Gold Fever Follies starts June 30; Rossland's Speed Limits Changing

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
June 24th, 2015

Report on Rossland City Council Meeting, June 22, 2015

All Council Members except Marten Kruysse were present, with Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo and Interim Chief Administrative Officer Mike Maturo attending.

Public Input Period:   Dogs; Trees;  Dangerous Parking at RSS

In response to Mayor Moore’s call for ideas from citizens on how the City can alleviate dog problems, Phil Matyszak  suggested  “one quick way to identify the scope of the problem:”  a website with a name such as “rosslanddogproblems.ca”  where people can post  incidents of loose dogs, dogs barking excessively, and so on.   He pointed out that the owners of dogs seen on the loose could also benefit by knowing where their dogs have been seen.

Kamren Farr  thought the dog issue might make  a good student project in the coming year for Selkirk College’s Environmental Planning program.  Maturo noted that the instructor of that program has visited the City recently.   Farr commented that some signage at trailheads would be helpful, educating owners on acceptable practices;   deposits of dog feces tend to be concentrated within  100 meters of the trailheads.   He stated that there seems to be a prevalent and probably mistaken belief that off-leash dogs are a bear deterrent.   

Moore asked Farr if he had comments about the issue of speeding vehicles;  Farr said that he has tried driving at both 40 km/h and at 30 km/h in town, and is convinced that 30 km/h is the more appropriate speed for driving within Rossland.  The speed bump effort was discussed, and the history of some bad-tempered drivers honking whenever they went over a speed bump, apparently to punish all  residents living anywhere near the speed bumps.

Laura Petit asked about the felling of all the cottonwoods beside the Miners Union Hall.  She acknowledged that some of them were a threat to the Hall, but didn’t think all  of them were.   Maturo noted that the Hall has been noticeably hotter in the afternoons since the trees were removed.

Jorge Rivas spoke about parking by parents driving their children to Rossland Summit School (RSS).  He observed that there is such congestion as to create a hazard for children who walk to school because it is difficult for children to see around the vehicles to cross the street, and also difficult for drivers of vehicles to see children trying to cross the street.  He commented that most of the vehicles are large trucks, which makes the visibility problem worse.  Some people are even parking at corners, which is illegal.  Rivas said he had a “pipe dream” about RSS having a drop-off zone and a pedestrian overpass for the children.   Maturo  clarified that it is the City’s responsibility, not the RCMP’s, to enforce parking bylaws;  but enforcing speed limits is up to the RCMP.

The 2014  Annual Report:

Moore was very pleased with the Annual Report completed by staff;  Councillor Aaron Cosbey repeated praise for it, as did Councillors Lloyd McLellan  and Andy Morel.  Council approved it unanimously.  Morel suggested doing an additional “summary report” — a more concise version that more members of the public might be inclined to read.   Moore said that was a fine idea, but that staff should not have it added to their heavy workload, and a Councillor could do a summary instead.  To see Rossland’s  full  Annual Report for 2014, click here.

●    Discussions were interrupted briefly  as members of the Gold Fever Follies performed the lively opening number of this year’s show  for Council and gave a brief overview of the plot, which makes use of the historic tension between Rossland and Trail.  The Follies shows begin on June 30, with their “Grand Opening” on Thursday, July 9.

When the applause died down and the costumed performers exited the gallery,  Moore carried on with  comments about the annual report. Rossland’s  Greenhouse Gas  emissions were higher in 2014  than in 2013, so the City needs to reverse that trend.   

Council also looked at the 2014 Statement of Financial Information (SOFI), provided by Acting Chief Financial Officer Lois Hunter.  Moore would like  clarification of what is included in the “expenses” column in the statement about employee remuneration on page 57 of the SOFI  report.  Moore also wants to see remuneration and expenses for the elected officials listed separately,  with another category for all other employees under $75,000.  

Dangerous Trees:

Manager of Operations Darrin Albo requested that Council re-allocate some funding in the current year’s budget from the snow plowing/sanding line to the dangerous tree removal line.  His memo pointed out that  there is surplus in the plowing/sanding budget at this point because of the low snowfall early this year, and that more funding is needed to remove  dangerous trees.  Maturo pointed out that a single large tree costs about $1000 to remove.   Albo’s memo  led to a lengthy discussion about the cost of hiring an arborist to do an inventory of dangerous trees on City property, although both Maturo and Añonuevo indicated that the  City does have an arborist assessing trees.  Cosbey wondered why Council members were going into such detail about the City staff dangerous trees procedures,  an operational matter, as the request is a straight-forward issue of budgeting.

