Deputy Warden Urges Residents to Sign Up for Municipal Alerts
Essex County residents are encouraged to sign up for alerts from their local municipality to be prepared for severe weather and other emergencies, Deputy Warden Joe Bachetti said at the start of Wednesday’s council meeting.
Each municipality in Essex County has a place on its website where residents can sign up for alerts. A list is also available on the Emergency Planning and Preparedness page of the County of Essex website.
“By signing up for municipal alerts, you will be notified when there is an emergency in your municipality and updated on what to do,” Bachetti said. “It is one of the best ways we have to spread the word when residents need to be informed quickly.”
The deputy warden also congratulated the Town of Amherstburg for winning a Municipality of the Year Award and Sponsor of the Year Achievement Award for its River Lights Winter Festival at the Festivals and Events Ontario conference. The Amherstburg River Lights Winter Festival was also named one of the 2023 Top 100 Ontario Festivals and Events, along with:
- Amherstburg Open Air Weekends;
- Kingsville Open Streets;
- the Kingsville Migration Festival; and
- the LaSalle Strawberry Festival.
“We are fortunate to have so many great festivals and events in Essex County. The Warden and I look forward to attending as many as we can in the coming months,” Bachetti said.
Canterbury ElderCollege Continuing to Offer Wide Range of Courses
Council received an update from Lloyd Brown-John on the activities of Canterbury ElderCollege, a non-profit organization which offers courses across the region to those 55 years and older.
Founded in 2011, ElderCollege has grown to offer nearly 100 courses each semester throughout Windsor, Essex County and Chatham-Kent. The instructors are volunteers, as are most of those involved in running the program. While Canterbury ElderCollege is located at the University of Windsor, courses are offered at 10 other locations throughout the region.
Concern Raised over Municipal Insurance Costs
Essex County council is backing a move by Chatham-Kent council to seek ways to reduce municipal insurance costs.
Chatham-Kent council passed a resolution in early March directing its administration to consult with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and other municipal groups to find ways to reduce insurance costs, including cooperative purchasing of insurance, creation of a municipal reciprocal insurance provider and pursuing legislative changes.
Council Supports Western Ontario Wardens’ Call for Action on Homelessness
Council supported a resolution by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus urging the provincial government to commit to ending homelessness.
The resolution calls on the Ontario government to acknowledge that homelessness in is a social, economic and health crisis, and to work with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and community, health, Indigenous and economic partners to develop resources and implement an action plan.
Purchase of Lands for Roundabout on County Road 46 Authorized
Council authorized administration to negotiate the purchase of some of the additional land required to create a roundabout at the intersection of County Road 46 and Rochester Townline.
The owners have indicated a willingness to sell the land, which would be preferable to expropriating it, says a report to council. A second parcel of privately-owned land is needed to complete the project, which is scheduled for construction later this year.
Annual HR Report Gives Overall Picture of County Staff
The County of Essex had almost 900 employees in 2022 with an average age of 42 years and average service of 12 years, according to the Human Resources department’s annual report to council.
Two collective agreements were successfully negotiated and 142 new employees were hired because of 89 job postings, for which a total of 2,800 applications were received. The total number of employees remained steady due to departures. The Human Resources team serves employees at the County of Essex, Sun Parlor Home, Essex-Windsor EMS, the Essex County Library and the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority.
New Policies Expected to Assist with Employee Attraction and Retention
Council approved three workplace policies that were put in place over the past year to comply with provincial legislation and because of positive responses by staff.
The Right to Disconnect Policy sets out the roles of the county, management and employees in ensuring that staff members can disconnect outside of their normal working hours. The Electronic Monitoring of Employees Policy identifies all the methods the Corporation of the County of Essex can use to electronically monitor staff and sets out the parameters within which it can use those methods. The Work-Life Integration Policy (Non-Union) began as a pilot project that provides options for balancing work and personal lives.
“It is anticipated that the implementation of these types of policies will assist with employee attraction and retention,” says a report to council by Kristie Cronin, Director, Human Resources.
Feasibility of Site Alteration By-law to be Investigated
County administration will conduct a review and provide council with recommendations regarding the feasibility of a tree cutting and site alteration by-law pertaining to designated protected natural heritage features and land identified on the natural environment overlay in the Essex County Official Plan. Kingsville Deputy Mayor Kim DeYong asked for the review in a motion that was approved by council.