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Town of Essex Council meeting notes - September 7, 2021

by Sylene Argent

Mayor recognized Sweet as new CAO

Mayor Larry Snively recognized Doug Sweet at his first Council meeting as CAO for the Town of Essex. He was appointed to the position when former CAO Chris Nepszy took a position at the City of Windsor.

Sweet was previously the Director of Community Services/Deputy CAO.

  Snively said he is sure Sweet will fill the position well as he is very knowledgeable.

 

Council approves upgrade of financial software

Council approved and directed Administration to enter into an agreement with CentralSquare Technologies to upgrade the existing financial software from WorkTech 6.0 to WorkTech Pearl.

  The cost was $20,708.16, which will be funded from the Unspent Information Technology amount in Contingency Reserves.

  In the Report to Council, it notes WorkTech is a management system that captures employees’ activities, such as time, attendance, scheduling, and absence management for payroll. It also

functions as a job cost-tracking tool for internal cost-control and payment submission to relevant parties.

  It added the Town of Essex has used this software for more than 17-years. The existing Version, WorkTech 6.0, is being phased out.

Additional funds approved to replace

cedar shingles on Train Station shed

Council approved the additional budgeted expenditure of $1,547.84 to replace cedar shingles on the Train Station shed. The funds will come from the Asset Management Reserve.

  In the Report to Council, it notes during the 2021 budget deliberations, Council approved $7000 in the Capital Budget to replace the roof on the shed to match the roof of the Essex Train Station.

  The lowest price of the three bids submitted to the RFT for the project was from Kingsville Roofing for $8,547.84.

 

RFT for Victor and Viscount Infrastructure awarded

Council awarded the Request for Tender for the Victor Avenue and Viscount Parkway Infrastructure Improvements to J & J Lepera Infrastructures Inc. in the amount of $1,495,973.76.

  The Report to Council noted of the four tenders submitted for the project, J & J Lepera Infrastructure Inc. submitted the lowest bid.

  Council also approved additional funding:

• $130,167.09 above the approved 2021 Capital Budget of $445,000 for the Victor Street reconstruction (from Victoria to Laird) project, with the funds coming from the Canada Community-Building Fund (formerly the Gas tax) grant monies that are in reserve.

• $20,793.99 above the approved 2021 Capital Budget of $200,000 for the Viscount Road Rehabilitation project, with the funds coming from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) grant monies.

• $64,765.03 above the approved 2021 Capital Budget of $275,000 for the Victor Street reconstruction storm project (from Victoria to Lard), with 67 percent of the funds coming from the Storm Sewer/Urban Levy Reserve and 33 percent from the Asset Management Reserve.

• $111,742.05 above the approved 2021 Capital Budget of $165,000 for the Victor Street Watermain project, with the funds coming from the Water Reserve.

• $5,091.68 above the approved 2021 Capital Budget of $160,000 for the Viscount Watermain Replacement project, with the funds coming from the Water Reserve.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman was happy there were reserves to pull from. He said it has been Council’s job for the past couple of terms to build reserves, and thanked administration for ensuring the funds had been set aside for when they were needed to support projects like this one.


Code Black update

Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche spoke of Code Blacks, when there is no ambulance service available in a particular area as they are all being used. A lot has to do with service-levels at hospitals, he said.

  In addition, he said many of these instances are due to COVID. He said as a lot of doctor appointments have been cancelled over the last year-and-a-half, and many seniors have missed appointments and are in a more tender position health-wise.

  Meloche said there are many more calls on ambulances because of this. And when residents get to hospitals, they are lined up because there are issues with nursing staffing at all three regional hospitals.

  “This is not an easy thing to combat, but Bruce Krauter, our Chief EMS Operator, is working with the hospitals, he is working with the province to try and combat this. He is working with the Health Unit and other caregivers in the area, so that we can try and get this under control.”

Meloche added this “is a [phenomenon] that’s happening across the province, not just in Essex County.”

  EWEMS, he added, is doing what it can to stretch its resources, so there are a minimal amount of Code Blacks. “Let’s stay positive. They are not happening that often. When they happen, people do panic…they are very short-lived, usually.”

  He urged everyone to get vaccinated. “That’s the biggest threat to the way we live right now.”

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said it would be nice to see the data on when Code Red and Code Black situations.

