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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Town Council notes - Tuesday, August 6

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault

 Town purchases Cyber Insurance

The Town of Essex approved the purchase of Cyber Liability Insurance, after recommendations from administration, and a report from Jack Baron, Essex’s Manager of Information Technology.

The insurance will provide coverage in the event of a breach of computer systems, or a ransomware virus attack, such as when the Town of Wasaga Beach was forced to pay nearly $35,000 to hackers in order to regain access to their own network.

“Low-tier municipalities are a low-hanging target [for cyber attacks], because they know they have only one or two IT professionals. They are a target,” Barron explained, addressing Council. “Unfortunately, nowadays it’s like having house or car insurance. It’s just part of it.”

Barron added that the provider, AON, was selected because it was capable of being bundled with the Town’s current provider.

Administration sought $15,126.00 to be reallocated from the Capital Project GG-19-0012 Network Security Audit., of which $27,000.00 was budgeted and remaining, to fund the cyber coverage, which was approved by Council.

The coverage will provide protection up to one million dollars in malware ransom, as well as physical damage to computer and network systems.

At this time, the Town of Essex receives roughly 5,000 spam, malware, or virus emails a week, with staff continually being trained on email awareness and how to protect their computer systems.

Essex hears about waste diversion activities

Eli Maodus, General Manager, and Tom Marentette, Manager of Waste Disposal, of the Essex Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA) sat before Council to provide clarification and answers to any questions Council had in regard to waste diversion activities at the Essex-Windsor Regional Landfill.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said she loves talking about waste diversion and asked for any tips the EWSWA could provide. Looking at capturing more yard waste is one way to divert waste from the landfill.

  Bondy thinks people are recycling inefficiently. Even businesses, she said, people think they are recycling, but people are throwing in products that cannot be recycled. As the host municipality of the landfill site, she believes Essex should be a leader in waste diversion.

  During her first term of Council, she toured the recycling plant, she said it was a great opportunity.

  She asked how can Essex capture more materials and divert more effectively, and preserve the landfill for years to come?

  Maodus said weekly recycling would likely not be implemented. Revenue earned, he added, does not cover the program cost. Stewards/corporations are responsible for 50 percent. In the next 5-6 years, there will be enhancements to programs.

  Maodus also explained certain communities will eventually have every other week garbage pickup where there are green bin pick-ups. This could be implemented by around 2025.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen asked about the automotive fluff as daily cover. He wanted to know where it is coming from and how much they are paying. He also noted that construction is having a hard time disposing excess landfill. Why take automotive fluff when we have locally sourced biological products, he asked.

  Maodus explained the origin of the auto fluff is from a facility in Hamilton. The environmental compliance approval is what the landfill has, which is the material they are allowed to accept. He said they charge the supplier $8/metric tonne.

  Marentette, explained the problem is that a steady supply is needed when it comes to using landfill from construction sites instead of the autofluff.

  The expected regional landfill site, located in Essex, will be usable until 2040. It was opened in 1997. It was expected to last 25 years and it will exceed that.

  Verbeek said that longevity of the site is due to the passion of Marentette and his predecessor.


Tulley Meadow residents highlight concerns of Town’s free roaming cat TNR program

Council received the Department of Legislative Services’ report, “Trap, Neuter, and Release (TN) Program along with the presentation from Jenn de Ryk and Laura Britenbaugh.

  Council also moved to direct administration to move forward with the implementation of various mechanisms designed to further and better educate the public and volunteers about the TNP program.

  Tulley Meadow resident, De Ryk, lives across the road of where cat houses were placed and the cats were being fed by TNR volunteers. She believes this was not an isolated incident. For around three years, she claimed, she had to endured car urine and feces. She said she loves to garden, and said cat’s waste is a health hazard for pregnant women.

  Despite the TNR program, she claimed every year there seemed to be an increase of kittens. She said her dog has attacked kittens in the past and she would bring them to the vet, which incurred costs to her.

  “As you could see we were very frustrated with this. We didn’t know where to turn,” she said of herself and a few neighbours.  

