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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Town of Essex Council meeting notes - July 18,2022

by Sylene Argent

Up to $318k of parkland sale will be used

towards Town’s share of CCRF for sports fields

Council moved up to $318,899 of the funds received from the sale of the parkland located adjacent to Bridlewood Park in Essex Centre will be placed in the General Contingency Reserve. Specifically, it will go towards the Town’s contribution to the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) for the capital costs of Essex Centre Sport Field Phase 1 project.

  Any excess funds will be placed in the Parkland Reserve for Ward 1.

  Administration was also directed to take the necessary steps to sell the declared surplus lands by way of public sale.

  The land was declared surplus in 2018.

  Administration is currently working with a land surveyor to draft a reference plan of the proposed lots to sell a total of three lots.

  In the 2015 Parks, Recreation, and Culture Master Plan, it was identified Bridlewood Park is adequate in amenities and any new features would be added to the current Bridlewood Park footprint and not the additional parklands. The new lands are not being utilized and do add to the annual maintenance for the Parks Department, the Report to Council notes.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy asked Council if there was appetite to issue a Request for Proposal to local developers to see if there would be any interest in making any affordable housing instead.

  As the area is predominantly single-family homes, Councillor Chris Vander Doelen believed the lots should be sold as originally suggested.

Bi-Annual By-law Enforcement Report highlights 158 cases were investigated Jan-June

Council received the Bi-Annual By-law Enforcement Report Mike Diemer, By-Law/Property Standards Officer, presented. 

From January to June of this year, 158 cases were investigated. Of the cases, 134 were complaint-driven by taxpayers and members of Council, and the remaining 24 were proactive enforcement.

  To date, 120 of the cases have been closed, and 38 are still active.

  Of the 158 investigated cases, 115 fall under Property Standards By-law, Diemer said.

  In the early winter months, he added, By-law Enforcement is proactive in ensuring sidewalks and pathways are cleared of snow and ice by handing out or posting notices to properties that are in violation. Notices give residents 12-hours to remove snow/ice, or a Town Contractor will complete the work at the resident’s expense. During the reporting period, the Town did not require any action beyond the notices issued, due to voluntary compliance.

There were 151 instances for proactive snow removal.

  He recommended the Report a Problem feature of the Town of Essex website to submit issues related to by-law enforcement as it allows staff to properly track all complaints.

  Mayor Richard Meloche said this is an important report as it gives Council an idea of what is happening in the community in terms of issues relating to by-law enforcement.


Section of Morris Drive sidewalk options to be determined in the 2023 Budget

After hearing concerns from residents of the Townsview Estates subdivision at the June 20 Council Meeting, Council directed Administration to prepare a report regarding the feasibility of moving the sidewalk on Morris Drive to the opposite side of the road and that the report be brought back for consideration at the July 18, 2022 Regular Council meeting.

  David McBeth, Manager of Capital Works and Asset Management, said he visited the site several times since the last meeting and came up with three options that Council could choose from: Option 1: No Change – Sidewalk is installed per the approved drawings; Option 2: Sidewalk is moved to the south-side of Morris Drive along the Stormwater Management Pond; and Option 3: No Change – Sidewalk is installed per the approved drawings, but concerns residents brought up would be addressed.

  McBeth said addressing resident concerns could include flipping the community mailbox to the north-side. The developers, he said, agreed to pay for the mailbox pad if Canada Post would relocate the mailbox. Also, additional measures can be taken along Morris Drive in conjunction with the approved “children at play” sign to bring awareness to the pedestrian crossing for the sidewalk to the park. If requested, line painting for a crosswalk can be completed by the Operations Department and the funding provided through the 2022 Operations Budget.

  He recommended Council approve Option 3.

  Renee Brown, a resident, said none of the recommendations were what the residents of the area asked for. She said they wanted the sidewalk fronting the pond on Morris Drive to be relocated to the pond-side, with the remaining sidewalk locations left as planned.

