Essex Fire Chief Ed Pillon honoured six Essex Firefighters for their dedication to the community as he presented them with service medals. Randy Kaufmann has served the community as a firefighter for 30 years, Kevin Long for 25 years, and Marcel Mailloux, Dale Bridgen, Greg Wright, and Robert Welzel were awarded for 20 years of service. Pillon congratulated the firefighters on their years of dedication.
Mayor Ron McDermott noted that Firefighters are an important part of the community. “Every night we go to sleep, we sleep well because we know that if we have a problem, you people will be there.”
CAO Wayne Miller was pleased to announce that on its first attempt, Essex received a score of 83.8 percent in a Workwell Audit for health and workplace safety, exceeding the 75 percent passing grade. A representative from WSIB conducted an audit of Essex workplaces at the end of July.
Miller commended Town Health and Safety Coordinator Shelley Marchand for her work in implementing an upscaled version of the health and safety program. He presented her with a small token of appreciation for her efforts.
Council received and supported the report Miller submitted regarding the WSIB Workwell Audit. He recommended that Council send a letter of commendation to Marchand and a thank-you to other staff members of the Town’s Health and Safety Committee.
Craig Weglarz approached council with concerns he has regarding Sadler’s Park. He was born and raised in Essex and currently resides in town with his family. He has a background in environmental resource management and is currently a grade eight teacher.
Though the park is nice, he said the pond itself is in a deteriorated state with a lack of water and fish. In addition, there is garbage in the pond. Currently, the pond is only a few inches in depth, which he sees as a perfect environment for breeding mosquitoes.
Weglarz said that when he was a youth the pond was several feet deep and it was a place where fish and frogs could be caught. Low water levels, he said, is a danger for anything living there when the water freezes in the winter.
As a teacher, he thinks youth need to be hooked into nature. He commented that within Town, there is nowhere for a kid to even cast a fishing line. When they do get to the pond, they see garbage, which sends a poor message. “As far as I’m concerned the pond should be dredged, aerated,” he said.
“There’s so much potential,” Weglarz said.
Councillor Randy Voakes agreed that the pond’s condition is deplorable and laden with Lilly pads. He agreed that the water level is low. He added that the park itself is well maintained. He said Council should be looking at something to move forward in future budget considerations.
Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said the Town should contact ERCA about the pond. He noted the National CIB judges that came to Town recently were impressed with the park itself.
Council passed a motion that John Olsen, Manager of Parks and facilities, connect with ERCA to create a report about the pond so Council can move forward with it. The report should contain tender costs for dredging.
Councillor Sherry Bondy added that a sign should be posted at the pond that asks park visitors to leave turtles at the pond as their numbers are low, and not to take them home.
Essex Centre BIA Committee Chairperson Stephen Bjorkman and Vice Chairperson Vivian Bennett approached Council regarding the committee’s desire to erect two signs on Allen Ave. to designate the Essex industrial park area in an effort to help recognize the business. He showed Council a rendering of what the signs would look like. The signs will have all the addresses and the name of the businesses.
Many people don’t realize the businesses that are located in that area, he said. He asked that the permit fees be waived to allow the BIA to put up the signs. Miller noted that the fee would not exceed $75 per sign. Council approved the request.
Bjorkman also presented Council with the BIA’s new constitution. It includes procedures such as having a minimum of five and a maximum of eight members. The member appointed by Council will not be a voting member. Any expenditure over $2,500 has to be approved by the board and three quotes would be needed. Anyone who is a BIA member can have an item added to the agenda at least five days prior to meeting. Any group consisting of ten members (or more) can have a special meeting called and a 2/3rds vote could have someone removed from the board, he said. He asked Council to accept the constitution.
Councillor Bill Baker commented that there were some issues with the language. Councillor Morley Bowman put the motion forward that Council table the document until administration has a chance to look at it. Motion carried.
In accordance with a streetscape plan approved by the BIA, which was prepared with Town Administration, it was recommended that Council authorize the release of a maximum of $50,000 for the purchase of new street furniture, such as Victorian style benches, a free-standing planter, waste receptacles, and bike racks for the east and west sides of Talbot. There will also be other uses for the funds. The Essex Centre BIA will invest equally in the project, it stated in the report to Council.
