Essex Council Notes for November 20

Filed under: Headline,IN THE NEWS |

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault

Youth rep welcome

Council welcomed 15-year old Ethan Robinson, a grade 10 student from Kingsville District High School and a resident of Harrow, as the second Youth Council Rep.

Town Clerk Robert Auger welcomed Robinson to the position. He noted politics runs in Robinson’s blood as his great-granddad was a former Mayor of Harrow and District Chief for the Harrow and Colchester South Fire Department.

“No doubt in my mind Ethan will be a good addition to this Council,” Auger said.

Robinson said he wanted to get involved to experience something new. He is excited to join Ehva Hoffmann, the other Youth Council Rep.

This is a volunteer, non-voting position that gives Council an opportunity to solicit a youth-orientated perspective on issues.


Youth recognized for animal protection

Essex Council recognized 14-year old Colchester resident Valerie Alexander for her animal protection endeavours. In August of 2016, she approached Council, asking members to consider a ban on performance animals in circuses within the municipality. Four months later, Council approved a bylaw to do so.

Recently, the City of Windsor banned the use of performance animals in circuses.

Essex Clerk Robert Auger introduced Alexander as a “Champion for animals who do not have their own voice.” At 14-years old, she is a shining example of dedication and a role model, it was added.

“I can’t express how happy I am this is all happening,” Alexander said, adding she is happy steps have been taken to become cruel-free. She added she has plans to come back to Council in the near future to talk about improving the Town’s tethering bylaws, which currently limits the tethering of animals to 10 consecutive hours.

Councillor Sherry Bondy said she looks forward to working with Alexander.


Committee vacancies

When former Colchester Councillor Bill Caixeiro resigned in July, vacancies on Committees of Council were created.

In July, Councillor Larry Snively was appointed to the Essex Police Services Board. In September,  Councillor Steve Bjorkman was appointed to the Arts, Culture, and Tourism (ACT) Committee.
Councillor Sherry Bondy put a motion forward that newly elected Councillor Ron Rogers, who replaced Caixeiro resigned, be appointed to the Finance, Communities in Bloom, and Personnel Committees.

She also suggested that the alternate on the ELK Energy Board be scrapped and discussed during the next term of Council as it has not been needed to date.

Councillor Rogers accepted the appointments. Council moved the motion.


Invite to ELK extended

Councillor Sherry Bondy began discussions to invite representatives of ELK to the first meeting in December to address the power outages experienced locally lately.

She said there have been many complaints regarding power outages. She said it would be better to hear from ELK as to the reasoning of the issue.

Council approve sending a letter to ELK to ask for a rep to attend the next regular Council meeting.


Clean Water and Wastewater Fund

Councillor received correspondence from the Ministry of Infrastructure regarding the Town’s application for the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. There was approval for funding for this, and projects may begin immediately.

The federal and provincial governments will each provide up to a maximum of 50% and 25% respectively toward the total eligible costs of the Project.

These projects include upgrades to the Colchester South Lagoons and Pump Station, upgrades to the Harrow-Colchester South Water treatment plant, and the replacement of the Grit Blower at the Pollution Control Plant.

Councillor Steve Bjorkman said this is upwards of $1million being allotted to the Town.

Council received and supported the correspondence.

Council later in the meeting gave three readings and passed a bylaw to authorize the execution of the agreement.


Lakeshore Dog Pound update

Councillor Sherry Bondy, on behalf of the Dog Pound Committee, reported that Amherstburg maybe interested in joining the Lakeshore Dog Pound. A capital commitment from the Town of Amherstburg and a possible name change of the pound are topics of discussion.

She wants Council to discuss, within the next six months, the level of service desired there.

Essex is putting the most dogs in the pound. There were 48 this past year, she said. “We need to do a better job of keeping our dogs on our property,” she said.

Mayor Ron McDermott said perhaps there wouldn’t be so many Essex dogs in the Lakeshore Dog Pound if Essex didn’t have the tethering bylaw, which limits dogs being tethered to 10 consecutive hours.

Council further received the correspondence from the Essex, Lakeshore, LaSalle, and Tecumseh Dog Pound Committee.


Discussion on speed limit results in tiff, recess

Councillor Randy Voakes brought a Notice of Motion forward at the November 6 meeting that the speed limit be reduced to 60km/h on Gosfield Townline West, between Highway #3 and Talbot Street. This was discussed on Monday evening.

Voakes explained that the area has been somewhat ignored in terms of speed and there is no reason that the speed reduction should not happen.

Mayor Ron McDermott called the motion, and it carried.

Councillor Sherry Bondy then asked what exactly was passed. She said there is likely more to changing the bylaw as it is a County Road as well.

The Mayor moved on to give the floor to Councillor Stee Bjorkman. Voakes called a Point of Order, which McDermott did not accept, without asking for a reason.

Voakes continued to ask what the record would show in terms of the motion passed.

“Just stop, please,” McDermott demanded.

“No, I need to know,” Voakes answered.

“You don’t need to know anything right now, you will know when it is your turn, sir,” McDermott said.