  “The public really isn’t panicking, it’s the EMS workers that are panicking. I have a problem with that. I understand this situation is not alone to Essex County, but we better fix it here in Essex County,” Bondy said, adding not to blame the situation on COVID. She said staff resources will fix it.

  Mayor Larry Snively said senior-levels of government look at the situation to repair it at the hospital-level. Adding ambulances will not work. He did not want to panic the public on the matter.

 

Council requested to submit nominations for Ontario Heritage Awards

Council received correspondence, asking Council to nominate individuals and projects for this year’s Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Awards.

  The Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Awards recognize individual, group, and project-based achievements in four categories for Youth Achievement, Community Leadership, Lifetime Achievement, and Excellence in Conservation.

  Deadline for submissions is at end of the month.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche suggested Council reach out to HEIRS and ECHRS to see if their reps would have any suggestions.

Lori Chadwick, Director of Development Services, recommended circulating the information to members of the Essex Municipal Heritage Committee members can come back with a recommendation or list of potentials at the next Council meeting, which will be Tuesday, September 21.


 September 20 Council meeting moved to September 21

Council voted to move the September 20 Essex Council meeting to September 21. This was to host the meeting on a separate day from the Federal Election, which will take place on Monday, September 20.

 

Council supports Lions Club request for upcoming White Cane Day

Council supported the Essex & District Lions Club request for permission to host its White Cane Day on Saturday, September 25.

Members will be at various stores to collect donations to support local individuals who are visually impaired, as well as new or used glasses and hearing aids.

 

Council to recognize September 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Council received and supported correspondence from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to recognize September 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

  The correspondence noted the Federal Government announced September 30, 2021 will be the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and a Statutory Holiday.

  Everyone is urged to wear orange that day in support.

 

NoM: Need for sidewalks in Gesto for children safety

At the August 23 meeting, Councillor Kim Verbeek put forward a Notice of Motion to ask Council to have a discussion regarding the installation of sidewalks in Gesto as there is a safety concern for school-aged children. It was discussed at the September 7 meeting.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said this is a budget item, and such requests are discussed before the start of the calendar year. He would have liked to see this project in last year or the year before, but noted this would have to go to the budget for 2022.

  He asked that the Town’s representative on the CWATS committee look to see if there is an opportunity to collaborate, if the Town provides some of the funding for the County to pick up road-side walkways for the area. He would like to see that investigated before it is brought to budget.

  Lori Chadwick, Director of Development Services, said the Town reps on the CWATS committee are looking at potential projects.

  Verbeek said the community has been asking for the sidewalk from Gesto Sideroad to the school for the school children, who walk to and from school. She said the stretch goes from 80km/h to 50km/h in the school zone. She said some cars don’t slow down.

  She said this is more of a need than a want and would hate to see this not go through. She will bring the conversation forward at budget time and will try to bring in CWATS to the discussion as well to look for possible partnerships.

  Council moved to bring the issue to the 2020 budget.

 

NOM: Council supports health units should be

under Ombudsman of Ontario’s mandate

At the August 23 meeting, Councillor Steve Bjorkman made a Notice of Motion, for discussion last Tuesday evening, that Council request the Government of Ontario add public health units to the Ombudsman of Ontario’s mandate.

  Bjorkman said that in the Ombudsman’s report, published around a month ago, it was noted health units do not fall under this mandate and operate with no oversight. He said this means there is no complaint mechanism.

  “As we saw through COVID, all the things we dealt with – the data we were looking for, the instructions that...some people accepted and some people didn’t accept, some felt they were targeted, there was no way for them to go above the Health Unit. You can only go to the Health Unit. There is no oversight,” Bjorkman said of Ombudsman Paul Dubé’s recommendation to the government, which was to place Health Units under his watchdog arm. AMO is also putting that forward, he added.

Bjorkman wanted to send a letter to the Premier, the Minister of Health, the Ombudsman, and AMO noting Council’s recommendation.

  Council passed the motion.

 

By-Law to prohibit and regulate noise in the Town of Essex passed

Council gave third reading and passed By-Law 2038, to prohibit and regulate noise in the Town of Essex.

  The By-Law was provisionally adopted at the August 23 meeting.

  The Town’s Noise By-Law was adopted 16-years ago. Earlier this year, Council directed administration to look at the use of bird bangers, propane-fired cannons that emit sounds to scare away birds, in agricultural zones.  

  Administration conducted a review of the Noise By-Law and identified some areas of concern.