Essex Council Notes for Tuesday, August 8

Filed under: Headline,IN THE NEWS |

by Fred Groves
Community Improvement Revitalization Grant

Essex Economic Development Officer Nelson Silveira made a presentation to Council, highlighting the success of the Community Improvement Revitalization grant program.

He told Council there are several benefits for businesses to take advantage of the program, including increasing property value, appeal to new customers, and it supports the local economy.

“For a new business, it could be a make-or-break decision,” Silveira said.

The program provides businesses with up to half of the cost of renovations to their buildings. He noted that when the buildings are renovated, it also gives a community a better overall appearance.

“People don’t want to shop in an area that doesn’t look appealing,” he told council.

As part of his report, he announced that already in 2017, Essex Centre businesses have tapped into the grants for $173,350, which is up $102,000 from the previous year. In Harrow, it is $71,550 for the year so far, up by $50,000. Of those totals, the Town pays a portion through a grant and the owners also pay part.

“It’s sprucing up the downtown. How do we let businesses know it’s out there?” Councillor Randy Voakes asked.

Councillor Sherry Bondy said she would like to see a complete list of grants given out and have a report presented to Council on a more regular basis.

 

Billboards

Council continues to look at the number of large billboards that they want up each year.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Essex Policy Planner Jeff Watson said all billboards must be approved by Council and they can be no larger than 8 x 16 feet.

Councillor Larry Snively said he has had numerous complaints from residents about billboards.

“My position is that we are observing more and more billboards being erected in the county,” Watson said.

Councillor Steve Bjorkman said he doesn’t want any billboards on County Road 50 and no signs within one kilometer of each other. He added that they are good for business. Bjorkman said he doesn’t want to see a limit placed on the number of billboards the Town allows.

“If we get too many, we can put a moratorium on it,” Councillor Sherry Bondy said.

 

Library strike update

Deputy  Mayor Richard Meloche reported to Council that the County saved over $790,000 as a result of the library strike and that that money was going to be held in reserve.

Essex and two other municipalities in the County had requested that money be returned to the town.

“The request from the Town of Essex was not successful,” Meloche said.

The County wants to spend the money on the libraries for future upgrades, equipment, etc.

Councillor Sherry Bondy said the Essex libraries are in good shape, but if they do need any capital upgrades, now is the good time to inform the County.

“We want to get our fair share of that money,” she said.

 

Colchester Celebrations

Councillor Larry Snively said the Colchester 225 Celebration on July 29 was a big hit and suggested that perhaps a celebration of some sort can be held every year in July in Colchester. He thanked Director of Community Services Doug Sweet and everyone involved for their excellent work on the event.

 

Surveys

Councillor Sherry Bondy said that when the Town does surveys and receives public input that perhaps a question could be based on demographics, so the Town has an idea where people live, age, etc.

 

Use of phones during meetings

Mayor Ron McDermott introduced a Notice of Motion to discuss the use of iPhone and iPads during Council meetings. This issue will be dealt with in more detail at the next Council meeting.