Town Policy Planner Jeff Watson said there are two stages to the request. In the report to Council it stated that in 2011 Council authorized $50,000 for streetscape improvements to Talbot Street and to the first block of Centre Street, in downtown Essex Centre.
The second would be to put out an RFP for a landscape architect.
This year, Council allocated $40,000 for the undertaking of a study to address long-term street revitalization and rehabilitation in downtown Essex Centre, which the BIA is contributing $5,000 to, for the development a long-term plan for streetscape improvements along both sides of Talbot from Maidstone to Fairview. It will also review landscaping improvements, intersection functionality and aesthetic changes, parking reconfiguration, theme elements and the overall look of the street. A land use and development plan, including phasing and costing, for the “Silo District” would be completed. During this stage, workshops and stakeholder meetings would be held.
Council approved the support of the recommendation.
Miller noted that the inspections on the silo were completed earlier in the day on Monday and he expects a report to come back to Council in September.
It was recommended to Council that the vacant position of Director of Community Services not be filled until after the Town has hired a new CAO, as Miller has recently announced his retirement. It was also recommended that Imaginate complete an in-depth review of the positions not included in its second report. Council supported to move the recommendations.
Council received Miller’s Climate Change Adaptation Initiative to update council on the progress of the report.
Council was updated regarding the County Wide Active Transportation Study master plan. Watson noted that all Councils in the county supported CWATS, but when the funding forum came out, negotiations ensued. He recommended that Council approve CWATS again and the modified funding forum. The municipalities are now at a stage where they agree on the funding, he said, which is only slightly different than what was first proposed. Council received and supported the recommendation.
In the report to Council, it stated that under the previous funding formula the total cost to Essex was $1.7 million. Under the new formula, the total cost would be $2 million. Watson said that the additional $300,000 Essex would need to invest into the project would be made over a 20-year period and would be offset by a lower municipal contribution to the County.
Council supported the recommendation submitted advising of the Department of Community Services intent to operate the concession stand at the Essex Centre Sports Complex for the 2012-13 ice season.
Council agreed to send a letter of congratulations to Jeffrey Morrison, Manager of Finance & Business Services, on his recent academic achievement of passing the CGA Auditing Exam.
Essex Council supported a by-law to authorize the execution of a lease agreement between the Town of Essex and Patrick Chittle for a sports academy to be operated in the Essex Centre Sports Complex.
Councillor Sherry Bondy, Essex rep on the dog pound committee, would like to change the agreement between the Lakeshore Dog Pound and the St. Clair College Vet Tech program from a two-year to a one-year agreement. Around six months ago, Council submitted a letter to the dog pound indicating that the Town would pull out its agreement with the pound if a list of improvements were not made. The Town has to wait 18 months to get out of that agreement from the time the letter was submitted, if it still wishes to at that time. As a member to the dog pound, however, the Town is tied to the college. As long as it is tied to the college, the Windsor Essex County Humane Society, she said, would not take on Essex, which limits other opportunities. It’s beneficial if Essex put pressure on the dog pound committee to have the lease with St. Clair renewed every year instead of every two years as it gives Essex more flexibility to back out of the dog pound agreement if it wants to in the future.
Councillor Bondy noted that on Tuesday, September 11 at 1 p.m., there would be an Oxley Wind Farm public meeting. She was informed the meeting was slated to last an hour. She wanted to see the meeting available at night also to accommodate more residents. She wanted Council to send an email to encourage an evening meeting. Motion carried.
Councillor Bondy began discussions regarding the proposed Captain’s Gallery restaurant. The establishment is in the process of getting ready to open in a municipally owned building at Colchester Harbour.
Bondy said they had talked to the owner about a June or July opening at a Council meeting a few months ago, and now, in August, she is hearing the restaurant will be opened in October. The lease has been signed for 27 months, she said. She wants to see the restaurant opened for business.
Councillor John Scott commented that residents in the area frequently ask when the restaurant will open.
Voakes said that Miller went out and met with the restaurant owners and gave a report that was very clear that it is a long way from being finished. He put a motion forward that the Captain’s Gallery be opened no later than October 1. The majority of Council did not support the motion.
Meloche suggested bringing the leasers in with a rep from administration who would act as a liaison and update Council continuously about progress made on the restaurant. Motion carried with a majority support.
Voakes noted that the motion would take administration’s time, tax payers’ dollars, to research and send reports back to council as a liaison. “Why are we doing that?” he asked.
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