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Fire Services budget going up again; LCIC going strong; arena lounge use expanded; "Us and Them"

Rossland City Council Meeting, November 27, 2017

Present:  Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors John Greene, Marten Kruysse, Andy Morel, Aaron Cosbey, and Andrew Zwicker.  Absent:  Lloyd McLellan.

Public Input:

John Sullivan  spoke on behalf of Rossland Rotary about using the Miners Hall; Rotary spent about $36,000 on a kitchen renovation in the Hall in 2007, and in return, the City allowed them free use of the Hall until their agreement expired this May. Sullivan reported  that Rotary had used the Hall "about twice a year."  They'd like to extend the agreement and have some use of the Hall without charge, for their Christmas party and a "maritime kitchen party." Greene moved that since the Hall was closed for a year and not available during that time, the fees be waived for Rotary this season;  the motion CARRIED unanimously.

(Editor's note: If Rotary spent $36,000 on the kitchen renovation in 2007, and if they used the Hall twice a year for ten years, then in effect, Rotary will have paid the equivalent of $1,800 for each use of the Hall.)

Delegations: 

1.            Terry Van Horn, Executive Director of the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC), and Bill Van Beek, chair of the Lower Columbia Community Development  Team Society (LCCDTS), presented the third-quarter report for LCIC.

Van Beek reported that LCIC has signed a contract with the City of Trail for economic development, and is now negotiating with other communities in the area for contributions.

Van Horn  assured Council that wherever their funding comes from, their focus remains regional and they remain dedicated to that. Moore noted that CBT is unwilling to fund individual communities for economic development, and wondered if the funding  coming from separate communities such as Trail may interfere with that; Van Beek responded that since many are contributing, CBT recognizes that it is still a regional effort.  He noted that Kimberly and Cranbrook have difficulty obtaining CBT funding for economic development because they have been unable to come together to operate regionally. Van Horn said LCIC is already creating an "individual stakeholder request  policy,"  and if any request does not fit into their regional workplan, it won't be pursued. Van Horn added that since funders, including CBT, are not interested in providing core funding and want to focus on project funding, they will have to include 10% to 20%  administrative costs in each project. 

Van Horn's report showed that the LCIC targets set for client inquiries and sessions, as well as for "funds leveraged,"  have all been met and most of them exceeded, in some cases by 50% or more.  She also said that the website statistics are amazingly strong for an economic development office, and that  provincial government ministries have been calling with enquiries.

LCIC will be trade-marking "MetalTechAlley."

At the I4C property,  there are now four new companies: a blockchain  company, a software company, a drone company,  and a wafer sensor company;  in addition, two Brazilian companies are coming in February, one a blockchain company and one a software company.  All this activity is creating new jobs in the area, and those new jobs are revealing some issues such as housing and transportation.  Another issue ― the cost of power ― has already resulted in one company choosing to go to Alberta instead of locating a facility here.

2.            Cory Sivell of Urban Systems spoke about Asset Management Planning and its benefits for a municipality in terms of asset maintenance and tax planning. Urban Systems has been working on creating the framework for an Asset Management Plan for Rossland, and filling it in; such a plan is always an ongoing "work in progress" as it must be monitored and updated constantly. 

He noted that no community in BC, including Rossland, is fully funding the costs of its water and sewer systems by fees  and charges at this point.

Sivell pointed out that this is the first time Rossland's assets have been listed and described in such detail in one place.

Rossland's Manager of  Finance, Elma Hamming, explained that Rossland puts about 1.4 million dollars per year raised from taxes, plus grant funding, into asset maintenance and replacement. The long-term costs of asset management (and therefore, taxes) can be reduced somewhat by ensuring that the assets -- buildings, road surfaces, water and sewer pipes -- remain functional for as long as possible, without letting them deteriorate to the point where constant breakdowns and repairs end up costing more than replacement.

Chief Administrative Officer Bryan Teasdale mentioned that extending the "service life" of some assets, such as roads, may mean lowering the standard of service; we may have to think about how many pot-holes we're willing to live with.

