When is City property a "Private" Driveway? And: Rossland Skatepark -- The Art of the Possible

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
November 12th, 2015

Regular Rossland City Council Meeting,  November 10,  2015;  6:00 pm

Council Members:  Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors John Greene, Andrew Zwicker, Andy Morel, Aaron Cosbey, and Lloyd McLellan.   (Absent:  Marten Kruysse)

Staff:  Manager of Public Works Darrin Albo, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne.    CAO/CFO Cecile Arnott arrived at 6:40 pm.

The Public Gallery  was full, crowded, and overflowing.  People set up extra chairs,  sat everywhere there was space, stood instead of sitting, filled the space behind  council as well as the normal gallery area, and lurked in the doorways and  hallways  to hear the proceedings.

Public Input Period:  A member of the Rossland Tennis Society  outlined a 30-year history of keeping  Rossland’s “heritage” tennis courts usable;  tennis enthusiasts  have been seeking support from other residents  for the tennis court refurbishment project, and  they are asking the City for  assurance that the land occupied by the tennis courts will still be used for tennis courts well into the future.

Another resident spoke about traffic issues on McLeod Avenue, and suggested that a way be found to “impede speeding traffic” coming off Kirkup (from the highway).  He said there have been too many close calls and too much conflict already and that he will present some ideas at the next Council meeting. 

Another resident  expressed concern  about the area of Thompson Avenue from Esling Avenue  east to the highway, and asked  the City to  keep “an eye”  on that area about the number and type  of vehicles parking on the roadway and creating a hazard.


1.  Youth  Action Network (YAN)

Mike Kent spoke for YAN, first giving a brief  overview.   YAN is now into its 3rd year;  it is a “program of the City of Rossland”  funded by CBT and other grants.  YAN provides programs for youth 12 to 18 years of age; it is youth-directed and community supported.  The storefront space downtown opened in March 2015 and houses 8 programs at present — about 20 hours of programming per week, and is used by about 100 youth.  The rent is $12,000 per year.  The space was opened on a trial basis; now  they have funding for it until the end of June.  They have been looking at other spaces, and  would like permission to use the empty City building on the former Emcon site, currently slated for demolition to make extra room for the skatepark.  YAN recognizes that the building  needs a lot of renovation, but thinks they could do the necessary  work  without additional cost to taxpayers, and could make it into a “really excellent youth space.”   Kent  suggested that it would be a benefit to the City to avoid tearing down the building,  to clean up the area, and to provide washrooms for the site.

A member of the gallery suggested ways in which the building, if used by YAN, would complement the skatepark, and Kent agreed.

2.  Rossland Skatepark Association (RSA)

 Robin Strachan and Heath Clement presented on the skatepark association and its plans.  To answer the question of why Rossland should have a skatepark, they had several responses.  It’s “a natural fit”  for the “kids, young and  old” and would  bring economic benefits to Rossland, they said.  They asserted that it would be a “plus”  for civic development;  and they pointed out that it is entirely consistent with the Official Community Plan and  has strong community support — amply demonstrated by the number of supporters trying to fit into the public gallery for their presentation.   RSA began working on getting a skatepark for Rossland  in 2009.   (Editor’s Note:  Rossland’s youth have been working for a skatepark  much longer than that — Connor Mackay, than aged 13,  presented to Council very persuasively  in 2002.)    They presented their modified, less expensive design, which leaves room for the building YAN wants to use.   They identified  the hard costs  RSA  will have to pay for construction, and asked that the City allow them to “piggy-back” on the Washington Street renewal project to get good prices for the purchase of concrete, and to avoid transport costs for the use of heavy machinery that will  already be on site.  The City would need to take care of the drainage tie-in,  rezoning the site  from light industrial to park space, and to keep the skate-park area clear of materials and equipment storage for the Washington St. project.  

Zwicker asked if the design was “new and different” for the area; the answer was yes, it’s a “flow” park, whereas the other regional ones tend to be more of a “street” design.  Moore asked if there was one like it anywhere around,  and was told  no, there isn’t.  She asked also about sound deflection;  the presenters explained that the park design sends sound more upward  than outward, and that sound-buffering  berms can  be created from the material excavated.   Asked  whether there has been a geotechnical assessment, the presenters replied,  yes;  they didn’t find rock that would have to be blasted, but did find an old railway tie.   A resident asked whether any further environmental  remediation was required;  Lightbourne  said, no, it has its certificate already.

Council adopted their agenda and the minutes of previous meetings, then dealt with —

Unfinished business

(a)     City plowing of “private” driveways:   A motion that council direct staff to amend the City of Rossland Road, Sidewalk and Stair Snow Removal Policy (#06-05)  to clarify the criteria pertaining to (private) driveways and to bring it back to Council by January 1  CARRIED unanimously after discussion:

Morel spoke and said that the City should have a written policy on the issue of private driveways.  Cosbey questioned whether it is necessary to clarify the policy itself, or just to define  what is private and what is not;   Lightbourne explained that several people had received letters notifying them that  “their” driveways would  no longer be plowed, but they were actually on the City’s map for showing what would be plowed in what priority.  On the other hand, she explained that there are some “private” driveways that are plowed and will continue to be plowed because the City needs access to fire hydrants or other such facilities.  The policy should be re-written so that all City decisions to plow or not to plow can be clearly supported by the policy. 

