Essex Council notes, October 21

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault

Strategic Plan gets approval

Essex received the report, “Town of Essex Corporate Strategic Plan 2019-2022.”

  In the Mayor’s message, Larry Snively explained this plan represents a vision for the future and provides the community with a road map to get there. He added that Council members and administration worked hard on the document and incorporated feedback from community members from all four Wards of the municipality and stakeholders.

  In the Report to Council from Chris Nepszy, Essex’s Chief Administrative Officer, it notes a Council-directed strategic plan is an essential tool used to establish overall direction and priorities, align organizational efforts, and support future decision-making.

  During the meeting, Nepszy said he was proud and excited to present the document.

  The Report adds the Town retained a facilitator, who led the consultation and development process to identify the key strategic priorities.

  The input residents provided, he said, was valuable. Through that, a list of priorities was created, which included growth and development, local economy, balancing rural and urban needs, and service delivery.  

  The feedback gathered helped to establish the six key values for Council’s 2019-2022 Work Plan/Strategic Plan. They include:

• The need to manage, invest, and plan for sustainable municipal infrastructure, which meets the current and future needs of the municipality and its citizens

• Create a safe, friendly, and inclusive community, which encourages healthy, active living for people of all ages and abilities

• Provide fiscal stewardship and value for tax dollars to ensure the long-term financial health of the municipality

• Manage responsible and viable growth, while preserving and enhancing the unique rural and small-town character of the community

• Improve the experiences of individuals, as both citizens and customers, in their interactions with the Town of Essex

• Improve the Town’s capacity to meet the ongoing and future service needs of its Citizens, while ensuring the corporation is resilient in the face of unanticipated changes or disruptions.

  Each of these chapters provides a list of goals and actions to be completed over this term of Council.

  Staff will use the document to effectively manage priority areas and inform future budgets.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy noted the document is ambitious. If Council achieve 25percent of the goals outlined, she said they would be lucky.

  “I’m proud of it,” she said. “It’s vibrant, it’s refreshing.”

  More information is available at

Aerator Upgrade cheque presented to Town

Essex Council received a public presentation from representatives of the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA), where the Town was presented with a rebate cheque for $14,507.28.

  In 2016, OCWA performed energy audits on several area wastewater facilities, where retrofits of new aerators were installed to bring oxygen into the lagoons.

  These retrofits will reduce electric usage at the facilities and improve their overall efficiency.

  “This is something that OCWA as a service provides for us. This isn’t something we ask them to do, they’re motivated on their own,” Essex CAO, Chris Nepszy, said. “They come forward to us, looking for these efficiencies to make our systems better. We all welcome the cheques, but the green aspect is just as important.”

Meeting with police put forward

Councillor Kim Verbeek put forward a Notice of Motion at the October 7 Council Meeting that Council consider conducting a Public Meeting and/or survey to discuss the provision of Police Services in the Town of Essex, as encouraged by the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards (OAPSB).

  “What drove this motion was several times in the last few years at our OAPSB conferences, the police service boards are encouraged to reach out and do public information sessions with the public,” Verbeek explained of the motion. “The province has also mandated that we all do a community wellness and safety plan. Essex has decided to collaborate with our neighbouring municipalities to develop this, and I think information we would get back from a survey would be very helpful for the team putting together this mandate.”

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen expressed doubts behind the motives for the motion, suggesting that it could be politically motivated.

  “I have some concerns, because you know, certain councillors have been trying to make a political issue out of our police partnership, and I’m not quite sure where this is going,” Vander Doelen said. “I know if you do an online poll, I mean that can be pretty easily rigged.”

  CAO Nepszy explained representatives from the OPP will meet with the Town early in November to discuss ongoing issues, including the contract with the OPP.

  “This might be the perfect opportunity to move on this tonight, but note that we can push [the OPP] for questions and their comments on how we should get them polled.”

  The motion carried, which will explore ways on receiving public feedback on issues surrounding policing in the community.

HVAC replacement for Harrow Day Care

Council received the report, “Replacement of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Unit for the Harrow Day Care space located at the Harrow Arena,” and further approved the replacement of the HVAC Unit for the Harrow Daycare leased space in the amount of $14,825, plus HST.

