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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Town of Essex Council meeting notes - June 21, 2021

by Sylene Argent

Ron “Tout” McDermott recognized as Senior of the Year 2021

Former Mayor of Essex, Ron “Tout” McDermott, was presented with the 2021 Senior of the Year award for the area.

  The recognition was made through the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility, which annually asks municipalities to forward nominations. Candidates must be over the age of 65, who are actively engaged with their community.

  “This year, we were thrilled to present this award to Tout, who continues to show his dedication to the Town of Essex,” Essex Mayor Larry Snively said, adding after a long career in local politics, McDermott continues to be involved in the community as a volunteer at the Essex Area Food Bank and the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201), and is always there to help seniors.

  “Tout truly has the Town of Essex in his heart and we’d like to thank him for his years of service and continued dedication to our community,” Snively added.

  An emotional McDermott gave thanks for the nomination, but noted he is one of hundreds from within the municipality deserving of the recognition.

  “I’m just doing what the big guy upstairs says we are supposed to do, help other people,” McDermott commented. “I’m going to receive this on behalf of the many people who could be sitting here getting this award.”


E.L.K. presents Consolidated Financial Statements

Mark Danelon, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Stakeholders Relations, presented the 2020 Consolidated Financial Statements of E.L.K. Energy Inc.

  Council received the presentation and also supported the signing of the annual resolutions of E.L.K. Energy Inc. in appointing the Directors and KPMG as auditor.

   Danelon said E.L.K.’s auditors, KPMG, have completed the audit, “And overall, 2020 was a very positive financial year,” adding the firm issued a clean audited opinion that the Consolidated Financial Statements presented fairly, in all material respects, the position of the company. There were no misstatements identified during the audit as well, he said.  

  E.L.K. has a very strong balance sheet, Danelon said. It has assets valued at over $30M and liabilities around $11.5M. It also has a strong cash position. E.L.K. was fortunate enough to repay an additional $5000 of long-term debt this past year.

  From an income perspective, E.L.K.’s Distribution Revenue, what it keeps, is around $3.7M, which is comparable to 2019. The remaining revenue is the Flow-Through Revenue.

  After taking into account expenses, regulatory assets, and liabilities, E.L.K.’s net income was around $1.2M, as compared to the prior year of $800,000.

  “The Board of Directors, as well as Senior Management, are very proud of the results of another successful year,” Danelon said. “And, we appreciate all of the hard work of our staff, team, and leadership at E.L.K.”

  E.L.K., Danelon said, strives to provide electricity to customers in a safe and efficient manner, at a fair and reasonable cost. The local company has been active with prior work and new projects, such as providing services to developing subdivisions and businesses.


  TWEPI presents regional tourism video and plans for 2021

Gordon Orr, Chief Executive Officer at Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) shared a regional tourism video with Essex Council and its plans for 2021.

  Orr noted the tourism and hospitality sector was hit the hardest and longest through the pandemic, and will take the longest to recover.

  “I have said it a number of times, ‘we can hope for better days ahead, but we have to plan for better days ahead, so those days are more hopeful.’ That is what we have been doing at Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, planning in concert with our tourism stakeholders, so we are ready to go as the provincial framework for reopening allows,” Orr commented.

  Recent achievements include Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island recently achieving accreditation through the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program.

  He said the 2021 destination development and marketing plan continues to address initiatives to showcase its areas of focus, including food and drink, outdoor adventure, arts and culture, and entertainment.

  Lynnette Bain, Vice President of Destination Development, explained the new and enhanced product and program development initiatives TWEPI is working on to grow the capacity of the tourism industry and stakeholders. She also spoke about the new fishing and birding guides.

  Jason Toner, Director of Marketing and Communications for TWEPI, said its summer staycation campaign is hyperlocal. It will also launch the Windsor-Essex Road Trip campaign, encouraging those across Southern Ontario to plan a road trip to the region for two or more nights, when it is safe to do so.

  A regional video shown during the meeting promoted the area and local attractions.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche commended the TWEPI team for how it navigated through COVID and came up with plans in helping people plan staycations.

  “I think this is really going to be a good summer for everyone to get to know what surrounds them,” Meloche said.


 Essex Food Basket requests space at the Harrow Soccer Park

Kathy Beaudoin, Organizer of the Essex Food Basket, approached Council to request permission to move the Essex Food Basket to the change room at the Harrow Soccer Complex.

  She was hoping to move the organization’s storage to the Harrow Soccer Complex. There, she could help share food and contacts with the Harrow Food Bank, which also uses the facility.

Director of Community Services/Deputy CAO, Doug Sweet, noted the Harrow Food Bank is at that complex already, but there is one dressing room available at the site the Essex Food Basket could use.

Sweet said there have been no formal leases at the Scouts Hall yet, but if the Essex Food Basket would like to move, they could be accommodated at the Harrow Soccer Complex.

Council moved the request.


CREW’s application for Site-Specific Sign By-Law Amendment approved

Council approved an amendment to the Signs By-Law for 108 County Road 50 East, to permit the erection of a ground sign in accordance with the submitted sign dimension plan.

  Bernard Gorski, President of Colchester Ridge Estate Winery (CREW), submitted the application.

