DemocracySTORM: What YOU thought Rossland should spend MORE money on

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
February 10th, 2013

Below are 49 categories into which I put people’s responses to the question, What should Rossland spend MORE money on?

Separate articles address the questions: What should Rossland spend LESS money on? What other key points should council consider before passing the budget? And we also address concerns people have raised about DemocracySTORM.

The categories listed below are in alphabetical order, accompanied by more detailed (and uncensored) input some respondents chose to give. I did not contribute my own ideas.

You can vote on your favourite ideas by following this link and entering a name and email, or by subscribing to the Rossland Telegraph newsletter. The polls are open until midnight on Sunday, Feb. 24.

Rossland should spend MORE money on:

Amalgamating Lower Columbia municipalities

“Amalgamation might provide more percentage spent on education”

Analyzing expenses and efficiencies—compare with other jurisdictions with aim to reduce taxes

“Need comparable stats for similar size cities to understand ideal spending”

“Sustainability- comprehensive studies on how to reduce taxes”

“I believe city works staff could work more efficiently with their time.  We could do more ( or the same) with less people that work more productively.”

“We need a relevant external benchmark. How do we know what is reasonable without a reasonable basis for comparison?”

Analyzing expenses and efficiencies—review staff pay scales and compare to similar municipalities.

“Council is spending too much of its budget on administration.”

“Study on reducing city staff costs while maintaining services.”

Bear Aware and bear resistant garbage solutions

“Eliminate curbside pick up, bulk purchase of household bins to resell to residents at a reasonable cost, communal dumpsters, community composting of kitchen waste,”

“Bear proof garbage cans – bears should not be dining out downtown.  Creates a hazard to people and habituates the bears to eating garbage and wanting to be near a populated area.  Not just funding for information distribution, I want to see definite bear related improvements / changes.  Homes with unattended fruit trees should be contacted / canvassed directly by Bear Aware to alert them to the problem their yard poses and what options their are (volunteer fruit pickers).  Often people have good intentions but never get around to picking up the phone – Bear Aware could facilitate that change by meeting the homeowner and setting up a picking time.”

[Note: Harvest Rescue, organized by David Klein (david@ashtec.ca) already leads a volunteer fruit-picking service each fall for Rossland and the surrounding area.]

Broadband internet access

“The most critical infrastructure (after the basics) that a municipality can deliver is fibre to the home and business which can be utilized by one or many service providers. Make sure there is budget to figure this out.”

Business incubator to attract small business

“Let’s try to attract small businesses to set up shop here.  Maybe with a focus in small high-tech firms (that could take advantage of our fiber internet backbone).  We’ve got a great location that many people want to live in, we just have to attract self-starters here.  Maybe give them free office space for a year, try to co-ordinate with universities to create a program where students from various faculties get credit for coming here for a term to come up with a business plan.”

“Marketing Rossland as a place to live, start a business.”

Bylaw enforcement (including dogs, noise, pollution) and bylaw education

“Many of our bylaws are intended to improve the quality of life in Rossland:  picking up dog poop, limiting outdoor burning/smoke production, ‘NO idling” so that Rossland’s air is cleaner and we don’t waste energy and emit excessive greenhouse gases … but many people flout these bylaws and would be much less likely to do that if we had some enforcement happening.  I even see dog shit on the downtown sidewalks where we aren’t supposed to have dogs at all.”

“Many people aren’t aware of such bylaws as those restricting outdoor burning, idling, no dogs on the main drag, and so on.  There are no signs downtown to inform people about “no dogs here” or “no idling” or the potential penalties, and there’s little public education about the REASONS for those bylaws.”

“Spend more to enforce what’s on the books and it will, if done correctly, generate positive cash flow. If the city isn’t prepared to enforce them, then the bylaws should be removed.”

“Resident’s Responsibility Education i.e. Picking up after your dogi.e. Dogs kept on a leashi.e. Noise, i.e. lawn mowing, dogs barking, and how it effects your neighboursi.e. Litter and the cost of clean up”

“Get the bloody dogs out of the business area. Not every one is a dog lover. As a matter of fact, some people are very afraid of dogs! I have a friend who visited here during the summer  but will not be visiting Rossland again because she is terrified of dogs. Not to mention the fact that I do not enjoy dodging “land mines” every time I walk down the main street! Is Rossland a people friendly city or is council going to continue to let it “go to the dogs”? Believe me; dogs on main street cost the merchants money!”