  Munger Plumbing and Electrical was awarded the contract. The project funding be allocated to the 2020 Harrow Arena capital budget.

  The Report to Council on the matter notes this HVAC unit is failing and is not expected to remain functional through the upcoming winter season.

  The current HVAC system is approximately 10-years-old and had repair issues. The capital item had already been identified for replacement in the 2020 capital budget with $19,000 being allocated to the project.

Daycare at conferences

Essex Council received correspondences from the Municipality of East Ferris, lobbying for changes to conferences that would incorporate childcare services throughout certain conferences, and that letters of support be sent to a variety of organizations, such as AMO and ROMA.

  The resolution sent form East Ferris noted that the parents attending conferences tend to struggle to find childcare while attending conferences.

  Council received the correspondences.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy noted Essex Council passed a similar motion in the past and she has a list of the municipalities who supported it.

School Safety Zones

At the October 7 meeting, Councillor Kim Verbeek put forward a Notice of Motion for discussion at the October 21 meeting to ask Council to direct Administration to conduct a study into all school safety zones.

  During discussion on this matter on Monday evening, Verbeek said concerns were brought to her by residents, notably from around Colchester North Public School. She said she has heard the youth who attend the school do not feel comfortable riding their bikes to school because drivers fly through the area. She said the purpose of the report is to look at safety around schools.

  CAO Chris Nepszy said the report can come back to note where community safety zones are located in the municipality, possible expansions, and speed.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said the report should also look at the community safety zones around school districts. She suggested looking at Community Safety zones at schools and recognize a one-kilometer radius to identify what active trails are there that could get youth to school.

  Council voted in favour of the motion.   

Intersection safety audits

At the October 7 meeting, Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche put forward a Notice of Motion for discussion at the October 21 meeting regarding a request for a safety audit at the intersections at County Road 20 and County Road 13, and at County Road 20 and County Road 34. He wanted Council to make a request to County of Essex Engineering and Transportation Department to do a Safety Audit.

  He also wanted background information included in the audit to determine whether additional lanes and/or traffic signals are required.

  Meloche withdrew this motion because administration had already put the request forward to the County. He said the County noted the studies would be conducted, “which is good news,” he said.

NoM: Lottery Licences at Town Hall

Councillor Sherry Bondy put forward a Notice of Motion for discussion at the November 4 Regular Council Meeting for Council’s consideration. She would like Council to send a letter requesting the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to consider exemptions from, or simplification of, the lottery licensing process.

2020 Colchester Harbour Fees increase

In a report prepared by Director of Community Services, Doug Sweet, recommendations were made to apply a two percent increase for the Colchester harbour’s berthing rates, beginning on May 1, 2020.

  This would be the first increase in the Harbour’s fees since 2017, and would include an increase in rates for ramp usage, as well as all periods of berthage.

  “We’re still going to be lower than Belle River, Leamington,” Town Clerk, Robert Auger, explained to questions about price competitiveness. “We’re still staying in the middle with these increases.”

The motion carried.

 Residential rezoning approved in Harrow

Council approved a rezoning bylaw, permitting the development of residential units at the ground rear level of former commercial property at 37 and 39 King Street West in Harrow.

  “It’s a very healthy sign that people are wanting to build right in the core,” Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said.

  Lori Chadwick, the Director of Development Services, explained the proposal came after consultation with the public, internal departments, and external stakeholders in determining that this rezoning would benefit the community as a whole.

  “We have heard great comments from all angles,” Chadwick said. “We have also heard that there are maybe some concerns with safety, seeing as the dwelling units are facing the alley. However, from an urban design perspective, it actually benefits to have eyes on that alley.

  The remainder of the frontage of each property will continue to be used as commercial space, and will not be converted into residential space.

Council endorses recommended SPC

Essex Council received and supported correspondence from the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA), regarding the upcoming term of the new Source Protection Committee (SPC).

  The SPC is composed of 15 members, including five from the municipal sector, as well as representatives from agriculture, greenhouses, and fuel suppliers.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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