SWM What's New - May 25, 2022

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For further details on items discussed, please view the agenda or watch the  council meeting on our YouTube channel.

Planning Applications

Council considered a minor variance for the property known as 4087 Olde Drive.  Council approved the application which will allow the construction of two accessory buildings that would exceed the cumulative maximum permitted ground floor area for accessory buildings, exceed the permitted accessory building lot coverage, and exceed the maximum height requirements for accessory buildings in the Rural Residential (RR) Zone.

Fire Service - Options

Fire services response for part of Southwest Middlesex is through a Joint Fire Services arrangement with Brooke-Alvinston and Dawn Euphemia.  Brooke-Alvinston considers the current arrangement to be a committee of the Brooke-Alvinston Council, not a joint fire services board.  Including a review of this arrangement is considered helpful.  Council directed that options be prepared for consideration related to fire services in the area currently served by the Brooke-Alvinston fire department as we are currently developing a Master Fire Plan for Southwest Middlesex Fire as well as a Community Risk Assessment.  The Emergency Management Group has been directed to recommend an option as part of the Draft Master Fire Plan for Council’s consideration.

Right to Disconnect Policy

Amendments to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) received Royal Assent on December 3, 2021, creating new obligations for employers in Ontario. One of the changes is the requirement for a disconnecting from work policy and to make a copy of the policy available to all employees.  Part of the intent of these legislative changes are to ensure that labour laws keep pace with new technology, automation, and remote work. The intent is to protect workers’ rights, while positioning Ontario as the top destination for attracting global talent and investment.

The Ministry of Labour notes that the term “disconnecting from work” is defined in the ESA to mean not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or sending or reviewing other messages, to be free from the performance of work.

Council approved a policy to meet the requirements of the ESA which includes the following key points:
• Where absolutely necessary, communications in off-hours will exist for emergency purposes or extraordinary needs;
• Protective measures for employees so they are not obligated to respond during off-work hours;
• Setting clear expectations with staff as it relates to communications during work hours;
• Ensuring that work plans are created in such a way that there is minimal work performed during off-hours.

The policy notes the importance of mental health and the added pressures that excessive work can bring forward. As a flexible organization, measures have been put in place such as Work from Home and now the Right to Disconnect – these are important measures to address mental health fatigue.  The policy does not supersede the commitment to service delivery. Staff will continue to provide excellent customer service to ratepayers and respond in appropriate timelines notwithstanding the implementation of this new policy. All customer service requests will be assessed on urgency and responded to during regular working hours unless deemed necessary to respond based on severity of the issue.  In order to keep the policy current, it will be reviewed and updated as required.

Canada Day Committee

Council formally established the current Canada Day Committee members as a Committee of Council, and approved their 2022 operating budget as provided.  This will provide for:
• insurance coverage for decision makers and volunteers, who sit on this committee including all representatives from our local service clubs and local volunteers.
• insurance coverage for the volunteers associated with the Fireworks event.
• insurance coverage for regular volunteers for the Committee.

Volunteers are only covered if they are volunteering on Municipal property or through a legal operating agreement and since an agreement was previously established for Southwest Middlesex regarding the use of properties owned by the Glencoe Agricultural Society, Canada Day events and volunteers are covered  by municipal insurance.

A Committee of Council is one that is formed by Council in good faith. A simple check to determine this is to meet the following criteria.
• Council passes a resolution stating that a group of Individuals will be acting as a Committee of Council.
• The Committee is accountable to Council for all their actions and activities.
• All finances are directed by Council for all their actions and activities, which includes the approval of a budget.
• Typically, one or two council members are appointed and sit on the Committee.

As the Canada Day Committee encompasses all of the above conditions, the Municipal Liability Insurance protection for these committees is automatic and no endorsement to the policy is required.  This includes protection for all members including the team responsible for the Fireworks portion of the Canada Day activities.  Vendors or outside organizations that are not volunteers still have to supply liability insurance with the Municipality as an additional insured.

Bute & Montrose Sanitary Connections

Council directed staff to proceed with the mandatory connections to the sanitary system for each of these properties affected on Bute & Montrose Streets with all affected landowners be contacted and advised of this decision.  As previously discussed with Council the total cost of this project was estimated at $75,000 which would be split between five (5) landowners. The Finance Department will be providing payment options to landowners to cover connection cost for the works for each property.

The policies that led to this decision include mandatory connection policies as noted below:

6.4.1 MANDATORY CONNECTION All development within the Glencoe Urban Area and the Wardsville Community Area shall be connected to and serviced by the municipal sanitary sewage system.
6.3.2 MANDATORY CONNECTION All development within settlement areas except for Middlemiss shall be connected to, and serviced by, the municipal water supply system.

6.3.1 Municipal Services in the R1, R2, R3, and LR zones, no dwelling shall be erected or used unless such dwelling is connected to the municipal water supply system and the municipal sanitary sewage system.

Recreation Committee Appointed by Council

Join us in welcoming new Facilities and Recreation Committee members Denise Corneil, Sean Van Bilsen, Chris Emery, Hillary Morriss and Eleanor Weedmark.  Thank you to all of you for putting your time and attention into the future of recreation in Southwest Middlesex.

Culvert Replacement Tender

Council awarded the tender to replace municipal culverts 218, 219 & 224 to Van Driel Excavating Inc. at a cost of $433,608.62.  This work is part of the 2022 Capital Budget Council approving the replacement of 3 large culverts and the addition of guard rails for one of our bridges. Culvert 218, Culvert 219, Culvert 224 and Bridge 101 were approved for replacement and the work was identified in our Bridge & Culvert Inspection program which was completed in 2021.