“Quality of life issues esp bylaw enforcement of noise pollution”

“I am confused. We don’t have a bylaw officer and there is certainly nothing resembling animal control. How much was spent and where is this money going?”

“A means to have and keep the city we want, in order to attract more families and tourists. Also, most likely, a way to collect revenue given many Rosslander’s and tourist’s disregard for our town.”

“I think more attention ($) should be paid to bylaw enforcement. Traffic and pedestrians are on a collision course.  Between J-walking (everybody does it) and J-turning vehicles it is only a matter of time before somebody gets mowed down.  The traditional U-turns are also more difficult with the bump outs in place.  The bylaws should cover this kind of behaviour for the safety of our community.”

“I think that there needs to be better animal control in Rossland. This should be covered by the pet owners under their licensing fees.”

Bylaw enforcement on encroachment (i.e. private structures in setbacks or on city property)

“Since Rossland has few sidewalks, alleyways can for make excellent pedestrian friendly routes through town.  The blind-eye that has been turned toward situations where people build structures (fences, sheds, etc…) on property that does not belong to them, resulting in the alleyways being unusable to pedestrians, is an area that could be greatly improved through actual enforcement of existing bylaws.”

Chasing provincial and federal funding

City councillor pay increase

Cleaning up properties to improve look of whole city

Combining some services at regional level (e.g. share maintenance equipment)

“Combining service delivery with others (Schools; RD; etc)”

“It is time to work more closely with surrounding communities. We need to contribute to regional recreation, sport and culture, services. Let’s look at sharing some expensive city maintenance equipment etc.”

“Cooperation with our neighbours in recreation and infrastructure. We need to quit trying to duplicate services that are available elsewhere in Greater Trail.  We should do some things well and let other communities do other things well.  We should support them in their areas and expect their support in ours.  This applies to recreation infrastructure (pool, fields, sport programs etc)  It also applies to sewer water power type infrastructure.”

Communicating with citizens, improve direct democracy

“Providing information to electors ie true cost of projects”

“Assign a staff person the job of community outreach; public contact through newsletters, making presentations to groups etc. Community engagement takes investment in time, energy and money (but not as much as one might think)”

“Provide larger space for public input on major issues -rental??”

“Revisiting direct democracy, with live meetings on the web, and a forum
for public input.”

Community Groups—arts, culture, recreation, and environment

“Our network of organizations that support recreation, arts, culture, and environmental initiatives is what makes our community so rich and vibrant. These organizations, in turn, provide many important services to the community (eg. Neighbourhood of Learning keeping K-12 education in our town – hopefully!) The City needs to support these organization because they are part of how our community functions so well.”

“Increased subsidies to local art, culture, sports”

“Continue to support community groups but make sure each group provides value for the contribution; require annual reports-  (though we do usually get them from most groups) Share the reports with the community so citizens know what they are getting.”

“Children’s recreation: A means to have and keep the city we want, in order to attract more families and tourists.”

Community groups—Library

Community groups—Museum

“0.68% of revenue = cheap cultural enrichment.”

Community Groups—social support, e.g. senior’s health, education for all, poverty alleviation, …

“Social support programs – follow Maslow’s hierarchy”

“Health of citizens physical, mental emotional spiritual”

“Supporting educational opportunities, for everybody.”

“Subsidizing poor families to participate in recreation, etc.

“Rossland has strong not for profit organizations that support the goals of the City. Supporting these groups financially is a low cost means to providing multiple services to the community such as sports programing, arts and culture, educational opportunities, recreation opportunities, etc…”

Developing affordable housing

“Find ways to develop low cost housing (less than $300k units)”

Developing alternative energy—wind, solar, geothermal from mine shafts, …

Dog park and more poop bag dispensers

“Create a dog park so people stop walking their dogs OFF leash in Happy

“More dog poop bag dispensers and garbage bins in key problem areas”

Emcon lot development for recreation

“Budget to remove the southern building.”

