Taking care of business on a hot summer evening

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
July 18th, 2014

Note:  Your reporter attempts to provide an accurate, but abbreviated, sense of proceedings at meetings of Rossland City Council, without adding personal opinions (or the type of editing which would be the equivalent of expressing personal opinions).  Not everything can be included — just  most of it.  The aim is to give residents more information about the operation of the City,  to better inform your votes in November.

Rossland City Council met on July 14, 2014. 

Present:  Mayor Greg Granstrom, and Councillors Kathy Moore, Jill Spearn, Tim Thatcher, and Jody Blomme.    (Absent:  Cary Fisher.)

Public Input Period:

A representative of Career Development Services in Trail spoke to their invitation to Council members to take part in the “Coins for Change” project to raise funds to assist the homeless.   The challenge?  Take pledges for an amount per hour spent under the Trail bridge overnight, starting at 8:00 pm on September 12 and going until 8:00 am the following day.

Trudy Williams spoke to her variance application; she wanted Council to know that she has spoken with the neighbour who would be most affected by her plan and that the neighbour has no objection. 

Don Thompson made himself available for any questions later in the meeting about snowmaking.

Brian Zanussi spoke about his variance application, and the letter from the owners of an adjacent lot objecting to the application; he explained that he didn’t think his planned garage will affect their views, and that it will improve the appearance of the neighbourhood by getting his “toys” off the street.

Motion that Council accept the Annual Report

Granstrom asked if there was any input on the Annual Report; Laura Petit noted that there is a list of the City’s recreational facilities, but that the tennis courts were not included.  Granstrom indicted that staff would be asked to amend the report by including the tennis courts.  The  motion to accept the report carried.


The Curling Club presented information about their 100-year plus history, their activities and upcoming expenses for replacement of equipment and furnishings.   The club would like to have  3 to 5 year lease on the facility, instead of a 1-yer lease. The 2015 Provincial Legion Bonspiel will be hosted in Rossland.

BC  Timber Sales:  The  MInistry of Lands & Natural Resources was represented by Ken Scown and Dan Upward, who presented information about  the Timber Sales for small business planned for the spring of 2016 in the Rossland Range.  They are asking Council to approve a statutory right-of-way crossing the City’s water supply line — that decision will be discussed at a later meeting.  One of Ministry’s objectives is to “sell the full annual allowable cut” for the blocks.

They  showed a map illustrating the cut-blocks, and noted that the work done will include improving the Old Glory and Biathlon parking areas.  Spearn asked about the effect on trails; they answered that trails will be left in as good condition as they were, or better.   Thatcher asked about the Blackjack trails; they answered that harvesting will not be carried out in the winter in that area, and that the trails/roads used for forestry will be improved over their present condition.

Spearn asked about the replanting schedule, and Blomme asked about what will be planted; they answered that replanting should be done as soon as possible, to enable the tree seedlings to get a head start on “the competition”, and that a mix of species are used in replanting — up to six species per block.

Council Business

Motion:  that Council endorse the signing of the Lower Columbia Community Accord agreeing to support, encourage, and value policies, decisions and actions which will increase women’s access to affordable education and skills training, “Living Wage” employment opportunities and family friendly workplaces, and affordable child care, housing, public transportation and other community services.  Motion carried.

Motion:  that Council supports, in principle, re-consideration of a request from the Lower Columbia Community development Team and the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation to contribute to funding an economic development service through the East End Services Committee, by including the cost of $30,500 per year in Rossland’s 5-year financial plan (2015 – 2019) for discussion of the 2015 budget.

Moore and Spearn spoke in favour, saying that Rossland cannot thrive on its own, and that to improve economic development in the region, all communities must work together.  Blomme and Thatcher spoke against the motion, saying that they want to spend those tax dollars in a more focused way, in Rossland, and that they don’t see specific benefits from a general regional expenditure on economic development.  Granstrom spoke in favour of “agreeing in principle” with the proposal, and leaving the decision on making the expenditure until budget discussions are under way, when it will be considered with other budget items.  Blomme said she thought “it could be argued” that bringing more people here would take jobs away from current residents and make living here more expensive.   The motion carried, with Thatcher and Blomme opposed.

Council made quick work of approving two unopposed variance applications on LeRoi  Avenue — one at 1684 and one at 1404.  More time was devoted to approving the application for 804 Whitetail Drive, because one potential neighbour is opposed.  Both Spearn and Thatcher said they had gone to view the property, and agreed with the Planning Assistant’s opinion that the planned garage would not adversely affect the potential neighbour’s viewscape.

Council then approved a Development Permit for Red Mountain Resort Acquisition Corp., to explore and eventually (pending an OCP amendment) to install infrastructure for snowmaking equipment.

Council decided to decline Trail’s invitation to join in the “Communities in Bloom” event, as it seems to require planting many annuals, which are costly and need a lot of water.  Granstrom noted that Trail spends over $500,000 annually on their Communities in Bloom participation.

Council noted that progress is being made in acknowledging and remedying deficiencies in the City’s practices that were identified by the City’s auditor.   Moore asked that the items noted in the auditor’s letter be added to the staff action list.  Council then reviewed a draft “related parties and related parties transactions” disclosure form.

Council went on to examine a draft Request for Proposals for “on call” engineering services.  Moore asked whether one provision would obligate the City to use the successful “on call” engineering firm for all the services listed in the RFP;  Darrin Albo clarified that the City would not be obligated and could still put listed projects out to tender.

Council adopted Bylaw 2572, the Election Procedure Bylaw required for the upcoming civic elections. 

Council gave first and second reading to Bylaw 2573, a bylaw to amend the Official Community Plan to allow City water (untreated) to be used for snowmaking, subject to a series of safeguards including a water meter to measure the amount of water used for snowmaking, and an automatic shut-off if water in the reservoir drops to a certain point.

Blomme left the Council chamber while Council gave first and second reading to Bylaw 2563, a zoning amendment bylaw for the former Cook Avenue School site.  A public hearing will be scheduled for August 11.  The property is now zoned Public Institutional; the amendment will change it to Mixed Residential.

After a Member Reports session, Granstrom adjourned the meeting to in camera for discussions regarding security of the City’s property, and negotiations.   And your reporter walked home in the cooling dusk, grateful to be outdoors again, looking at trees and mountains, instead of in the windowless Council chamber’s alternating too-hot and too-cold temperatures.

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