In discussion, Cosbey said that it boils down to what we can afford to spend each year.

Morel commented that the grant funding we have obtained lately has been facilitated by having "shovel-ready" projects planned in advance.

Council Decisions:

Appointments:  A motion  CARRIED unanimously to appoint the following nine people to the Youth Action Network Advisory Committee:

                Aaron Cosbey, Rossland City Council;

                Kristi Calder, City of Rossland Manager of Recreation;

                Bryar Wood, Rossland Summit School teacher;

                Charlotte Munn, Rossland Summit School student;

                Karen Howard, J.L. Crowe CYCW;

                Scotia D'aigle, J.L Crowe student;

                Trina Kroeker, Seven Summits Centre for Learning board member;

                Sophie Wardy,  Seven Summits Centre for Learning student;

                Jennifer Ellis, member at large and parent.

 

Lease Agreement for Scout Hall:  A  motion to lease the Scout Hall land to Scout Properties (BC/Yukon) for a further five-year term, for the sum of $1 per year, CARRIED unanimously.   

Policy Review:  Council reviewed and confirmed four policies:

                Council Information;

                Council Committee Systems;

                Ethics, Conduct and Conflict of Interest  (Cosbey suggested a small correction in the language); and

                Short-term Rental Accommodation.  Moore mentioned that a map may be added, to clarify what areas are included in "old Rossland" and "the area near the Redstone clubhouse."

 

Grant Application:  A motion to apply for a Federation of Canadian Municipalities grant of $50,000 under the Municipal Asset Management Program CARRIED unanimously.  The City would have to contribute only $12,500, and the funding would be used to further develop Rossland's Asset Management Planning and Reporting Practices.

Taking care of business: Two Bylaws

Council voted unanimously to give first, second and third readings to the 2018 Annual Revenue Anticipation Bylaw, and then did the same for the 2017 to 2021 Budget and Five Year Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw.

Information Items:

                BC Ombudsman's Report: there were no complaints originating in Rossland that required investigation.

                Arena Focus Group Minutes:  Council reviewed and discussed the group's recommendations.   Cosbey moved that the Greater Trail Minor Hockey Association and the figure skating club be allowed to use the lounge at no additional charge when using the arena during the 2017-2018 season, as long as there is no separate booking for the lounge; the motion CARRIED unanimously.

Members' reports:

Greene reported that NORAM races will be at BlackJack December 16 to 18. He also noted that the Rossland Light Opera Players are seeking a director for "Trial by Jury" and if successful, may start auditioning next week.

Kruysse  referred to Jackie Drysdale's suggestion at the previous Council meeting that Rossland apply for funding for a heritage assets management plan, and moved that the City prepare a funding application to be submitted to CBT in early 2018. The motion CARRIED unanimously.

Moore had  attended an East End Services meeting, and reported that the fire services budget is going up by another 5.5%. One suggestion for reducing costs was to make the service area smaller.

Moore reported that the mayor of Warfield wants the movie "Us & Them" to be shown at the Royal Theatre in Trail, with each local government to contribute $250 toward the cost. A motion for Rossland to contribute $250 CARRIED.

(Editor's Note:  this is the 2016 documentary filmed in Victoria, BC, by Krista Loughton ― not to be confused with the 2017 movie "Us and Them" by UK writer / director Joe Martin.)

Council recessed to an in camera session, and your reporter ambled home in the dark contemplating how energy-intensive our society has become and how freely we burn fuel and electricity to light our way, to warm (or cool) our buildings, and to have our bodies carted around;  and recalling her childhood home on an island with no roads, and no electricity ― but there were wood-burning cook-stoves, gas-powered outboard motors and some diesel-powered fish-boats and tug-boats.  If flashlights or batteries were in short supply, people occasionally used "bugs" to light their way outside at night; these were tin cans with a reflective interior, held on their sides, each with a short candle mounted within.