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Town of Essex Council meeting notes - August 24

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault

Up to $625,000 approved for Essex Centre Sports Complex repairs

Essex Council approved a Request for Tender to allow for several companies to undertake various repairs on the Essex Centre Sports Complex.

This scope of work includes various foundational repairs as well as work on several components of the refrigeration mechanism related to the regulation of the skating rink surface.

In November 2019, Essex Centre Sports Complex staff noticed the hallway in the back third of the main rink at the complex was starting to lift. The Manager of Parks and Facilities continued to monitor the area, and as the area started to shift, the engineering firm of Haddad Morgan and Associates was contacted to investigate the cause of the shift.

  As part of its investigation, Haddad Morgan brought in CT Soils to core drill a number of holes in various locations at a depth of 1.5 meters. Through these soil tests, it was determined groundwater was entering the sub soils and the underside of the glycol lines were saturated.

  In addition to the hallway, it was identified the shifting expanded to include the mechanical room, cracking on the stairwell to the Libro rink, and it appeared to be moving towards the Shaheen Rink.

  This scope of work would include, removing all of the boilers and holding tanks, including conduit in the mechanical room, shoring up the under-floor pumps for the glycol system that heats the dressing rooms stands, washrooms and meeting rooms, in the mechanical room, remove the concrete flooring and all of the sub soils down to the top of the spread footings and then excavate around the spread footing an additional 600mm in depth around the bottom of footings to install the drainage pipe.

  The Town is still awaiting approval from the municipal insurance adjuster to determine if damages will be covered.

  The consultant estimates that the work may take up to 50 days to complete to be able to reopen to the public. Upon completion, and when the refrigeration units are back in operation, it will take approximately one week to have ice ready in both rinks to be utilized by the public.

Council approved an overall budget for the Essex Centre Sports Complex Foundation Repair project in the amount of up to $625,000, which also includes the boiler removal and installation from mechanical room, the rubber floor removal, and installation and repair work from damaged underground electrical conduit for the Shaheen Rink.


 Reopening of the indoor rec facilities approved

Essex Council approved the opening of the Harrow Arena, McGregor Community Centre, Colchester Community Centre, Maedel Community Centre, and the Essex Centre Sports Complex for the Shaheen Room only, as of Tuesday, September 8. This will be done per the Province’s COVID-19 Stage 3 reopening plan and guidelines. This would be for rentals and limited programming.

  The two ice pads at the Essex Centre Sports Complex would remain closed because of the structural repairs planned for the facility. Once construction is complete, the two ice pads will reopen, based on the provincial guidelines in place at that time, the Report to Council notes.

  Council also concurred with Administration, to follow the Town’s Ice Allocation Policy when assigning ice at the Harrow Arena, while repairs occur at the Essex Centre Sports Complex. Based on the Town’s ice allocation policy, ice preference will go to all youth organizations that previously used Town of Essex facilities first, and then adult groups.

User groups had until last week to submit request for ice at the Harrow Arena.

  Director of Community Service/Deputy CAO, Doug Sweet, said on August 12, the region was able to move into Stage 3, part of which was to open indoor recreation facilities. At first, through Provincial guidelines, only 50 people were to be allowed in each facility, but that has changed to per amenity.

Sweet said his staff members met to create various scenarios to redesign the services in order to meet the new COVID-19 regulations as set out in the Stage 3 reopening plan.

Some of the regulations include everyone entering a facility must wear a mask until a helmet is put on. Participants are to come to the facilities dressed in equipment, with an exception of helmet and skates, which can be put on at arrival. Dressing rooms will be available to put skates on only. Showers will not be usable. No outside food or drink will be allowed in the building. Bottle refill stations will be available, and participants will bring their own labeled water bottle. Vending machines will be emptied. Staff will allow entry at points, will wear masks in public areas, and will disinfect.    

  In Harrow, a tent will be set up to pre-screen entrants. People will be asked to arrive 20-minutes early to get pre-screened. Those under 18 will be allowed one spectator.

  Based on the previous opening of other Town facilities, Administration is aware that there will be additional costs for signage and cleaning products at each facility, the Report to Council notes.