  She noted the answer came to them in the spring when her neighbour, Michelle Lessard-Hillier, put the cat houses across the road. The next day, the volunteers were angry when they picked them up, she claimed.

  After the confrontation with volunteers, De Ryk concluded feral cats do not have to be fed and will survive on their own. In her opinion, the volunteers leaving out feed attracted more cats.

  Once they brought this forward, for some reason, the cats, she claimed, are gone from her neighbourhood.

  The neighbours have to have a say if a feeding station is to be installed in a neighbourhood, she said, but it should not be enforced on anybody.

  She believes the TNR program is headed in the right direction and, if run properly, it will be beneficial in the future.

  Brittenbaugh also lives across the street from where the cat houses were placed, for the past two-years, she witnessed what was going on in regard to the program.

  “This past spring was horrible for all of us. No permission was given from anyone on our street to trap, house, or feed stray cats,” she said.

  She said it has been an eye soar. She said they are all for the TNR program, but the neighbours need to be informed and be asked if they want to participate in the program.

  She said it would be nice to know who was coming into their neighbourhood to trap.

  Councillor Kim Verbeek said she has been following the issue. She said she was sorry they experienced the program in a negative way, but wanted to move forward in a positive way.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said in a perfect world, outdoor cats would be few and far between. Administration, she added, put together a well researched report on the issue. She said there is always room for improvement. She said she would love to see a bylaw, if you feed a cat, you have to have them fixed within three days.

  Bondy said the problem with this particular situation, was that a feeder was put in this area.

  She said she has not heard about another issue. In 2010 when knocking on doors, feral cats was a number one issue she heard when campaigning.  Now, she said that is no longer an issue.

  The program has had success, Bondy said. There are hiccups with anything. She thanked the delegates for bringing the issue forward.

  Our volunteers are doing it for the best interest of the cats, she said, adding the TNR program is a tool in the municipality that goes above and beyond the spay voucher program that is available to residents.

  De Ryk then responded, in her opinion, the volunteers are a big part of the problem because they are unprofessional. She said they need to be educated, if they are going to represent the Town, on how to talk to people. TNR, she added, does not include caregiving.

  She said she had three years of problems and thinks others will now come forward with issues as well.

  Melanie Coulter, Executive Director of the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society, spoke at the meeting. She said the one thing she wanted to mention is that this is a great program as it expands on the vouchers available through the municipality.

  There will be pockets of complaints, she said. At the shelter, the numbers of cats submitted have gone down dramatically. The spay and release works, Coulter said.

  The issue of feeding cats will come back. Even if you have feeding bans, the important thing is getting the cats fixed, she said.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman said a point that needs to be made is that the Town does TNR, but does not feed animals.

  Those who trap in some cases, do care for them and feed them, Coulter said.

  Council received Coulter’s presentation.

  The Report to Council contained specific recommendations to provide a general framework under which Administration can move forward with additional initiatives so that the TNR program can continue to successfully operate in the Town while being respectful to both the needs of the community and the need to maintain or exceed current service level standards.

  The report notes in 2015, the Town began its TNR program for feral cat colonies throughout the municipality. The program has been managed by the Town’s Animal Control Officers, in conjunction with volunteers and other Town staff. As a result, 99 feral cats were spayed/neutered that first year. Since 2015, the program has spayed/neutered 507 cats as of June 2019.

  Moving forward, as part of the report, the Town will develop a Best Practices document to support the TNR program. In addition, a TNR Volunteer and Education Program and a TNR Public Education Program will be implemented.


Natural Heritage Conservation Easement

Council received the Planning Department’s report, “Natural Heritage Conservation Easement B-06-19 Doug and Josie Holland and Karl and Sandy Neudorf, 2135 McCormick Road (Colchester South, Ward 3).” It also further passed Bylaw 1843 to enter into a conservation easement agreement.

