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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council Notes for Tuesday, July 2, 2024

by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

Bondy details attendance at

International Association of Great Lakes Research Conference

Essex Mayor Sherry Bondy detailed the highlights of her attendance at the International Association of Great Lakes Research Conference during the July 2 regular Council meeting.

  This conference took place in May at Caesars Windsor.

  She said a lot of the information provided was scientific in nature, much of which was presented through research bodies from the International Association for Great Lakes Research.

  The conversation included invasive species and water quality in relation to the Great Lakes.

  There was also discussion on stormwater retention ponds, and how wildlife is starting to make these areas part of their habitat.

  “So, the amount of salt we put on our roads is impacting frogs [and other] species,” she said, adding it was explained how species are adapting to living in stormwater retention ponds.

  Those are subjects that fascinate her. She is trying to learn more.

  “The amount of research that’s going on in the Great Lakes is pretty amazing,” Bondy said. “If you look at the current state of all of the Great Lakes…Lake Erie is poor and unchanging.”

  That, she added, is because it has an elevated nutrient concentration.

  “That’s our algae booms. I really want to…do what we can municipally to look into this,” she said, adding it is more of a federal oversight matter. She did, however, learn there are things municipalities can do, such as building better sewage treatment plants and looking at how sanitary can inflow into stormwater systems.

  “The one thing I really liked about this conference is that they had tons of sessions,” Bondy told Council, adding if the conference is held locally again, she hopes more from Council will attend.

  Council received her report. 

Essex to contribute to Pelee Coastal Resilience Study

Essex Council moved to contribute a maximum amount of $30,000 ($10,000 annually from 2024-2026) to Zuzek Inc. for the Pelee Coastal Resiliency Study.

  Those funds will come from the Green Fund Reserve for this year, and will be included as an approved project within the 2025 and 2026 Capital Budgets.

  This is in addition to the in-kind contributions being made for staff time, which was noted during the presentation was valued at $16,000.

  Pete Zuzek, President of Zuzek Inc., approached Essex Council regarding the action plan through the Pelee Coastal Resilience Committee.

  The work is supported through Natural Resources Canada’s Climate Resilient Coastal Communities Program.

  The Coastal Resiliency Study is being completed by Zuzek Inc., as directed by the Pelee Coastal Resilience Committee, which is made up of various stakeholders. That includes the Town of Essex, neighbouring municipalities along the coastline, the County of Essex, and several agencies.

  He explained the flood hazard mapping was just completed around the entire peninsula that highlights erosion threats. Using that mapping in the resilience study is something that can be done for the Town of Essex to assist planning efforts and making good long-term decisions.

  The resilience study will also look at innovative solutions for sediments. That could potentially look at ways to move sediment from harbours and put them where they would be of benefit.

  The framework of the resilience study could also evaluate if there are ways to optimize the configuration of the Colchester Harbour.  

  How to slow down or reduce erosion rates could also be part of the study.

  There could be up to 30 different matters that can be worked on through the study, Zuzek said.

  This work is focused on the western portion of Lake Erie, the Pelee West Littoral Cell – extending from the mouth of the Detroit River to the tip of Point Pelee. The eastern-side includes the Pelee East Littoral Cell – from Port Alma to the tip of Point Pelee.

   Zuzek Inc., he said, has been developing the Coastal Resilience framework since 2022.

  It includes four steps. The first is the baseline that looks at what is happening in communities along the coast today and identify what is vulnerable. Step two focuseds on developing plans and how to make improvements. Step three focuses on taking action by implementing projects. Step four will evaluate targets.

  Zuzek said the project is looking at a large area.

  “We want to zoom out and take this system-scale approach,” he said.

  He added that the coastal area is “often thought-about as a denigrated system that has social dimension, economic, ecological, and physical characteristics…and really what that means is when we look at problems and look to develop solutions, we can’t isolate to only economic factors. Or, we can’t just simply look at social factors. We have to look at both, and ultimately, we are looking for equitable, social, and economic solutions,” Zuzek said.

  He added that the desire is to ensure solutions are sustainable.

  “This framework needs to be developed by everyone, and it is for everyone,” he added.

  There will be an extensive public-engagement component, he added.

  Kevin Girard, Director of Infrastructure Services, explained the Town has a significant amount of municipally-owned infrastructure along the Lake Erie coast – such as roads, stormwater outlets and sanitary sewers – which the study is believed to benefit.

