Snowmaking on Red, Rusty The Horse, RDKB biz...and more!
First, my spiel: WHY read this stuff? Because it’s about how Rossland is shaped by the people we elect to govern our lovely, compact Mountain Kingdom. How do YOU want Rossland to evolve? What kind of community do you want to live in? What worries you most: well-groomed lawns, or local food security? Are you keen on K-12 education in Rossland, or are you fine with Rossland kids being bused down to Trail all winter? Do you care about our air quality? All of these things and more can be influenced by the decisions of our City Council. If you keep track, you’ll understand more about what goes on at City Hall and your vote can be more effective. You will vote this fall, won’t you?
These reports are not complete; City Hall posts agendas and most council materials, and videos of the meetings on its website if you want all the details. End of spiel!
Rossland City Council Regular Meeting, February 11, 2012
Present: Councillors Kathy Moore (acting Mayor for this meeting), Jody Blomme, Jill Spearn, Tim Thatcher, and Kathy Wallace. Mayor Granstrom and Councillor Cary Fisher were absent.
Delegations: Shaw Communications presented information on their improvements in this region, and noted their granting program (info at shaw.ca). Shaw expects to have greatly expanded offerings in this area in the spring.
Snow-making on Red!
Red Mountain Racerspresented their request for water for snow-making. To be competitive as a training facility Red Mountain needs to offer at least 35 days of early-season training. Currently, athletes must travel elsewhere to find that, and the available facilities are over-crowded. The Racers pointed out that attracting athletes for training would benefit Rossland’s schools and economy, particularly the accommodation sector. This year, a race event had to be moved from here to Panorama, which has snow-making. The Racers have studies indicating that losing such an event costs Rossland’s economy over $400,000.
Effect on water supply: the Racers stated that their snowmaking would not use any additives. ISL Engineering has reviewed the proposal and confirms that Rossland has the water capacity, and if the reservoir dropped below a predetermined level, sensors would shut down snowmaking operations automatically.
Spearn asked about noise from the snowmaking machines; answer — the new ones are very quiet. Blomme asked about the ownership structure. Thatcher asked about temperature required: Rossland has historically had suitable temperatures. Moore asked about whether they anticipated paying for the water; answer, not at the standard rate. Moore was also concerned about whether the population figures used in calculations were realistic. Spearn noted that we don’t know what effects climate change might have in future. Overall, Council was positive about the proposal, which will come back for a decision.
Unfinished business: Council considered a letter from Jim Gustafson asking the City to answer three questions that he posed, to inform a new strategic plan for the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District. Gustafson’s role in this was queried by Council members, and some suggested that he appeared to be working on behalf of Castlegar, which has already proposed that a new regional hospital should be built there. Wallace noted that health authorities want to centralize to save costs, but that centralization does not serve rural areas very well; she suggested that Rossland invite Gustafson to speak to Council and clarify the process. Blomme agreed with this and moved that Council invite Gustafson to address Council to explain his process more clearly. The motion carried.
The Rotary Clubrequested an extension of their agreement for the use of the Miners’ Hall. Rotary spent about $30,000 on improvements to the kitchen, and has not used the Hall very much since then — the benefit it has received in waived fees is minor compared with its investment in the Hall. Council agreed to extend the agreement for another three years.
Council considered a letter from the Regional District, inviting councillors to apply for positions on the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust Regional Advisory Committee. Wallace sat on that committee earlier and was able to provide information on the time commitment and the amount of additional reading involved. Compensation for the position is $83 every other month, plus any necessary expenses.
Council considered dates for a meeting with MLA Katrine Conroy in response to her invitation to meet.
Sidewalk Art: Rusty the horse
Council approved the Rossland Council for Arts & Culture request for the sculpture “Rusty,” a nearly life-sized horse fabricated from scrap metal by Nelson artist Cedar Meuller, to be installed outside the former hardware store from April of this year until April of 2015. RCAC is covering the cost of the lease; this is part of a rotating sculpture program.
Get your yard waste picked up in the spring, because…
There will be no fall yard-waste pick-up this year, in order to avoid increasing residents’ costs.
Blomme spoke on the Shaw presentation and clarified some points; the CBBC broadband offering is very different from Shaw’s. Whereas Shaw could take some of the potential CBBC broadband customers, Shaw cannot satisfy the “niche” market that CBBC can fill, and the CBBC broadband will offer Rosslanders more opportunities. If there is competition, that will be good.
- Wallace reported comprehensively on the last Regional District of Kootenay Boundary board meeting. A few highlights include two resolutions to be forwarded to the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments — one to ask the Province not to implement any changes in BC Ambulance Service response guidelines or First Responder Protocols until there has been effective consultation with local governments; and the other seeking an improvement in legislation to provide for guidance in the event of extended absences by Electoral Area Directors due to illness or injury (as has happened). Wallace noted that she will be on the Joint Transit Committee, and also on a new Steering Committee to guide revision of the Solid Waste Management Plan. She also noted a discussion about the growing imbalance in stipends between municipal directors and local area directors. She reported on the increase in sewerage costs for Rossland, mainly the increase in the cost of the interceptor river crossing. Rossland’s cost is just our share of getting the sewage across the river, not for any additional uses that could be added to the crossing.
- The City of Trail is buying the airport from the Regional District; as part of the sale, the RDKB must remove the old fuel tanks that were installed by the flying club years ago, and is responsible for operating the airport until the end of February.
- Thatcher reported that there will be an open house at the Museum on March 12 to present the final report on the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre. He noted that the Museum will be open during Heritage Week, February 18th to 22nd, from 12:00 to 6:00 pm. He described the Museum’s project of interviewing senior Rosslanders to capture their memories.
Seven Summits Learning Centre is a “publicly-funded, self-designed school,” Spearn emphasized, not a private school. The fees paid by students are to retain the use of the school premises. She described a program between Victoria and Rossland, with students exchanging their research findings — Rossland students will research snow, and Victoria students will have a project on oceans. Spearn asked about the status of the Rotary request to use the Health Centre building; the City is waiting for Rotary to present an offer with financial details.
After the Acting Mayor adjourned the public meeting to move into an in camera session, your reporter was delighted to emerge into a vigorous little snowfall, and happy to shovel it the following morning.