Council deals with all sorts of snow-related crises: snow for Winter Carnival, powder for the NorAm forced up to Biathalon in absence of snow below...
Regular Meeting of Rossland City Council, held December 8, 2014
The public portion of this meeting, starting at 6:00 PM, was preceded by an in camera session which started at 5:00 PM, under Community Charter S. 90.1(c) — Labour Relations — and (e) — Acquisition, Disposition or Expropriation of Land or Improvements.
Council Members Present: (Just so you know who shows up.)
Mayor Kathy Moore; Councillors Andy Morel, Aaron Cosbey, Andrew Zwicker, John Greene, and Lloyd McLellan. Regrets: Marten Kruysse, who is presently out of town.
Public Input Period: (Attentive readers will notice that this Council has engaged in discussion with the speaker; this is a change in practice.)
Larry Doell spoke to Council regarding Winter Carnival. Morel asked about the cost overruns last year (costs were nearly double the amount budgeted) and asked if there had been any resolution of the issue. The extra costs were mostly for the amount of snow that had to be moved for the “rail jam”.
Doell said that a “Piston Bully” was needed, and that Kieran and Paula Gaul have committed to supplying one. He said less snow would be required this year because of the way they have designed the course.
But, Doell said, “if we don’t get any snow, there won’t be a rail jam.” He mentioned that snow from the arena roof could be used. McLellan said he would want to be sure the budget was not exceeded. Moore said they would be discussing the topic later in the agenda, and moved Council on.
(a) Delegation from the Rossland Public Library
Adam Howse, Vice-chair of the library board, and Beverley Rintoul, library staff director, presented a “high-level overview of the Rossland Public Library renewal“. Howse cited a statistic from a study by the Toronto Public Library, that for every dollar invested in public libraries, it brings $5 into the local economy. He mentioned that the library was founded in 1939, and is now #11 out of 71 BC libraries in percentage of population who are active card-holders. The library is not seeking any money from the City, but plans to raise the funds by grants and donations. It will take at least another year to raise the necessary funding of approximately $310,000.
Cosbey commented that he is excited by the project — ” it will a great asset to Rossland” and asked for a link to the source of the statistic regarding return on investment in libraries. Cosbey also asked if the current internet connectivity supports online education mentioned as part of the renewal project; Howse said, “I’m glad you asked that,” and indicated that they have been in consultation with the broadband committee, and are waiting for broadband to come to Rossland .
(b) Delegation from the Rossland Council for Arts and Culture (RCAC):
Ann Damude and Renate Fleming appeared on behalf of the RCAC, to update Council on the Miners Hall renovation and restoration project . The project has four stages: the building envelope, façade restoration, the “entry plaza” and attic level reclamation. Drawings were included in the Council materials. The total for the entire project is estimated at $977,300; Damude spoke to how they plan to raise the money. The City has a reserve fund for Hall maintenance, but only maintenance is the City’s responsibility — not the rest of the restoration project. Combining some necessary maintenance with the restoration can save money, if funds for the restoration project can be obtained by 2016. Discussion touched on the difficulties of arranging work around the ongoing activities in the Hall, including the Follies and recreational events. Much planning remains to be done.
Zwicker asked if the project would allow the Hall to be used for more purposes and perhaps raise more revenue; Fleming said yes, the plans should enable more use. Morel noted that access will always be an issue for the upper level, as there are–and will be–stairs.
Request from the Rossland Winter Carnival Committee
Council discussed the letter from the Winter Carnival requesting in-kind assistance from the City for Winter Carnival. Cosbey moved that Council adopt the recommendation from staff. Lloyd suggested an amendment to the motion, to limit the City’s contribution to the amount in the budget (about $9,500); Cosbey questioned how that could be enforced.
Moore sought input from Justin of Ross Vegas, and Brian of PowderHound, the organizers of the rail jam, who were in the gallery–they said that they and others have spoken with many in the community who can assist, and they have more volunteer hours lined up than ever before.
Greene asked how the cost of the rail jam set-up compares with the cost of the bobsled race; the rail jam has cost about twice as much as the bobsled race. Morel suggested that the matter be put off until the next meeting until they can get some “hard costs” to discuss –and that Darrin Albo work with the Carnival organizers to limit costs.
Butler cautioned that the next regular meeting is January 12. Council discussed the problem of determining how many hours, or how many dollars, the City should dedicate to the Carnival; Moore called the question on McLellan’s amendment, and it carried.
Moore commented that the event has grown, year over year, but the City’s budget amount for it has not; and that could impact the event’s financial benefits to the community. The resolution as amended failed with a tie vote. Cosbey moved the original (un-amended) motion; it also failed with a tie.
McLellan moved that Council support the City’s contribution to the Carnival, with the current budget of about $9,500, with a contingency allowance of up to $5,000 if needed for unusual conditions. Carried unanimously.
(In the past, I have not listed all the “Information Items” in the Council materials at each meeting. They vary from meeting to meeting; this time, I list their headings and add a few bits of information — the first one betrays my bias toward water conservation — so readers can have a better idea of Council’s regular business. Council regularly has a motion to receive all of the Information Items and to accept the recommendations they contain, except for any items that Council members wish to discuss; it’s up to each Councillor to state which, if any, items they want pulled for discussion.)
(a) Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM): “Compass” Newsletter (which includes a number of items of interest to municipalities. This issue includes a link to “Develop With Care”, a guide for planning development. One section of that guide recommends a minimum 20 centimeters of topsoil for any garden (including lawn) areas, and 1 metre depth for trees. This requirement, if implemented, helps to conserve water in dry months and to minimize run-off in wet ones. Rossland currently requires only 10 centimeters of topsoil — about 4 inches. A number of municipalities require 30 centimeters.)
