Schmoozing with potential candidates for Council; OCP Public Hearing; Watercourse protection? Keeping residential use in the light industrial area; Midtown Transition Project, AKA Rossland Yards, is on time and on budget; Heritage Neighbourhoods; and more (but not much more, this time) . . .
PRE-MEETING GATHERING for potential candidates in our upcoming civic election:
All Council members were present: Mayor Kathy Moore and Councillors Andy Morel, Dirk Lewis, Janice Nightingale, Terry Miller, Stewart Spooner, and Chris Bowman.
At 5:00 pm, the gallery was well-populated with interested parties. Mayor Moore welcomed everyone, emphasized that diversity is a healthy thing on municipal councils, and indicated that the session would simply consist of informal mingling and asking and answering questions. For the next hour, everyone present did just that. Several people indicated that they were “sitting on the fence” with regard to standing for election, but a few others committed to entering the election.
PUBLIC HEARING: Rossland’s DRAFT UPDATED Official Community Plan
Mayor Moore introduced the topic and explained that there was still time for comments and amendments, and thanked everyone there who had contributed input to help develop the updated DRAFT OCP.
One resident expressed concerns about the environmental effects of a proposed parking lot for the ski hill on the east side of the highway. He noted that the 15-metre riparian zone was not abided by in some places, and he hopes that there will a buffer zone to prevent snow from being plowed into the creek. Lightbourne explained that there are different classes of creek – watershed creek, with a 30- metre riparian zone, an ephemeral creek that runs only in the spring and early summer, and a regular creek with a 15-metre riparian zone.
A different resident requested that one property on Black Bear Road retain permission for residential use along with the other permitted uses in its current zone. He explained that there is a house on the property that he uses, and wants to continue using, for employee housing – a notable need in Rossland.
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING:
PUBLIC INPUT PERIOD:
No one spoke.
FOLLOW-UP ON BEAR SMART RECOMMENDATIONS
Council considered the informational report, but no decisions were called for at this meeting.
Permissive Tax Exemptions: A motion to give first, second and third readings to Bylaw # 2793, Permissive Tax Exemptions for 2023--2026, CARRIED. The City will publish an informational ad listing the exemptions granted.
Climate Action Reserve Fund Bylaw # 2794: A motion to adopt the bylaw, which commits the City to commit new annual funding to an established reserve fund to help cover expenses to the City of implementing carbon-reduction programs to reach carbon neutrality, CARRIED. The materials provided by staff explained, “Signing the BC Climate Action Charter allowed the City of Rossland to beeligible to receive the CARIP grant. The Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) is a conditional grant program that provides funding to BC Climate Action Charter (Charter) signatories equivalent to one hundred percent of the carbon taxes they pay directly.”
DEVELOPMENT VARIANCE PERMIT:
The owner of 1314 Cooke Avenue has applied for a variance reducing the front setback from four metres to 1.8 metres, for a double garage with a deck on top. A motion to allow the variance, on condition that the current driveway be removed, CARRIED unanimously.
2086 Washington Street – “Elevate Athletics” has applied for permission for signage and fresh paint. A motion to approve the application CARRIED unanimously.
Red Mountain Racers seek permission to construct a new timing and race office building for the Red Mountain Racers, new lighting on the T-Bar race slope and an extension of the snowmaking line. A motion to approve the application, with a list of conditions, CARRIED unanimously. Nightingale commented that she was impressed that RMR had obtained a grant to fund the effort.
Old Fire Hall – 2115 Queen Street: The application is for permission to change an entrance on the east side of the building to make it wheelchair accessible. The proposal includes a ramp, a wider door, a canopy over the door to prevent snow build-up, and a new sign. A motion approving the application CARRIED.
Council discussed a motion approving a sign identifying six “heritage neighbourhoods" in Rossland – specifically, Upper Rossland, Lower Rossland, Red Mountain, Happy Valley, and Redstone (but not including Black Bear), to be placed at 1990 Columbia Avenue. Spooner said he didn’t like it because it reads “like a real estate promotion.” Moore suggested that the areas that had Sinixt names should include those names. The motion CARRIED with only Spooner opposed.
STRATA LOT LEASE – 1920 Third Avenue:
A motion that “Council move forward with developing the lease agreement, for future Council approval, with the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society and with the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation for the affordable housing units located at 1920 Third Ave.,” CARRIED unanimously. The Council materials explain that a “Housing Agreement to be registered on title will ensure that the units remain designated as affordable housing.”
Council perused the City’s monthly payments for goods and services, and asked a few questions that staff members answered.
Water production: Morel commented on the increase over last year, especially in July and August—reflects our hot dry summer. He asked what stage Rossland is at, and Lamont said we are still at Stage Two; our water use was more restricted in July and August last year, and that accounts for lower use then. Morel noted that some communities on the coast are now at Stage 4 water restrictions.
Eye on Water app: a few more residents have signed up for this service, which enables households to track their water usage accurately; Moore encouraged everyone to sign up for it.
Midtown construction report: Nightingale pointed out that the information has been published in Council packages monthly and the project is on time and on budget.
RDKB: Morel said there is no written report this time, but noted one item related to staffing. There are now two full-time positions on the emergency operations centre staff, and he had originally questioned the need for two full-time positions, but the additional position is 50% funded by FireSmart and will benefit Rossland in the event of any emergency.
Nightingale reported that the West Kootenay Boundary Hospital Foundation Golf tourney raised $70,000 for additional equipment, and reported on her other meetings and activities.
Moore commented that she’s looking forward to the upcoming civic election. she asked whether Rotary will be hosting an all-candidates meeting, and Calder said that the Miners Hall has been reserved for a forum on September 28 at 7:00 pm.
Council recessed to an in-camera session, and your reporter went outside to continue mingling with a few prospective candidates and others before deciding to pass on further mingling at a local pub – in favour of going home for an evening snack in lieu of dinner, and a cut-throat game of Scrabble with my long-suffering husband. (He won.) All the while wondering who will serve on our next City Council, and hoping for an unprecedentedly high voter turn-out!