He warned he would call for a recess or ask Voakes to leave if he continued. He then called a five-minute recess.

Voakes later said he wanted clarity on what had passed.

Upon return from the recess, Councillor Steve Bjorkman said a motion was made and passed, but there are no teeth behind it because it is a County Road. He added there will be a change once Hanlan Street is extended out to the Arner, which he suspects will change the traffic pattern.

Councillor Larry Snively then suggested the previous motion be rescinded and that a motion be put forward to have the County look at it. The motion to rescind carried.

Councillor Bjorkman said the time to make changes to the road is when the plans for Highway #3 are completed. Mayor McDermott agreed. He said he has talked to many residents who want to keep the speed limit the same.

Voakes said that could be five years. He claimed there were problems with speeding there.

Deputy Mayor Meloche said he would be willing to move the issue forward to the County.

Councillor Bondy wanted OPP report on traffic accidents to see if there was an issue before sending the issue to the County.

Voakes put a motion forward that concerns of the speed of this stretch of road be made to the County, and the town would appreciate a reduction in speed to 60km/h.

Bjorkman said he does not think that is the right course of action. He said the road plan for the Highway #3 should be completed first.

In a recorded vote, Councillors Bjorkman, Bondy, and Snively and Mayor McDermott were opposed. Councillors Voakes and Rogers, and Deputy Mayor Meloche were in favour. The motion was defeated.

Councillor Bondy then put a motion forward that would have administration get traffic accident incident numbers on that road up until the meeting. This carried. She said the issue can be taken from there, depending on the results.

Voakes had asked to table the motion based on liability possibilities. He asked if there was a vehicle accident if the Town would be legally responsible as it has been discussed.


Bondy provides update from OACA Conference

Councillor Sherry Bondy presented an update from a conference she attended in Cobourg this past October as a member of the Ontario Associate of Committees of Adjustments and Consent Authorities.

Bondy explained that as a new member of the Committee of Adjustment, the conference was helpful in demonstrating the processes involved and how other municipalities organize their own committees, noting that other towns organize their committees either from their respective councils or the community.

“The Committee of Adjustment can sometimes be very political and contentious,” Bondy explained, adding that Council should discuss whether the committee is made up of public representatives or councillors going forward.

Bondy added that she feels it’s important to have diverse members on a Committee of Adjustment, and that it should feature a variety of urban and rural members and viewpoints.

“My big takeaway was that for the next term of Council, (we should decide) is it best practice to have members on the committee or pass it on to laypeople.”


2018 Contract for Policing Services-OPP report

The Finance and Business Services Report 2017-10, prepared and submitted by Director of Finance and Business Services Jeffrey Morrison entitled, “2018 Contract for Policing Services – Ontario Provincial Police” was received by Council.

This entailed a further breakdown of the police budget as was presented and adopted in principle in the 2018 budget.

Morrison explained the policing budget was decreased by $3,000 based on adjustments from 2017.


Procedural update on non-medical cannabis retail facility in Ward 4

CAO Donna Hunter presented a verbal report on the procedure to acquire a recreational cannabis retail facility for Ward 4.

Hunter explained she had reached out to the provincial government regarding the proposal, but at this time the government is not accepting applications.

“I don’t think it would hurt to put a letter in for consideration,” Hunter said of potential next steps in the process.

Councillor Ron Rogers said the letter would state the Town as a whole is looking for a licence, but believes Harrow Centre could benefit with a dispensary as it would be a way of bringing traffic through that area.
Councillor Sherry Bondy said the Town needs to make sure there is money for policing or other unintended consequences that could result from the opening of such an outlet.

“I want to have our eyes open on how we can tap into that tax revenue,” Bondy said.

Councillor Rogers had put forth a Notice of Motion at the previous Council meeting that administration prepare a report outlining the steps needed to be taken to get the Harrow Urban Centre in the forefront of getting a recreational cannabis dispensary.

Rogers withdrew the notice of motion as he felt it was sufficiently covered in the CAO’s verbal report from earlier in the meeting.


NoM: Grader issues on Given Road (Snake Lane)

Councillor Sherry Bondy had put forth a motion that administration be asked to prepare a report on grader issues on Given Road, but explained that perhaps a less formal conversation about the condition of the road would be more appropriate.

“I don’t feel that we need a report, this warrants a public conversation about the road. Some comments on social media about the grading issues, this issue has reared its head a few times, maybe other Council members have some insight. I notice the northern part of the road is sloped,” Bondy commented.

Director of Infrastructure and Development Chris Nepszy explained the biggest issue facing the road is drainage concerns.

“What we’re looking at doing is getting drainage fixed to move forward,” Nepszy explained. “That fact that there’s no drainage means it doesn’t drain properly. It has relatively high traffic for a gravel road and ninety-degree corners complicate matters.”

Councillor Larry Snively expressed his sympathies for people who live and drive on the road, and raised concerns about how the road was graded.

Nepszy explained that the grader is on a scheduled rotation, and said he would discuss with the Manager of Operations what could be done about the issue.

Bondy agreed that a full report wasn’t necessary, just a synopsis of the last time the road was graded and the schedule for repairs going forward.