 Harrow Farmer brings fill permit issue to Council

Council received a presentation from a Harrow area farmer, regarding an issue surrounding a fill permit on his property.

  According to the property owner, a fill permit was obtained in 2015 to raise his farmland to road grade, because parts of the farm were lower than the bottom of the road ditch.

  Darrel Dufour, the property owner, was issued the permit under a previous bylaw, Bylaw 843. Under this bylaw, an individual could be issued a permit if the Town was satisfied with the stormwater control measures, pending the retaining wall was adequate to prevent the runoff of storm water to adjacent land.

  The permit has since been pulled in part, due to issues surrounding current stormwater runoff onto a neighbour’s property, after some work pertaining to the original permit had already begun.

  “We need to do something here to make sure that [Dufour] gets something,” Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said. “He’s got half his farm done, let’s give him the opportunity to finish the other part of the farm.

  Council voted to send the issue back to administration, with recommendations to be brought back at the next Council meeting on September 8.


Kona Ice given exemption to bylaw that restricts operation in certain areas

Eric Naylor, of Kona Ice Windsor Essex asked Council for an exemption from Bylaw #629 that restrict the business from operating on submitted locations on Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional properties.

  Kona Ice is a frozen treat business that operates a food truck. Naylor noted the company obtained the Town of Essex’s Transient Vendor Permit in the spring of 2018. His first truck soon after arrived. Naylor noted to Council he was told in the office that the only place they could operate was on a commercial property. With that being ineffective, the truck was taken to Lakeshore and began fundraising for Belle River Soccer.

  He said his roots go back to the early 1880s, when his Irish ancestors settled on Naylor Side Road, and later established a sawmill. He worked at Naylor Lumber and became the first Chairperson of the Essex Centre BIA.

  Because of his history with Essex business ventures and family background, it didn’t seem right that he was not selling and fundraising locally, he said, adding Essex administration and Council have been sympathetic about the situation, but the restrictions still exist.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche asked if the fundraising adventure would be at a request of another party, or if they just show up. Naylor said they are invited by schools and organizations to sell.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman asked where it was the business wants to go in Essex. Naylor said they would like to get out to sports fields – depending on the organization – and parks and neighbourhoods. The driving around of neighbourhoods, he said, is a small part of its organization.

  Councillor Joe Garon said this delegate is asking pretty much what it similar to what was recently approved for the Essex Ravens. He added he is not opposed to allowing this venture to happen on sports fields, on invite from the organizations. Even on invite, he would like to ensure the Town is involved to ensure requirements are met.

  Councillor Morley Bowman said at one time, there were trucks coming into Town and it was hard to know who had a license and who did not, so they basically all became banned. He said he thinks the bylaw needs to be looked at to see how this can be handled on an on-going basis to have tight control on who is coming into Town.

  Lori Chadwick, Director of Development, said this is a great opportunity to be consistent with bylaws. Unfortunately, the Transient Vendor Bylaw and Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw are not in sync and it is something that needs to be cleaned up.   

  Councillor Sherry Bondy believes over the winter, administration should work on a registry and permit process.  

  Council received and supported Naylor’s presentation and request that Kona Ice get an exemption for its food truck to operate as a transient vendor in Essex on properties other than commercial, industrial, or institutional.


July 2020 Development Overview

Council received the July 2020 Development Overview, which reported the total monthly construction value in the Town of Essex was $14,325,000. This figure included all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments that required a building permit. This is up 260 percent from July 2019.

  The average home sale price in July 2020 for Wards 1 and 2 was $429,239, which was up from $323,486 in July 2019. The average home sale price in July 2020 for Wards 3 and 4 was $393,792, which was up from $316,566 from July 2019.

  Total single-family dwellings sold in July 2020 was 46; 25 were from Wards 1 and 2 and 21 were from Wards 3 and 4. This is up from 38 in July of 2019. Total homes sold in 2020 within the Municipality of Essex to date is 209.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman said, from January to July 2019, there was $25m in construction costs. In the same period this year, it was $54M. “There is a lot happening in the Town of Essex, and it is really good news with COVID and all the doom and gloom we hear. It is a tremendous sign how the Town is responding.”


