MAYOR HANDS OUT CHOCOLATES AT COUNCIL MEETING
6:12 pm, July 13, 2015: REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING:
Following the Committee-of-the-Whole meeting and Public Hearing (reported separately) Council reconvened for their regular meeting. All council members were still present, except for Marten Kruysse, away on travels by bicycle.
Part of your reporter’s purpose in reporting on Council meetings is to enable residents to follow Council business without having to attend the meetings; to enable voters to be well-informed; and also to give readers a partial understanding of the matters that Council deals with at its meetings — not just the big, exciting items, but also the regular grind of City business.
Public Input Period:
Rich Simonson asked for permission to use Nickelplate Park for a concert on Aug 29 to raise funds for the skatepark; has already made many of the necessary preparations such as security, but needs permission from the City. The event would run from 4:00 to 9:00 (on the same date as the Huck’n’Berry Jam event, but later in the day). Mayor Kathy Moore and Councillor Aaron Cosbey both stated that the neighbours around Nickelplate Park would need to be consulted. Simonson said he has posters prepared to inform the neighbourhood, and that one of the advantages of holding the event at Nickelplate is how central it is, so people can walk instead of driving, and there are fewer parking issues.
Councillor John Greene commented that he lives nearby and has never found events there to be a problem. He supported the proposal.
Interim CAO Mike Maturo said the noise bylaw allows people to operate noisy power tools etc. until the end-time for the event, and if the sound levels could be controlled there should be no disruption to the neighbours.
A motion for conditional approval was proposed, subject to polling the neighbourhood and getting general approval. Cosbey commented that if the event is over at 9:00 there should be no concerns, and “conditional” doesn’t work and recommended an amendment to remove “conditional” from the motion. The amended motion CARRIED. Moore said she hopes they “raise lots of money for the skatepark.”
Consideration of Annual Report: Council was prepared to hear questions and submissions from the public regarding the Annual Report, but there were no comments from the public. Moore encouraged everyone to read it — it’s available on the City website.
Delegation: Centennial Wetland Restoration proposal, presented by Eva Cameron and Melissa Laface. Melissa provided her qualifications, and Eva Cameron described herself as “an appreciator” of wetlands, and has noticed the damage being done to the Centennial wetland area. She mentioned various stakeholders who are excited about the prospect of restoring the Centennial wetland. The first step is to get the City’s approval in principle. They have made five requests of the City; Moore asked whether staff have been involved and informed; City Planner Stacey Lightbourne confirmed that staff are informed and involved, and they have no concerns.
Barriers (large boulders) were once in place and helped keep larger machines out of the wetland, but were moved away for work on the bike skills park. Stewart Spooner of the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society agreed that the City will have to commit to maintaining the blockage and could also provide an alternate route for the mechanized users. Maturo noted that our in-town trails are for non-motorized use, and that Rossland has a widespread problem with inappropriate ATV (etc.) use . Cameron described the damage done by vehicles driving through the wet areas, and mud-bogging.
Moore asked what level of staff costs will be involved. Cameron stated that the work needing to be done will be included in applications for funding.
A motion supporting the five requests CARRIED unanimously . In parting, Cameron commented, “(We’re) looking after what we have.”
Request for Council Decision: Youth Action Network (YAN) Co-ordinator Mike Kent requested a raise in his hourly rate of pay, from $28 to $32.
Cosbey offered to recuse himself, as he considers Kent a friend; Moore said that was unnecessary, as there is no personal gain involved for Cosbey or any of his relatives. Councillor Andy Morel said his only concern is that the increase in pay would (officially at least) cut his hours, and there is no additional funding; but trusts that he can manage his time and the value to our youth. Greene commented that Kent seems to do well at raising additional funds for YAN. Councillor Lloyd McLellan was not in favour because “it’s a large increase.” Moore noted that Kent puts in more hours than he gets paid for. Cosbey noted that the accomplishments he has racked up are very impressive. Moore asked, “Is the contract the same in all aspects except for pay?” Maturo confirmed that it is.
A motion granting the request CARRIED, with McLellan opposed.
