Less Smoking; an Advisory Task Force for Washington Street Project

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
November 26th, 2015

Rossland City Council — Meeting Held November 24th, 2015

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

Staff present:  Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo and Chief Administrative Officer/Chief Financial Officer Cecile Arnott.

Public Input Period:   Jan Morton spoke on behalf of  the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society,  to ask for a renewed letter of support for a project to purchase affordable housing in Rossland.  The Society has applied for funding, and was told that an application that included municipal support would be more likely to succeed.  She was asking not only  for a statement of support in principle but also for some indication that the City would consider a future application for a Permissive Tax Exemption.

Delegation:  Kootenay Smoke Free Coalition:

Andrea Winckers and Christy Anderson of the BC Cancer Agency Prevention Programs, and Kerri Wall of IHA’s Healthy Communities Initiative, presented a case for enacting a bylaw to prohibit smoking in some public areas.  They cited statistics in support, and listed the names of many communities that have already limited public smoking to some degree.  They pointed out that tobacco causes 30% of all cancer deaths and is related to more than  85% of all lung cancer cases.  They stated that children who grow up in smoke free communities are less likely to use tobacco as adults, and pointed out that  smoke free bylaws tend to “de-normalize” smoking by making it less visible, and that the bylaws do tend to reduce smoking generally.  Outdoor second-hand smoke is just as toxic as indoor second-hand smoke. 

The trio addressed the environmental and economic impacts of smoking too.   From the beginning of this year until September 9,  smokers caused 638 outdoor fires in BC alone.  Tobacco use costs the BC economy 2.3 billion dollars annually. 

They pointed out several ways a bylaw restricting smoking in public places would help the City meet Strategic Sustainability Plan goals, and reported that such bylaws tend to be largely self-enforcing with  appropriate signage.

Cosbey asked whether it was controversial in other communities to ban smoking on restaurants’ outdoor patios.  Answer: some studies show that business increases rather than decreases with smoking restrictions.   McLellan  noted that the former Sunshine Cafe was innovative in banning smoking inside the restaurant  before the Province did , and he said it did increase their business.

Unfinished Business:  

A motion that staff provide a report on the Youth Action Network’s request to use the City’s empty storage building on the Emcon site as a space for youth CARRIED .  

Another motion for a report from staff on the feasibility of meeting the Rossland Skatepark Association’s  request for collaboration with the City  on materials and equipment for the beginning of the skatepark construction and the Washington Street project CARRIED.   

A motion CARRIED to provide a supportive letter in response to the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing request, including the information that this is a type of property that normally  falls within the permissive tax exemptions.

Recommendations from Staff for Decision:

Red Mountain Resort requested a variance permit allowing temporary housing for workers to remain on site for one more year.   A  motion to grant the variance CARRIED.

SCEEP (Strategic Community Energy and Emissions Plan):  In September of this year, City Council and Staff members met with representatives of the Energy Task Force, Fortis BC, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, and a Certified Energy Advisor.  Together, they created a draft plan — the “SCEEP,”  and half a dozen suggested actions to get started on implementation of the plan.   A motion  that council adopt the SCEEP  CARRIED unanimously. 

After discussing the suggested actions under the SCEEP and their likely effects and expense and burden on staff time, Council voted unanimously to adopt the “Corporate Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan” as their initial focus.  Zwicker noted that “quite a few projects” for this plan have already been identified by staff members and the Sustainability Commission’s energy task force.

Next up, a motion to adopt bylaw #2595  to authorize borrowing funds up to four million dollars for the Washington Street renewal project  CARRIED  unanimously.

Rossland Winter Carnival will run  from January 28 to 31 inclusive, 2016.  Council received a letter requesting assistance from the City for the Carnival; a memo from Public Works Manager Darrin Albo noted that the City could provide all the assistance requested within budget, as long as the Carnival organizers can get a snow cat to help, especially with the rail jam, as they did in 2015.   A motion to agree to the requests CARRIED unanimously.

Rossland Council for Arts and Culture requested permission from Council to inventory, assess, and eventually to sell some or all of the pressed tin tiles that graced  the Rossland Miners Union Hall ceiling for a number of years and have been stored there.  A motion to grant the request  CARRIED unanimously.

Council unanimously voted to provide a letter of support for a Mountain Shuttle Passenger License application, as requested.

Cosbey noted that the Design Review Panel had rejected  a sign proposal, and he recalled that Council had previously asked if the DRP could append a picture in future, so that Council members could better respond to questions from business owners about why Council agreed with a particular recommendation of the Design Review Panel.

Council plans to conduct random-sampling telephone surveys of Rossland residents to discover how residents perceive Council and its conduct of business since being elected a year ago.

Members Reports:

Greene commented that, according to Jackie Drysdale of the Heritage Commission, the new owners of the old Bank of Toronto building  (kitty-corner form the Post Office)  are doing an excellent job of renovating it with heritage values in mind.  It is one of  the oldest heritage buildings in Rossland, and the only one with its distinctive “rubble-stone” construction. 

McLellan  reported that the Seven Summits Centre for Learning  request to use grant funding for a different project than originally approved was “resoundingly rejected”  by the Regional District;  they will have to re-apply next year.   On the Liquid Waste front, Rossland’s flows in October were 14.7% of the total, while  Trail’s were about  75%.

 McLellan moved that council immediately appoint an advisory task force to assist with the Washington Street Project.   Kruysse  said that he thinks an advisory group  like this can be a positive resource, and if he were the “owner’s rep” he would welcome it.  He also raised the owner’s rep function of reporting back to council  and said he didn’t think the advisory task force should be required to report back.   Kruysse also commented that the advisory group would have to be very careful not to come across as telling anyone what to do.  The motion to appoint the advisory group CARRIED unanimously.

Moore suggested that McLellan could create a first draft of Terms of Reference for the advisory group  and bring it back to Council.   Kruysse proposed that the Council representative’s role should be limited to communication.

Zwicker reported on the progress of a local group in preparing to apply for a grant from Interior Health for an initiative to develop a food security plan.  (Later, he explained that with most of the food consumed in Rossland coming from elsewhere, and the money we spend for it going far away, one of the surest ways to improve the local economy would be to produce more of our food locally.)  Zwicker also spoke briefly of a podcast being developed with the Sustainability  Commission, to focus on local “Sustainability Action Heroes.”  The first can be seen at the Sustainability Commission’s FaceBook page starting on December 1 and  features Rachael Roussin and her part in restoring the North Jubilee Wetland, and how it will save taxpayers money.  A second podcast will be released in early December featuring an entirely different type of “action hero.”

Moore expressed appreciation and thanks to Redstone for finalizing the right-of-way for the Rubberhead Trail and keeping that as a community asset.   She then invited a motion to act on the Smoke Free presentation. 

Cosbey suggested that Council should decide what would be most appropriate for Rossland and then ask the presenters to work with staff to provide a draft bylaw for consideration.  Kruysse said he is loathe to keep “piling on” these ideas that require staff time, even if it’s a small amount.  Moore suggested doing the preparatory work instead of tasking staff with it.   Zwicker thought such a bylaw might be almost pointless because we have no enforcement capacity.    McLellan said he wants Rossland to be proactive and he supports moving  ahead on it.  Cosbey moved that Council direct the mayor to work with the Smoke-Free Coalition and come back to Council with a draft bylaw, and the motion CARRIED.

Council recessed to an in camera session under Section 90(12)(c) of the Community Charter, to discuss labour relations.  Your reporter crunched home on the ice in the moonlight, wearing her trusty Micro-Spikes and hoping for more and more lovely snow.

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