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Essex Council notes - Monday, April 20

by Sylene Argent

Mayor sends condolences to victims of Nova Scotia shooting


Essex Mayor Larry Snively, on behalf of the Town for Essex and Council, said their hearts go out to the victims, and their families, of the Nova Scotia shooting.   It was a senseless, senses act of terror. Our hearts go our to them,” he said. Update on Essex’s COVID-19 responses CAO Chris Nepszy provided a verbal update on items that have come up over the past few weeks in regard to COVID-19.   The Town continues to expand facility separation to allow for separate work places for employees. He said this is working out well. Protocols are also in place to keep staff safe.   “We are tying to eliminate the contamination,” he said.   Staff members, he said, have been great through the changes, and he appreciated their efforts. There is still work do be done during this pandemic, he noted.   Nepszy said the facility separation has staff with similar responsibilities split, so services can continue. The Health Unit has put out guidelines. There is a checklist the Town goes through to make a decision if anyone showed symptoms or tested positive, based on the scenario. In that event, the Town will be prepared, but it is hoped that will not be necessary.   RV use has come up in the last few weeks, in regards to people wanting to be isolated from their families because of quarantine requirements or because of their jobs.   He said Essex is pretty lax on the use of RVs for these reasons. The Town askes residents using RVs to contact the Town and work with staff to ensure a dangerous situation is not created, such as blocking sidewalks and ensuring waste is disposed of properly. The Town will also let the fire department know where people are living in an RV in case there is an emergency.   In regards to seasonal campground use, Nepszy said this will be more and more of an issue as the weather gets nicer. The Town is following provincial guidelines on this issue. The Town is waiting for a little clarification on those guidelines in regards to when cottages are a residents’ only permanent residence.   Nepszy also spoke of essential and non-essential meetings. This is something the Town continues to work through. Essential meetings are being held. There is a lot going behind the scenes, such as training staff on how to host virtual meetings.   The Town is continuing to push information out in regards to COVID-19. Staff is trying to enhance information as to what residents can and can’t do, in terms of home projects.   Council received the report.

Update on Community Improvement Plan

Essex Council received an Economic Development Report “Community Improvement Plan Update (Quarter 1 2020),” which is a municipal grant program for commercial properties in predetermined boundaries.   In the Report to Council, it notes interest and inquiries in the Harrow CIP has surpassed that of Essex Centre in the first quarter of 2020. Historically, the uptake in Essex Centre has been greater. It also notes, administration has received interest from several property owners looking to leverage funding from the Colchester/County Road 50 CIP program.   2020 completed projects include: Façade Improvement Grant, Demolition Grant, Landscaping and Buffering Grant for the Harrow Drycleaners; and a Façade Improvement Grant for the Harrow Clinic.   Works in progress for 2020 include: Professional Design Grant and Façade Improvement Grant for the Essex Free Press; Professional Design Grant and Façade Improvement Grant for Wine O’ Willies; Development Permit Fee Grant and Façade Improvement Grant for the former Schinkels’ building; Professional Design Grant, Development Permit Fee Grant, and Façade Improvement Grant for Classy Caps MFG Inc.; and a Development Permit Fee Grant, Façade Improvement Grant, and Conversion Grant for Boudreau Group.   The report continues that Council approved $100,000 in the 2020 budget for the Essex Centre CIP and $100,000 for the Harrow and Colchester/County Road 50 CIP earlier this year. Funds dispersed in the first quarter of this year in the amount of $22,613.35 and were from applicants who applied in 2019 and completed grant eligible works in 2020. Therefore, $77,386.65 remains in the Harrow and Colchester/County Road 50 CIP fund and the Essex Centre CIP fund remains at $100,000. Other projects are currently underway.   Lori Chadwick, Director of Development, said her department will provide quarterly updates on these projects.   She said the Economic Development Officer, Nelson Silveira, is working to redirect strategies on working with local businesses in this time of the pandemic. One procedure is gathering information through a survey to local businesses. It is hoped the data can be used to help prepare or help businesses in sharing information from the province or federal government for assistance.   The Town is looking at creating a geographical mapping tool with business information. She said the Town is working to support businesses and tourism.      Council received the report.

