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Town of Essex Council meeting notes, November 16, 2020

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault

Admin to work with St. Vincent de Paul on creating a loading zone

Tim O’Hagan, a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Essex Chapter, asked Council to approve changes to the two parking spaces on Centre Street – at the entrance to their drop off door at the retail store – to allow for quick merchandise drop offs and for volunteers to use during store hours, Monday through Saturday, from 10am to 5pm.

  At a recent St. Vincent de Paul Essex Chapter meeting, members decided to ask Essex Council to reconfigure the store’s existing Centre Street parking signage.

  O’Hagan noted when these spaces are used by someone who shops throughout town, it creates a situation where the parking area is always full, which forces volunteers to carry heavy containers for long distances. He added when the 24’ truck comes in to make a delivery, a mess can congregate on this street in terms of traffic.

  This model, he said, would make it so much easier for everyone, including volunteers, who are bringing out boxes of food supply to deliver to those in need.

  Kevin Girard, Director of Infrastructure, said the parking spaces in question serve the area, and warned about setting a precedence.

  Several Councillors liked Councillor Morley Bowman’s ideal, which was to make the two parking spaces immediately east of the alleyway in the area a loading zone that can be used by the area businesses, and that it be used for this during hours of the day that would work for the area businesses. With this, an appropriate by-law would be put in place.

  Council ultimately voted the issue go back to administration to look at best practices to ensure the space would be used properly.


Council receives October Development Overview

Essex Council received the Development Overview for the month of October. The total construction value for last month was $5,245,880.50, which includes all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments that required a building permit. This is a 43 percent increase from what was done in October 2019.

  The average sale price for homes in October 2020 was $353,959 in Wards 1 and 2. This is slightly higher than it was in October 2019, which was $337,438. The average sale price for homes in October 2020 in Wards 3 and 4 was $506,046. This is slightly higher than it was in October of 2019 which was $448,508.

  Last month, 45 single dwelling homes were sold; of which 18 were located in Wards 1 and 2 and 27 were located in Wards 3 and 4. This was slightly lower than what was sold in 2019, which was 49.

  To date in 2020, 337 homes have been sold in Essex.

  Mayor Larry Snively said the Town is doing a great job in terms of new builds. “Let’s keep attracting builders here and get our resident population up, so we can keep the lid on taxes.”


DaSilva’s Martial Arts granted formal lease at Harrow Arena

DaSilva’s Martial Arts has been granted a formal lease with the Town of Essex for exclusive use of the upstairs space at the Harrow Arena.

  Having rented the space at the arena since September 2017, this formal agreement will begin on December 1, with the option to renew for an additional two years when the first term is up.

  The initial term of lease will cost the martial arts school $7,200 annually, or $600 monthly.


Council updated on Corporate Strategic Plan

Municipal Council was provided with an update on the state of the Town of Essex’s 2019-2022 Corporate Strategic Plan from Town CAO, Chris Nepszy. The report highlighted the Town’s progress in the Corporate Strategic Plan this year, in spite of challenges faced by the ongoing pandemic.

  Introduced in late 2019, the Corporate Strategic Plan was designed to guide the Town’s direction and priorities over the course of a three-year period, and support how future decisions would be made for the Town, based on the six key values established in the Plan.

  Those values include a 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.

  “I know this year, living through the pandemic, it really shows that we were still able to produce many things for this corporation, many successful things for this Town,” Nepszy said. He added this was the first time Council had seen a progress report on the Plan, and with the Council’s commitment, many of the initiatives put forward are trending in the right direction.

  Highlights from the 2020 progress report include infrastructure, recreational, and other Town updates, such as 950 municipal light fixtures upgraded to energy efficient LEDs, recycling 18,000 tons of aggregate from old roads and sidewalks to be used in future projects, the installation of two bicycle repair stations in Essex Centre and Colchester, 281 development permits issued through September, and more than $1 million in property tax payments processed through the Town’s new online Virtual City Hall.

  “The report on the Strategic Plan shows that we’re finally working as a team,” Councillor Vander Doelen said. “This looks like teamwork.”


Administration directed to seek zero percent tax increase

A Notice of Motion (NoM) put forward by Deputy Mayor Meloche at the regular meeting was passed.It directed Administration to offer an option that would forgo an increase in the general property tax levy in developing the 2021 municipal budget.

  Deputy Mayor Meloche put forward the NoM, noting that the past year has been of considerable financial stress for many Essex residents, and that the financial stress is likely to continue into the following year.

  The Town of Essex did not have a property tax increase in the 2020 budget, and by keeping the general tax levy from increasing in the coming fiscal year, it will provide some measure of financial relief to Town residents.

  This is not a guarantee that there will not be a property tax increase in 2021, just that Administration will keep that request in mind with developing the upcoming municipal budget.


Essex to show support to municipalities creating

greenhouse odour/light nuisance by-laws

At the November 2 Essex Council meeting, Councillor Sherry Bondy put forward a Notice of Motion, to be considered at the November 16 meeting, that Council consider having administration review a by-law prohibiting and regulating lights and odours in relation to greenhouses, similar to the one the Town of Kingsville recently passed.

  She said she wants to show unity with neighbouring municipalities on the issue to the Province.

  There are not many greenhouses in Essex, but she wanted to have administration come back to Council with a similar by-law to Kingsville’s to be proactive.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche agreed that Essex should be proactive on the issue as the greenhouse industry is expanding.

  Bondy’s motion passed, with direction that Essex’s administration should reach out to area municipalities creating greenhouse nuisance by-laws to show support.


 NoM: to be discussed at the December 7, 2020 Regular Council Meeting

• Councillor Joe Garon will ask Council to consider directing administration to come back to Council with a by-law that protects the rights of all residents with respect to surveillance cameras installed on private property. This would include the Town of Essex prohibiting homeowners from pointing security cameras at neighbouring properties or public property, and that any surveillance camera can only be used to monitor and/or record a homeowner’s land and nothing beyond its borders.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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