OCP says no City water for snowmaking! Coming soon: Draft OCP amendment.

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
June 25th, 2014

Present: Mayor Greg Granstrom, and Councillors Tim Thatcher, Kathy Moore, Jill Spearn; Jody Blomme attended by telephone until 8:30, from an occasionally noisy location (we all heard birds singing, and something much like dishes clattering, or cars crashing).

Public Input Period

Christine Anderson of the Red Mountain Racers (RMR) updated Council on the snow-making project. She said that RMR have raised sufficient funds to proceed with Phase One, but that most of the funds are on loan and RMR must pay debt-servicing costs — so would appreciate the City charging only the most nominal fee for the water used, in light of the economic benefits to Rossland as a whole from the additional events the snow-making project will bring to Rossland.

Laurie Charlton spoke on the issue of snow-making too, but pointed out that the Official Community Plan (OCP) “Schedule G — Red Mountain Base Area Sector Plan” specifically states that the City will not supply water for snow-making. He also pointed out that the Local Government Act requires all City projects to be compatible with the OCP. He suggested some potential alternative water sources, such as “the old mine pits on the back of Red that are full of water, and already half-way up the mountain” — this would, he suggested, lower the pumping costs.

Delegation: Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC)

A team from the LCIC spoke with great enthusiasm about the improvements in their organization, with an eye to reinstating financial support from Rossland and other communities for regional economic development services. LCIC was created as a subsidiary of the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society. They cited a developing relationship with Columbia Basin Trust (CBT), a successful listing and quick sale of a business with “Invest Kootenay”, the development of “Work West Kootenay”, the Lands Inventory, and their Business Retention and Expansion project. They are suggesting that Rossland contribute $30,100 annually.

Back to snow-making

Council considered a staff recommendation that staff should be instructed to draft a 5-year water use agreement, with RMR being charged a flat fee of $1000 for the 2014-2015 season, and increasing that amount by $250 per year up to $2000 for the 2018-2019 season. Spearn made the motion, but wanted clarification about the point made by Laurie Charlton.

Corporate Officer Tracey Butler said that Charlton is correct, and that a draft OCP amendment could be prepared for the July 14 Council meeting. A Public Hearing, with notice as specified in the Local Government Act [section 892(3)] is necessary for any OCP amendment.

Thatcher spoke in favour of doing the OCP amendment, as he thinks we have enough reservoir capacity, and the snow-making will benefit Rossland. Moore emphasized that she strongly supports the snow-making concept, but wants more information before agreeing to proceed — including: a copy of the feasibility study; information on the recharge rate of our reservoirs; whether the water use for snow-making would be metered so the City knows how much water the snow-making is using; the water-demand impact of the estimated 5,000 additional visitors to Rossland as a result of the events enabled by the snow-making — at a time when our reservoirs are low; whether the capacity of Star Gulch reservoir is still 122 thousand cubic meters, or whether siltation has diminished that amount; and much more.

Moore handed out a sheet with her due-diligence questions. Her questions also noted the conflict with the OCP. The motion to instruct staff to prepare a draft agreement passed, with Moore opposed because she felt uncomfortable voting for it without the information to consider first. Other Council members were comfortable having a draft prepared, and using additional information to reach a final agreement.

City Logo

Council quickly chose a new logo from four short-listed designs.

Variance Applications

Council granted variance applications for 2208 Elmore and 1890 Planer Crescent, and a Development Permit for Lot 2, Olaus Way.

Rossland’s Annual Report

The Community Charter (provincial law governing municipalities) requires that:

 98  (1) Before June 30 in each year, a council must

 (a) prepare an annual report,

 (b) make the report available for public inspection under section 97, and

 (c) have the report available for public inspection at the meeting required under section 99.

Council accepted the 202-page Annual Report for 2013, and plans to hold the required public meeting on July 14. If you’d like to peruse the report before then, it is part of the package — on the City’s website — for the June 23 Council meeting.

Civic Election preparations

Council passed a motion appointing Tracey Butler and Cynthia Añonuevo as election officials for the civic election. Moore asked a number of questions about the personnel costs.

Province wants total authority over building code

Council received “The Compass”, a publication of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). The first item was a call for input from municipal councils on the Provincial government’s proposal to impose a uniform building code and to remove the concurrent authority of municipalities to enact bylaws that respond to local conditions: for instance, following the 2003 wildfires near (and in) Kelowna, local governments in that area prohibited the use of building materials such as cedar roofs which are highly flammable. The Province’s proposal would eliminate local government’s ability to do that.

There is already a provincial building code, and local governments may enact requirements ONLY if they improve on safety and strength requirements — they have no authority to weaken the code’s requirements. The Provincial government wants to eliminate local governments’ ability to improve on the building code in response to local conditions.

The Provincial government also wanted the UBCM to enter into a confidentiality agreement in order to participate in the “Modernization Advisory Group” on the building code. UBCM president Rhona Martin responded that entering into such an agreement would make consultation with UBCM members impossible and declined to sign it.

Council considered the issue, and Moore moved to ask for a report from staff on how Rossland’s building code requirements differ from the Provincial code. The motion was defeated; Granstrom suggested that Council could just ask Parry LaFond what the differences are, instead of requiring a formal report.

Sri Chinmoy run

No Council members volunteered to run with the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run on July 4th. The run, the longest torch relay run in the world, will be stopping in Rossland on that day. Any keen Rosslanders wish to run with them for a while? If so, contact Robin Hethey at City Hall.

Just a small sampling of the Member Reports

Granstrom reported on the East End Services Committee proposal to hire four more people and build a training centre, all of which would add approximately $800,000 to the cost of fire services in the region. Granstrom is seeking to obtain clarification on how the regional fire service works with local fire departments.

Spearn noted that the Seven Summits Centre for Learning has run out of space, and had to turn away four students for the coming year.

Moore’s reports included information on the Monashee Institute, set up by the Innovative Education Task Force of the Sustainability Commission to bring visitors to Rossland to attend courses — the Institute ran a cheese-making course on June 21, and has six other courses lined up. Moore also attended a gathering organized by the Rossland Telegraph on the Civic Governance theme, this time on how the community can better engage with City Hall, and vice versa.

The mayor adjourned the meeting to an in camera session pursuant to section 91(c), to discuss labour issues. And your reporter packed up and wandered home, contemplating the wondrous magic of leafy life and growth, and how certain weeds seem inordinately magical.

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