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Rossland Candidates Speak: Q&A Time!

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Last week, the Rossland Telegraph sent a series of questions to each of the candidates for election to Rossland City Council. It’s worth learning as much as possible about all the candidates, because only a well-informed electorate can gain a truly representative government – in this case, local government.

Readers who have heard any of the candidates on radio, or seen their statements in other publications or on social media, can compare and add things up. There’s also the All-Candidates Forum at the RSS gym on October 5. 

The candidates’ responses are published below, in the order received.  Not everyone provided photos.  Only one candidate chose not to respond; we received no answers from Brian Pistak.  All the others -- ten -- chose to take advantage of this opportunity.  Note:  the mayoral candidates are not included here -- they have a separate piece.  Read on! 

RICHARD KEMICK:

          Q:  Brief personal introduction.

KEMICK:   My name is Richard Kemick, and I am running for city council. I have worked in municipal recreation since arriving in Rossland five years ago, and I am currently the chair of the Rossland Library Board.

The highlight of my summer is playing on a local softball team; the highlight of my winter is playing on a local curling team. Both of these teams have names that I do not think I am allowed to say in print. Ever since my friend Angus moved away last year, I fancy myself one of the three best volleyball players in town.

This is my first time running for government office.

Q:  How do you think the City should balance residents’ need for affordable property taxes with residents’ need for services and desire for amenities?

KEMICK:  I believe that our city works best when there is a sustained investment made by residents. I am not in favour of cutting property taxes to reduce services, because I think doing so would be detrimental to Rossland over the long term. If recreation and educational facilities like the arena, the library, the museum, and our trails and parks were to close, our schools would follow shortly thereafter. Once our schools close, Rossland will become a dead community, filled primarily by Air BnBs. If, however, we continue to make a robust investment in these facilities and allow them to operate to their fullest potential, I believe Rossland will continue to be a welcoming space for individuals and businesses.

Having an array of recreational and educational outlets in our city is not only the single greatest contributor to our overall sense of community, but it also helps mitigate many of the difficulties that other small municipalities are experiencing. When we subsidize these facilities to ensure that all residents are able to enjoy them, we create a community that is less susceptible to crime, drug addiction, and striations along economic lines.

Q:  How do you think the City can best address climate change at the municipal level? 

KEMICK:  The environment is the primary lens through which governments need to view all decisions, particularly development applications. We need to protect and expand our natural wetlands, ensuring connectivity between habitats. The more vibrant and diverse ecosystems we have within our city, the more resilient we will be to forest fires.

I believe that city council can also support residents to live more symbiotically with our natural environment. Taking actions such as greening the city vehicles, the promotion of zeroscaping and xeriscaping and having year-round bear bins to scale back our reliance on curbside pickup are a few of the initiatives I support.

Q:  Please tell us your thoughts on the West High Yield plans for a magnesium mine on Record Ridge.

KEMICK:    I have serious concerns about the proposed magnesium mine on Record Ridge. I understand that Rossland council does not have power over the mining project moving forward; however, I believe we ought to make our objections heard to the provincial government.

Because of the location of this mine (and its adjacency to the Columbia River drainage area), the most rigorous environmental standards need to be applied. From the lack of transparency already demonstrated by the company, I doubt these standards are in their agenda. There needs to be consultation with the Sinixt peoples; and open-house consultation with Rossland residents and those in the surrounding areas.

In addition to my deep skepticism about the environmental sustainability of this project, I believe that the mine would have other ramifications that must be addressed. A mine in this location would decimate summer tourism. Furthermore, as demonstrated by cities like Valemount, when large-scale natural resource projects take place in small municipalities that lack the proper infrastructure, a housing crisis (as Rossland currently has) quickly turns into a housing catastrophe.

We, as a city, cannot be beguiled by the prospects of short-term jobs at the expense of the long-term health of our environment and community.

Q:  Optional:  your choice -- what else would you like voters to know about how you would like to help guide Rossland into the future?

KEMICK:  One of the best things about running for council is that it has given me the opportunity to talk with Rosslanders about the issues that are important to them. This process has allowed me to learn more about the difficulties that our city faces and also the potential it possesses. I am excited about the possibility of serving on council and contributing to Rossland’s community in the years ahead. 

If you have any questions for me or if you have any comments about what is important to you in this upcoming election, please send me an email: richardkemick@gmail.com

*   *   *

JEFF WEAVER:

Q.   Brief personal introduction. 

WEAVER:       My wife and our two girls were all born and raised in Rossland, and we have been here for 10 years now.

For the past 5 years I have travelled all over BC to over 25 communities, met with and sat through countless city council sessions, spoken with residents, and have opened an operated stores in 4 other BC municipalities.  In that time, I have gained a lot of experience with how councils operate, how they relate to their constituents, and what sort of challenges are on the horizon in small town BC.  One glaring consistency across all small communities is managing exponential growth, particularly since the COVID pandemic began, and the subsequent urban flight to rural areas. 

