Continued Essex Council Notes for May 15

Filed under: Headline,IN THE NEWS |

by Sylene Argent

SERT update

Essex Council received Community Service’s report, “Special Events Resource Team (SERT) May Update.”

The report to Council notes the SERT Team consists of Town staff and outside agencies who review Special Event requests on Town of Essex property. Group members assist committees in the initial planning stages of events.  It was established in 2014.

The events listed include the Essex Fun Fest, Harrow Fair, The Lion’s Club annual Dog Walk, Explore the Shore, and outdoor movie nights.


Site plan control agreement

Essex Council received the Planning Department’s report, “Site Plan Control Agreement for 2564014 Ontario Incorporated, North End of South Talbot Road.” Further, Council moved the recommendations in the report and approved the Site Plan Control Agreement for the lands comprising of Parts 20, 24, 37, and 38 situated on South Talbot Road in Essex Centre. The corresponding bylaw was also passed.

The report to Council states the site is designated Highway Commercial Corridor Area (HCCA4 – Large Tract Highway Commercial Uses). The lands are currently zoned C3.4, a restrictive highway commercial zoning district under Zoning Bylaw 1037, originally permitting the sale of motor vehicles, boats, farm equipment, and travel trailers.

Last year, the proponents requested the zoning of the lands be expanded by adding a supplementary regulation to the Zoning Bylaw to permit repair, sale, lease and rental of construction machinery; a contractor’s office; heavy and light repair shop; machinery, tool and equipment rental; storage facility; warehouse and welding shop.

The company, the report continues, is now in a position to develop the property as their principal machinery moving facility to service the County and region. A site plan has been developed, in negotiation with Administration, in ongoing consultation with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. The MTO, which has jurisdiction over lands adjacent to Highway 3, will undertake the re-construction of South Talbot Road where it turns from east west to north south, when South Talbot becomes a future arterial road, as part of the Highway 3 re-construction project, the report notes.


Request for Tender for four trucks

Essex Council receive Infrastructure and Development’s report, “Results of Request for Tender – Supply of Four Trucks 2017.” It also awarded the Request for Tender Supply of four trucks 2017 to Oxford Dodge Chrysler Limited in the amount of $156,474.30, including applicable taxes.

The report notes Essex is updating and enhancing its vehicle fleet. As a result, the Town has to purchase four trucks for the departments of Municipal Drainage, Fire & Rescue Services, Environmental Services, and Community Services.

All four trucks fall within the 2017 approved capital budget. The remaining funds are required to outfit the trucks with all necessary accessories, the report notes.


Correspondents from Integrity Commissioner

While receiving correspondents sent to Council, one item was from Integrity Commissioner Robert J. Swayze regarding the annual report of the Integrity Commissioner.

In the report, it was recommended the Annual Report of the Integrity Commissioner dated May 29, 2017 be received for information.

The report notes Swayze was appointed Integrity Commissioner for Essex in November of 2015. His duties include broad advisory and educational assistance to Council as well as conducting inquiries as to whether there was compliance with the Council Code of Conduct.

The letter notes Swayze has received eight complaints since his appointment, and reported to Council on six of them on August 22, 2016. The report continues that one sanction was recommended and imposed on Councillor Randy Voakes for disruptive behaviour. He was warned that any future such conduct would be treated by the Integrity Commissioner as a second offence with additional sanctions recommended.

Both of the other two complaints received in the summer of 2016 were against Councillor Voakes, Swayze continued in his report. One suggested a conflict of interest and the other for disruptive behaviour at a Council meeting.

“I dismissed the first one because I do not have jurisdiction under the Code to rule on conflicts of interest under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. For this reason, I invited the complainant to take the matter to court. I also dismissed the second one because the alleged disruptive behaviour was during a Council meeting held on December 15, 2015 which had already been ruled on by me and a sanction recommended in my report dated August 22, 2016,” he wrote in his letter to Council.

Swayze continued in his report that he understands from staff there have been continuing disruptive incidents at Council meetings caused by Councillor Voakes. “I repeat my warning to him. A valid complaint to me will result in a recommendation to suspend a substantial amount of his salary as a Councillor.”

During the meeting, Councillor Voakes commented on the part of the letter that noted the Integrity Commissioner has heard from staff there has been continuing disruptive behavior.

“I want to go on record to say the money don’t mean nothing to me. I’m not here for the money,” Voakes commented. He wanted to know what the continual disruptive instances are.

Essex CAO Tracey Pillon-Abbs explained the reference in that paragraph refers back to when the Integrity Commissioner make his presentation last year. At that time, he had asked administration to forward any additional videos of Council that may have had concerns. That, she said, is what administration has been doing, drawing his attention to specific ones that may have been of interest for future reference.

Voakes said he finds that to be work place harassment. He wanted to file a complaint. “And I am filing a complain as of right now against him under Workplace Harassment,” he said. When the submission of a violation has been asked for and given, he believes administration or the Integrity Officer does not have the right to follow a single individual on their actions.

It was noted during the meeting there would be an expectation the complaint would have to be submitted in writing.
Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche called a Point of Order, noting Council does not need to know what Voakes intends to do.
Voakes disagreed with Meloche.