Request for Council Decision: Huck’n’ Berries Bike Jam want to build a dirt jump and to use the advanced bike skills park for their event. Councillor Andrew Zwicker said the event seems to be a great success each year and gets larger each time. Morel noted that there was a concern about expansion of the park creeping further into the wetland, and made a friendly amendment to the motion to require that there be no further expansion into the wetland area, and that for the event, access to the wetland be restricted. The amendment was accepted and the motion CARRIED unanimously.
New Speed Limits Coming Soon to an Area Near You!
Request for Council Decision: City of Rossland Speed Limit Policy. The proposed policy calls for speed limits of 30 kilometers per hour (km/hr) on City streets (not Highway 3) except for special areas near schools and along Mcleod and around Nickelplate Park, which would be lowered to 20 km/hr, and the drop-off zones at schools, which will be posted at 15 km/hr. Maturo said he also wants to add a portion of Thompson, East of Esling, to be posted at 20 km/hr only when there is snow in the winter and sightlines are limited — just when conditions require it for safety. Council briefly got sidetracked discussing whether the road through Nickelplate should be closed all year ’round or not, but realized they were getting off-topic and left that subject for another time.
The motion to approve the draft Speed Limit Policy CARRIED unanimously. The signs will go up in August, and the RCMP have agreed to come and assist with enforcement.
Cosbey stated that he wants the City to address other methods of traffic calming, such as changing the configuration of the streets. Moore suggested that people who want speed bumps should talk with their neighbours and, if enough agree, come to the City with a request.
Morel had asked about the cost of a radar speed board ; Moore said, about $8000. Maturo said that ICBC may contribute to the cost of replacing speed signs. Cosbey suggested using ships’ hawser as temporary speed bumps –it’s easy to change seasonally without damaging the pavement. Añonuevo reminded Council that there is already a standing motion from a previous meeting to ask staff to bring recommendations to Council for traffic calming measures. Council members brainstormed possibilities for a few minutes and brought up ideas suggested by residents commenting via FaceBook: roundabouts (traffic circles), cut-out silhouettes of kids, bears, and so on, moved to different locations; borrowed speed board from RCMP; develop educational material and circulate it.
Zwicker jokingly suggested making Thompson Avenue an official “dogs off-leash area” — might solve the problem dog issue as well as achieving traffic calming. McLellan said it still comes down to enforcement. Morel suggested considering stop signs on Thompson Avenue at Washington Street. Suggestion: can Mike Kent and his crew make a speed board? Or Seven Summits Centre for Learning?
Request for Council Decision: Tourism Rossland Agreements
McLellan thinks the new draft agreement is clear and will help prevent misunderstandings. Zwicker had heard from business owners who wanted to ensure that all tourism stakeholders still get an equal say, not just the biggest ones.
The draft agreement was amended to state that Tourism Rossland will require businesses to hold a current business licence to be registered on Tourism Rossland’s website; and that the parties can terminate the agreement by serving two years’ notice.
A motion to accept agreement as amended CARRIED unanimously.
Celebrating the New Delegation Bylaw — with cheers and chocolates!
The motion to adopt the new Delegation Bylaw CARRIED unanimously, cheerfully and noisily. The mayor passed out Mountain Nugget chocolates to everyone present to express her glee: “I’ve been waiting years for this!” she exclaimed.
Bylaws #2593 and #2594 (discussed earlier in the evening at the Public Hearing) both passed third reading unanimously.
A motion to discuss pesticide use in Rossland at a November meeting CARRIED.
Maturo noted that data indicate that our water distribution system has leakage. He estimated that if we fixed our leaks, we could be distributing about 33% more water. The City will take note of measurements in November, when there is little or no inflow and infiltration, and no one is irrigating.
Moore, Greene and Zwicker will be Rossland’s three representatives to attend the Union of BC Municipalities conference. Council had reduced the amount budgeted for the event, and thus limited the number of attendees to three.
Council considered memos from the Manager of Operations on hazardous tree removal, and from the Recreation Department on user fees in Rossland compared with other communities.
Request from the West Kootenay Minor Lacrosse Association for assistance with travel expenses to Provincial Championships to be held in Kelowna. Cosbey, Zwicker and Greene expressed reluctance to fund travel for this sport, considering the large number of other sports teams who travel without any assistance from the City. A motion to let them know that the City wishes them every success, but to deny them financial assistance CARRIED unanimously.
