Town of Essex council notes for Monday, December 4

Filed under: Headline,IN THE NEWS |

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault

Staff member recognized

The Town of Essex recognized Norm Nussio, Assistant Manager of Operations/Drainage, for earning the Certified Road Supervisor (CRS) Certification, which recognized a high standard of education in public works, through the Association of Ontario Road Supervisors.

Mayor Ron McDermott, upon congratulating Nussio, noted he is one of around 1400 individuals who have earned this certification.

Nussio has been working for the Town of Essex for three years. Chris Nepszy, Director of Infrastructure and Development, said Nussio has successfully applied his life skills to his work with the municipality.


Bondy presented Ward 4 feedback form

Councillor Sherry Bondy presented the results from the Ward 4 feedback forms she recently distributed to residents in Harrow. She received 40 back.

The feedback form she submitted to Council included “the good,” “the bad,” and “the ugly.”

In her presentation, Bondy highlighted new stores, the Essex Communities in Bloom planted flowers, good maintenance of parks, and garbage/recycling/snow removal services, were just some of the accolades the town received in the feedback form.

Some of the bad feedback included the lack of development at the junior school, bad press due to council relations, condition of County Road 20, standards of certain properties, electricity outages, empty store fronts, speeders and speed limits.

Some of the ugly feedback she received included tax increases paired with MPAC assessments, people dumping kittens on other properties, and the need for more sidewalks.

Councillor Randy Voakes suggested Bondy send Council a prioritized item list of outstanding issues so if there is anything Council needs to work on, it can be. That way Bondy’s work would not go by the wayside.
Bondy concluded some of the items are being worked on. For instance, Councillor Larry Snively has contacted the OPP regarding speeding down the third concession for more monitoring.

Council received the presentation.


ELK presentation postponed

Essex Council rescinded the motion made at the November 20 meeting that would have the Town ask representatives of ELK Energy Inc. to come to Council to publicly explained why many of its service users have experienced power-outages lately.

At the ELK Board meeting on Thursday, November 30, the Board directed its CEO Mike Audet to contact Hydro One to figure out where the problem is coming from.

Audet, it was said, had a meeting with two senior officers of Hydro One from Toronto the following morning.
Mayor Ron McDermott, “To keep this out of the paper and everything, and to keep it low key, having spoke with Mr. Audet, he has a meeting with Hydro One tomorrow morning with regards to our complaints and everything.”

Councillor Randy Voakes, who sits on the ELK Board, said he wanted to clear the air. He said the meeting with Council would not have been fruitful as the ELK Board is what directs the service. The intent of the meeting was not to keep it out of the media or low key, it was to expedite the process.

After the meeting with Hydro One, Audet will report back to Council at an upcoming Council meeting.
CAO Donna Hunter said the meeting with Hydro One will be used to try and identify the problem.

Information was gathered to prepare for the meeting with Hydro One to prove the extent of the issue.
Councillor Voakes said service users will get a letter providing them with info on the situation. He said it may not be an expeditious fix.


Fire Chief recognized with Canada 150 Medal

Essex Council received correspondence from MP Tracey Ramsey that noted Essex Fire Chief Rick Arnel will be awarded with a Canada 150 Medal Award.

The awards presentation will be held on December 18th at the Atlas Tube Centre.


Questions about auto-shredder fluff

Essex Council moved to have Clerk Robert Auger look into finding a professional who could determine how much auto-shredder fluff coverage should be used at the local landfill.

Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche explained Essex Council has talked about this issue in the past. He said the Essex Windsor Solid Waste Authority uses clay or auto-shredder fluff to cover refuse at the end of each day to cover odour. There are no guidelines to how much auto-shredder fluff is needed for this process.

He said the Town is questioning the amount of fluff used. Going back 7-8 years ago, Meloche said to his understanding, somewhere between 15-20 percent of every tonne that came into the landfill was shredder fluff. Questions were then asked what percentage was needed, but found out there were no guidelines to that.

Meloche said Council at that time did not want to get an expert to find out what that percentage should be.
Essex receives financial incentive for the landfill, but does not get paid for the auto-shredder fluff added.

The Essex Windsor Solid Waste Authority does. He did not know the dollar amount that would be, but has requested that information.


Development Charges for commercial properties

At the November 20 meeting, Councillor Randy Voakes brought a Notice of Motion forward to have a report come from administration that would highlight commercial development in recent years. It was hoped that the report will direct Council as to whether or not it should consider waiving development charges for commercial development. It currently does not have development charges for industrial development.

After discussion, Council agreed to have administration provide a report to highlight commercial development by ward within the Municipality of Essex in 2015-17 so Council could consider possibly waiving development charges for commercial properties.


Human Resources Provides a report on Bill 148

Tara McGowan, the Human Resources Manager for the Town of Essex, provided a presentation and breakdown of the changes and impacts Bill 148 would have on Essex, namely in terms of direct costs.

