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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council Notes for Tuesday, September 4

by Sylene Argent

Council supports Youth Council Coalition of Canada

Kelsey Santarossa, who founded the Youth Council Coalition of Canada (YCC), requested Essex Council support an application she wished to submit to the Windsor-Essex Community Foundation Community Impact Grant.

  If, and when, successful in achieving the grant, she said, the YCC would come back to work with supporting municipalities to create Youth Councils and support them.

  She said the organization was incorporated federally in May. The goal as a not-for-profit is to foster the development, success, and influence of Canadian youth councils, starting in Ontario.

  Santarossa was on the Lakeshore Youth Council for eight years. She began seeking out youth councils across to province to see what their successes were and where they could use help. A youth council, she noted, is an advisory body that reports to Council. Essex has two youth council members.

  She found there were 93 youth councils is Ontario, governed by either municipalities, constituency youth councils governed by Liberal MPs, or organizations.

  Through her research, Santarossa, found two youth councils exist in the region. “We could do a little bit better in Windsor-Essex,” she said, adding, especially since nearly 19 percent of the region’s population are youth. 

  Councillor Randy Voakes said Essex lost its youth centre a few years ago. He saw Santrossa’s proposal as an opportunity for youth to get out from behind their computers. Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said he would support the program as well as he could see the potential benefits.  

  Council received her presentation and further supporter her request.


Election sign confusion

-Deputy May Candidate told he can not use billboards-

Phil Pocock, who is running for the position of Deputy Mayor for the Town of Essex in the 2018 municipal election, appeared as a delegate to get clarification on the difference between election signs and media advertising on billboards.

  To him, an election sign is placed on a homeowner’s or tenant’s property with permission. He viewed getting a billboard as paid advertising.

  During the provincial election, the PC candidate, Pocock said, had three billboards in the Municipality of Essex. So, he thought the precedence was already there for candidates in the municipal election to use billboard advertising.

  He wanted to know the difference between an election sign and a paid advertising sign.

  Robert Auger, the Town’s Clerk, said that his interpretation of the Town’s sign bylaw is the moment a billboard is used for election purposes, it becomes an election sign and subject to the restrictions contained within the bylaw, including that its size must be no larger that one square meter. They can also only be erected for 45 days, so starting September 7 in this election.

  Auger said if there were billboards used in the recent provincial election in Essex, they would have been in contravention of the bylaw.

  Pocock said he did not see the correlation between a billboard and an election sign, which is placed with permission with no dollar exchange for the space, in the bylaw. He sees billboards as an advertising sign, which is paid space that was already there. As the spaces is paid for, he sees it as the same as buying an ad in the paper.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman said he was more in line with Pocock’s thoughts on the bylaw. Councillor Sherry Bondy believes there may have been some mixed communication on the issue between candidates and the Planning Department and Clerk’s department.

  Perhaps other candidates purchased a billboard, Bondy said. She didn’t see a problem using billboards as there are only so many within the municipality that can be used. She didn’t want to block any candidate from doing what he or she thought was best for their election, especially since there was no precedence set in the provincial campaign. She said there really are no consequences.

  Essex’s CAO Donna Hunter said ultimately, a billboard has to be Council approved. If Council had to make a decision, it would be conflictual as six of the seven members on Council are running for various positions in the Municipal Election. Councillor Bondy, however, disagreed, noting Council only makes decisions on new billboards, not the content that goes on existing billboard space.

  “We don’t approve what goes on billboards. We never have. Why are we doing it now,” she asked? As an example, she said in the recent past there was a billboard in Essex Centre advertising a Windsor strip club that did not have to come to Council for approval.

  Councillor Ron Rogers said it would be inappropriate to make changes to the bylaw or overstep administration. Pocock, he said, wanted clarification and he got it from administration.

  Pocock thanked administration for the clarification, however, said he wished he would have received the clarification before he purchased the billboard, though he asked about the clarification before the purchasing.

  Council received the presentation.

  Following the Council meeting, Pocock was able to use a billboard in Kingsville, leading out towards Harrow. It met the requirements of that municipality’s regulations, he said.

Fundraising for Townsview Subdivision

Residents of the Townsview subdivision approached Council regarding possibly fundraising for a park.

  The residents wanted to ensure the project did not get lost in the shuffle. They had a few questions for the Town, including the budget size for the project.

  Doug Sweet, Director of Community Services, said anytime the quality of life is improved, it is a good thing. He said the property was just obtained as designated park land in the early spring. It was seeded this year and it has been maintained as a green space. Part of development charges would go towards this project.

  Without a true plan, he estimated, based on past purchases, the project would likely cost around $350,000 to $400,000. Anytime there is fundraising, it is a good thing. He said there are nearly 25 neighbours interested in the project. He said this park would not be surplus as it is needed.

  Sweet said first steps would include getting a tentative budget and a plan of what it would look like as it is easier to fundraise with a visual.

  Just like any other fundraising initiative, this project would have administration and the fundraisers work on a plan. The next term of Council could approve some funding in the next budget and see how the fundraising goes.

  Voakes said he had an interest in the project, whether there is an election or not. Any money fundraised will go towards this project, and any amount would be helpful. He said he takes great appreciation of the fact residents have an interest in getting involved. Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said he and his wife would also be interested in helping.  

  Council received the presentation.


Veterans Voices of Canada request

Via correspondence, Suzanne Allison requested Council sponsor a flag and honour plaque at the Annual Veterans Ceremony at Assumption Park in Windsor on September 22, 2018, for a minimum donation of $200.

  Councillor Randy Voakes said Allison recently contacted him, after this letter was sent to the Town, to note the sponsorship goal had been fulfilled prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

  Essex Mayor Ron McDermott asked if Essex could be considered for next year’s event. Voakes said that was a great idea and asked that administration send a letter with the request to Allison. Motion carried.


Decision to defer Essex Town Centre Subdivision discussions reversed

  At the August 29 meeting, Councillor Ron Rogers put a Notice of Motion forward for Council to discuss at last Tuesday evening’s meeting. He wanted to discuss Council’s decision to defer the proceedings of the Essex Town Centre Subdivision until the next term of Council. He wanted Council to reconsider the decision.  

  At the August 7 meeting, CAO Donna Hunter suggested Council postpone discussions on the Essex Town Centre Subdivision rezoning application until the new term of council is formed. The project, she said then, is having Council to consider the possibility of allowing snout houses, removing garage restrictions, and 40’ lot frontage (which is smaller than usual).

  In a recorded vote to postpone the file until the new term of Council, Councillors Ron Rogers, Larry Snively, Sherry Bondy, and Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche and Mayor Ron McDermott were in support. Councillor Randy Voakes and Steve Bjorkman were opposed, both noting at that time they wanted to continue those discussions.

  At last Tuesday’s meeting, Rogers wanted to bring the matter back to the table because he thought Council jumped the gun on the decision and the Council of the day should be looking at the file as the current members know the most about it.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche was in favour of the reconsideration as he wanted to see the development happen as soon as possible. In talking with administration, he knows there are many issues with the plan. It could be next spring before reports are put in place for consideration. If left to the next term of Council, it could be the following year. He believes instead of letting it sit, administration should start looking at it now.

  Councillor Randy Voakes said he appreciates administration’s opinion and the guidance to date, but the file was open before Council entered “lame duck” status, which he said gives them the opportunity to move forward.

  Motion carried.

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