Equitable access to Trail’s pool and recreation services

“We want to pay on par with Trail for using the pool and other services. I.e, $6 per adult not $12 to accompany your child into the water”

“I would like the City of Rossland to spend money on recreation with Trail. I do not like how Rossland is independent from Trail. The question that was asked during our last vote was not clear and basically asked if we wanted to pay more taxes to be part of the recreational programme with Trail. I do not recall being asked if I wanted to pay for many of the things that Rossland is paying for and it seems obvious that the question was worded so that the citizens would vote ‘no’. The fact that some citizens are getting some money so that they do not have to pay double to go to the Trail Aquatic Center does not seem fair and equitable. It is great that children and others get some funding to go to the pool but what about seniors or people who need to go to the pool for pain relief?”

[Note: The pool subsidy program is available to seniors. Inquire at City Hall.]

Establish proper development charges for developers

Get large trucks out of downtown (one idea: bypass behind Ferraros)

Greening town—electric bikes, golf carts, quads…

Greening town—reduce street lights, turn off after 1 a.m.

“Seeking our environmentally friendly ways of doing what we already do…
Things like our streetlights (off at 1 am, rotating)  transportation laws (golf carts on the road, quads, promote electric bikes).”

Infrastructure—a skatepark

Infrastructure analysis: determine remaining life, develop long term capital plan for upgrades, …

“Strategic (long term) investments, versus tactical (short term) items
These are items that attract people (and therefore their time and money) to live and visit ROssland…..they must be aimed at attracting younger people (families) through a enhanced lifestyle (recreation, education, quality of life)…..every capital opportunity must be gauged against those objectives to increase the sustainability and health of the community”

“Infrastructure reserves- We have fallen behind the city’s needs and have big challenges coming up.”

Infrastructure—maintain Centennial Trail in the winter for cross-country skiing, walking, etc.

“This trail is used heavily in the winter and is an excellent access to Red Mountain.  It should be a showcase for the town and it’s attraction to activity oriented people.  It would be great to have some co-operation with Warfield and Trail to develop a continual trail system as Winthrop/Mazama and Twisp have in the States.  It draws many people to the area. “

“It’s amazing that a trail that gets used by many people per day still smells like sewage everyday you walk past, and that is our main trail for the city!”

Infrastructure—more parking

“I am glad that Rossland is very conscious of disabled citizens, but the amount of handicap parking per capita that has suddenly appeared is a little ridiculous. Does the one establishment (The Garage Restaurant) which features customer parking, also need handicap parking on the street? With snow removal taking up an additional space on each block on each side, there is nowhere for consumers to park during busy times. I have certainly driven through town and, upon finding no parking at all, decided “maybe i’ll get groceries tomorrow”. i wonder how many tourists passing through also continue on to the next town when they encounter no parking, instead of enjoyiNG a clansey’s muffin… for example.”

“Off street parking in residential areas. (facilitates easier snow removal)
Make homeowners, who have off street parking available, use it. This means clear the snow on their driveways and lots so that they can park off street year round.”

Infrastructure—Roads. (Fixing, remarking, paving dusty lanes, …)

“I would like to see more money spent on road markings!
People seem to be in their own world when it comes to driving. I think some more markings around corners would help drivers who do not pay attention.”

“The state of a lot of paved roads in town is truely horrendous”

“Decide if any of last summer’s road project needs revising.”

“A means to have and keep the city we want, in order to attract more families and tourists.”

“I think the couple bumpouts they have on 1st Avenue and Washington street are making the road to narrow when you turn to go up 1st from washington you have to slow down so much that you can’t get any momentum to get up even that little hill – even the bumpout on the upper side would help – makes it very difficult to manouver especially if you meet another vehicle – I feel this could cause alot of accidents – I find myself fgoing down 1st to washington to get out of Uper Rossland because of the narrowness of the streets = there is not enough room for any error if you slide at all when coming down the hills!”

Infrastucture—Sewer and Water. (Replace ageing infrastructure, …)

“Like most other communities in North America and elsewhere, we have a huge infrastructure deficit, with old and crumbling and leaking pipes.  We need to work at this and it cost money.”

“More money should be spent on the actual working of the city business”

“Investigate the true cost of sewer”

“Preplanned infrastructure maintenance -many underground services are far beyond their nominal lifetimes and fail randomly, thus are quite costly to repair.”