Too many election cycles these days are geared toward voting AGAINST something rather than FOR a vision for the future.  The Rossland I am striving for is PROgressive, NOT Regressive, and we deserve individuals on council that have the life and work experience necessary to separate the noise from the substance, to embrace what is next – not re-litigate the past – and to foster a culture at City Hall that is focused on a future for everyone.

Q:       How do you think the City should balance residents’ need for affordable property taxes with residents’ need for services and desire for amenities?   

WEAVER:      Many of the priorities the next Rossland council will face – from the TRP, the pool, affordable housing, promoting environmental building practices, water filtration upgrades – most of them are a question of balancing the priorities of the community (ie. What services you want) with the paying for those priorities (ie. Through taxation).

For example, we may want to pay less at the Trail pool, we may want to have our own outdoor pool, we may want to subsidize environmental initiatives, we may want to increase the availability of affordable and/or seniors housing – but we have to pay for it!  Alternatively, we may want to pay less taxes, but then the question becomes “what services would you like us to cut”.  This will not be, nor has it been for any council, an easy task.

For my part, I am not ideological, I have no agenda, and I will be looking to the OCP for direction on how balance our shared values with the service we must have (ie. Sewer, water, snow removal) with those that we want, and I will strive to balance competing priorities of our residents by looking at each issue individually on its merits.

Q:       How do you think the City can best address climate change at the municipal level?   

WEAVER:    Climate change is a problem that our own international government class cannot, at a macro-level, address meaningfully whatsoever, so it is up to smaller jurisdictions to come up with micro-level initiatives.

One of the challenges with climate policy is that there is often a cost associated with the benefit that we cannot see immediately – the environment is working on a different timeline – and Democracy is accountable every 4 years.  In a small municipality, funds are not as numerous as they are for provincial and federal governments, so it even more important to make sure that any initiatives we put forward have the best possible cost/benefit. 

I would look to research compiled by the ‘West Kootenay Renewable plan’ and websites like ‘The Councillors Handbook’ where they have itemized initiatives that would have the greatest return on investment.  It’s unfortunate that we must discuss climate action in terms of ROI but this is the reality of municipal politics and possibilities. 

Raising efficiency standards in new/old buildings, regional composting initiatives, encouraging EV car and bike use through charging stations and improved trail networks, and improving access to public transit are the most effective.

Q:       Please tell us your thoughts on the West High Yield plans for a magnesium mine on Record Ridge. 

WEAVER:        I am not anti or pro mining or development.  I am PRO-Rossland.  In that capacity it is important to note that the proposed mine is not within the city limits of Rossland and therefore the municipality has no jurisdiction over the possible approval or rejection of the mine site. 

Within the purview of the city of Rossland would be to potential impact any mine would have on, for example, the quality of our water, our roads, noise, or any other potential adverse affects.  That would be part of the consultancy project that, as I understand it, is still ongoing.  However, ultimately, the decision to approve a mine is with the provincial government.   

One aside, ‘Mineral Rights’ (ownership rights to underground resources) are a separate entity to the property we own above ground.  Any provincial govt can grant mining access to the owner of mineral rights irrespective of the above ground property owner(s) use of the property if they decide that would be within the “public good”.  There are still individuals and companies who have mineral right claims around Rossland that continue to drill core samples and that is part of our heritage. 

Q:    Optional:  your choice -- what else would you like voters to know about how you would like to help guide Rossland into the future? 

WEAVER:   ‘RESET’ as it appears on my signs, can be misinterpreted.  This is not a comment on the past council.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for their integrity and hard work, as they had to navigate some very controversial issues – and a pandemic! – and represent all Rossland’s constituents in a town that has grown exponentially since they first took office. 

The other day I told someone I was running for council, they told me I was brave because the town seems so ‘stuck’ – that they perceived that Rossland is divided – and that they did not envy the next council because they worried that we would be unable to get along and be productive on behalf of Rossland. 

By ‘RESET’, I mean I want to ‘reset’ that feeling.  I don’t want to be discussing issues in terms of ‘local’ vs ‘non-local’, of litigating whose opinion is more valid, or to whom Rossland belongs – it belongs to all of us!  Rossland was founded as a Gold Mining town and ‘new’ people have been coming here ever since, and I feel I have the work and life experience necessary to represent all of you, and that’s what I intend to do. 