(b) UBCM Group Insurance for Elected Officials;
(c) Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG): Notice of 2015 AGM, to be held in Nakusp on April 22–24, and first call for resolutions; Zwicker asked about the resolution process, and Moore urged all Council members to attend.
(d) Sustainability Commission Minutes (including a recommendation to the City that “the Invest West Kootenay Widget is embedded into the City of Rossland website.” (Your elderly technosaurus reporter was amused to learn that the term “widget”, which in earlier times meant an unknown and usually hypothetical small device, has acquired a specific meaning in the world of computing.) Cosbey spoke about the Sustainability Commission’s planned 3 to 4 hour “summit” in January, to which Council will be invited. One of the topics will be the structure of the Sustainability Commission and its relationship with the City, and how the Commission gets (or should get) its “marching orders” from the City; the bylaw governing the Sustainability Commission requires the Commission to act at the direction of Council. During the past two Council terms, the Commission received little direction from the City — Cosbey commented that the Commission “feels ignored”. McLellan commented that he thinks the Commission should “have the latitude to do what they think needs to be done.” Moore said the relationship “could be a real collaboration.”
(e) Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty advisory Committee: a request for “confirmation of appointments” from the City to the committee;
(f) United Way: an invitation for a member of Rossland Council to sit on the United Way Trail & District Board;
(g) Ministry of Transportation: A letter from Greg Kinnear, the Road Area Manager, responding to concerns from the City about the speed of traffic on Columbia Avenue, assuring us that the average speed of traffic along Columbia Avenue is 43 kilometers per hour; (The location of the speed measurements was not disclosed; your reporter wonders whether any measurements were taken west of the Miners Hall.)
(h) A letter from Fletcher Quince asking that Council develop new categories of business license for “Social LABS, Social Modelling Organizations, and Research Institutes” and for “Social Enterprises and Community Contribution Corporations.” The staff recommendation was that Council consider this request when the business license bylaw is reviewed in 2015;
(i) Memorandum from the Acting Chief Financial Officer concerning an over-delivery of sand;
The motion to receive all the information items carried.
A New Council Procedure Bylaw: Deputy CAO Tracey Butler submitted a fifteen and a half page draft bylaw #2580 in the Council materials. Moore had asked for a number of changes, and the amended version was passed out in hard copy at the meeting.
Cosbey moved that it be given first second and third readings as amended.
Zwicker commented that he is not in favour of giving bylaws all three readings on the same night as a matter of principle, and Morel agreed.
On the section of the bylaw about the manner of address to be used in Council chambers, Greene was in favour of the formal address (“Councillor Greene; Mayor Moore”) outlined in the resolution; others thought that first names are fine as long as the discussion is well organized, respectful and productive.
Moore called the question on the resolution to give the bylaw three readings: the motion failed, with only McLellan in favour.
Morel moved to give the resolution two readings at this meeting.
Cosbey commented that the “Rossland Rule” in the bylaw prohibiting Council from reconsidering a resolution, bylaw or other decision for 6 months seemed “too strict”, and moved to change it to 3 months instead. Greene spoke in favour of the 6 month waiting period, but the motion reducing it to 3 months carried with only Greene opposed.
Council members discussed a number of provisions, including how Councillors can add items to an agenda (and the timing); and a provision that having a meeting automatically adjourn if a member is taking part electronically, and the connection is lost. Cosbey moved to remove that provision; his motion carried unanimously.
A motion to give the bylaw, as amended, first and second readings carried unanimously.
Zwicker noted that he has talked to the Sustainability Commission about their event, tentatively set for Jan 21.
Morel asked if he could add a couple of small decision items, and got a nod from Moore. Black Jack Ski Club is holding the NORAM event this weekend; the club must move the event up to the Biathlon trails because of lack of snow; they need electricity on site; Morel moved that the City lend a portable generator to Black Jack. The cost to the City is the cost of having a staff member haul the generator trailer to and from the biathlon range, and Butler commented that it could be done during regular working hours. The motion carried.
Morel then referred to the discussion about the Winter Market using the Miners Hall, and reported that a citizen raised a concern about wear and tear on the floor, and the fact that maintaining the floor is a large expense. Morel wondered if it would be possible to borrow from the School District a large floor covering (that is used by RSS when events are held there) for the market. Butler said she would investigate.
Cosbey reported on the Visions for Small Schools Society board meeting last week, which focussed on their potential expansion of the Seven Summits Centre for Learning to accommodate more students. They are trying to find suitable sites within Rossland, and are still looking.
Moore commented favourably on the “newly Elected” seminar held in Christina Lake, and noted that the Trail, Warfield and Rossland mayors are already working collaboratively. Moore and McLellan attended a Tourism Rossland event, and passed on the conclusion that the best way to differentiate Rossland as a ski resort is to provide exceptional service.
She plans to attend “West Kootenay Economic Development Dialogue”, a gathering of mayors and Chamber of Commerce representatives and other economic development interests. She is arranging to have art works displayed in City Hall where a number of Council portraits used to hang. She noted that the City needs to get its committees “up & running”, and emphasized the importance of getting their first newsletter out.
A motion to add Zwicker to the Sewage Task Force carried unanimously.
Council passed a motion to convene its next regular meeting in January at 6:00 PM.
Moore then adjourned the public portion of the meeting, and announced that Council would resume the in camera session that started at 5:00.
The meeting carried on while your reporter crunched her way home in the dark on a surface of semi-frozen slush and grit, wondering if the bears have found nice, rain-resistant dens yet.