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  • ESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council notes for Monday, October 18, 2021

by Sylene Argent

Total construction in September up 32.1 percent from same month last year

Essex Council received the Economic Development Review for September, which noted the total construction value for this month - including all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments that required a building permit – totalled $9,577,900.

  This is up 32.1 percent from September 2020.

  The average sale price for a home in Wards 1 and 2 in September 2021 was $595,414, which was significantly higher than the $391,009 recorded in the same month in 2020. The average sale price for a home in Wards 3 and 4 in September 2021 was $470,265, which was still much higher than the $341,619 recorded in the same month in 2020.

  Up until September, 341 homes were sold in Essex in 2021. Year to date in 2020, 292 homes were sold.

Conservation Easement Agreement adopted

Council adopted Bylaw 2052 to enter into a Conservation Easement Agreement between William and Yvette Woodiwiss and the Corporation of the Town of Essex.

  The Report to Council on the matter notes the request was for a natural heritage conservation easement agreement for the subject land on the 4th Concession.

  On January 19, 2021, the Town of Essex’s Committee of Adjustment approved an application for Consent to Sever for the subject lands. The natural heritage feature has been identified as a significant woodlot, valley land, and provincially significant wetland through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) completed by ecological consultants, Sage Earth Environmental Restoration Services, the Report to Council notes.

  The property, it adds, also contains significant habitat of endangered and threatened species, in addition to species at risk.

  The approval resulted in the creation of a new 10-acre residential lot. The retained parcel resulted in 16.66 acres.

  The purpose of the Conservation Easement Agreement is to prohibit any use which would damage or destroy the protected area, or prevent its reforestation and enhancement.


Council updated on HIGH FIVE® accreditation

Council received the report “HIGH FIVE® Accreditation Verification” and was further updated on the Community Services Recreation and Culture Division’s work towards maintaining this program.

  In the Report to Council, it notes the Town of Essex Community Services Department has been involved with this program since 2007.

  Cynthia Cakebread, Manager of Recreation and Culture, said the point of the report was to notify Council of the commencement of its third accreditation review that was to start this week.

  Organizations must sustain and maintain all accreditation standards for three-years to maintain accredited status.

  “We are excited to go through the process again to review our policies, procedures, training, and just overall view of our programs that we offer in the Town of Essex for children aged six-12,” Cakebread said.

  CAO Doug Sweet took a moment to recognize the recreation department staff on the programs they provide and for maintaining the accreditation.


RFT for Town Hall renovations approved

Council awarded the Request for Tender for the Town Hall Renovations to TCI Titan Contracting Inc., in the amount of $267,893.01.

  In the Report to Council, it notes at the beginning of 2021, the Town applied for the ICIP: COVID Stream Local Intake grant, where the scope of work was for renovations for social distancing and safety at municipal facilities.

  The Town received $350,414 for the proposed work at both locations through the grant.

  The Town proposal included renovating and retrofitting space at Town Hall and the Essex Recreation Complex to provide a safer environment for customers, staff, and other visitors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it notes in the report.

  Renovations will include demolition and reconstruction of interior walls, realignment of floor plans, construction of new customer service desk, office space, and virtual programming office, the Report to Council notes.

  The Town retained Architecttura Inc. to prepare the required drawings and specifications for the proposed renovations at Town Hall.

  Four submissions for the RFT were submitted, with the lowest tender from TCI Titan Contracting Inc.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said the purpose is to make the reception counters safer for residents.


Contract position for Asset Management Specialist approved

Council approved an Asset Management Specialist Contract Position, to take place between November 1, 2021 through to December 31, 2022.

  The position will fulfill provincial legislation that requires municipalities to address existing infrastructure and create documents to assist in the planning for the future replacement of this infrastructure, known as Asset Management Planning, the Report to Council notes.

  The Town began asset management planning in 2015.

  The salary range for the position is between $68,524.76 and $83,265.66. It was recommended that Council approve the use of wage savings experienced in 2021 to offset the salary impact of this position.

  Kate Giurissevich, Director of Corporate Services, said the position holder will focus on fulfilling legislative requirements due in 2022, such as tracking asset management.


Third Community Improvement Plan Update for 2021 provided

Council received Economic Development’s report that provided a Community Improvement Plan (CIP) update for the third quarter of 2021.

  The Town has three CIP programs (one for each Harrow, Essex Centre, and Colchester/County Road 50). This is a municipal grant program for commercial businesses in those areas that can provide funding for a variety of improvements.