*   *   *

STEWART SPOONER:

Q.        Brief personal introduction. 

SPOONER:    I arrived in Rossland in 1991, finding my sense of place and purpose in the close-knit community and its active outdoor lifestyle. I’ve been a committed community organizer and advocate ever since. As the operations manager with the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society since 2000, I’ve been instrumental in developing the network of recreational trails surrounding the Community, and I continue to work full-time overseeing their management and maintenance. As a founding director with the Friends of the Rossland Range Society I played a key role in the founding, planning and development of the Rossland Range Recreation Site, and I’ve contributed in large and small ways to numerous other community events and initiatives.

From a long history of engagement with local issues and as an incumbent councillor, I bring a wealth of experience in, an understanding of, and relationships within local government, a track record of respectful, thoughtful, and open engagement, and a perspective grounded in the values of sustainability, affordability, and community cooperation to the challenges that Rossland faces.

I live with my partner Elise and our two cats, in our recently rebuilt modest home, surrounded by gardens. We plan to grow old here.

Q.       How do you think the City should balance residents’ need for affordable property taxes with residents’ need for services and desire for amenities?  

SPOONER:    Achieving balance in this respect builds upon whatever understanding one has of the essential functions and responsibilities of municipalities, an appreciation of the needs and preferences of the community, and is then filtered through one's own values. My experience in government and the community ensures I have a firm grasp on the former, and my strong sense of frugality and fairness inform the latter.

Q.       How do you think the City can best address climate change at the municipal level?  

SPOONER:       In respect to mitigation, the City should continue working to meet its various commitments (including but not limited to our 100% renewable energy plan) and set a positive, progressive example.  A clear minded appreciation of the risks that climate change presents should ensure that adaptation measures are integrated into all policies, decisions and operations. 

Q.       Please tell us your thoughts on the West High Yield plans for a magnesium mine on Record Ridge. 

SPOONER:     Despite the limitations of the BC Mines Act, and that the proposed mine isn’t located within the City’s boundary, the City should continue to ensure that the community’s (environmental, economic, practical and recreational) interests and concerns are represented fully to Mine Development Review Committee (MRDC). I represented the City at the initial MRDC meeting, and continue to be engaged in the issue.  

Q.       Optional:  your choice -- what else would you like voters to know about how you would like to help guide Rossland into the future?

SPOONER:     As anyone who has engaged with me knows, I’m a practical problem-solver, who respectfully but directly asks the difficult questions and speaks my mind. Municipalities have limited responsibilities and flexibility (more so than some people think), but within that scope I expect Rossland to be governed and operated competently and ethically, and I’m willing to continue playing my part in ensuring that happens. Thanks for your consideration.

*   *   *

TIM THATCHER:

Q.       Brief personal introduction. 

THATCHER:    I was born and raised in Rossland. I have also raised two children and a granddaughter here. I worked at Teck for 39 years, the last 36 as a Firefighter, now retired, I have time to enjoy all of Rossland’s amenities. I was on the Red Mountain Ski Patrol for 32 years and with the Rossland Fire Department for 24 years. I still enjoy skiing, hitting the links at Redstone ,curling and spending time in my greenhouse growing an over abundance of vegetables. I was on City Council from 2011-2014.

Q.       How do you think the City should balance residents’ need for affordable property taxes with residents’ need for services and desire for amenities?  

THATCHER:     City taxes are a major concern to me. Over the years I have witnessed plenty of long time residents move away because of our high taxes. We want the ability to attract new families and businesses and not put too much tax burden on them. Our tax dollars have to spent wisely, providing the essential services people expect and maintaining all of the assets we currently have. We have to be careful not to over extend our means.

Q.       How do you think the City can best address climate change at the municipal level?  

THATCHER:    We can all see the climate change that is happening around the world. There are zero emissions goals set out by our senior governments that must be meet. Considerable planning will have to continue and  prioritized spending will be needed to achieve these goals, it isn’t going to be cheap. Building codes will have to be kept up to date and we will have to stay focused on new technology. Buying local and encouraging residents to grow some of their own food can also help immensely.

Q.       Please tell us your thoughts on the West High Yield plans for a magnesium mine on Record Ridge.

THATCHER:     I know Rossland was born out of mining and I am not against high paying jobs, but Rossland’s focus has changed over the years, from resource based to recreation and tourism. I think a mine on Record Ridge would have a negative impact on both tourism and recreation. Personally, I’m against any development of a mine on Record Ridge.

*   *   *

PAUL EVANS:

Q.       Brief personal introduction.

EVANS:   I am a 25-year resident of Rossland, a single father of three, living with my youngest daughter Saskja in the big yellow house on the corner of Leroi and Queen.  Australian by birth, and now aproud Canadian citizen, I am passionate about this city, its wonderful people and the outstanding lifestyle it offers. As a member of council, I would bring a wealth of business, construction and quality control expertise to the running of our beloved city. It would be my goal to ensure that the community as a whole is well served.

