tecumseh Town hall

Council Connect: Highlights from the December 14, 2021 meetings of Council

Tecumseh Town Council met electronically this evening and here are the highlights:

Regular Meeting of Council

Essay Contest Winners Applauded: Council congratulated Local Government Week essay contest first place winner Owen Michos and second place winner Charlotte Vanstone. Owen attended the meeting and his winning essay was read by Christina Hebert, Manager Committee and Community Services. Charlotte also attended the meeting and read her essay for council.

Active Transportation Plans Presented: Tecumseh will get an additional 70 kilometres of trails, bike lanes and paved shoulders over the next 20 years if proposed updates to the County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) are approved. The CWATS Master Plan, developed in 2012, is being updated and feedback about the proposed network is currently being sought from the seven Essex County municipalities. Diana Radulescu, Essex County’s active transportation coordinator, presented Council with an overview of the plan for Tecumseh. The proposed plan calls for an estimated $21 million investment over 20 years, with $9 million of that coming from the Town.

BIA Records Surplus for 2021: The Tecumseh Business Improvement Area (BIA) expected to end 2021 with a $16,950 deficit. Instead, it has a surplus of $14,117, representatives who provided an update told Council.

Courts Urged to Help Minimize Recidivism: Council supported a letter to Ontario’s Attorney General by the Town of Penetanguishene Police Services Board asking that the provincial court system help minimize recidivism rates by monitoring and keeping records of the offenders who continue to reoffend. As well, it says recidivism should be a major consideration in sentencing.

Town Promoting Safety and Well-Being Plan: The Town will participate in the printing and posting of the Windsor-Essex Regional Community Safety and Well-Being Plan to increase public awareness. The plan was endorsed last month by the County of Essex, on behalf of its member municipalities, and by the City of Windsor. The plan was developed in accordance with provincial legislation and with guidance from area municipalities, multiple sectors and community stakeholders with the goal of reimagining how to address local crime and complex social issues.

Urban Hen Project Discontinued: Tecumseh’s experiment with urban chickens is coming to an end as of March 1, 2022. Council voted to end the two-year pilot program and give notice to the current licence holders to find other suitable homes for their hens. The eight current licence holders will also have to remove chicken coops and runs from their properties. Since the Town initiated the pilot project, which allowed urban residents to obtain licences to keep chickens, 13 permits for the keeping of a total of 76 hens have been issued. Two property owners later withdrew their licences. There were complaints that the conditions at three other properties were attractive for rodents. Two of the owners had their licences revoked and the third was assisted in removing the hens. Administering the licensing program and responding to complaints took significant staff resources, says a report to Council by Laura Moy, Director Legislative Services and Clerk.

Transportation Service Agreement Renewed: The Town is renewing its agreement with the Community Support Centre of Essex County (CSC) to provide public transportation for seniors and those with disabilities. The CSC has provided the service since 2009 and the new two-year agreement starts January 1, 2022. The door-to-door transportation service allows seniors and persons with disabilities to independently access medical facilities, hospitals, clinics and other appointments throughout Windsor and Essex County. The Town pays $3 per Tecumseh rider up to a maximum of $15,000 a year.

Land Acknowledgement Adopted: Council adopted a land acknowledgement statement that will be open for revisions for the next year to allow for feedback. Crafted after researching other local land acknowledgements and consulting with the Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre, the acknowledgement will be read at Council and committee meetings. It states:

“We acknowledge that we are on land and surrounded by water, originally inhabited by Indigenous Peoples who have travelled this area since time immemorial. This territory is within the lands honoured by the Wampum Treaties; agreements between the Anishinaabe (Ah-nish-e-naa-bay), Haudenosaunee (Hoe-den-oh-show-nee), Lenni (Len- eh) Lenape (Le-naw-pay) and allied Nations to peacefully share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. Specifically, we would like to acknowledge the presence of the Three Fires Confederacy (Ojibwe (Oh-jib-way), Odawa (Oh-dah-wah), Potawatomi (Paw-tawwatt-oh-me) and Huron/Wendat (Wen-dat) Peoples. We are dedicated to honouring Indigenous history and culture while remaining committed to moving forward respectfully with all First Nations, Inuit and Métis.”

