OCP Amended, old Cook Avenue School site re-zoned, and no raise for councllors

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
August 16th, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014: Two public hearings and a regular council meeting. Present: Mayor Greg Granstrom, and Council members Kathy Moore, Tim Thatcher, Jody Blomme, and Cary Fisher.

Public Hearing: Official Community Plan Amendment to delete the prohibition against providing water for snowmaking.

Fletcher Quince stated that he did not think the City should have enabled any work on the snowmaking project to begin until after the OCP was amended. John Stevens wanted to ensure that the City has first call on water for residential needs (it does). Cezary Ksiazek spoke in favour of the amendment, saying that it will be good for business and good for Rossland.

Public Hearing: rezoning the former Cook Avenue School site from Public and Institutional to Mixed Density Residential.

Cezary Ksiazek spoke in favour of the rezoning, and spoke of the importance to Rossland of having more affordable housing, both to attract young families and to keep seniors in the community; but he objected strongly to limiting the number of “equivalent units” (lots) to 16 instead of 20. A resident on Thompson Avenue spoke in favour of the bylaw, saying that he agreed with Council, that 16 was the right number of lots for the site.

Regular Council Meeting:

Fisher left the meeting, and in his absence Council considered a request from Rossland Property Investments (RPI = Redstone) to remove the obligation to provide a 2.06 hectare parcel of parkland above the wagon road.

The difficulty appeared to be the cost of legal surveys and related expenses. Thatcher indicated that he thinks Rossland has ample parkland and has no need for any more. Moore said she thought the City should work with Redstone to get the trails dedicated to the City, as has been agreed in covenants, and suggested that the matter could be referred to staff.

Granstrom indicated that he thought the City needs to develop a plan for parkland. Moore suggested that the City’s rezoning of an area as parkland should be contingent on the agreed dedication of trails, and pointed out that Redstone has not delivered on a few of its agreements with the City. Granstrom suggested that the trail dedication should be a separate motion.

A motion to zone much of the non-residential Redstone area as parkland instead of requiring that particular parcel to be dedicated, subject to RPI’s written agreement to waive any compensation for the “downgrade” in zoning, carried.

Moore moved that staff provide a report to Council on what legal steps will be required to ensure that the trails in the Redstone area are City-owned. Motion carried. Fisher was then recalled to the meeting.

Council remuneration:

Staff had prepared a report on Council remuneration, showing the amounts paid to mayors and council members in various communities in BC of comparable size. 22 surveys were sent to communities in BC with populations between 2,000 and 3,999; 4 communities did not respond.

Of those that responded, Rossland’s remuneration to Council members is the lowest of any community in our size range. Council members exchanged views on a motion: that a bylaw provide for a 25% increase in Council remuneration for 2015, and a 10% increase each year for the three years after that — at which point the level of remuneration would have reached the average for communities of this size.

Blomme said she felt more people could run if the remuneration was somewhat higher, and would like to encourage more people to stand for election Thatcher said he didn’t think people consider the remuneration when they stand for election. Granstrom said he didn’t think people should do the job for monetary considerations — but as a voluntary public service. Blomme said she is certain no one takes this job on for the money — but doesn’t like the fact that Rossland is “at the bottom of the heap” — and feels that this council is in the best position to remedy that, because they can’t be accused of self-interest.

Moore said she had formerly been opposed to any increase in Council pay, until she heard from people who would consider standing for election if they could just afford to reduce the number of jobs they take on. Granstrom said that he didn’t think the added money would encourage anyone to stand for election. Vote: Blomme and Moore in favour; Fisher, Granstrom and Thatcher opposed. Motion defeated.

Council passed a motion to award a $30,000 (plus GST) contract for water and sewer rate analysis, with the aim of developing “fair and equitable user rates, and the financial means to operate and maintain the infrastructure.” Moore said she hopes the contractor will not be misled by overly-optimistic forecasts of population increases in the OCP.

Council passed another motion to allow Sourdough Alley Holdings to run a 6″ water line from the Washington Street main to 1990 Columbia Avenue, to meet requirements for a sprinkler system. This will require cutting into the new pavement to about the centre of Washington and patching it afterwards.

Council considered, and passed, a motion to postpone the Spokane Street Capital Project, and to re-allocate some of the funds toward a more urgent waterline replacement in Pinewood, where water lines have been failing and causing damage.

Council passed a motion to allocate funds from this year’s budget for an engineering study for replacement of the large retaining wall supporting the lot occupied by the United Church. The Manager of Public Works would like to have the project ready for tendering early in 2015.

The City of Rossland owns the building occupied by the Rossland Public Library which is operated by the Rossland Public Library Association; Council approved a draft contract for a 5-year lease of the building for nominal rent.

Council passed a motion giving third reading to the OCP amendment bylaw permitting water to be used for snowmaking, and then passed a motion adopting the bylaw.

Council then passed a motion adopting the rezoning bylaw for the Cook Avenue site.

Council members gave their Members’ Reports, then Granstrom adjourned the meeting to an in camera session. Your reporter walked home in a smoke-smudged dusk, and waited to see that big fuzzy orange moon rise.

Categories: GeneralPolitics

Other News Stories