I spent 20+ years in the heavy construction industry, in the operations and management of power generation, mining, oil/gas projects. I supervised and coordinated technical

implementations and site inspections on large multimillion dollar projects around the world.

It would be an honour to bring my deep knowledge and breadth of experience of managing complex, multi-stakeholder initiatives to Rossland’s current and future projects. My fiscal and logistical strengths would be an asset in keeping costs in check as our city grows.

Q.      How do you think the City should balance residents’ need for affordable property taxes with residents’ need for services and desire for amenities?

EVANS:     Keeping long term, established Rossland residents in their homes needs to be a priority. Recently, many locals have struggled to keep pace with the ever-increasing cost of home ownership and higher property taxes have played a role. I have many ideas on how to maximize the effectiveness of the existing taxbase. For example, the city could bring many of the contracted-out services such as garbage and recycling and roadworks back under the city’s umbrella. The high profits currently made by of third- party contractors would be reduced and funds kept local. More local jobs would be created and the need for higher taxes could be reduced.

Q.      How do you think the City can best address climate change at the municipal level? 

EVANS:     At the municipal level, a multi-faceted approach could be taken to address climate change. Local buses could be converted to electric or hydrogen cell. I am a big proponent of the generation of electricityusing biowaste at a local level so that the city can run a full cycle process of renewable energy as opposed to being reliant on energy from elsewhere. Biowaste can be used to produce both methane and SINgas through gasification processes. These can be used to fuel a gas turbine and drive a generator. Local biowaste could run a high-efficiency generator which could more than adequately power the city of Rossland with the only output gas being carbon, which as we all know, is tree food.

Q.      Please tell us your thoughts on the West High Yield plans for a magnesium mine on Record Ridge.

EVANS:     The West High Yield Record Ridge mine is beyond the city’s jurisdiction and legislative responsibility.  Rossland city council has no direct influence of the possibility of the RRIMM Project moving forward.

Q.     What else would you like voters to know about how you would like to help guide Rossland into the future?

EVANS:    The demographics of Rossland are changing. While we welcome new residents, we need to find ways to encourage established families to stay and to maintain its affordability. Residents do not want this place to become another Whistler.

I am committed to exploring ways to maintain Rossland’s vibrancy while keeping seniors and long-term families here and encouraging new residents to be part of our community. I am also committed to the long overdue acknowledgment of the Sinixt Peoples, their culture and values.

These are gifts we all should embrace - their shared lessons are pivotal to life as we know it.  It would be my sincere privilege to serve you as one of your council members. I pledge to work for you with responsible governance and planning. I hope you will give me your vote on election day and together we can continue to shape our city into the fantastic home that it is!

*   *   *

ELIZA BOYCE:

Q.       Brief personal introduction.

BOYCE:  I’m running for council because I love Rossland, and want to keep it just as awesome for many years to come. I work as the Chief of Staff for an electric bike component company, doing operations and management. My job is to solve high-level company problems, bring in systems to make things more efficient, and manage the company finances. I’m excited to bring this expertise to the Rossland city council. As a homeowner, I'm deeply invested in the future of Rossland.

I love the outdoors, and care about preserving natural spaces to share with all of the diverse life that calls them home. A few years ago, I took a break from engineering to become a wilderness guide. It's rare to find someone who's both a certified outdoor educator and a Professional Engineer, but I think it's a great combination for Rossland.

Since moving here I've been active in the community, volunteering with Scouts (currently the Treasurer) and starting the YAN Queer Youth D&D Group (now taken over by the kids, yay!). I'm excited to preserve the amazing community spirit of Rossland while helping to manage the growth of the town in a way that benefits everyone who lives here.

Q.      How do you think the City should balance residents’ need for affordable property taxes with residents’ need for services and desire for amenities?

BOYCE:   Property taxes support so many services that help to make Rossland a great place to live. Since moving here, I've been continuously impressed by the level of service that the Rossland city staff delivers: frequent snow removal, spring yard waste pickup, public skating rinks, and so much more. An important part of my career has been managing budgets and finances. I will strive to promote fiscal responsibility and keep costs affordable without reducing the services that the city provides.

A great way to bring money into the city without raising property taxes is to find ways to boost alternative income streams. This can include finding grant funding to subsidize city costs and initiatives, and boosting business-related revenues by supporting a thriving community that attracts new business ventures to Rossland.

I don't think anyone should ever lose their house because they can't afford to pay city taxes. I would like to help make people more aware of the tax deferral program available for those 55 or older, surviving spouses, or those with a disability. I would also like to explore new ways that Rossland can help anyone outside of these groups who is struggling with paying property taxes.