The Bill know as the ‘Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act’ will make various amendments to the Employment Standards Act.

The Bill had originally introduced a new entitlement for on-call pay. This requires an employer to proved three hours of pay for anyone required to be on-call, whether they came into work or not.

However, an exemption was made for essential public services, who will not be subject to the amendments of the Bill.

Costs to Essex for on-call pay will remain largely within the status quo.

As well, general minimum wage will increase to $14 an hour as of January 1. This should have a relatively small impact to the costs of the Town as Essex.

Rates paid for summer student positions will see the largest change.

The Bill was also make amendments to holiday pay, vacation time, scheduling, parental and sick leave.
The potential total cost impact of these changes is roughly $120,000.


Proposed Revisions to Zoning By-Law 1037

Policy Planner Jeff Watson presented a report from the November 20 public meeting on potential revisions to Zoning Bylaw 1037.

“Only one person came to speak to the matter, and his concern was whether or not the proposal affected his development plans, and they do not,” Watson said.

Watson explained ERCA had recently reached out regarding the potential impact amending the zoning bylaw would have on the natural environmental policy.

“We’ve been working with the conservation authority to deal with that, and it will be part of the third part of our initial plan review, and that’s something we’ll be looking at in the spring of 2018,” Watson said.

The report was received, and approval was given for the preparation of an amending zoning bylaw.
Consulting Services for Essex Cross Connection Control Program

A motion passed that would allow Council to appoint preview inspections and consulting to provide a Cross Connection Control Program, and potentially revise the Town’s existing Bylaw 321 to properly address the current Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change requirements with regards to backflow protection.

“It’s something that’s being pushed greatly as far as ensuring that when a business comes in, what type of backflow protection they need based on the requirements they have, how often do they have to monitor that program,” Chris Nepszy explained, who is the Director of Infrastructure and Development. “This has already been approved in the budget as far as costs go.”

Nepszy explained it would act as a sort of a “one-time initialization” to get the Town set up with proper data collection on the subject, which the Town could maintain itself going forward.


Verbal report on grading operations on Given Road (Snake Lane)

Chris Nepszy, Director of Infrastructure and Development, provided a verbal report on grader issues on Given Road (Snake Lane) after concerns were raised on the road’s condition by a resident at the previous council meeting.

It was concluded that several factors play a role in the continued issues with the road.

“The real underlying issue with Snake Lane is the subsurface, and the drainage, and the wet conditions of the area there,” Nepszy explained.

Grading is typically done in the spring and fall, and is dependant on how much traffic the road is receiving.
Meloche suggested that perhaps grading could be viewed as more of a specialized job, and have a one or two-person team be responsible for grading.


Regrets on behalf of Minister Hoskins

A letter was presented from the Office of the Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Eric Hoskins, regretting his inability to attend an Essex Council Meeting to discuss healthcare in our region.

“He responded back that he was too busy. What I really find ironic about this is that he was in Windsor on Friday and announced 2 billion dollars for the new mega-hospital,” Councillor Randy Voakes said of his request to the Minister for a meeting which was denied.

Voakes then provided further examples of overcrowding in hospital hallways, including, he claimed, medical procedures being performed in hospital hallways.

“I’m asking Council once again to send a letter that we won’t accept that you’re not coming,” Voakes said, putting forward a motion to send a second letter to the Minister.

Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said he would support the second letter because he’d like to see it happen, but believes there’s not a real chance the Minister would attend a session of Council.

The motion carried.

“The motion carries I think at 100 percent. Wow,” Mayor Ron McDermott said after the vote.

Voakes called a Point of Order, asking when he gets full endorsement from Council why the Mayor, “in a derogatory way went, ‘wow.’ Can you tell me why you did that?”

McDermott said he didn’t think it would take that long. “It wouldn’t have taken that long if you would quit rambling.”

Councillor Larry Snively called a Point of Order, asking Council to move on. “This is getting ridiculous,” he said.


Harrow Banner Poles

Councillor Sherry Bondy explained that after a meeting with the Harrow Chamber of Commerce, agreement was made regarding the placement of the banner poles on Queen Street between Munger and Sinasac.

There will be no further need to defer their placement.


NoM for possible CIP expansion

Councillor Sherry Bondy put a Notice of Motion forward that Council direct administration to expand the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) in Harrow to include the lands at the junior school and high school if possible. She would also like Council to explore if the demolition grant in the program could be greater than $6000.

Council will discuss this at the next meeting to be held on December 18.


NoM on fiber optics

Councillor Sherry Bondy put a Notice of Motion forward, which will be discussed at the December 18 meeting, to possibly direct administration to look at the feasibility of getting fiber optics in the municipality.


NoM on drainage

Councillor Larry Snively put a Notice of Motion forward that will have Council discuss drainage. He said we wants to have administration provide information about the current bylaw and provide possible recommendations that pertain to built-up properties and affecting neighbours with water run-off.

This will be discussed at the December 18 Council meeting.