After putting a lot of time into community service and volunteering for multiple organizations, the step to run for council did not seem too far for Aaron Cosbey. It is merely an extension of what he is already doing.
He has been volunteering for organizations like the Sustainability Commission and Rossland Broadband Initiative and has found himself frustrated with how little has been accomplished by the council, and how hard it can be to proceed with the work.
Cosbey is currently a board member at the Rossland Skatepark Association, deputy chair in the Sustainability Commission, and is a vital part in the Rossland volleyball scene.
“The sitting council have done good things” in supporting the skate park according to Cosbey. There would be little more the council could do except applying for grants but Cosbey think it would be great for the Rossland Skatepark Association to have an ally on council.
One major part in Cosbey’s vision if he gets elected is to fix broken relationships. He wants to get the greater Trail municipalities working with each other, which would bring better services and cost savings leading to economic development.
He explains that both Rossland and Trail will have new mayors after the election. There will be a “complete shake up” in the Rossland council and Cosbey thinks the new council will “do some real cool stuff”. With new people, new relationships will naturally build.
Cosbey already has a close relationship with Mike Martin, who is running for mayor in Trail. They have already been discussing energy conservation and looking at other initiatives for the area.
Broadband is a sore issue for Cosbey. “I’ve seen some businesses leave town.” because of the unreliable Internet connection. He explains that it will not be long until high speed Internet is one of the fundamentals (together with water and electricity) that will greatly people who live and work in Rossland.
The future of Rossland will also be determined by the school system. Cosbey wants to “Ensure a financially sustainable basis for accessible K-12 in Rossland”.
He thinks that the Seven Summits Centre for Learning is doing a great job and could need some more support from council but he wants to bring affordable and accessible education too. Public K-12 in Rossland could be accomplished with a municipal school district.
The City of Rossland Officers Bylaw #2472 is something Cosbey thinks should be removed. The bylaw lists duties and powers assigned to the CAO. Cosbey wants to bring that power back to council so they have full control of what is going on.
The personal qualities he thinks he brings to council include a sense of humour and humility. He is aware of his strong and weak points and adds, “I have a lot of weak points.”
He believes that he can work as a facilitator and is good at promoting agreements between strong oppositions. And can both lead and participate in meetings. He understands the process and can listen to different people and opinions. And he loves Rossland.
His vision of Rossland harmonizes with the Strategic Sustainability Plan of a small vibrant mountain town with a lot of character. He wants to advance the education for sustainable mountain living and supports the Monashee Institute.
An upcoming problem for Rossland is the expensive sewage issue. A new sewage treatment plan will have to be realized and Cosbey is practical about the costs we'll be incurring: “I don’t think it is realistic to lower taxes in Rossland”.
Since there are no large companies in Rossland, most of the tax base comes from property taxes. Higher property taxes would make Rossland too exclusive and a large part of the population would not be able to afford to stay.
“I would hate to see Rossland to turn into a town like Vail.” says Cosbey.
Cosbey thinks the feel in Rossland is important. He wants to find a balance between heritage and blooming businesses.
“Let's just say I don’t want McDonalds' on Main Street”.
According to him, Rossland is a cool community with no division. Ski bums live next to doctors, which mixes it up in a good way.
Cosbey moved to Rossland after a ski weekend with his wife and feels that the city's relationship with Red Mountain Resort is important for the town.
“People first come here to ski”.
He also thinks the Free Ride Bus was a great addition.
Tourists can easily come to Rossland from the ski hill and spend their money locally, increasing economic development. He adds that he sent his kids on the bus instead of giving them rides up to the hill; the bus make more people leave their cars at home and makes for a better environment.
Since only 30 per cent of the people typically turn out to the Rossland Municipal Election, Cosbey hope that more people come out this year. “People should go and vote. I’m sure we can do better this time.”.