Q.      How do you think the City can best address climate change at the municipal level? 

BOYCE:     In 2020, the City of Rossland joined 8 Kootenay municipalities and the Regional District of Central Kootenay in creating a plan to aim for 100% Renewable Energy by 2050. As a part of this planning process, a number of specific initiatives were laid out for Rossland to address climate change at a municipal level. The initiatives considered questions like what would make the biggest impact, and what would be easiest or hardest to implement. I support continuing to work on the initiatives from this plan, such as promoting active transportation through bike infrastructure, adding EV parking & charging, and starting organic waste pickup.

Another important thing the City can do to address climate change is take steps to better understand how the changing climate will affect Rossland, and act early to make sure the city is prepared for these changes. This might include things like wildfire mitigation or drought preparedness.

For a more extensive answer to this question, please check out my answers to the Climate Survey at: https://www.westkootenayclimatehub.ca/

Q.      Please tell us your thoughts on the West High Yield plans for a magnesium mine on Record Ridge.

BOYCE:    I used to work at a mine, and I'm not opposed to mining as an industry when practiced responsibly with excellent environmental safeguards. That said, I think there are better places to locate an open-pit mine than in the middle of an area that has huge current and future tourism potential. In the long term, I think it would serve Rossland better to preserve and enhance our outdoor resources, not pull all of the natural wealth out of the area at a significant environmental and recreational cost.

The Record Ridge mine is a very long way from approval, and many mine proposals don't move along further after generating investor interest. While the majority of the approval process rests with the provincial government, I would support a robust community consultation process that represents the interests of Rossland's citizens, the Sinixt peoples, local tourism operators, and other affected parties.See here for the city's current comments on this proposal:

https://rossland.ca/community-concerns-over-west-high-yield-resources-ltd-w-h-y-record-ridge-industrial-mineral-mine-magnesium-project-rrimm-project/

Q.     What else would you like voters to know about how you would like to help guide Rossland into the future?

BOYCE:     What makes Rossland special? Why do we all choose to live here?

Personally, I settled down in Rossland because I love the mountains and the uncrowded recreational activities that surround us. I love the community spirit of the town, where people are independent and resourceful and always down for a potluck. I love that the kids of the town still play outside, sledding down hills and hanging out in the ball diamond. I love watching the dogs taking themselves on walks, and the various critters wandering through my backyard. I love that housing is still affordable, although I worry that this is changing.

I look forward to learning about all of the reasons that you love Rossland too, so that we can work on preserving the best parts of the community together.

*   *   *

SAM TROY: 

Q:     Brief personal introduction:

TROY:    My name is Sam Troy and I have been a resident of Rossland for over 25 years. I was born and mostly raised in BC and have been fortunate enough to travel beyond, on occasion. I have raised my freshly graduated from high school son in our community and have been most appreciative for all that has offered. I have a traditional undergraduate degree from UBC and I have been a professional silviculture worker for over 30 years. I am an experienced first aid responder and a professional driver. I have been the ski patrol dispatcher at Red Mountain since 2006. I am the Health and Safety Chair for the United Steelworkers, Local 9705, and I am the co-chair of Red Mountain Resorts Joint Occupational Heath & Safety Committee. I want to be a city council member because it suits my sensibilities of engaging in public service and being an active participant with regards concerning the ongoing development and well being of our community.

          Q.      How do you think the City should balance residents’ need for affordable property taxes with residents’ need for services and desire for amenities?

TROY:   Affordability is becoming an increasingly stressful to manage tangibility in most of our daily lives. The City’s priorities should be maintaining the provision of core services such as water, sewer and garbage as well as road & snow removal maintenance. Infrastructure facilitating these services needs to be assessed and upgraded as necessary to ensure future viability. The desire for taxes to be prioritized for specific amenities is a fluid issue. Ongoing public engagement is crucial in determining those priorities. Rossland needs to plan for how it will fund its policing requirements as our population approaches 5000 folks. I am also very interested in what it would entail for the City to invest in its own walk-in medical clinic. Would this be a service, or an amenity?

          Q.      How do you think the City can best address climate change at the municipal level?

TROY:   Climate change is a big deal. Mitigating and adapting to  these changes requires everyone’s participation. At a municipal level I support ongoing partnerships with shareholders which help fund these adaptations & mitigations. I support further energy reductions and investments in non fossil fuel energy supplies ( I would like a few less streetlights on at night, in order to better enjoy our night sky). I am committed to strengthening our commuter bike trail network. I would also like to encourage the City to participate with other municipalities and local governments in bringing a class action lawsuit against global fossil fuel companies for a fair share of climate change costs ( think of similar tactic used against “big tobacco”).