  He said Kingsville contributed the same.

Essex gives approval to Essex County

Police Service Board-North budget

Council for the Town of Essex approved the proposed budget for the balance of 2024 for the Essex County OPP Detachment Board #1.

  That decision will be forwarded to Tecumseh and Lakeshore, which are the other two municipalities this board serves to assist in their consideration of approval.

  On approval from all three member municipalities of the Essex County OPP Detachment Board #1, Essex Council also moved that the budget for the balance of 2024 be implemented by the Town of Tecumseh, which is administering the Board.

  On March 26, 2019, Ontario passed the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 (CSPA), as part of the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019. As of April 1, 2024, the CSPA replaced the Police Services Act, 1990 (PSA). On October 25, 2023, the Ministry of the Solicitor General (Ministry) sent a letter to all local municipalities confirming that the Essex County OPP Detachment Board proposal had been approved by the Solicitor General, the Report to Council on the matter highlights.

  The amalgamated board’s first official meeting was held April 22. This has been its only meeting to date, as Essex CAO Doug Sweet explained the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards advised to suspend Board meetings until the Indemnity Insurance is reviewed and resolved by the province.

  That is a province-wide issue, Sweet said.

  Sweet noted the OPP Detachment Board before June 30 has to provide an annual board. It is a little late this year, but was told that is okay, so long as it presented in July. It provides general stats for each municipality. Moving forward, the Chairperson or Vice Chairperson of the Board will present that report.

  In answering Councillor Kim Verbeek’s question on if there is an estimated time to get the board operational again, Sweet said it is hopeful the scheduled August meeting will take place.

  Sweet said the proposed Budget for April to December 2024 for the new detachment board it is expected to operate with the remaining balance of the approved operating budget of the three municipalities.

  The Report highlights that the Board has an annualized budget, in 2024 dollars, is calculated at approximately $101,000.

  From April to December 2024, the budget requires $23,371 from each of the three member municipalities.

  It adds that each member municipality should expect their 2025 PSB budget to come in around $34,000. Actual 2025 draft Board budget may vary as it will be prepared by the Board during the budget cycle and presented to each Council for approval during budget deliberations.

  The Town of Tecumseh is administering the board. Actual costs to administer it will be recovered by Essex, Tecumseh, and Lakeshore, equally.

  A draft OPP Board budget for 2025 will be presented later this year, to each of the three municipal councils.

  Some additional costs anticipated in 2025 include additional members to compensate as there are more members on the committee, increase in member wage compensation, and it is anticipated more will attend conferences.  There are also costs associated with insurance.

  At its first meeting, the amalgamated board approved creating a part-time Administrative Support role. This permanent, part-time position, up to 24 hours per week, over a five-day week, and will be unionized with Tecumseh CUPE Local 702.5.

  Working hours are anticipated to be $33.60 per hour (2024) in accordance with the Collective Agreement with CUPE Local 702.5. Based on the anticipated start date of the Administrative Support, assuming a 14-hour work week, it is estimated that wages and benefits for the balance of the year will total $10,421 and $31,264 annually, the Report to Council notes.

  Mayor Sherry Bondy reiterated that the amalgamated board is set to meet every two months and will focus on three municipalities, which could lead to less oversite than previously. When municipalities had their own board, they were held once a month and focused on one municipality.

  Bondy spoke to Sweet on this, and it was proposed they meet with the local OPP Staff Sergeant.

  Councillor Jason Matyi asked if Council has police-related concerns, what should be done in the interim. Sweet noted the Board is meant to establish policy and is not really into the day-to-day police operations. Meetings with the Staff Sergeant will help with that, and so will using the Report a Problem tool or PSB@essex.ca.

 NoM: Update on Colchester Secondary Plan

At the June 17 Council Meeting, Mayor Sherry Bondy presented a Notice of Motion asking Council to direct Administration to provide an update at the July 15, 2024 Regular Council Meeting on the Colchester Hamlet Secondary Plan.

That will include consultation efforts to-date, plans for future public consultation, policy directions thus far, and overall goals of the Secondary Plan as a part of the Town’s new Official Plan Project.

  Council moved her motion at the July 2 meeting.

 Notice of Motion to be presented

at the July 17 Council meeting

Councillor Katie McGuire-Blais will ask Council to consider directing Administration to send a letter to the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation (WECHC) requesting that it add a security service to their Brien Street Apartments.

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