Cosbey asked if an appeals process would be part of the policy;  Lightbourne said if the policy is clear, there should be no need for an appeals process.  Arnott explained that when the policy is rolled out it will be a public item and people can come to Council and speak to it.  Cosbey  asked if the policy could be implemented during the winter;  Morel asked if the new policy  could be applied  now rather than waiting until January.  Arnott advised waiting until the written policy is in place, so that residents who need to make arrangements will have time to do so.

(b)    Council Discussion of the Draft Corporate Strategic Plan for 2015 – 2018:

Council discussed some adjustments to one version of  their DRAFT Strategic Plan, and made slight amendments.      Cosbey suggested calling it the 2016 – 2018 plan;  “2015 is over.”  Council agreed.    Thus renamed, Council’s 2nd version of the Strategic Plan was unanimously approved as amended.

(c)    Water and Sewer Rate Implementation:   Council unanimously rescinded the motion passed at the September  14, 2015 Regular Council Meeting to implement new water and sewer rates on January 1, 2016.

Cosbey suggested that the City needs a spreadsheet (which the consultant will not provide)  for crunching the numbers to arrive at a more satisfactory balance of charges for water and sewer, and that the City could set a budget figure of $3500 to seek and obtain such a spreadsheet.  A motion to that effect CARRIED unanimously.

(d)        Zwicker moved that Council direct staff to investigate a separate funding procedure, outside the community group funding application, for the City of Rossland Sustainability Commission (SC).   Zwicker explained that the City has not been giving direction to the SC, so the SC has worked on items they thought were important, only for the City to tell them it wasn’t something the City wanted, so some SC members  became discouraged and quit;  and the application schedule meant that the SC could not know — before applying for funding — what they were supposed to be doing and how much funding they would need.   Morel commented that he didn’t think a new funding regime would preclude the SC from coming up with their own ideas and bringing them to Council.  Moore was uneasy about changing the SC funding out of Community Groups;  McLellan thought the current system provides greater accountability; Greene  said he thought the previous Council didn’t take advantage of the SC ‘s energy;  Cosbey pointed out the Council set a goal of capping the percentage of the City’s budget applied to community groups,  so there is really no need to force  the  groups to have their budgets in at a certain date for the City’s budgeting process because the total amount is known, and the City can divide it up among them at a  later time.  Moore objected that the amounts must be allocated for the budget, and the groups need  certainty about their funding.

The motion CARRIED, with only McLellan opposed.

Recommendations from Staff for Decision:

(a)   Development Permit Variance Application for  2680 Iron Colt Avenue:  the owner is seeking approval for a driveway  6.1 meters wide  instead of 4 meters.  A motion to grant the request CARRIED unanimously.

(b)  Fire Smart grant:   A motion to  endorse  a grant application seeking funding for “FireSmart” planning and activities to encourage  property owners to  reduce fire hazards  on private interface lands  in Rossland, particularly for neighbourhoods such as upper McLeod Avenue, Black Bear, and the South  Belt,  CARRIED unanimously.   


A motion to give third reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2602   for a guest house at 2075  Thompson Avenue CARRIED unanimously.

Rekindle event:  Tourism Rossland submitted a letter requesting assistance from the City with such items as putting up the Christmas tree in Harry Lefevre Square, and permission for the other activities on City property;  a motion to approve the requests CARRIED unanimously. 

Members’ Reports

Cosbey  reported that “the point of presence” for broadband is installed; the fiber will be “lit up” by December; and  Internet Service Providers  could be offering terms to downtown businesses as early as January.

Morel has met with the  RCAC Miners Hall renovation committee and spoke of the high levels of excitement and enthusiasm about the project.  Morel asked about his role with the renovation  project;  Moore wants Council to be able to track all the expenses very closely and appreciates the extra “eyes and ears.”  Albo explained that  there will be a monthly meeting, and the architect will  meet with staff and will be happy to meet with RCAC after that.   Arnott noted that “we have committed to” tracking expenses of the total project, and she will be submitting her first report very soon. 

Zwicker’s  motion that the  SC  be allowed to use $500 from the SC budget to upgrade the City’s e-mail system  CARRIED unanimously.   

Zwicker also mentioned a food security meeting on November 18th, to apply for a grant for a food security plan, and invited everyone to attend.

Greene  reported  on the development of Council’s potential bobsled for the Winter Carnival bobsled race.

Moore reported that  the Seven Summits Centre for Learning  is requesting to use funding from a CBT  CIP  grant, originally granted for another purpose,  to learn how to do research and use it to create a plan to bring in more international students.  If Council agrees, then the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary board of directors  would have to agree to the change.  McLellan commented that the RDBK would likely refuse permission to use it for a different purpose,  and make them re-apply for funding next year.  However, Council agreed with the request and tasked McLellan with attempting to persuade the RDKB board to allow the change in purpose.

Moore went to the “Easy Peezy Station” public washroom launch at CBAL in Trail; she noted that Rossland will have an “Easy Peezy” washroom at the Library, and someone suggested that there could also be one at the YAN facility if they get to use the building at the Emcon site.  Moore mentioned the water rate public meeting to be held on Thursday  November 12 at the Seniors’ Hall.  Moore and Morel attended the veterans’ dinner and noted that  there are still two veterans of  World War Two  living in Rossland. 

Council  recessed the meeting at 8:15 pm to go into an in camera  session, and your reporter walked home in the cold wet night thinking of Remembrance Day and the words of the Anzac song as written and sung  by Eric Bogle; click on the link for one version of the song “And the band played Waltzing Matilda.”

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