          Q.      Please tell us your thoughts on the West High Yield plans for a magnesium mine on Record Ridge.

TROY:   The prospect of having an open pit mine in my backyard is dismal. Natural resource extraction is ugly, recreationally invasive and environmentally consequential. That being said, Rossland would not exist if it were not for violent invasive resource extraction. The need for these resources to provide necessary materials for items our society depends upon is indisputable. It is not in the lane of municipal authority to determine W.H.Y.’s operational permitting. It is therefore in our interest to be very engaged with the agencies who are in control. Community development planning will be a most relevant consideration. It is a disappointment that it is not a Canadian company which is exploiting this opportunity.

          Q.     What else would you like voters to know about how you would like to help guide Rossland into the future?

TROY:    I have respect for all of the individuals who have been nominated as candidates for our City Council, and I would look forward to working diligently with any of them in our endeavour of community maintaining & better-ing. I also have respect for our past councils and the best intentions of the citizens who committed themselves to the governance of Rossland. I love my home here deeply and it is important to me to actively participate in Rossland’s ongoing development. I am excited to learn much more about how the dynamics between City staff & City council actually function. I want to be a helpful, forward thinking and consensus seeking community member who is accessible and accountable to my fellow community members. I have no specific agenda, just a desire to represent my community equitably and accountably. I encourage all eligible citizens to please exercise your right to participate & vote for your city council members on October 15th!

*   *   *

LISA KWIATKOWSKI:

Q:     Brief personal introduction:

KWIATKOWSKI:   Hello! My name is Lisa Kwiatkowski (pronounced: Quiet-Cow-Ski) and I’m running for Rossland City Council because I care about building and maintaining a Rossland for every citizen. I bring my extensive experience in governance and leadership and a passion for community service and engagement.

I purchased my home in Rossland in November of 2020 and have loved every minute being a part of this community. Since arriving, I have volunteered for the Rossland Football Club, was named President of the Rossland Winter Carnival Society, and named President of the Muddbunnies Riding Club BC which has a local chapter in Rossland.

In my professional life, I am CEO for a national youth non-profit, and serve on the Board of Directors for Sport BC.

While Councillor is an elected position, it is also a job requiring effective governance; leadership; communication; strategic planning; finance & budgeting; collaboration; and active listening skills. These are skills that are not acquired simply through the qualities of passion and a long community record. I have over 20 years of experience in non-profit governance, leadership, and large-scale project management. Combined with my dedication to our community, I hope to earn your vote on October 15th!

Q:  How do you think the City should balance residents’ need for affordable property taxes with residents’ need for services and desire for amenities?

KWIATKOWSKI:    I believe effective budget management starts with a clear set of values-based goals, then builds into a strategic plan.  Due to the work of Council, staff, and citizens in our community over the last number of years, Rossland has recently approved our Official Community Plan (OCP) which is our collective vision for the future growth and development of the community. The OCP reflects the ideas and input of the people who live and work in Rossland.

The role of Council - together with staff and ongoing community engagement - is to align and prioritize the direction provided in the OCP with existing and new sources of revenue to balance the budget, while maintaining a responsible growth trajectory.

While residential property taxes are currently the primary source of revenue for city services and amenities – opportunities exist to welcome more light industry and commercial business into the City to lessen the tax load on residents. Innovative partnerships with regional and provincial agencies also open opportunities for shared capital investments in housing, important community infrastructure and global issues such as climate action.

            Q:  How do you think the City can best address climate change at the municipal level?

KWIATKOWSKI:   Social, economic, and environmental resilience is a responsibility we all have as interdependent members of this community. And I believe there is no issue more acute than climate change.

All levels of government have an urgent obligation to put climate action at the heart of every decision and every budget line item. As a municipal government, we have levers within our procurement and city service contract renewals; waste management, organics & recycling bylaws and systems; new construction standards and permitting; city operations; and enforcement of existing bylaws that contribute to environmental welfare.

As a regional leader, Rossland can also use our voice at the table of the RDKB to mobilize knowledge and advocate for innovative regional initiatives that promote climate action related to regional transportation, renewable energy infrastructure, and industry.

Most importantly, the City – including staff and Council - needs to continue to rely on science, evidence, and data to drive decisions. Good governance is not directed by the loudest voices in the room; but by thoughtful, consistent, and informed decision making.

Q.   Please tell us your thoughts on the West High Yield plans for a magnesium mine on Record Ridge.

KWIATKOWSKI:    As a member of our community, I am concerned about a prospective mining operation with such proximity to where we live, work, and recreate. In addition, I’m concerned about the potentially devastating environmental and ecosystem damage that mining projects introduce to the area.

In terms of this specific proposal, my understanding from a subject-matter expert is that it is in a very early phase and led by a small exploratory company. The process to secure an Environmental Management Permit from the Province, and subsequently a Permit to Mine, is significant – and made even more challenging with high standards from the Province and First Nation land rights holders.

Additionally, this company will need to determine that the magnesium deposit is quantifiable and a viable economic resource to sell it off to a larger company who can then build the mine.