  The Report to Council notes on March 19, the Town of Essex’s Committee of Adjustment approved a consent application for the lands. The severance approved by the Committee resulted in the creation of a 3.5-hectare parcel from the existing 22.6-hectare farm lot. The retained farm lot is occupied by an existing natural heritage woodlot.

  A condition of the Committee’s approval requires the owners to enter into a conservation easement agreement with the Town of Essex in order to prohibit any use which will damage or destroy the “Protected Area.” The report continues that the owners have been in full agreement with this requirement.

Development Agreement accepted

for former school property

The Town of Essex has entered into a Development Agreement with Anderdon Developments LTD, regarding the development of the former Harrow Junior School property.

This comes shortly after the Town approved the rezoning of the former school property to allow for the development and construction of single and semi-detached residential properties.

Anderdon Developments LTD took full possession of the property located at 230 Centre Street on August 9, thus necessitating the need for the new Developmental Agreement Bylaw.


CWATS funding request for 2019

Council received the Planning Department’s report “CWATS Funding requests for 2020,” and pre-approved the Town’s 50 percent share of the estimated $20,000 cost, in the amount of $10,000, under the 2020 as municipal contribution under the Municipal Partnership Fund of the County Wide Active Transportation initiative.


Update received on local planning appeal tribunal proceedings

The Town of Essex received a planning report, prepared by Essex Planner, Rita Jabbour, regarding an update on the local planning appeal tribunal proceedings. The Bylaw in question is the Amending Bylaw 1759 as it pertains to the property located at 1466 County Road 13 in Harrow.

Bylaw 1759, as adopted by Council in 2018, adds additional permitted uses for the vacant, near 40,000-square foot, residential lot to permit the medical office of a licensed professional person offering treatment and diagnostic services for the physical, mental, or emotional health of people excluding the offices of a general dentist and chiropractor.

The appellant, Bradley Laporte, and the Town held a meeting on July 6, with discussions that led towards the idea of an amendment to Bylaw to 1759 that would address the additional concerns of the appellant.

With this in mind, the appellant agreed to several provisions, including the building to be constructed is to be set back at equal distance or more to the residence at 1460 County Road 13, the building is to be built in an east-west orientation with the front facing towards the Harrow Health Centre, the building is to be constructed as a single-story to keep its architectural characteristics in line with the surrounding neighbourhood, as well as several agreements surrounding parking and property fencing.

Essex Council agreed to the adoptions of the additional provisions, to be issued under order of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

Fill and heavy truck bylaws amended

Essex Council received a Clerk’s report regarding several bylaws and amendments to them, including Bylaw 1790, pertaining to heavy traffic, and Bylaw 1799, which regulates the placing/dumping of fill and the alteration of grade and/or the removal of topsoil from land in Essex.

After feedback from Council and members of the public at a July Council meeting, it was decided that several amendments should be made to the respective Bylaws.

Regarding 1790, amendments include the specification that the regulations only apply to municipal roads, and certain exemptions to permitted heavy vehicle usage.

These include construction purposes on a property where that heavy vehicle is housed, and heavy vehicles related to agricultural purposes in the rural areas of the Town of Essex.

For 1799, amendments included the exemption of agricultural uses related to the Bylaw, as well as the exemption of small, residential activities. An additional recommendation had the fill permit applications changed from their requirement at 2,000-cubic metres to 1,000-cubic metres and under.

Bylaw welcomes new Director of Infrastructure Service

Council passed Bylaw 1838 to appoint Chris Gainham as Essex’s new Director of Infrastructure Service. Chris Nepszy formerly held this position before he was appointed CAO.


Notices of Motion-to be discussed

at the September 3 meeting:

• Councillor Sherry Bondy put a Notice of Motion forward that Council discuss tightening the policy of proxy voting, fixing the Use of Corporate Resource Bylaw, and the Sign Bylaw.

• Councillor Sherry Bondy put a Notice of Motion forward to have Council give direction to the Animal Control Officer (ACO) that animals apprehended by the ACO, and in need of medical attention, release the animal to owner or a vet in a reasonable amount of time, if owners are willing to pay.

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