“Replace water line on Washington between 1st and 2nd Avenue.
a former member of the works crew with 25 years service to the city but now retired for 25+ years tells me that section of water line is in worse shape than what was replaced this summer.”

Initiatives that directly fit with our OCP and Sustainability Plan

“Our council in the last few years has not done a good job of aligning governance with the OCP and Sustainability plan that were so painstakingly developed. We have a good direction of where we want to go, but now council’s decisions / spending need to better align with that in the future.”

Keep K-12 schools in Rossland

“The new blended learning concept is so awesome.  I would hate to lose it for all the kids of the district.  IF SD20 decides to close or move the high school students to Trail the city should fund the start up of an independent school or different school district.”

“A system to keep schools open in Rossland.”

“Money should be allocated to giving our children the best education”

“Opposing race/ethnic segregation in our school system…  Close the french school so we can afford our own.”

“Schools within Rossland will continue to attract families to live there, and businesses to locate there which will help diversify the economy to thrive beyond the ski/mt bike tourism.  If families are forced to bus their children down to Trail for school, there is far less incentive to locate in Rossland in the first place.”

“Helping SD20 cover the cost of maintaining K-12 in Rossland. The people of Rossland have made it very clear that they want K-12 in this community. The school district is broke and can’t raise taxes to get more funding. So we need to make up the $140,000 difference in cost between having K-9 and K-12 in this community. This is just as important as the infrastructure upgrades that just happened. Yes, it’s more taxes, but nothing compared to the $3000 average per year Rossland citizens stated in the last NOL survey that they’d be willing to pay for an independent school.”

Marketing aimed to increase tourism

“Tourism Rossland”

“Keeping the name golden city and getting rid of alpine ;mountain kingdom
;mountain bike capitol of canada”

“Considering Rossland’s tourism focus.  Bringing people in is what makes the economy vibrant.”

Nothing—we need to spend less

“City should not spend more mony”

“More for something means less for something else – not addressed!
City budget is complex and covers many areas of responsibility and directions established by Community Plan.”

“If we are in the highest percentile we need to spend less not more.
Unfortunately we already have major cost liabilities with Ophir, the Columbia Ave project, and probably other infrastructure deterioration issues.  These are further reasons why we should seek efficiencies and reductions to minimize tax impacts.”

“Lets try to keep taxes in check to provied affordability for families in

Ombudsman, lawyer, and auditor to fight corruption

“Cronyism appears to be as rampant in Rossland as it is in Montreal these days.  It would be great to get to the truth of the Jason (previous inspector)/Kumar (previous COA)/Granstrom (current mayor) menage a trois.  If some of Charlton’s allegations around Jason awarding non-tendered projects to dubious Fruitvale business “fronts” are true, then that wasted money must be returned to citizens from whom it was stolen.”

“External audit particularly looking at accountability and transparency and corruption”

Pay down debt

Private public partnerships, like a Gondola into town

“Land procurement from private enterprise like Darkwoods, Beaumont, Cominco and other private land owners. All with an end means of directing Rossland toward profitable, environmentally  sound, equally accessible programs.”

Promoting growing food in town

Public transport—regional

“Rossland residents should have affordable and environmentally sustainable access to the regional services they help pay for. If busing is too costly, what about sponsoring motor pools or car shares or ride shares?”

Public transport—to and from ski hill

“To create a more car free community via a regular public transit shuttle (could be offset by parking charge at the hill) or a gondola from town that would elimnate the need for self driving to the hill, create a summer tourism industry to place hikers/bikers and viewers at the top of the mountain and increase all the home prices dramatically in town (and therefore the tax base for the town)”

Recreation- Arena and Curling Rink

“Perhaps parks & rec could charge minor hockey a little bit more. Relatively speaking, the cost of ice rental for minor hockey in the Kootenays is very, very low. When peewee and bantam house teams can consistently afford 2 hour ice slots with an ice clean half-way, there is too much subsidizing happening. Standard minor hockey ice slots across BC are an hour 15 to 1.5 hours.”

Recreation—Swimming at either Star Gulch or Ophir reservoirs

“Create a community swimming place at either reservoirs (centennial or Ophir) People are using Ophir already, it’s beautiful and secluded but centennial would serve the community best.)”