  She wanted Council to pass her request.

  Mayor Richard Meloche was of the same opinion as Brown. He motioned that Council have the Town of Essex request Valente not install sidewalks on the section of Morris Drive, across the street from the park and storm water lands, and that options for this portion of sidewalk be determined in the 2023 Budget. The rest of the sidewalks would go ahead as planned. In addition, this would include the Town asking Valente for cash in lieu of installation of this section of sidewalk.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said he is a fan of having sidewalks on both sides of the streets. He said he would vote against the motion on a point of principle, because he does not agree with moving sidewalks away from homes.

  In a recorded vote, only Vander Doelen was opposed.


Harrow Soccer Complex to be considered future home of Fire Station 3

Essex Fire Chief Rick Arnel approached Council about possibly approving the Harrow Soccer Complex, 2215 Roseborough Road, in Harrow as the location for the future Fire Station 3.

  He said his intention was to provide a proactive report on where the project is, and provide Council with the opportunity to make a decision on the relocation.

  In November of 2019, he said, Council accepted the building condition assessment and feasibility report for the current facility. That report noted the Town needed to look at rebuilding Station 3.

  The current station does not have the adequate parking spaces for firefighters responding to calls, and the Roseborough Road location would.

  The Report to Council notes Fire Administration Staff has been investigating properties to construct the new facility and have found the Harrow Soccer Complex would be a primary location that would fit the department’s needs. This location is on a secondary street, with quick and easy access to the 3rd Concession Road, Sinasac Street, County Road 11, and County Road 20 for emergency responses. The current site is already graded, and a parking lot will be useful for the fire station.

  Arnel said this option would also be cost-efficient as it will save on the expense of purchasing land for the future station.

  He said Essex Fire will look into it to ensure it will be the right move.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said this a big decision. She said there is no doubt in her mind Fire Station 3 needs to be replaced. She asked Council to table this until the new Term of Council. This may be the best location, but she did not see pros and cons of this regarding other locations. She also wants time for public consultation.

  Essex Mayor Richard Meloche also wanted additional information.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said he would be in favour of deferring the matter, only because he believes it should not be a priority for the Town of Essex to build another new fire station at this time. He said a lot of money has been spent on the fire department over the past few years – on the new Station 2 and equipment – and there are other priorities, like a new town hall or vastly improved roads. He is not opposed to studying the metrics to determine station response times and what would be more important, firefighting or emergency services.

  Deputy Mayor Steve Bjorkman said the new facility for Station 3 is needed. He said it is a level of service the Town has to provide, and a level of support the Town needs to deliver to its firefighters in ensuring proper equipment and training. He thinks Roseborough is a great spot, but would also like to see comparable locations.

  Council received the report, and passed the motion that the Town work on public consultation and have Administration bring forward a report with other options for the location for Station 3 when the Fire Chief is prepared to approach Council on the matter again.

  In a recorded vote, Councillor Morley Bowman was opposed.


Renewal agreement with the Essex 73’s approved for sign advertising

Council adopted a by-law to provide a lease for sign advertising at the Essex Centre Sports Complex with the Essex 73’s Junior Hockey Club to operate within the Libro Rink and Shaheen Rink on a four-year term, commencing September 1, 2022.


Storage container approved for Veterans Memorial Park

Council approved $6,436.32, utilized from monies held in the Parks and Recreation Reserve, specifically designated for the Harrow Cenotaph for a storage container.

  The Harrow Legion Members and Town Administration met to discuss a solution to their ongoing storage issue as they have several items that are utilized each year at the Remembrance Day ceremony and there is no area to store them, the Report to Council notes.

  The Town’s Park Reserve Fund has a dedicated amount it holds in trust for the Harrow Legion.

  A mural or decal will be added to prevent graffiti.

 

Essex Council Notes for Monday, July 18 will be continued in the July 28 edition of the Essex Free Press. 

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