Council Notes - April 14th

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
April 16th, 2009

Rossland Stewardship Society

Bill Miklethwaite made a brief presentation to council on behalf of the Rossland Stewardship Society introducing council to the society and outlining their goals and objectives.

Made up with many of the same members as the Citizens for Responsible Development group that emerged last year during the Red Mountain golf course/watershed development issue, the stewardship society is meant to be operated much differently than last summer’s CRD group which convened ad hoc to address a specific perceived threat to the community’s welfare. Acknowledging that “Time, resources and sometimes tempers were short,” with the CRD group the Stewardship society believes they will have more of a forum and advocacy approach.

The stated goals of the society are:
1)      Collecting generating, analysing and disseminating information relevant to Rossland resources and their use or disposition
2)      Characterizing existing lifestyle, monitoring activities which may materially alter this, challenging or advocating changes to these proposals
3)      Proposing constructive changes or alternatives to public or private initiatives affecting Rossland, it’s citizens, lifestyle or resources
4)      Promoting conservation and preservation of Rossland’s resources
5)      Collaborating with other agencies, societies or individuals in common causes
6)      Educating or assisting others to educate students and the public in support of these goals
7)      Asking appropriate questions of government and other agencies

Praising council’s recent attempts at increased communications including the City hall News newsletter, one of the hopes of the society is to continue increased communications between city hall and the people of Rossland.
“We hope that you too will be more proactive in bringing significant issues to public attention early in the process of considering them and share more fully the information made available to you so that everyone can inform themselves in a timely way,” concluded Micklethwaite.
Recreation Office Move

In a continuing effort to find a suitable home for the city’s recreation office which currently occupies the ”cubby hole”-like space (as described by mayor Granstrom) just inside the front entrance to city hall, the issue of potentially moving recreation into the rotary building beside the pool came before council again.

After re-examining the budget to renovate the Rotary building to be suitable for the recreation office, $1,000 has been shaved off the budget in a further attempt to move the project forward. The estimated cost is now $7,000.

John Reed, Rossland’s Director of Recreation, stressed that the city is currently not presenting a strong front for the service levels that should be in place for a thriving recreation program. Currently, Reed himself does not have office space to work from; he bounces around with a laptop from space to space in city hall–wherever he can find a desk to work at. A number of council members also added that the current space creates a bottleneck in the entrance to city hall as folks registering for programs have to crowd the entrance way without adequate space available.

Currently the Rotary building houses the Food Bank’s operations and has been talked about as a potential alternative site for the Pottery Society’s kiln. The kiln has been shut down in the Miners’ Hall due to building code and fire concerns.

Reed explained, “I have no intentions of displacing the Food Bank…I met with Caroline and we have looked at the space together as a possible alternative location for the kiln. We are currently putting together hard figures on the potential pottery move.”

Councillor Stradling added to the discussion that he would be opposing the renovation and move, explaining that the Rotary building is a public building and not city hall’s to use as office space and would like to see other user groups considered that have not been yet. Stradling was more concerned about the kiln in the Miners’ Hall issue than recreation office space.

Explaining that the city owns the building, Mayor Granstrom stressed that the Rotary is a city owned building and should be used for the city’s benefit first.

Councillor Spearn noted that she didn’t feel all options for finding space within city hall had been exhausted and would support the motion to move the recreation office to the Rotary building only if an extensive look through city hall for space reconfigurations was done first and found no alternative.

Ultimately, the ongoing process to find space for the recreation office was delayed again as a motion was passed to send the issue back to staff to pursue other space configurations and options within city hall before bringing the motion back to council in the future to move to the Rotary building.
CBT Grants

The Columbia Basin Trust’s period for receiving applications for the Community Initiatives Grants funding that was allocated to Rossland has come to a close. 32 applications were received in total. Rossland City Council, who awards the funding on behalf of the CBT, must now go through all of the applications and decide on who will receive funding and how much prior to the deadline of April 20th. A motion to form a committee of three councillors (including councillors Smith, Charlton and Moore to establish the evaluation criteria for the grants) was passed unanimously. The committee will now get into the depths of examining and reviewing the applications.
COW recommendations

After a busy past two weeks that included five committee-of-the-whole meetings, 26 recommendations put forward to council from the March 24th, 31st and April 6th were adopted by council. For a full list of the items see www.rossland.ca . Of note in the realm of improving communications one recommendation that was adopted included that council send out a newsletter ten times per year and that council make use of the Rossland Telegraph forum space for the next year for the purpose of soliciting feedback and responding to issues in the community.
Columbia Avenue Grant Application

The task of first upgrading the public works underneath and then rebuilding Columbia Avenue took a step forward as a memorandum from the city engineer with four resolutions for the project based around applying for a grant from the Building Canada Fund was carried by council.

The resolution certified that the City of Rossland, if successful in the application process, would budget $633,334 to design and construct the project works. The remaining 1,266,666 (2/3) of the estimated project costs would be funded by the Building Canada Fund.

Councillor Stradling brought up the question of whether or not the potential impact on costs if contaminated soil is involved in the project was considered in the budget. Noting that arsenic may be an issue due to the geology that Rossland is built upon and citing the Ferraro Foods building construction which had to do a large amount of soil remediation/replacement due to contaminated soil as a good example. From councillor Stradling’s knowledge of such situations, he estimated that dealing with contaminated soil can often double a project’s budget.

A follow up motion was made by councillor Stradling to consider any potential impact or costs if contaminated soil is involved in the project. An additional follow up motion by Councillor Charlton was added, which stated that a report from the finance manager be received to show that there are indeed sufficient unallocated funds available for the project.

The motion was passed unanimously.
Additional Agenda items and Minutes

The preceding items from March 9th’s council are highlights from the meeting and not the complete agenda. For the full agenda and minutes visit www.rossland.ca.

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