part in shaping the lives of many children.

“Her passion and care for the Town of Essex runs deep. Throughout her lifetime, JoAnne has dedicated countless hours to supporting local groups throughout her community. She served on school and church committees and helped those in need.”

She has also served with the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201), on the Board for the Essex Retirees’ Social Club, with the Essex Figure Skating Club, and Canadian Blood Services. She has also volunteered with most municipal, provincial, and federal elections.

“Anywhere JoAnne can lend a helping hand, she does,” Bondy said. “You are truly an example of what we are lucky to have as part of our community.”

Her grown children, including Councillor Kim Verbeek, have made her proud with their generous spirit of volunteerism, she added.

Council presented with

2023-2026 Corporate Strategic Plan

Consultants Kelly Linton, Linton Consulting Services, and Andy Goldie, A. Goldie Consulting, presented Essex Council with its Corporate Strategic Plan for the term 2023-2026.

This is a tool that aligns the efforts of an organization and establishes overall direction and priorities, and supports future decision-making, Essex CAO Doug Sweet said.

“This strategy will help us define who we are as an organization and provide guidance on where we are going,” he added.

Linton went over the Executive Summary of the report that highlights goals, and the strategic priorities and actions under each of those goals. The objective of this project was to establish an action-oriented and results-focused strategic action plan with a community-driven common-focus.

The consultants conducted one-on-one interviews with members of Council and the Town’s senior management team to gather what they believed were priorities for the town. They also hosted a citizen questionnaire, where they received 489 responses, and received 51 responses from the staff questionnaire.

In wanting to know what makes Essex a great place to live, the most common two responses heard included the outdoor spaces, parks, and trails, and the small-town feel.

Safe and well-maintained roads was indicated to be the most important local government service, which was also the only category where 58 percent of the respondents preferred the town increase spending and improve the level of service.

“That is a significant finding,” Linton said.

After going through the responses from the community, Town staff, and Council, the consultants came up with four goals: safe and reliable infrastructure, jobs and economic opportunities, welcoming and caring community, and responsible and people-focused government.

Each goal sets out action plans.

Under the goal of safe and reliable infrastructure, it highlights the need for a Roads Master Plan, creating a “Rebuilding Essex Roads” dedicated capital levy, creating a best-use plan for the Harrow High School property, and extending water/wastewater services to McGregor.

Action items under jobs and economic opportunities include using a community improvement plan to attract new jobs, using grants and services to support local small businesses and job creation, and position the Town of Essex as a premier agritourism destination in Ontario.

Under the goal of creating a welcoming and caring community, action items include enhancing the Community Partnership Fund, expanding the tree and bench program, creating a standard of shade for all parks, creating an Essex Housing Task Force, and creating urban planning design guidelines.

Action items under responsible and people-focused government includes potential sale of surplus municipality-owned lands, initiating a sponsorship/naming rights program, new Town Hall events, and hosting staff recognition events.

Once approved, Linton said the consultants will work with CAO Sweet to develop a final Strategic Action Plan designed to be read by the entire community. The final product is expected to be completed this month, on time and on budget.

The project also includes a way to track and measure progress.

Councillor Kim Verbeek thanked the consultants for their efforts on the project and commended them on making the process enjoyable.

“You made a lot of work rather painless,” she added.

Council received the presentation.

Progress Pride Rainbow crosswalk

requested for Talbot/Centre

Stefanie Pest, Windsor/Essex Rainbow Alliance, and Reverend Chris Brouillard-Coyle of St. Paul’s Anglican Church requested Council install a rainbow crosswalk.

“Many cities and towns across Ontario, and indeed Canada, have installed Pride painted crosswalks with the rainbow flag colours,” Pest said, noting Amherstburg had one installed recently.

“The Pride flag is a symbol of the ongoing vulnerability and discrimination of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, but also of unity and hope,” Pest explained.

She believes, with the Essex Centre Streetscape underway, now is the ideal time to consider installing a Progress Pride Rainbow crosswalk at a significant intersection, perhaps at the Talbot Street and Centre Street intersection.

In responding to Councillor Katie McGuire-Blais’s question on costing and where the funding would come from, Pest said the three crosswalks to be installed in Windsor will cost around $3500. She asked that Essex cover the cost, noting they would be willing to work with the Town.

Kate Giurissevich, Director of Corporate Services/Treasurer, said staff did not have an estimated cost for the project as of yet. The funding could come from the Council Contingency fund.

Director of Infrastructure Services, Kevin Girard, said the Town of Essex does not have a policy related to these types of requests. There is an opportunity to look at changes to Talbot Street as part of the Essex Centre Streetscape, how that would be funded will have to be directed by Council.

Councillor Kim Verbeek said it would be good for the Town to show it embraces equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Councillor Joe Garon also sees the need to get a policy in place. He was in favour of recognizing diversity, but would be more inclined to support something that celebrates all groups and doesn’t just highlight one group. The Town message should simply be Essex recognizes diversity and inclusiveness.

Verbeek made the motion Council receive the presentation and direct Administration to create a report on costing and possible sources of funding. Deputy Mayor Rob Shepley added a friendly amendment to direct Administration to create a policy on crosswalks.

Council approved that.

Grove Motel request for exemption

to the Sign By-Law approved

Kim Lewis, of The Grove Motel - Colchester, requested an exemption to the Sign By-law to allow for a ground sign with a sign face area of 3.8 square metres be permitted at the location depicted in the Site Plan.

Lori Chadwick, Director of Development services, said the exemption has to do with the sign face area. Two-square-meters is the maximum allowable, and The Grove is proposing 3.8-square-meters.

Lewis said the static sign he is proposing is 13-feet, six-inches wide, and three-feet high, on top of a one-foot base. It will not be illuminated.

This will allow them to provide guests and other visitors with that social media moment when they visit the area.

“This is as much of an art piece as it is a sign,” he said.

He also proposed the sign is setback eight-meters, when three-metres is the minimum.

Councillor Rodney Hammond had a concern with the sightline. He said the Dunn Road intersection is contentious. He said Administration looked into that.

Council approved the exemption.

Essex Council Notes for Monday, June 5 will be continued in the June 15 edition of the Essex Free Press.


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