  In the Report to Council, it notes the application for the erection of a ground sign exceeds the maximum permitted sign height and sign face area. Any site specific amendments to the by-law need Council approval. The increase in height and sign face area is relatively minor, it adds.

  Additionally, the sign includes a small portion that will be internally lit to note the business is “open,” which requires approval. The entire sign will be lit by floodlights.

  Mayor Larry Snively explained the existing sign is still standing, but will be removed by crane when the new one is installed. He said he was in support of the new sign.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said he had no issue with what was presented, according to the size of the sign, as he believes it fits the size of the building.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said he is in favour of the current sign, so long as it wasn’t lit all night, so he is in favour of the proposed sign as well.


 Progress Update provided for Corporate Strategic Plan

Council received the Corporate Strategic Plan: 2021 Progress Update, which CAO Chris Nepszy prepared.

  He explained a Council-directed Corporate Strategic Plan is an essential tool which establishes overall direction and priorities, aligns organizational efforts, and supports future decision-making.

  This is the first time during this Term of Council a progress update has been provided on the action items contained in the plan.

  Council established six key values for the 2019 -2022 Corporate Strategic Plan, which builds a vision for the town. They include progressive and sustainable infrastructure, healthy community and quality of life, financial and economic stewardship, vibrant growth and development, citizen and customer experience, and organizational effectiveness and resiliency.

  Each priority has goals or action items. As of May 2021, of the 64 Strategic Objectives identified in the Strategic Plan, 58 have been completed or ongoing and six have yet to be started, it notes in the Report to Council.

  “That’s a fantastic number,” Nepszy said, referring to the completed or ongoing items.

  Staff members have put a lot of work into the goals and objectives for Council, he added.

  Councillor Joe Garon said he reminds people there is stuff happening in town and it is an exciting time to be a resident of the Town of Essex. There are things that still need to be addressed, and they will be.

  Mayor Larry Snively said there has been a lot of development recently, due to staff and Council work. He is getting calls of interest from as far as London. He said he will not tolerate those who are being negative and slamming members of Council.

  Out of his five terms on Council, Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said this is the best strategic plan he has seen by far. “It’s detailed. It is very complete. It gives us a lot of enthusiasm as a Council and highlights well, the good work being done.”


 Site Specific Zoning Amendment for 96 County Road 50 West adopted

Council adopted Bylaw 2034, being a Bylaw to Amend Bylaw Number 1037 for the property located at 96 County Road 50 West, which has been proposed for the potential Grove Motor Inn.

  The applicants requested a site specific zoning amendment to Bylaw 1037 for the subject lands to permit a two-storey motel development. The proposed development will also be subject to several site-specific building regulations, including that there be a minimum front yard depth of 15-metres, minimum rear yard depth of three-metres, a minimum exterior side yard width of eight-metres, a minimum interior side yard width of three-metres, and a maximum building height of 10-metres.

  The property’s R3.1 zoning allows for high density residential, which permits such uses as: a five to six storey apartment building, residential care facility, group home, or lodging house. Through the site specific zoning amendment proposed, the idea is to add a motel to the list of uses.

  The proposed development, a two-storey facility with 28 guest units, will also be subject to Site Plan Control approval prior to purchase and sale of the subject site and prior to any construction.

  The development will also include an accompanying parking area for motel patrons and a 58 square-metre café with outdoor patio area.


ZBA to permit and regulate Second Dwelling Units given two readings

Council gave two out of the three necessary readings required to pass Bylaw 2035, being a Bylaw to amend the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw for the Town of Essex, to Permit and Regulate Second Dwelling Units.

  Director of Development Services, Lori Chadwick, said the County of Essex is currently reviewing the Town of Essex’s application for an Official Plan Amendment, to permit secondary dwelling units within a primary building or in an ancillary building in residential and agriculture areas.

  She said the Official Plan Amendment must be approved prior to the Town amending its Zoning Bylaw (ZBA). While the County review is happening, Council can consider proposed zoning regulations.

  The draft ZBA was presented for two readings only, to get Council feedback. It is hoped to present the final ZBA in July.

  Rita Jabbour, Manager of Planning Services, said this bylaw adds a definition to the Zoning Bylaw 1037, so a secondary dwelling unit will be permitted in either the main dwelling or in a completely detached structure, but not in both on one lot, in residential and agriculture districts.

  In terms of additional regulations, hearing concerns of undersized lots, an amendment was proposed to the Zoning Bylaw to restrict secondary dwelling units in accessory structures on lots with a minimum of 40’ feet. In a lot that size, a secondary unit would be permissible in the primary structure.

  There was also concern with the location of a second dwelling unit in a detached structure. In the third reading, it will be included that a secondary dwelling unit in a detached structure will not be permitted in a required yard.     

Additionally, as secondary dwelling units may be constructed in a detached building, it is now clarified that the building, if used for a garage, cannot be used in whole or in part as a dwelling unit, unless permitted. They will also not exceed the main dwelling in size as far as gross floor area.

Secondary Units will need to be serviced from the primary dwelling.


  Essex Council Notes for June 21 will be continued in the June 30 edition of the Essex Free Press.

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