Site Plan Control approved for microbrewery at 178 County Road 50 East

Council executed and registered Bylaw 1941, being a Bylaw to enter into a Site Plan Control Agreement between the Corporation of the Town of Essex and Magnolia Ranch INC for the establishment of a microbrewery at 178 County Road 50 East, be executed and registered.

  The Report to Council notes the microbrewery would be established in the existing two 120.03 square metre pole barn structures at the property.

  The subject property is on around a 10-acre lot. It is designated “Agricultural” under the Town of Essex Official Plan and is zoned Agricultural District 1.1 (A1.1) for general agriculture and farm production support activities under Town of Essex Zoning Bylaw 1037, the Report to Council notes.

  The brewery would operate in combination with an agricultural operation. There is also the Magnolia Bed and Breakfast onsite.

  The proposed brewery will be used for the production of beers and the storage of raw materials and equipment only. It will be used to service onsite events and will not be open to the public for retail sales.

  Lori Chadwick, Director of Development, said this is an exciting first phase. She added when the applicant is ready for second phase, it will be subject to site plan control at that time.

  Council received the report and approved the bylaw.  

  Chris Vander Doelen said he thinks the development will be terrific for the Town.


 Town approves construction of TELUS communications tower

Council approved a motion that will allow for the construction of a TELUS communications tower on the Harrow sewage lagoon site.

  At present, TELUS maintains a tower on the Atlas Tube property in Harrow, but with the planned expansion of the Atlas Tube property, TELUS must relocate the tower to maintain service in the Harrow area.

  The Harrow sewage lagoon site is of a size that provides the greatest separation of the tower from adjacent residential properties.

  Various sites were considered within the complex to avoid impacts on current or future municipal recreational and water treatment services or the existing solar farm, and one site was mutually agreed upon.

  It will be placed at the end of a gated driveway off of the main driveway of the complex, well removed from the soccer fields and west of the solar farm to reduce any impact on the farm.

The tower will be 50 meters in height and of a trellis design without supporting guy wires, essentially a carbon copy of the current tower.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen asked Administration if space on the tower could be reserved for a local broadband provider, with CAO Chris Nepszy suggesting that it be tabled for a meeting in September.


Council approves revisions for Harrow housing development

Council approved revisions for the Dalla Bona housing development in Harrow, which is slated for construction on the east side of Queen Street, just north of Colio Drive.

  These revisions include a larger stormwater management pond, to relocate the pond and proposed park to a section on the soon -to-be-constructed Graf Street in the subdivision, as well as a realigning of the subdivision’s roads to accommodate these changes.

This development will construct 29 residential units, 24 of which will be detached properties, with construction on the project scheduled to begin this fall.


Council approves preparation of Development Standards Manual

Council approved the creation of a Development Standards Manual, a business and technical process manual that the Town will use to provide clarity for developers, contractors, engineers, and designers when submitting development plans and construction documents to the Town of Essex.

  The current Development Standards Manual the Town uses was created in 2003, and with the creation of a new manual, it will ensure the most up-to-date relevant municipal, provincial, and federal statutes, regulations, policies, and guidelines.

  “This one has been a long-time coming, and we’re very excited to finally get here,” Essex Director of Development Service, Lori Chadwick, said. “It lays out specifications intended to provide clarity for developers, contractors, engineers, and really to help when submitting development plans and construction documents to the Town of Essex to keep things smooth, consistent, and to keep things inline with the latest legislation.”

  Council awarded the consulting services contract for the Development Standards Manual to Dillon Consulting Limited, in the amount of $79,576.32, including non-refundable HST.


Council seeks to remove municipal hunting licence

Council voted in favour to rescind a municipal hunting licence, that is required to be purchased from the Town in order to hunt ring-necked pheasants, cottontails, and various hares during open season within the municipality.

  Mayor Larry Snively put forward the Notice of Motion at a previous Council meeting, who noted the Town of Essex was the only municipality in the region to have such a requirement within its limits.

  Throughout most of Ontario, the hunting of such animals is permitted by the issuing of a provincial small game licence, not through additional licencing through the various municipalities.

  In Essex, the licence for Town residents costs $5, with the Town taking in just over $900 per year through their issue.

“To me, it’s more of a headache than it is a revenue,” Mayor Snively said. “If you look at the work you’re taking [Town employees] away from to write a lousy rabbit licence. To me, I think it’s useless.”