So while the risk rating is very low now, I do feel that it is the responsibility of Council – together with our regional partners – to closely monitor the situation and dedicate resources to ensuring our collective voices are at the table if the time comes.

Q.    Optional: your choice -- what else would you like voters to know about how you would like to help guide Rossland into the future?

KWIATKOWSKI:   I believe Rossland is, and can continue to be, a City for everyone. I would be honoured to serve our community with my governance skills, community involvement, and positive leadership qualities. I also hope everyone takes the time to get out and vote! Voting dates are October 5 th , 12 th and 15th between 8am and 8pm at the Miners’ Hall. There is nothing more powerful and important than making sure your voice is counted on election day.

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MAYA PROVENCAL:

Q.   Brief personal introduction.   

PROVENCAL:  I am a born and raised Rossland-er. I left the area in 2016 to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in political science and to start my career in the public sector. I just couldn’t stay away, though, so my partner and I bought a house and moved back to Rossland last year!

I am hard-working, curious, empathetic, passionate, and community-minded. I have 7 years of experience as an environmental educator and community organizer, having worked with governments and non-profit organizations at all levels. I am now working with Neighbours United (formerly the West Kootenay EcoSociety) where I manage the organization’s climate campaigns. I am also currently pursuing a Master’s degree in community development and hope to defend my thesis, which explores the impact of extreme heat on vulnerable and priority populations in the West Kootenay region, next year.

Outside of my professional and academic life, I enjoy spending time with family, enjoying the outdoors with my partner and our dog, reading, traveling, and indulging in reality TV.

Q.       How do you think the City should balance residents’ need for affordable property taxes with residents’ need for services and desire for amenities? 

PROVENCAL:   Having worked with governments and nonprofits, I have experience with critically analyzing budgets and financial statements to ensure tax dollars - your dollars - are being spent responsibly. Health and safety services (eg. fire, sewer, water, snow clearing) are the bare bones of municipal services, and should be paid by the taxpayer. This includes ensuring tax dollars are contributing to a fund for the replacement of assets. However, as communities change, so too does the need to reimagine what is considered essential infrastructure, such as housing, library services, and climate change adaptation needs.

As social planning demands continue to be downloaded to the municipality, we need to ensure a shared responsibility between senior governments and local governments to support residents, particularly vulnerable populations. This can be achieved through engagement with typically excluded populations, promotion of financial assistance programs (eg. BC homeowners grant), and supporting staff in their work to apply for grants that could supplement the cost of eligible services and amenities.

Q.       How do you think the City can best address climate change at the municipal level?

PROVENCAL:   According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, nearly 50% of GHG emissions in Canada occur within areas under direct or indirect control of municipal governments. In order for Canada to meet emissions targets and prevent the worst impacts of climate change from happening, it is essential that local governments promote climate solutions within their respective jurisdictions.

I am proud of the work that I have already done with Neighbours United and the City of Rossland to pass a 100% renewable energy commitment for our community. I am committed to continuing the work of implementing our transition plan and engaging residents in the process to ensure fair and equitable outcomes.

Regional collaboration is key to addressing climate change at the local level. By working together, local governments can increase active transportation connectivity and public transportation routes between communities to reduce emissions. Regional collaboration on climate solutions also creates more opportunities to access funding from senior governments and other grantmaking organizations to support climate change related programs.

Lastly, I believe that the City has a responsibility to increase community resilience to the impacts of climate change through land-use planning, infrastructure and natural asset management, recreation programming, and emergency preparedness.

Q.       Please tell us your thoughts on the West High Yield plans for a magnesium mine on Record Ridge.

PROVENCAL:   Mining assessments and approvals are outside municipal jurisdiction and largely controlled by the province. The role of local government is to use their position to amplify residents’ concerns, which the City is currently doing through their representative on West High Yield’s consultation committee. I will ensure that the consultation process is transparent, accessible, and includes the voices of youth who offer a unique perspective given their stake in the future.

The reality is, this project is unlikely to proceed. In addition to facing many regulatory hurdles, the current proponent lacks the financing and technical expertise: the business case demonstrates that the cost for extracting and delivering the magnesium to market may not provide an adequate return on investment.

Most importantly, this project points to the need to balance economic activity with environmental and social concerns. It’s important to recognize that Rossland was built on mining, and as we shift to widespread electrification, mining remains a requirement in today’s world. However, we also know that mining is inherently unsustainable. West High Yield’s proposal has highlighted the demand for a community wide conversation about how to address extractive projects of this kind in a way that promotes environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

Q.      Optional:  your choice -- what else would you like voters to know about how you would like to help guide Rossland into the future?