New City Policy on Speed Limits in Rossland:

In response to citizen complaints about speeding on City streets,  Maturo drafted a report and a policy for lower speed limits.   He spoke with the RCMP and they were very much in favour and indicated that they would be happy to come up and enforce  lower speed limits.   Maturo described the conditions on various Rossland streets — steep, narrow streets with parking on both sides, vehicle crowding near the schools,  and  areas with poor sight-lines.     Cosbey reported that driving from the four-way stop at Davis and Thompson to the Schofield Highway  at 30 km/h instead of 40 km/h takes 30 seconds longer, and that level of inconvenience is trivial compared with the benefit of increased safety for children and other pedestrians.   He wanted to know what options are available other than reducing the speed  limits, and spoke of other, complementary measures.  Councillor John Greene mentioned the efficacy of speed boards.  Cosbey wondered whether it would be better to introduce lower speed limits on their own, or wait until the City has a larger package of traffic-calming measures.  Morel was in favour of using lower speed limits now, and commented that on-road painted signage is  more noticeable  than  just roadside signs — except in snow season.  

After lengthy discussion, Council passed a motion to adopt the  policy reducing speed limits in town to 20 km/h  in all school zones and to 15 km/h in all areas adjacent to drop-off areas near schools;   to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h on other City streets,  but lowered further to 20 km/h  where a lack of sidewalks and poor sight-lines, parking patterns, or narrow streets  create additional hazards for pedestrians.    Moore suggested that residents who want speed bumps installed should canvass their neighbours and if all those within earshot of honking horns agree,  bring a request to the City. 

Moore suggested reviewing Rossland’s traffic bylaw, and a  motion to that effect CARRIED.   Morel commented that he has seen a lot of unlicensed vehicles on the streets and elsewhere.  Cosbey noted the threat posed to public use of the trail system  by illegal motorized use of the trails  by dirt bikes and ATVs.

The new Delegation Bylaw:

The new Delegation Bylaw, as amended,  received third reading.  The  motion CARRIED unanimously. 

A motion to bring back the Officers Bylaw for review, to bring it into alignment with the Delegation Bylaw, also CARRIED unanimously.

More about dogs

Council looked at the current animal control bylaw;  comments were that it is a good bylaw, but Rossland has no effective enforcement for bylaws.   Cosbey suggested that Rossland could have two classes of trails:  on-leash trails (more heavily used), and off-leash trails.  Councillor Andrew Zwicker suggested moving the bylaw enforcement issue to a Committee-of-the-Whole meeting  on July 13.

Morel mentioned that people are setting off fireworks, and that in these dry conditions it poses a fire hazard.

Council members expressed their appreciation for the informative Public Works Report.

 Zwicker reported that the Sustainability Commission has gained a new member, Caley Mulholland, and urged people to look at the SC FaceBook page.

Moore reported that Federal Minister of Industry James Moore (no relation),  MP for Port Moody/Westwood/Port Coquitlam,  will be visiting the area on July 9;  details will follow.   Moore will travel on her motorcycle to attend  the Mayors’ Conference in Vancouver.   She  reported on the installation of the outdoor classroom near RSS, and suggested holding the July 13 Council meeting there, weather permitting.  Añonuevo reminded Council that it would require a public advertisement to provide notice of the change of venue.

Cosbey said he has “been volunteered” to be a member of the CBT climate change resilience advisory group, which will probably focus on mitigation and adaptation.

Council then adjourned the public portion of the meeting for an in  camera session to discuss litigation and labour issues.  Your reporter walked home, contemplating bears and dogs.  A memory clip showed a large dog off on his own, eagerly following the scent trail left moments earlier by a medium-sized bear, through my back yard and the neighbours’ back yard and across the street, into the lane — and suddenly the dog caught up with the moseying bear;  the bear turned and gave the dog a stern look; the dog’s body language said  “Oops!  My mistake!  Sorry, I’m out of here!” as he turned tail and raced for home.  A bear deterrent?  Not that one.  On the other hand, over the years I have hiked without a dog and  met many bears,  with no problems;  mutual respect prevailed each time. 

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