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Rossland's dynamic library; a plea from seniors about recreation; a push for mixed-use on the Emcon lands; a courtroom farce?

Rossland City Council Meeting, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Present:  Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Marten Kruysse, John Greene, and Andy Morel.  Absent: Lloyd McLellan, Andrew Zwicker, and Aaron Cosbey. (Two out of town, one ill.)

Mayor Moore welcomed and introduced Shirley Rhodes, who is filling in as Deputy Corporate Officer for a maternity leave.

Delegations:

1.  Rossland's dynamic library:

Christa Ford presented an update for the Rossland Public Library.

 The library is now offering a new thing to borrow -- a family pass to the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre!  This pass can be borrowed for one week with a library card, and admits two adults and their children.  Other very popular non-standard items to borrow from the library are the pressure canner, dehydrator and apple corer/peeler.  Visits to the library are increasing; Ford reported that visits have increased by 61% from 2011 to 2016. In keeping with our more electronic times,  e-materials now account for 16% of items checked out.  Toddler Time is a new program for children too old for Books and Babies but too young for school, and for school kids, an after-School drop-in program is open from Tuesday to Friday.

2. A plea from the Rossland Senior's Association:

Carol Albo and Barb Roberts  came to tell Council that the double fees for accessing the Trail Aquatic Centre are a major concern for many of Rossland's 800 seniors.  They pointed out the many age-friendly actions taken by neighbouring communities; people over 80 swim for free at Castlegar, and some Rosslanders now prefer to drive to Castlegar to swim (and shop and dine while there) rather than pay the double fee that Trail charges Rosslanders.  They noted that people from Castlegar and other places further away  aren't required to pay the doubled fee -- just Rosslanders.  Many seniors are on fixed pensions, and cannot afford the increased fees as the cost of living rises. The light resistance programs at the Aquatic Centre are ideal for promoting healing after surgery, such as joint replacements; and the other activities available there are ideal for keeping elders active and healthy. Albo and Roberts asked Council to ensure that a cross-section of seniors be consulted during  the recreation facilities and programs  review.   

Moore responded that Council is still working toward meeting seniors' recreational needs, and will be consulting with seniors; she reminded everyone about Rossland's limited tax base, and acknowledged that the "situation with Trail" is unfortunate.  She reviewed briefly the history of Rossland's withdrawal from the regional recreation service, and explained that Trail has a right to charge Rosslanders whatever it wants  to use the Aquatic Centre, even though the doubled fee seems unfair and punitive to Rosslanders, especially children and seniors.

3.  Managing our heritage properties?

Jackie Drysdale for the Heritage Commission: 

Drysdale proposed applying for funding and expertise for a "heritage properties management plan" for Rossland. Heritage BC had put on a webinar on the topic; Rossland has one of the largest concentrations of heritage buildings in BC.  She pointed out that conserving and maintaining old buildings is "greener" ― has a smaller ecological footprint ― than new construction.  The heritage classification of a building relies on the exterior, the façade, of a building; interiors can be refurbished and modernized. She pointed out that Rossland's heritage buildings are a community asset.  

Drysdale reported that Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has established a $660,000 capacity building arm of its newly-created 6.3 million dollar heritage fund.  In talking with the program manager of Heritage BC, Drysdale reported, Rossland is recognized as "leading the east and West Kootenays in heritage." She added, "Rossland would be a prime candidate to receive professional and financial assistance to create a made-in-Rossland heritage properties management plan."

The application would be from the City; the Heritage Commission is willing to help. CBT has a new part-time heritage planner.  Drysdale also suggested the City's financial contribution to a useful heritage properties management plan could be "nil."

Kruysse asked if Drysdale  sees the heritage management plan "embedded in an OCP."  Drysdale said she sees it as a reference document, and helpful for future grant applications.

Moving toward developing the Emcon lands:

Thoughtexchange Letter 

Darin Recchi of Thoughtexchange spoke to a letter by Dave MacLeod, Chief Executive Officer of Thoughtexchange, and its Chief Operating Officer, Jim Firstbrook, urging Council to support mixed-use development of the western half of the Emcon lot, with both residential and commercial uses.  Recchi referred to the support among Rossland medical practitioners for a shared-use facility; he noted that Thoughtexchange is looking for larger premises in Rossland than are currently available, and would prefer to be a long-term tenant than an owner. 

Moore noted that mixed-use development is in line with the City's plans, and that CBT and BC Housing are both interested in working with the City on it.