Agreeing with the Mayor’s proposal, Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said anytime Council has the opportunity to remove a bureaucratic step or process to simplify things, it should be done.

  “Anytime we have that opportunity and it doesn’t hurt anybody, or change anything, we should take that opportunity,” Vander Doelen said. “We can’t just add this stuff forever. We should take stuff away sometimes. This is something really small and inconsequential, why not do away with it?”


Kimball Estates Development in phase 5

Essex Council approved the reduction and securities for the end of the maintenance period for Phase 5 of the Kimball Estates Development be reduced to $8,483.48, and that maintenance securities in the amount of $259,828.25 for the completion of civil construction work and street lighting, be returned to the developer, Kimball Estates INC.

The Report from Council notes David McBeth, project manager for the Kimball Estates Development in Ward 1, requested a release of securities for the end of the maintenance period for the civil construction works and street lighting.

Phase 5, it added, is the final phase of the Kimball Estates Development.

“Maintenance securities are held as assurances that the owner will assume responsibility for all materials, equipment, and work until all construction and installation has been completed, in accordance with the executed Subdivision Agreement. Maintenance securities are only released after the one-year maintenance period has expired and all deficiencies have been rectified,” the Report to Council notes.

The Town will hold $8,483.48 in securities for surface course asphalt, which was initiated on June 26, 2020, for a period of one year.


COVID-19 Update

CAO Chris Nepszy said water testing continues to happen at Colchester Beach. He said the Town has conducted its second dry run with CFTV in terms of filming Council sessions. He hopes to come back to Council in September with some options on how Council meetings will be held in the future.

  In terms of public health, Councillor Sherry Bondy has concerns that the Windsor-Essex Health Unit does not breakdown ages for youth with positive cases. It just has a category for 19 and under. Bondy would like to see a further breakdown in ages for youth, with kids going back to school, noting that 19-year-olds are old enough to go to a bar. She said there are anxieties with parents wondering if cases will be in daycares, elementary school, or high schools.


NoM: Report tracker gets turned down

At the previous Council meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy put forward a Notice of Motion that would have Administration implement a Council Report Tracker, similar to the reporting spreadsheet used by the Town of Lakeshore.

  She said it does not have to be complicated, it can be an Excel sheet. It doesn’t mean reports have to be done right away, but it is something to show residents that issues are on the paper.

  She thinks, for a tool, when Council asks for a report, it is up to Council to decide what is a priority, or recognize issues that will take more time.

  She said Council is doing a poor job directing administration on what priority reports are.  

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman believes the CAO is responsible to determine priorities.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche likes the idea of a report tracker. He said it is easy to lose track of reports, for a variety of reasons, and it is nice to have a report tracker to note when to expect reports will be ready or to list outstanding projects. It would give Council members a chance to look up information about the status of a report, without having to bug administration about those details.   

  Councillor Joe Garon would like a list of upcoming reports to note what is active.

  CAO Chris Nepszy said Council resolutions guide Administration, as does the Strategic Plan. Council resolutions can be identified after every meaning, and would be beneficial for everyone. He wondered if that would be something Council would be comfortable to start with. He agreed with some comments that politics of prioritizing could come into play.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said this could become a real weaponize bit of bureaucracy to harass or demoralize administration. He thinks it is unnecessary and is substituting paper shuffling for actual work.

  Bondy thinks this can be done easily and is the best transparent way to let residents know where items are.

  In a recorded vote, the motion was defeated, with Councillors Bondy, Garon, Verbeek, and Deputy Mayor Meloche in support. Councillors Bowman, Bjorkman, Vander Doelen, and Mayor Snively were opposed.


Notices of Motion to be presented at the September 8 meeting

• Councillor Sherry Bondy will ask Council to direct Administration to send out Notices of Drain Maintenance Works in December and January, if possible before planting season, to minimize the impact to the farming community during planting and harvesting season.

• Councillor Bondy will ask that the Town of Essex Council to discuss and direct Administration to review the agenda and procedural bylaw for the regular Council meetings.

• Councillor Kim Verbeek will ask Council to have a discussion on the feasibility on implementing stop-arm cameras.

 

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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