Speeding, Logging, the Jehovah Hall, and Canada Day
Regular Council Meeting held June 8, 2015
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Lloyd McLellan, Aaron Cosbey, Marten Kruysse, John Greene, Andrew Zwicker; and by telephone, Andy Morel.
Staff: Interim CAO Mike Maturo, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo, Planner Stacey Lightbourne.
Public Input Period: Miche Warwick spoke as a concerned mother about vehicles speeding on Thompson Avenue. She said “cars fly past our house” at 60 to 70 km/h (the speed limit is 40 km/h); and noted that one of the speed limit signs is partially obscured by bushes. Moore explained the history of Rossland’s efforts to reduce speeding on Thompson; Greene talked about using speed boards, which can help raise awareness of speeding. ICAO Maturo noted that no matter what the speed limit is, many people tend to go 5 to 10 km/h faster, and the City could lower the speed limits on City streets (but not the highway through town). Maturo suggested the possibility of decals painted on the pavement for the summer months, but noted that it would be an additional expense.
Hazel Arnold spoke to express her dismay at the state of the Rubberhead trail; she is horrified at the extent of the logging and the amount of debris remaining. She asked whether a biologist was involved before and during the logging to ensure that wildlife would not be adversely impacted. Planner Stacey Lightbourne responded that a biologist was involved, the trail will be replaced and is required to be replaced, but not in the same location; and that the City is monitoring it.
Council unanimously passed a motion to change the City’s benefits broker, a move they expect will improve service and save taxpayers some money.
New Water and Sewer Rates in the Works:
Council then moved on to discuss the options for changing the City’s water and sewer rates — a move intended to ensure that the rates charged actually cover the City’s costs of providing water and sewer services. They agreed that imposing a new rate structure starting on July 1st, as originally anticipated, would not allow enough time for public consultation and input before making a final decision on the rates. Council will now work on communicating the issues to the community, hold a public consultation in September and aim to begin the new rate structure at the beginning of the fourth quarter of the year.
Cosbey noted that the Acting Chief Financial Officer will have to make some adjustments to the budget , as the budget was based on a rate increase starting earlier in the year. Moore noted that Council should rescind the earlier motion to start new rates on July 1st, and a motion to that effect CARRIED.
Council discussed an application for a zoning amendment on 2099 Third Avenue (Jehovah Hall), to enable the property to be sold and used as a contractor’s office and training facility with a caretaker suite. The prospective purchaser has agreed to provide the City with a statutory right of way to improve the City’s urban trail system. Cosbey and Zwicker commented that the proposal seems like a perfect fit for the property and serves the intention of the OCP. A motion to give first and second reading to the bylaws amending the OCP and the zoning CARRIED unanimously; a motion to hold a public consultation about it on July 13th also CARRIED unanimously.
The DRAFT new Delegation Bylaw:
Discussing the draft new Delegation Bylaw, Cosbey agreed with staff that Council will also have to re-do the Officers Bylaw, to bring it into alignment with the new Delegation Bylaw. Cosbey and Zwicker thanked Maturo for presenting the draft Delegation Bylaw and for providing a written summary of the differences between the current one and the new draft.
Moore queried whether the bylaw should contain definitions of works and service agreements, Section 219 covenants (referring to covenants that can be registered on the title of land under Section 219 of the Land Title Act, imposing limits on what can be done on a property) and Statutory Rights of Way. Maturo suggested that it would be easier to refer to the bylaw or section of legislation in which they are defined. Kruysse suggested that bylaws such as this one should be reviewed regularly. Moore repeated her desire to have a provision requiring staff to inform Council at the next regular Council meeting whenever they seek an injunction as the bylaw empowers them to do. A motion to amend the bylaw to that effect CARRIED.
Under the heading of “Municipal Property” in the draft bylaw, discussion resulted in an amendment requiring Council approval before staff are authorized to negotiate a lease. Moore said she just wants Council to be “in the driver’s seat.”