Request from Mr. Andrew Bennet that the City review their business licenses and that agricultural enterprises within the City of Rossland be exempt from the requirement for a Business Licence. A motion bring the Business License Bylaw back to Council for review, and to alter the Business License list, and to exempt small farms within the City from Business Licensing CARRIED unanimously.
Request from Thoughtexchange for a bike rack near their business. Council members spoke of a suggestion to install bike racks in the striped area beside the pool; Maturo noted that the Ministry of Transportation, Highways and Infrastructure would object to any obstruction in the official highway area. Back to the bike rack request: Morel would “go with some cost-sharing agreement” but reluctant for the City to fork out for a bike rack dedicated to one particular business. Cosbey says, if we want to encourage bike use and discourage driving, and we don’t want them to park their cars on Washington Street all day, we should be willing to pay for bike racks. McLellan suggested asking the businesses around town whether and where they want bike racks, and figure out where they should go; the City should have a plan. Maturo pointed out that a lot of people in that area dump bikes in a “messy state … if you look at what we’ve invested in parking for cars, and what we’ve spent on bike racks — it’s not comparable; our bike facilities are pretty thin by comparison. We didn’t put a single bike rack in the parking lot by the Thrift Shop. We need to do more.” Maturo suggests that “we give a test of a prototype covered bike parking area in town.” Moore suggested a response to Thoughtexchange that council likes the idea of more bike racks, but will address it during the next budget period, ramp up bike rack installation next year and decide on the best locations. A motion to that effect CARRIED unanimously .
Rossland’s Design Review Panel (DRP) recommended that Council deny approval for signage presented for the “Curiosity” clothing shop, and to approve signage for the “Revival” shop; there was no picture of either sign to inform Council. Greene commented that he saw both signs, and the “Curiosity” sign was hand-made and did not look professional enough. Maturo commented that the guidelines are not clear enough and are open to subjectivity and interpretation, and businesses have complained about the lack of clarity.
Motion: that staff review all the design guidelines and bring forward a more suitable set with better clarity. Cosbey expressed concern about Council taking on items that are not on their list of strategic priorities, without thinking what effect it may have on higher priority items; he thinks this one could be better to have on the table for August. Greene said he thinks the Design Review Panel should also provide their input. The motion was withdrawn. Morel suggested that the DRP could suggest draft guidelines for Council to consider, but there was no motion or direction to that effect. Council accepted the DRP’s recommendations.
That old question about amalgamation:
The Council package included Moore’s report on the Mayors’ conference, which covered a lot of information on different topics. One piece was a (perhaps surprising) finding that amalgamation of municipalities has not resulted in cost savings or efficiencies.
Morel reported on a Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society meeting in Trail. Amalgamation was a topic there too. Morel was surprised at the “energy and emotion” of some of the presenters, particularly Bruce LeRose, who was disappointed that local leaders so firmly rejected the idea. (Moore noted that Rossland was never asked.) Cosbey noted other findings from examples of amalgamation that have not in fact resulted in any cost savings or efficiencies (as reported at the Mayors’ Conference), and Moore commented that some municipalities are now trying to de-amalgamate. Cosbey commented that we should still look at our local situation and get all the studies and information we can, so that decisions can be better informed. Greene said Shelley Ackerman had told him about a book, which he has , and there’s a lot in it about why amalgamation is not a good idea; he will make the book available to anyone who is interested.
Greene reported on the Heritage Commission, and on Saturday’s Golf Tournament to benefit the Museum — “A huge success,” Greene reported: ” everyone had fun, and it raised about $1,000 for the Museum renovation project.” Greene is working to bring a “Piano in the Park” to Rossland.
And finally …
At about 9:45 pm, Council recessed to anin camera session under Community Charter s. 90 (1)(e) and (k): land & improvements, and negotiations. And your reporter walked home in the gloaming without meeting a single dog, but did have to sidestep some lumps of squishy-looking brown material on the sidewalk, which brought a touch of nostalgia with memories of a long-ago trip to Paris and the need for constant vigilance and much side-stepping there too, as Parisian dogs (and their poop) were everywhere. The dogs were all on leashes, though, and firmly controlled by their humans.