PROVENCAL:    I am not a single-issue candidate; the role of a city councillor is not to push a specific agenda but to make decisions that will result in the best possible outcome for their constituents and for future generations. One of my strengths is my ability to consider multiple viewpoints and the interconnectedness of issues when making decisions. I lead with the understanding that decisions can not be made “in a vacuum” but instead need to take multiple factors into account, including community input, environmental impacts, accessibility, budgetary constraints, and equity and inclusion. If elected, I will ensure that diverse perspectives are considered in the decision making process by increasing council’s engagement with the public because, for example, I would like to work with city staff to create a youth council, implement a system for live-streaming council meetings, and continue the use of engagement tools such as surveys, public hearings, and stakeholder meetings.

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CRAIG HUMPHERYS:

Q:   Brief personal introduction.  

HUMPHERYS:     I have lived in Rossland since 1993. In that time my wife and I have raised two children and have enjoyed a life that could only have been lived in a town like Rossland.  I have been involved in many groups over the years including Red Mountain Volunteer Ski Patrol, Rossland Winter Carnival, and Red Mountain Racers. Additionally, I worked as a trail builder for the KCTS and have been a soccer coach for both the Rossland Youth Soccer league and the J.L. Crowe High school team. I am also a member of the Rossland Friends of Refugees. I currently work for Canada Post in Trail and Rossland, for many years I worked in silviculture as a tree planter and supervisor in B.C. I have also worked, building timber frame homes. I have studied business and have diplomas in Fine Woodworking, Horticulture and Permaculture and continue to have an active interest in small scale local food production and food security issues.    

Q:       How do you think the City should balance residents’ need for affordable property taxes with residents’ need for services and desire for amenities?

                   HUMPHERYS:    The need for services and amenities within our communities and the need to keep taxes to a minimum requires planning and skill. I believe in paying taxes to support our services and amenities, as long as the process is transparent, and the taxes are spent where they are meant to be spent. I believe that if the residents have a level of trust in their governing bodies, then taxation improves our collective quality of life. Having looked at the budget proposed for the next financial year, I believe the taxes charged are fair and justified. Further, the city has shown itself to be communicative and transparent in how and where these taxes are used, while continuing to keep Rossland in a solid fiscal position.

Small towns like Rossland require an engaged citizenry that is willing to volunteer and work with not-for-profit organizations to help create our art and culture bodies, sporting groups, youth groups, festivals, carnivals, etc. These groups help fill the gap between what a town can afford and what a town can do. I hope this spirit of community involvement continues. I will be an advocate for all our volunteer and not for profit organizations within the city.          

Q:       How do you think the City can best address climate change at the municipal level?

HUMPHERYS:     We are living through a period of unprecedented and rapid climate change. To address these challenges, Rossland City and the previous councils have created a road-map and the framework to help us achieve our goals of reaching Carbon neutral by 2050, with the Official Community Plan. I believe this document is outstanding in its design and its ability to help us all, both residents and Council and City work collaboratively to achieve this goal.           

             Q:    Please tell us your thoughts on the West High Yield plans for a magnesium mine on Record Ridge.

HUMPHERYS:    I believe that Rossland offers a quality of life that is arguably one of the best on the planet. Most of us are very happy living here and enjoy all that life in a well-serviced, small mountain town with numerous recreation opportunities has to offer. Would a mine improve this reality ? I doubt it. Yet, our society requires the raw materials that not only provide for, but can also improve our lives, jobs, and related spin-offs. Rossland as we know it today has its foundations in mining.  In terms of jurisdiction, Rossland has little control over what happens outside the city boundaries, leaving us with the options of lobbying various levels of government to have at least some control over what occurs in the future. City staff have already engaged in discussions with those involved. At present, the project is still in a planning phase and may not happen at all. However, it is a good moment for all of us to reflect on what we all value about our community and recognise that we all create a footprint, large or small.

Q:       Optional:  your choice -- what else would you like voters to know about how you would like to help guide Rossland into the future?

 HUMPHERYS:          The next fifteen years will be critical for the world and the future we create for ourselves. The key to our success is how we design our systems to meet and address challenges. Rossland's OCP is an example of good design within the field of civic management as it provides an overall vision of where we need to get to.

We have become reliant upon vast lines of distribution across the province, country, and globe to supply us with our needs and wants. This has been successful while fuel and resources remained relatively cheap. With burgeoning populations around the world and the commensurate increase in demand for literally everything, we have discovered limits to our globalized supply chains, and risks to food security. Collectively, we have made some mistakes; perhaps a more empathetic, less wasteful, more inclusive approach to society and our economies both locally and globally is required. I believe the future we all want can be achieved if we share a common vision and work toward it . To this end, I commit myself to work with honesty, integrity, diligence and respect, in collaboration with fellow councillors, mayor and city to help build a resilient and successful community.

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