2015 Financial reports & debt reporting:
Cosbey and Kruysse both wanted to thank Acting Chief Financial Officer Lois Hunter for providing the reports, but she wasn’t present. McLellan suggested that an additional column showing the actual expense for the previous year on each line would make the reports even more valuable. One item of note in the reports is the fact that the Regional District’s charge for sewer services was $58, 281 higher than anticipated when the budget was drawn up; Rossland is sending more “liquid waste” down the hill than estimated earlier.
Maturo and Council discussed his report on inflow and infiltration of storm water into the sanitary sewer lines, which increases our cost of sewer services. Cosbey asked whether neighbouring municipalities are doing any of this sort of work; Maturo responded that the community partners “are not aligned on our regulatory approaches to water.” Moore noted that Trail is a “Water Smart” community, but Warfield is not.
Council had a received a request for a waiver of penalties for overdue utility bills. In this particular case, the owner doesn’t live in Rossland. Staff recommendation is not to waive the penalty, because there were no irregularities in the City’s procedures for delivering the bills. Cosby noted that the owner could avoid this problem by going on the pre-payment plan. Motion to not waive the fees CARRIED.
Zwicker noted the large increase in theft in Rossland in 2014 (55 incidents) over 2013 (27 incidents). Council moved to have the RCMP come and give an opinion on what could be the cause(s); the motion CARRIED, with McLellan voting against it. Maturo predicted that the RCMP will probably say they wish people would lock their cars, and not leave the keys in them, and not leave so much stuff lying around outside.
McLellan reported on a draft agreement on the Lions Club campground. He commented that the fire service training officer controversy came up; the Fire Chief and Deputy Chief came up to Rossland with materials. McLellan suggested that a small group go through the materials and come up with some suggestions for options to reduce fire service costs.
Cosbey reported that the Broadband task force will meet this week with the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation and Red Mountain. He noted that Red constitutes a potentially large market for broadband.
Zwicker stated that the garbage bins up near the Museum were a terrible mess when he saw them last, and thought it was a poor welcome to Rossland, right by the “Welcome to Rossland” sign. Greene said it was mentioned to him at the Museum meeting too. Zwicker reported that the Sustainability Commission plans to do 3 Green Drinks events in the fall. He suggested that the Rossland branch of the Kootenay Carshare Co-op could use a truck for people who need to transport bulky items such as building materials. (Your reporter suggests, from personal experience, that a trailer hitch and a good utility trailer instead would be more useful, easier to load and unload, and less expensive to purchase and operate.)
Greene spoke about the Heritage Commission and the success of the new website created by Joanne Drystek; the Museum is open now, five days a week, and has a fund-raiser golf tournament coming up in July.
Kruysse provided an update on the Chamber of Commerce situation. The Trail Chamber of Commerce is federally incorporated; to allow Rossland to join, they would have to apply to have their boundaries expanded. It would not be a “merger” but a shut-down of the Rossland Chamber and an expansion of the Trail Chamber to include Rossland businesses.
Moore talked about Canada Day. The Rossland Museum is sponsoring Canada Day this year; Moore has ordered a cake from Sweet Dreams Cakery for the festivities. The putative state of the flag on Mt. Roberts led Council to pass a motion to order a new 72″ x 144″ flag for $250. Cosbey volunteered to carry the flag up the mountain, and council members parcelled out other tasks relating to Canada Day. Moore listed some of the attractions for the celebration, including “Touch a Truck Day” for young children to get up close and personal with a truck.
Moore, McLellan, Cosbey and Morel will be the initial members of a Fire Service subcommittee to try to come up with cost-saving options to make it more affordable. Moore reported on the activities of the Family Action Network and said she would like to see Rossland get more involved. She related a number of events that she and other Council members have attended, including Montrose days — she noted that Rossland had the “most minimalist” presence there, and that Greene found it a bit embarrassing; Moore and Greene walked in the parade carrying Rossland’s banner, instead of having a decorated float.
Council then moved to an in camera session under 90(1) (c) labour relations, (e), acquisition and disposition of City property, and (k), negotiations. And your reporter walked home in the warm and sweet-scented evening, watching clouds of cottonwood fluff drift by.