Fees and Charges for 2022 Set: Many, but not all, fees and charges for Town services will increase in line with inflation in 2022. Most Parks and Recreation fees will remain the same as in 2021 to reflect the impact of the ongoing pandemic. Other fees, such as those for private water hydrant maintenance and water meters, are being increased to better reflect the actual cost. Council approved the changes set out in a report by Tom Kitsos, the Town’s Director Financial Services and Chief Financial Officer.

Court Services Agreement Renewed: A five-year renewal of the Windsor-Essex Area Inter-Municipal Courts Service Agreement was approved by Council. Under the agreement the Town is allocated its share of the Windsor-Essex region’s annual cost or surplus for administrating the local Provincial Offices Act courts. Traditionally, the courts generate a surplus, though that has decreased in recent years.

Purchasing By-law Amended: The Town’s purchasing by-law has been amended to list consultant services of less than $100,000 as being exempt to conform with applicable trade agreements. Consultant services worth more than $100,000 must be retained through a formal request for proposals, as stipulated in the by-law.

Surplus Projected for 2021: An updated analysis done in August of the 2021 Budget projects the Town will have a year-end surplus of $586,039. Of that, $162,892 is a tax-supported surplus and $423,147 is a rate-supported surplus. The analysis does not include $683,850 in federal and provincial grant funding for offsetting costs related to COVID-19. That funding will be included in the year-end analysis.

Multi-Use SportsPlex Strategy Being Revised: Recreation facilities once slated to be part of a Multi-Use SportsPlex at the Tecumseh Arena site may now be built in several locations under a plan Council has supported in principle. The revised strategy was developed after the Town failed to qualify for funding from senior levels of government for its proposed $54-million project in 2020. The new plan would see upgrades to the Lacasse ball diamond and associated facilities done in partnership with the Tecumseh Thunder and St. Clair College. Secondly, a triple gym with an indoor walking track and programming space would be added to Tecumseh Arena through a partnership with local sport organizations. Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare’s new cardio rehabilitation facility at Tecumseh Arena would proceed alongside the proposed triple gym project. Thirdly, outdoor artificial turf sports fields would be created in partnerships with school boards, soccer associations and the private sector. Council will consider the plan further, including financing options and timelines, when it reviews the five-year 2022 Parks and Arena Lifecycle Capital Reports early next year.

ERCA to Continue Role as Water Source Risk Manager: Council voted to extend the Town’s agreement with the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) to provide risk management services under the Essex Region Source Protection Plan. The cost to the Town is $4,000 for the next two years.

Water and Wastewater Rates Increasing: Council approved increases to water and wastewater rates for 2022. The fixed monthly charge rate, based on the customer’s meter size, is going up six per cent. General water rates are going up one per cent and wastewater rates by two per cent. The 2022 water rate for the Oasis Water Filling Station is increasing by four per cent. As well, the flat rate for unmetered wastewater collection and treatment is increasing to $53.92 a month, and the flat rate for unmetered water consumption is increasing to $52.28 a month.

Deadline for Stormwater Plan Extended: Council approved an amendment to an agreement with the province that extends the deadline for completing the Oldcastle Storm Drainage Master Plan to March 31, 2022. Federal funding administered by the province is covering $200,000 of the $535,000 cost.

Turkey Creek Watershed Study Progressing: Council approved its participation in Phase 2 of the Turkey Creek Watershed Study and reaffirmed its commitment to pay its $7,700 share. The study is being done in conjunction with LaSalle, Windsor and the Essex Region Conservation Authority.

Province Urged to Make Changes to Broadband Expansion: Council is joining the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus in calling on the provincial government to make improvements to its $4-billion accelerated high-speed internet program. The Wardens’ Caucus and Town Council support the program, but want it to be as effective as possible, says the resolution put forward by Coun. Brian Houston and endorsed by Council. The resolution, which lists 12 recommended changes to the program, is being sent to the chair of the Wardens’ Caucus, Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma, Premier Doug Ford and Southwestern Ontario MPPs.

Next Regular Meeting: The next regular meeting of Council is January 11, 2022. The meeting is scheduled to be held electronically. The agenda and livestream will be available on the Town’s website. Follow the Town of Tecumseh on Facebook and Twitter for news and the latest information.