  The funding for CIP programs in Essex Centre and Harrow is set to expire at the end of this year. At that time, funds will instead be used to support the streetscape projects for Harrow and Essex Centre. The Colchester & County Road 50 CIP expires in 2027.

  The report noted $51,800.56 has been spent on completed projects so far this year, of which four projects were in the Colchester/County Road 50 program and two were in Essex Centre.

  Five new applications were received in the third quarter, of which three are from the Harrow program, one from Essex Centre, and one from the Colchester/County Road 50 program.

  Open applications that have not yet received funding include seven projects, all of which are works in progress. Of the projects, five are in Essex Centre and two are in the Harrow program.

  In the 2021 budget, $100,000 was set aside for each the Essex Centre and the Harrow and Colchester/County Road 50 projects. Of those funds, total grants paid in Essex Centre are currently $16,902 and $34,570.36 in the Harrow and Colchester/County Road 50 projects.


Petition for South Talbot Road received

Council received the report regarding the South Talbot Road Petition.

  In the Report to Council, it notes on August 16, 2021, the Town received a petition from the property owners residing on South Talbot Road, between Victoria Avenue and the Greenway.

  The petition is requesting that the Town address perceived speeding concerns with the new connection of South Talbot Road, from Victoria to Maidstone.

  The Report to Council notes the construction of the connection of South Talbot Road was designed and completed by the Ministry of Transportation as part of the Highway 3 widening project.

  It was recommended that this segment of road be investigated for future traffic calming concerns when it is turned back over to the Town, as it is currently under MTO jurisdiction, because of the Highway 3 widening project.

  The Town of Essex will also contact the local OPP to request that speed enforcement be increased in the area, it notes in the report.

  As there is change, and residents have concerns, Councillor Joe Garon said the matter should be looked at.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen wondered if a speed camera would be appropriate for the area, when the detour eventually goes through Town.

  Director of Infrastructure, Kevin Girard, said he can contact the MTO and the design build team to see if there is something that can be done to slow down traffic in the interim. He will come back to Council in the future with suggestions on how traffic could be calmed as a temporary solution as construction is ongoing.


Council to recognize October as Disability Employment Awareness Month

Council received and supported correspondence from Community Living Essex County that requested Essex proclaim October as Disability Employment Awareness Month and adopted the associated proclamation.

 Rotary Club of Essex requests Polio flag to be flown

Essex Council received and supported correspondence from the Rotary Club of Essex, which requested the Polio flag be flown in front of Town Hall on October 24 to recognize World Polio Day and help raise awareness for Polio eradication.


NoM: traffic study request for Gesto Side Road

At the Tuesday, October 11 meeting, Councillor Kim Verbeek put forward a Notice of Motion to have Council discuss Gesto Side Road and that Administration be directed to complete a traffic study for Gesto Side Road at the October 18 meeting.

  Verbeek said speeding is a number one concern she has heard since she has been involved with the Essex Police Services Board. Because of the way this road is laid out, there are speeding concerns there. She was hoping to have the study completed to see what can be done to mitigate the speeding concerns and let the residents of the area know their concerns have been heard.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said it is a safety issue for the children in the area.

  Director of Infrastructure, Kevin Girard, said staff has been working with the residents on the matter. He said a reduction of speed limit has minimal impact. It is already posted at 50km/hour.  

  He recommended that to solve some of the issues, some of the characteristics of the road needed to change to help make it feel like drivers should be moving slower and inline with the speed limit. He added his department could also review that before the next capital works occurs on that road.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said speeding is the biggest complaint. Everyone, he said, speeds. He does not think a traffic study should be done not just on one road, but throughout the whole municipality. He spoke of speed cameras.

  Meloche suggested 50km/hr zone ahead signs may work to help calm traffic.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman said he was not in favour of a formal traffic study for this road. Instead, he suggested looking at ways that can be done to make it feel like the road should be driven on at a slower pace.

  Verbeek said the study would find ways to calm the traffic there. She said the signs there are not doing it. She wanted the Town to look at ways to make it safer.

  She asked Council to pass a motion to have administration come back with some suggestions on how to slow traffic on this stretch of road. Council passed the motion.


Amendment to By-Law Number 1037 passed

Council gave third reading to and passed By-Law 2078 to amend By-Law 1037 the Comprehensive Zoning By-Law for the Town of Essex.


Second reading given for declaration of surplus lands

Council gave two readings to a by-law for the declaration of and disposition of surplus lands (a portion of a closed alley south of Cameron Avenue) by the Corporation of the Town of Essex.

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