Council Decisions:

Request from Kootenay Outdoor Education and Learning Society (KOEL):

At the previous Council meeting on October 23, Craig DeLong requested Council support for an application for funding, to be submitted to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.  The catch:  "support" from the City would mean committing to provide at least 10% of the total cost of the project, probably $10,000. At that time, Council noted that the proposal should be submitted to the Sustainability Commission for input.  At this meeting, a motion to that effect CARRIED unanimously.

Request from Youth Action Network  for meeting space.  The Youth Action Network (YAN) is a City entity, as is the Heritage Commission.  YAN's Mike Kent had mentioned the space in the basement of the Miners Hall formerly used by Ilo's; Morel spoke in favour of it; Moore noted that if a rental came up for the space, the rental would "bump" YAN.

The motion to allow YAN to use the former Ilo's space CARRIED.

2018 Council Meeting Schedule: Council approved the following schedule for Council meetings, noting that all meetings will begin at 6:00 pm unless otherwise noted. The Tuesday meetings follow statutory holidays and are in bolded print below.

Monday ‐ January 8, 2018                            

Monday ‐ January 22, 2018                         

Tuesday – February 13, 2018*   

Monday ‐ February 26, 2018                       

Monday ‐ March 12, 2018                            

Monday ‐ March 26, 2018                            

Monday ‐ April 9, 2018                  

Monday ‐ April 23, 2018                    

Monday ‐ May 7, 2018                      

Tuesday ‐ May 22, 2018                                

Monday ‐ June 11, 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Monday, September 24, 2018

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Monday, October 22, 2018

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Monday, November 26, 2018

Monday, December 10, 2018

Acting Mayor Schedule for 2018:  Council approved a month-by-month schedule setting out which council member will serve as acting mayor in the event that the mayor is unable to be present.

A new backhoe!   Council approved a tender from Brandt Tractor for a new backhoe, including a five-year warranty, for $108,085, which includes a trade-in and sales tax.

Bylaws:

Council unanimously adopted the Noxious Weed Bylaw, then the Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw and finally the Zoning Amendment Bylaw.  Moore stated that Council will work with CKISS (Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society) to communicate more information to residents about knotweed.

Council reviewed the following:

a) Updated Task List

b) October 2016 and 2017 Building Permit Reports; Council members noted that Rossland is growing; we may think our taxes are high, but compared with other areas, they're reasonable and our real estate prices are still comparatively low.

c) October 2017 Monthly Public Works Report.  Moore  noted that the new snow removal staff "are doing a great job." Council and CAO Bryan Teasdale discussed the problem of people using the City's boulevard areas for parking their vehicles and toys when it is required for snow storage. They mentioned bylaw enforcement measures.

d) Rossland Water Consumption 2010 ‐2017; higher than previous few years.

e) Invoices Paid for Municipal Services October 2017; Council approved the October 2017 cheque register report.

 

Information Items:

a) Tourism Rossland 2018 Escape Guide Advertising Opportunity

Recommendation to receive and provide direction to staff.  A motion that the City have the same size ad as last year CARRIED.

b) October 30, 2017 Heritage Commission Meeting Minutes

Recommendation to receive and approve all recommendations within; Moore said she will talk with J. Drysdale and the Design Review Panel members about the review of the design guidelines.

c) Updated Terms of Reference for the Youth Action Network

Recommendation to receive and approve the Terms of Reference as presented except for one small change noted.

 

Members' Reports:

Kruysse and Moore went to the affordable housing conference in Castlegar;  he had thought it would be about affordable market housing, but felt that it turned more to subsidized housing.

Moore found the Remembrance Day celebration at the Legion very moving.

Moore asked that the Regular Council Meeting scheduled for December 11 be moved to December 14, with a Committee of the Whole meeting to start at 4:00 pm; a motion to do that CARRIED. The request was made to accommodate attendance at a Resort Municipality Initiative meeting in Vancouver.

Teasdale and Moore recently presented on asset management to an audience of about 120 people in Vancouver.

Moore welcomed Kristy Calder, who  will be our new manager of recreation, starting on November 20th.

Moore said there have been requests to leave some bike racks up over the winter; Manager of Public Works Darrin Albo had not heard about that.

Greene thanked Public Works for moving the piano gazebo and promised that he will have it engineered for next year so it won't have to be removed for the winter.  He also thanked Moore for her support for  the Rossland Light Opera's next performance, "Trial By Jury" a Gilbert and Sullivan courtroom farce.