Tim Thatcher – discussing the past and aiming for the future

Josefin Svedberg
By Josefin Svedberg
November 12th, 2014

Tim Thatcher wants to get a second term in council and hopes that the council can get its trust back with the new members. He is willing to work with anyone and wants to listen to what the people of Rossland have to say.

How long have you been sitting in council?

One term.

What made you run again?

Well, being elected the first time you come in to council with big dreams and aspirations on doing wonderful things. We got bogged down with a lot of controversy with the Arena Project, the building inspector and other personal that was in the city. We accomplished some things but I feel like we could have done more. There is going to be a new major and at least four new councillors, there is going to be a lot of fresh ideas and new personalities around the table and I would like to be a part of that.

What do you feel like you can bring to the council?

Being in the council you have to be really open-minded, you cannot go in to a meeting with your mind made up on a certain issue. You have to go into a meeting well prepared, read all the information packages; the council packages and you have to be willing to listen to everybody there.

I know of lots of times I have gone into a meeting, pretty sure which way I’m going to vote and then you listen to the debates and discussions and then you change your mind. So you have to be really open-minded, you cannot be focused just on your idea you have to listen to everybody’s ideas. I think that is an important part of being on council, because if you are not open-minded you will not be an effective member of council.

How do you feel like your personality fits in the council?

I’m pretty easy going and I’m open-minded. I do not have any big beefs with anybody. I have been involved in a lot of groups in town and I think I fit in.

What groups have you been involved in?

I was born and raised in Rossland, my kids are all raised in Rossland and one of my granddaughters is getting raised here. I was on the Volunteer Ski Patrol for 32 years, I was assistant chief for the Rossland Volunteer Fire Department for 24 years. I have volunteered a lot for first aid for the bike races and all that kind of stuff.

Are you involved with any groups now?

When I got elected last term, I more or less, for any conflict of interest, I retired. I’m slowly getting into retirement. I have been with Teck for 39 years and I was on the Teck Fire Department for 36 years.

The Brewery and Laundromat has been told that their signs on Washington are ugly and not according to the Design Review Committee Guidelines, how do you feel about the business versus heritage?

I think we should be supporting our businesses as much as we can. Council should be supporting our businesses. Some guidelines and some bylaws may have to be changed to be able to support our businesses. The Design Review Committee, I think we have to have a meeting with them to see if we can come up with some new guidelines.

One thing I think we should do, I would like to see council having a meeting or a brainstorming session with the business in town to see how we can support our businesses and what they think we can do to attract new businesses. The Design Review Committee have some really good ideas but the Brewery is tucked in the back and has to be seen.

How do you feel about the broadband?

We are just waiting for Columbia Basin Trust to make their decision. We need a provider. I think it is an important part just to support all the Internet businesses in town. Which is a large part of our community, if we can attract more of those people it will help the community. There is money council has set aside for broadband to be introduced into Rossland.

What do you think about the Delegation Bylaw?

It is going to have to be reviewed. Review it and either get rid of it or revise it. It has to be looked at it is a contentious issue. It will have to be reviewed.

How do you feel like the regional relationships are?

I think they are starting to improve, with the new sewer pipeline bridge, with that agreement negotiated I think it is going to be a lot better. The future is going to be a lot better because there are going to be a new mayor in Trail and the new major in Rossland I think the communication is going to open up. I think it is looking bright.

How have your relationships been with the Trail council during the past term?

I know a few of the councillors and I have never had a problem with any of them. All of the three mayor candidates, I know all of them. Doug Jones, I have known him personally for over 30 years and I have known Mike Martin. The future is going to be good.

There are still some issues that are going to have to be looked at, like the recreation. It all depends on the money, on how much money Trail wants. 95% of Rossland’s tax bases come from residential and we want to keep our taxes as low as we can. So we can keep our seniors in town, our seniors have contributed to this community for years and years and they have invested a lot of money here. And we have got to try to keep them in town. And we have to keep our taxes low so we can attract new families, which is our future. We have to attract new people.

What is your vision of Rossland?

I think Rossland’s economy is tourism based. In this council we voted to support the snowmaking on Red Mountain, which I think is really going to help to bring in more people. It is going to help the businesses in town, accommodators and the restaurants. We have to look at how we can support our tourism industry like that bus shuttle, it was a good idea, and there were many great reviews about that. Our golf course in the summer and our trails in summer and in the winter those are big parts of attracting people and keeping people here.

We have to look at the Museum and the Rossland Gateway Project. It is quite a project and there has to be a lot of funds raised. The museum could change; it all depends on the fundraising. If that came about I think it would be a big tourist attraction. I think it would be a great thing for the city because it would attract a lot of people. Council has supported it.

How do you feel about the Emcon lot and the skatepark?

The property has been set aside for the skatepark in the southeast corner and I think it would be great for the youth of Rossland. And a lot of fundraising has to happen there, and they are slowly getting there. We got to concentrate where we are going to put our money, City Council cannot just give them $500 000, we cannot do that. But we will support them as much as we can; if it gets built we can help improving some of that corner.

What are your ideas about the failing infrastructure?

There is some infrastructure work that is going to have to be done within the next 15 years, there is quite a bit that will have to be replaced. We are going to have to apply for grants, to see if we can get any infrastructure grants to help us with that. And the only other way I can possibly think about is long-term borrowing. All Columbia Avenue was long-term borrowing for 30 years. It will affect the taxes some, but still not that bad.

How do you feel about the ski bums?

That crowd has been coming here since the 70s and I think they are a rich part of our heritage. They make the town interesting during the winter. They give the town character, it livens the town up.

How would you deal with “scandals” if they would happen again?

This council we inherited the Arena, that happened before this council. I did not really know much about it until got on council and not until about three or four months into our term, that is when everything started to come about. The new council just got lambasted with that. There has to be an open communication with the works department, the city staff and council to ensure there is no conflict of interest.

The Arena project was a big deal, and I asked the former CAO questions after it started to come to lighten and what he said to me sounded reasonable what he told me then. We did not really know everything that had happened until he retired.

The one thing that this council made a mistake on, was hiring the CAO now without putting it up for bids. It was a lesson well learned and I do not think it will ever happen again, no matter who is on council and it should not.

If something similar would happen again, how would you deal with it?

We would have to have a council meeting and ask questions to staff to investigate and see what they know. We cannot wait, it has to be dealt with as soon as possible and it has to be open. The citizens of Rossland have the right to know.

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