Rood Engineering to review Barrette Drain/ install culvert over North Rear Road Drain

Council appointed Rood Engineering Incorporated, under Section 78 of the Drainage Act, to review the Barrette Drain.   In the Report to Council, it notes the Barrette Drain has become outdated due to various changes that have taken place along the 13th Concession.   The engineer will provide an update to address any changes to parcel boundaries and outline any necessary repairs or improvements required to the drain, and will review whether the drain has the capability to handle the change of land use from vacant farmland to residential that has occurred since the last report.   The most recent report on the Barrette Drain was completed in 1966.   Council also appointed Rood Engineering Incorporated to install a new culvert over the North Rear Road Drain South Side.   The Report to Council notes the North Rear Road Drain South Side runs along the south side of North Malden Road, from Brush Road to Lot 6, where it crosses under North Malden Road in a northwesterly direction to its outlet into the King Creek Drain. Essex adopts Windsor/Essex Region Stormwater Management Standards Manual Essex Council received Infrastructure Services’ report “Windsor/Essex Region Stormwater Management Standards Manual,” and adopted the manual as the standard for the design and review of stormwater infrastructure within the Town of Essex.   The Report to Council notes the manual provides technical stormwater standards to ensure stormwater infrastructure is designed to meet a standard that is consistent with local conditions experienced within the Windsor-Essex Region.   In the Windsor/Essex region, the report continues, the prescribed standards for stormwater management systems vary considerably by municipality, which contributes to a wide-range of variation in stormwater management designs. This results in inconsistent stormwater management measures.   In 2015, the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) approached the City of Windsor, the County of Essex, and the local municipalities, about the need for regional stormwater management standards.   The adoption of a stormwater standards manual, the report continues, will allow the Town to create a development manual that is consistent with regional guidelines, and provide clear direction to developers and engineers on stormwater management requirements for new and replacement infrastructure within the Town.   Kevin Girard, Director of Infrastructure, said there was a strong need to adopt a regional guideline to ensure municipalities are doing what ERCA expects and ensure all regional partners are taking the same approach. It also ensures developers and engineers provide consistent watershed approaches, he said.   Many regions, Girard continued, are using Ministry of Environment guidelines, but watershed in the Windsor-Essex County area are unique in its flat landscape, and it requires additional measures to ensure the region and its infrastructure are protected.     He continued that the one-in-a-one-hundred-year storm was used as a guideline in this document. A site needs to retain that volume of water. Additional stress tests are also used.   Councillor Steve Bjorkman said the Town has been waiting for a document like this since 2015.   

Council approves Shoreline Assistance Loan Program

Essex Council received Corporate Services’ report, “Town of Essex Shoreline Assistance Loan Program,” and authorize the implementation of the Town of Essex Shoreline Assistance Loan Program.   Council also voted in favour of delegating and authorizing administration to negotiate and enter into all Property Owner Agreements and gave three readings to Bylaw 1908, being a Bylaw to authorize the Town of Essex Shoreline Assistance Loan Program and the undertaking of flood and shoreline control/mitigation works on private residential property as local improvements.   Administration will come back to Council with a bylaw or bylaws to authorize the imposition of the local improvement works as a “special charge” on participating properties, in accordance with the Program and the Property Owner Agreements, the Report to Council notes.   Mayor Larry Snively said he was glad the program was being setup.   Director of Corporate Services/Treasurer, Jeff Morrison, said so far, around 20 property owners have expressed interest in the program. Administration will report to Council, either regularly or annually, depending on uptake.   Councillor Steve Bjorkman said this programming is the responsibility of the provincial and federal governments, so the town of Essex being able to offer its residents such a program is out-of-the-box thinking.   

First progress report on the Climate Change Adaptation Plan

Council received the report, “Climate Change Adaptation Plan – Progress Report 1,” which provided Council with an update.   At its regular meeting of November 18, 2019, Council gave direction to Administration to implement the process leading to the creation of a proposed Climate Change Adaptation Plan. There are four phases to the program, which include: Assessing Climate Impacts, Adaptation Planning, Approval and Funding, and Implementation.   This committee is currently in the first phase, and is engaging internal and external community stakeholders to get expert advice on solutions to various risks posed by climate impacts to the Town of Essex, the Report to Council notes.   The first meeting of the 14-member committee was held on February 28. There are 14 members on the committee.   Councillor Sherry Bondy said she liked the direction of the committee, but thinks ELK should be on board as a town-owned utility, since the committee discussed hydro flickers due to excessive summer heat. 

Council says cannabis application does not fit provincial requirements

Essex Council received correspondence from the AGCO that indicated an application for a Cannabis Retail Store Authorization for 68 Talbot Street North was made.   The correspondence from the AGCO noted the public notice offers the municipality and residents an opportunity to respond to the application within the time period identified.   Councillor Kim Verbeek made a motion that Council write the AGCO to note the space in mind in not setback 150 meters from a school or church, as the province requires. Council passed the motion, which Councillor Chris Vander Doelen opposed. He said since Council ‘opted in’ for cannabis retail stores at the beginning of their term, he thought Council should reach out to the church and school to see if they would be opposed to the store being within 150 meters of their facilities.

 NoM: Online survey

Councillor Sherry Bondy presented a Notice of Motion, for consideration at a future meeting, that the Town issue a satisfaction survey to its residents to gage quality of life and see if the Town of Essex is headed in the right direction.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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