Train Station Deck Replacement

As part of the 2022 Capital Budget Council approved the replacement of the Train Station deck and supporting structure at a cost of $100,000.  The Municipality engaged Gray & Fick Ltd to assess the current conditions of porch deck of the Glencoe Train Station, Glencoe. The primary concern was to report the current condition of the deck and provide options for replacement or repair.  A preliminary inspection of the facility was conducted with the observations below.

1. Access from the parking area to a ramp on the south side, is constructed of concrete paving stones. The width of the paving stone walkway does not provide enough width to accommodate barrier free access to the ramp and the paving stones were observed with varying degrees of movement due to frost.
2. The ramp noted above is constructed of 2”x 6” wood planking travel surface on structural steel beams. Steel guardrails are welded to the beams each side of the ramp, which consist of a top rail, mid rail and kickplate. Based on the current Ontario Building Code (OBC), the ramp does not meet the requirements for minimum length of ramp due to the overall rise in height, the guardrails do not provide the minimum distance between rails, guardrails are not the minimum height (3’-6”) above the travel surface and does not provide a proper graspable handrail.
In addition, the condition of the structural steel beams of the ramp were observed with deterioration (signs of corrosion) and significant deflection (bounce). A portion of the ramp steel beams could not be reviewed because they were buried below grade. Deflection of the ramp beams could be attributed to the deterioration, or possibly under sized for the spans as constructed.
3. The main porch deck is constructed of 2”x 6” wood planking on a structural steel (nongalvanized) framework, bearing on poured concrete foundations and piers. The wood planking cantilevers outwards from the foundation walls. Observations from the underside and access panel, it appears that the steel framework is not fastened to the main train station structure, other than at the foundations and piers. The porch deck does not provide barrier free access to the building, except a wood constructed ramp at the east door that does not meet minimum OBC requirements for ramp length and handrails. Approximately 10% of the deck planking was observed with significant deterioration and would require immediate replacement. The main porch deck was observed with significant deflection in numerous
locations, most likely attributed to deterioration or under sized for the spans constructed. Observations below the deck indicated significant deterioration
to anchor bolts and baseplates atop the concrete piers which support the steel framework. The steel framework was observed with significant deterioration. Randomly placed concrete block pilasters with wood bottom plate ‘sleepers’ directly on grade and wood blocking above, have settled and are not affective. Localized deterioration of the underside of the wood planking was also observed. At either end of the porch deck, the deck elevation was observed with a drop to adjoining grade of 23”, which just meets the maximum OBC criteria for requiring guards. In between the deck end, the adjoining landscaping provided for a lesser drop of approximately 8” to 12”.
4. On the north side, two sets of stairs were observed, constructed of 2” x 6” wood plank treads, concrete risers, on steel channel stringers. Each stair is flanked by precast concrete landscaping stones. Anchorage of the treads and concrete risers, to the steel channels, could not be determined. Only a small portion of the channel stringers could be observed. What was observed appeared to be deteriorating and noted severe deflection of the stair treads.  As constructed, the rise and tread configuration (4.5” rise and 18” treads) would be deemed awkward to transverse and not meet OBC requirements.  In addition, there is no handrails for the stairs which would be required considering OBC requirements for barrier free access.
5. In addition, on the north and west sides, concrete tiered landscaping stones were observed that created landscaping areas fronting the porch deck. These landscaping stones were not provided with observations but would be affected by any decisions creating remedial work to the porch deck.
6. The deck cavity is holding a great deal of storm water. This opening is causing water damage to the station and high levels of humidity in the building. This moisture has caused the steal beams to deteriorate quicker than normal.
7. Research into the heritage aspect of the train station, there is no indication of a Heritage Designation of the Building at any level. However, the train station is unique, built in 1904 and the plaque displays pride of the station within Glencoe. Any conclusions or recommendations should take the heritage aspect into consideration.

The conclusions and recommendations made by Gray & Fick Ltd based on their observations were:
"Based on our visual observations, the porch deck requires replacement. Deterioration of the wood planking and steel framework supporting the planking would be deemed extensive for remedial work to occur when considering engineering and rehabilitation costs. The ramp and access pathway to the ramp require replacement and to meet minimum OBC requirements. Stair re-design should be considered to produce a more effective usage. Handrails for the ramp and stairs are required and to meet minimum OBC requirements. In consideration of replacement procedures, heritage aspects should be considered but not required based on the site not being a National Heritage site. To reduce liability risks, handrails around the outside edges, for the drop in grade to the porch deck elevation, should be considered. Barrier free access to the train station building should also be considered."

The tender for the required work has been awarded by council to SDI Builders in the amount of $222,635 with handrails only as required through AODA with work anticipated to take place in the fall at the earliest.  Funds in the amount of $147,419 will be moved from the Facilities & Recreation reserve to cover the deficit.  Reserve fund replenishment will be included in the 2023 budget for Council’s consideration.  The technical information for this improvement will be shared with the AODA Coordinator from the County of Middlesex.

General Business of Council:

  • May 11, 2022 Council minutes
  • Workplace Policy Review
  • April Building Report
  • Vouchers

Support of the resolutions of:

  • Community School Alliance which supports rural and Northern schools

Adopted By-laws to:

  • Collect for repairs on several drainage repairs
  • Appoint members of council and the public to committees of Council and local boards
  • Confirm proceedings of council - May 25, 2021