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COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council meeting, May 16, 2022

Rossland's Miners Union Hall in 2017; photo credit -- City of Rossland

Contemplating Social Procurement; supporting Bill C-216; schwag for Rossland Scouts in Finland; Rossland Community Farmers Market carrying on; saving riparian setbacks . . . and more.

Present:  Mayor Kathy  Moore, and Councillors Dirk Lewis, Chris Bowman, Terry Miller, Janice Nightingale, and Stewart Spooner, and Andy Morel.

Staff:  CAO Bryan Teasdale,  Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Anonuévo, Manager of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont, Chief Financial Officer Mike Kennedy, and City Planner Stacey Lightourne.

Moore read the Territorial Acknowledgement:

We acknowledge and respect that we live, work, and play on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the sngaytskstx (Sinixt) People and honor all other Indigenous people who walked on and cared for these lands before us and continue to do so. We also support and add our voices to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action in order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.

Public Input Period: 

No one spoke.

Delegations:

Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation:  Rebecca Richard, Jacomien van Tonder, Dino Dorazio, and Morag Carter all contributed to a presentation to Council by Zoom.  Metal Tech Alley highlights included a Global Green Business Aware hosted by Acquisitions International; for the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation, their updated industrial and commercial land database for the entire Lower Columbia region, and advocacy for an upgraded Waneta border crossing; for the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society, highlights include the highly successful Trail IncrEdible Farmers’ Market, and progress on new affordable housing.

BC Social Procurement Initiative: Robert Fisher spoke by Zoom to explain the value of Social Procurement – using purchasing practices that maximize benefit to the local community, and to persuade the City of Rossland to join the BCSPI.  Benefits include increasing the social, environmental and ethical value from existing purchasing.

Karen Elliott, Mayor of Squamish, responded to a question from Bowman asking for a specific example of how the BCSPI could benefit Rossland, and gave two examples of how the community used focused criteria to choose contractors who could help them deal with extreme-weather damage related crises.

Bylaw:

Freedom of Information Bylaw # 2790:   This new bylaw replaces a 1994 bylaw with an updated version.  It includes privacy provisions and a motion to give it first, second, and third readings CARRIED unanimously.

Policy: 

Privacy Policy –the introductory note explained, “As part of the ongoing review of the City's policies and procedures, development of a privacy policy has been identified as a necessity to align with the City's practices, FOIPPA legislation, the City's Freedom of Information Bylaw, as well as privacy requirements of outside agencies that the City shares personal information with.” A motion to approve the proposed policy CARRIED unanimously.

Recreation Facilities and Programs in Adverse Weather and Severe Climatic Conditions Policy – Climate change has increased the incidence of forest fires and smoke pollution, heat domes, and thunderstorms, inter alia.  This policy sets out conditions that will lead to City recreational activities and programs being suspended or discontinued for health and safety reasons. A motion to approve the proposed policy CARRIED unanimously.

Development Variance Permit:

1627 LeRoi Avenue: The applicant seeks a reduction in the interior setback from 1.2 metres to 0.3 metres, to build a carport or garage.  A motion to approve the application CARRIED unanimously after brief discussion.

Development Permit Application:

2040 Columbia Avenue  (the former Powderhound location) – the applicant wishes to proceed with a new paint job, and the Design Review Panel has approved the proposed colour scheme and signage.  A motion to approve the application CARRIED unanimously.

Development Permit Amendment Application:

1016 Olaus Way --  the applicant seeks to reduce the riparian setback required to protect a small stream from 7.5 metres to 5 metres, and Council reviewed the 54 pages of accompanying material.  Morel commented that the watershed has been greatly affected over the years, and that even small additional impacts will add to the cumulative damage.  He linked the removal of green cover with climate change, and said he is not in favour of relaxing these riparian setbacks.  Lewis stated that he would be voting against the motion.  Spooner said, “This bothers me” and commented that mitigation by retaining the proper setbacks for the rest of the properties is not really mitigation.  Nightingale noted that imposing a grid pattern on the topography instead of adjusting plans to match the topography does not make sense.  Bowman agreed  that riparian setbacks are imposed for good reason. Miller noted that this seems like a good opportunity to “just say no.”

The motion to reduce the riparian setback FAILED unanimously.

Rossland Community Farmers’ Market – applied for permission to close Queen Street between Columbia Avenue and the lane to the south, to facilitate a weekly market on Wednesday afternoons – specific hours to be determined. A motion to grant the request CARRIED unanimously.

Rossland Home Energy Leadership Program:  a motion to continue working with the Community Energy Association  on the updated HELP CARRIED unanimously.  A Council motion is required to permit a sole-source contract such as this; in this case, the Community Energy Association has been working with the City since the beginning of the HELP and is the natural entity to continue.

Aqueduct Trail Improvement Project Tender Award:   A motion to approve the Tender submission from Copcan Civil Limited Partnership for additional activities related to the construction of the Aqueduct Trail Improvement Project CARRIED unanimously.  This will enable the City to replace some sections of ancient water pipe. The City received three submissions, and the Copcan offer best met the requirements.

Council then reviewed municipal invoices, and the usual list of staff reports – including Eye on Water.` Lewis expressed shock that so few Rosslanders have signed up for the Eye on Water app, which allows households to track their water usage and can help to detect leaks.  The app can be used with a smartphone or a computer. So far, only 181 Rossland household are taking advantage of the Eye on Water app.

CFO Mike Kennedy provided Council with the 2022 Tax Overview – summarizing how much the City will spend in the year, where the spending goes, and where the money comes from. The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Requisition and the West Kootenay Boundary Hospital District Requisition were included. All the details can be found in the Council materials for this meeting – pages and pages of them!  -- 85 pages of the 269-page package, to be more precise. 

Rossland Scouts requested a gift of money from the City to cover the cost of City of Rossland badges to give out during a scouting jamboree in Finland.  After a bit of back-and-forth about the purpose of the gift for the City, Council voted to cover the cost of approximately $770.00 from their discretionary budget, with only Spooner opposed.

A motion CARRIED unanimously to support MP Gord Johns’ private members Bill – C-216 – to decriminalize simple drug possession and increase access to a full range of supports for people who use drugs or are in recovery – by adding the City of Rossland to the list of governmental organization who endorse Bill C-216.

Members’ Reports:

Councillors provided rapid-fire oral reports of their various meetings.  Nightingale noted that the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) is advocating for the Federal government to cover the cost of the recently-awarded retroactive pay increase for RCMP officers – since the award is retroactive for five years, the burden for municipalities would be unduly onerous.

A motion directing staff to look into the possible benefits to Rossland of joining the BC Social Procurement Initiative, and advise Council, CARRIED unanimously.

The meeting adjourned to an in-camera session, and your reporter strolled home in the lovely evening, chatting with neighbours en route, and wondering whether ongoing exhaustion is from Long COVID, or just part of an underlying depression brought on by the appalling state of the world on so many fronts … on the other hand, there are new leaves bursting out, and dandelions blooming along with many other flowers, and we are currently  being blessed with cool temperatures and frequent showers of rain instead of roasting in 40-degree or more heat like so many people in less temperate places. For now.