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Essex Council notes - Monday, November 18, 2019

by Adam Gault 

Council approves Climate Change Action Plan

Essex Council approved the implementation of a Climate Change Action Plan in accordance with the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The decision was made following a presentation from Niharika Bandaru, a Climate Change Analyst and Town of Essex contract employee.

  Under a grant received from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Bandaru has been retained through February 2021 to develop a climate change action plan for Essex, that will incorporate sustainable environmental strategies, as well as an actionable plan for the Town.

  In her presentation to Council, Bandaru outlined the science and causes behind ongoing climate change, and the impact excess Carbon Dioxide (CO2) has on our local and global climate.

  It was explained in the presentation that the continued human production of excessive CO2 through industries such as coal and oil production, transport, and industrial and agricultural processes, will lead to more CO2 becoming trapped in our atmosphere, causing a wide-range of extreme weather effects that will negatively impact all facets of human life.

  Demonstrating impacts locally in Essex and the county over the last several years, Bandaru’s presentation highlighted infrastructure damage through recent flooding events, erosion and flooding along Colchester’s shoreline and harbour, Highway 3 buckling due to extreme heat, and 2019 being one of the worst year’s for Essex County farmers and their crops.

  “In fact, agriculture accounts for approximately 80 percent of our local economy. Essex County has about 1700 farms, which is approximately 3 percent of Ontario’s 2006 total,” Bandaru said. “How will our local crops fare in an era of rising temperatures? Wheat, corn, soy, all of these are expected or projected to decline significantly, with each degree of temperature increase. We grow all three of these crops here and they make up a significant portion of the human caloric intake on a daily basis.”

  Bandaru added that Essex’s annual baseline mean temperature of 9.6 degrees Celsius, is projected to rise to 13.7 degrees Celsius.

  To counteract this, the proposed climate change action plan would be implemented on a phase by phase basis.

  Phase one, from now until January 2020, would be assessing climate impact. Phase two, from January to October 2020, would be the adaptation planning and phase three, from November 2020 to January 2021, would include Council approval and funding, and phase four, beginning January 2021, would be the implementation of the proposed planning.

  While most Councillors were in favour of the motion, Joe Garon and Chris Vander Doelen voted against it, with the latter speaking out in strong opposition.

  “This going to leave no aspect of our economy or our Town unchanged. You saw what that last part of the plan was, everything the Town does has to go through this little gate. That means there will be huge, draconian, damaging decisions made that are going to hurt our economy and our people, and I’m not going to vote for that,” Vander Doelen said to how he feels the motion will affect local industries and their economics.

  “Even if this report is true, it’s not our job, it’s out of our jurisdiction. We do not have the authority; we don’t have the spending to change the climate or the weather even if we could.”

 

Request for Tender approved for Colchester drain work

Council approved a Request for Tender for a project involving the construction of new covered tile drains in Colchester, which will be named the Sydenham Street Drain (East Side) and Bagot Street Drain (West Side).

  It is intended to provide protection to the adjacent road and residential lands and ancillary work.

The project was awarded to D’Amore Construction, for the price of $140,898.93, including all applicable taxes.

  The tender price is slightly above the Engineer’s Report Estimate of $129,504.00, but is still below the maximum increase of 133% permitted by the Drainage Act before the pricing has to be reviewed with the affected owners, and as a result has no impact on the recommendation of award.

  All costs associated with the preparation of the report and construction will be paid for by the landowners contributing surface water to the drainage scheme. The municipality is responsible for all municipal-owned lands and roads within the watershed boundary.

The costs associated with the municipal portion of the works will be funded through the approved 2019 Operating Budget: Roads – Municipal subsection.

 

New shingles approved for Heritage building

Council approved a Heritage Alteration Request for 78 Fox Street in Essex Centre, which will allow new alterations made to the historical structure’s roof.

  The cultural heritage value of 78 Fox Street derives from its association with the Michigan Central Railway and its proximity to the Essex Railway Station.

  The existing single detached residence was used as a boarding house and later as a hotel during the time of construction of the local rail line.

  Known as the “Essex House,” the hotel was used primarily by railway workers because of its proximity to the Essex Railway Station. It is due to this proximity that the building also holds contextual value as it is historically linked to its surroundings.

  The applicant and current owner of the subject property has applied to alter the roof of the dwelling. The applicant had requested to remove and replace the existing shingles with new 40-year fibreglass shingles that will better approximate the original cedar shank shingles when the home was constructed in the late 19th century.

 

St. Ursule to expand parking lot

Council approved a site plan control approval for St. Ursule Elementary Catholic School in McGregor, which will allow for the construction of additional parking spaces on the school property.

St. Ursule currently has parking accommodation for 28 vehicles, including two accessible parking spaces, located in the front yard of the school property.

  It is proposed that the parking lot be expanded by an additional 10 spaces, to be located to the south of the building.

  Site plan approval is required for a parking area or parking area expansion of 6 spaces or greater.

  The additional parking would take up an unused portion of the playground, with the existing asphalt area and fence to be removed and the new parking area installed. The playground fence will be relocated to the east limit of the new parking area.

  Access to the new parking spaces will be by way of the existing driveway from Grondin Avenue, and no changes to the access areas to the property are proposed through the site plan approval.

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