[Note: Council’s most recent strategic plan directs city staff to work towards a solution with IHA and other authorities. So far, it seems swimming at Star Gulch will work out so long as the city’s water comes exclusively from Ophir. Then the city will have to consider issues such as beaches, rules, access, liability, and so on.]

Recreation—Swimming pool upgrades, but not winterized

“Just upgrade what is there.”

Recreation—Trails and Parks

“I think our trail system adds so much to our community and is also a huge draw for tourists.  I can’t state enough that much more money should be spent on trails.  Maybe pave Centennial to make it handicapped accessible or at least make it a smoother surface for wheelchairs.  Make more trails that are family friendly.  Use BlackJack to make a whole family friendly network of trails there in the summertime.  More connecting trails in town so you can go through town without having to go on pavement.  A singletrack trail that is easy to ride up from Paterson.”

“Recreation. It is a unique feature to draw people to visit/move here
We dont need a covered pool in rossland. Deal with the Trail/Rossland rec issue”

“Reduce stress.”

“I think a lot of people live in this town because of the natural recreational opportunities. If the aim is to improve quality of life for citizens then a natural extension of that would be to improve the existing outdoor recreation opportunities and additionally then increase the footprint of these recreation opportunities. Prime examples that come to mind are Blackjack skiing being made more affordable for citizens and also the extension of existing mountain bike trail networks. IF the intent is to increase the tax base (through out of town visitors) in addition to the points above there would need to be an associated social media marketing effort.”

“Maintaining our existing green space and continuing to connect our entire community with green transportation corridors will make this a very desirable place to live and raise a family. It also contributes to healthy lifestyles and fits well with our outdoor recreation activities. I would like to see more funding going into trails / safe walking paths because some of our existing streets are EXTREMELY dangerous for pedestrians.”

“Trail Society and outdoor recreation promotion and development. Opportunity to promote and develop the mountain biking, hiking, ski touring, XC skiing that we are so good at.  Will bring in greater tourism outside that which Red Mt brings in.  Improves life for those who already here and makes others want to be here.  We need more things like the Seven Summits to make us a destination people will seek out.  We do outdoor recreation well, other tourism activities less wee, lets focus on what we do well and expand on it.”

“A small% of revenue= quality of life”

“Parks for gathering (picnics), playing (adults and / or kids), enjoying a nice (not necessarily green) space.  The area beside the Hostel is a great example of a small space that could be made much more attractive with some large rocks for seats, a bit of shade plantings.  Presently it is an area of neglect that one tries to not look at when you walk past.  A volunteer effort could be pitched – volunteer effort to clean up, plant and shape up the area.  I’m thinking like the HGTV shows like Yard Wars or something like that.  Maybe even a design submission and display board at the site (like the walls they put up around city construction sites) so people can see the options and vote.  I would volunteer my time to organize such an endeavour.”

“Great deal more babies and young children in town – would like more trail options for strollers/ walking with kids.  You can only do Centennial so many times!”

Recycling, compost, and garbage facilities

“From what I’ve seen back East & around BC the city is behind in the recycling regard. A better job of this especially downtown will go a long way cleaning up the appearance and some of the bear issues.”

“garbage, composting, re-cycling Rossland based,  independent of RDKB”

Snow removal and road sanding

“Sanding roads – risk of accidents high”

“Better snow removal – especially downtown – with the new bump outs
downtown there is less area to park in – and I think you need to address this – especially when you see or hear people saying they will go to trail because there is no place to park – the mountains of snow downtown should be dealt with quicker  – sofar this year I have found that they don’t seem to be plowing the roads back and removing snow on some of the corners making intersections particularly dangerous – I find with not being able to put down deicer on the sidewalks that the city should try and do more to keep downtown sidewalks safer!  gravel doesn’t seem to be working and the businesses have no way to get rid of the ice accumulation without deicer or physical labour!  when they should be worrying about running their business not shovelling”

“Road sanding: especially right after the plow has gone by and at important spot like Thompson ave and the curve going down on Le Roi behind City Hall.”

Town planning

“There seems not to be much money allocated to planning.”

You can vote on your favourite ideas by following this link and entering a name and email, or by subscribing to the Rossland Telegraph newsletter. The polls are open until midnight on Sunday, Feb. 24.

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