New Zoning for Half the Emcon Site; A Building for YAN; and What Does 'Abrasax' Mean?

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
December 16th, 2015

 Editor’s Note —For those who haven’t read this explanation before, the Council report below  (like all the others reported here) is as objective as possible,  fairly detailed,  and attempts to reflect the positions taken by the different councillors so that residents can be aware of their different approaches well before the next civic election.  Democracy really works only with a well-informed public, and being well-informed does take  some  attention to what the people we have elected actually say and do.

 Regular Rossland City Council Meeting,  December 14, 2015

All Councillor were Present:  Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Lloyd McLellan, Andy Morel,  John Greene, Andrew Zwicker,  Aaron Cosbey, and Marten Kruysse.

Staff:  CAO/CFO Cecile Arnott, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo, Planner Stacey Lightbourne

Public Input Period: 

A resident whose application for a set-back variance was up for decision later in the meeting addressed Council to answer concerns raised by his next-door neighbour, who opposed the application.  

Mike Kent of the Youth Action Network (YAN) spoke  about the  “Me to We”  Rossland youth group; they raised $1900 for the WINS Transition House (one of the many social programs of Trail  FAIR Society).  They are requesting that Council allow them to set up a temporary overnight camp in downtown Rossland on January 22, 2016, so they can camp out there to raise awareness of  (and funds for) the homeless.   When Kruysse asked how many homeless we have in Rossland, Kent replied that the group in Trail reported having supported 3 Rossland individuals, but that their funds would be used to benefit homeless people in the region, not  only in Rossland.

Tim Peacock, Vice President  of Rossland Search and Rescue (SAR) Society,  spoke to Council about SAR’s need for shelter for its vehicles and equipment,  and the fact that the Public Works Yard has already been identified as the best place for a SAR shelter.   He asked Council not to forget them if the City will be doing any new building there.   He noted that the funding model for SAR is in revision, but also noted that the Rossland SAR group is the only one in the region without a “home”.   SAR groups in the region work together on most searches — requests from Trail generally result in Rossland being called, and  Rossland  gets called out to searches throughout the  region.

AGENDA:   Council amended the agenda by adding the request from YAN for permission to camp overnight downtown in January.

Delegation:  Fletcher Quince presented on his Abrasax Institute and plans.  In materials discussed, Quince states that the “Abrasax Institute was established as an Innovation Lab in 2012.”  (UNICEF defines an Innovation Lab as  “a space and a set of protocols for engaging  young people, technologists, private sector and civil society in problem-solving.”)    Quince spoke of  “C3s” — Community Contribution Corporations, and  referred to Rossland, with its population of  ~3500,  as a  “mappable social landscape, and an ideal area for modelling social  programs.”   He referred to  changing “vacant institutional space into functional social infrastructure,” and mentioned the old firehall, now being used as the “Rossland Social Club” and spoke of other potential uses, with the co-operation of the Kootenay Savings Credit Union.

Cosbey asked “what’s the advantage of a C3 as opposed to a group that might be composed of investors?  What does the C3 offer that’s distinct?”   Quince responded that   the C3 legislation mandates that 60% of the property “belongs to”  (must be dedicated to the purposes of)  the community initiative.  It’s a  social enterprise in that it can earn profit to keep itself going. 

Unfinished Business:

(a)  Rossland Skatepark Association request:

A motion  that Council direct staff to collaborate with the Skatepark Association on  construction during 2016  CARRIED unanimously.

Then Council discussed a motion that Council direct staff to bring forward a bylaw amendment, changing the zoning for the Eastern half  of the Emcon site from Light Industrial to Park .

 Morel pointed out the this would allow space for building sound-deflecting berms and vegetation, and could also accommodate other civic uses besides the skatepark in the rest of the area.     McLellan favoured including the area for the skatepark  but no more, and Kruysse agreed.  Cosbey pointed out that, by approving the rezoning of the land on which the building sits that YAN wants to use, Council would  NOT  be necessitating  a new building in the Public Works Yard.   Moore said she’s happy to see the property getting developed, and that rezoning half the site to Park “moves  us forward to implementation of a really good plan.”   With Moore, Cosbey, Zwicker and Morel  voting  in favour, the motion CARRIED.   Greene, Kruysse, and McLellan were OPPOSED.

(b)  Youth Action Network Delegation request to use one Emcon Site building:

Council discussed a motion that Council  reallocate the building in question on the Emcon site to YAN as a location for youth services.

Cosbey acknowledged the “great social value” that YAN has brought to Rossland, bringing back together  kids who have been separated by  going to different  schools.   He would like to see some exploration of whether we can get the “price tag down” before deciding on budgeting for a new building for storage in the Public Works Yard.   Morel noted that the renovations  YAN is  proposing are internal, and   “the building is an eyesore;  it would be a shame if we got tied into keeping that building where it is, unless we make the building look more attractive.”   Lightbourne said she was sure improving its appearance is part of their plan.   Kruysse was concerned about building code issues and safety.   Lightbourne assured Kruysse that the building inspector has had a long talk (and site visit) with YAN and they are keen to go forward with it.    Kruysse expressed concerns that it  might cause a “roadblock”  for future development.   McLellan opposed the motion, and cautioned YAN against spending too much money on the building because the City might have other plans in the future that would necessitate  moving it.  Cosbey  argued that the skatepark and the proposed YAN space are “sandwiched” together  and will complement each other, so there should be no reason to move  the building; he  is not worried about it limiting future options.   Responding to a suggestion that the Mid-Town Transition Plan is “stale” and needs to be reworked, Cosbey said he has looked at it and  thinks it’s still a good plan.  He pointed out that the YAN facility  will create public washrooms in the area, and one thing the  Family Action Network  “has been on about” is the need for accessible public washrooms.      Greene thinks that “making it look like part of the skatepark”  would cost a great deal.  Cosbey responded that it  would not cost the City anything.  Moore said  Rossland has done very little for our youth,  and thinks “we should go forward with this” instead of  “skirting around the issue of what to do with the property” and doing  nothing.   Kruysse said  we should do a land-use plan before we do something like this.   The motion to dedicate the storage facility to YAN  CARRIED,  with Greene, Kruysse, and McLellan OPPOSED.

Recommendations from Staff for  Decision:

(a)   Recreation programs displaced by renovations in Miners Hall:

A motion  to direct staff to report on possible alternative spaces  and their costs, for recreation programs that will be displaced by the renovation work on the Miners Hall during 2016 CARRIED unanimously.

(b)  Development Variance Permit Application for  2531 St. Paul Street:

A motion in favour of the variance allowing the side-yard setback to be decreased from  1.2 meters to  0.6 meter for construction of a garage CARRIED unanimously.

(c)   Development Variance Permit Application for  1006 Silvertip Road:

A motion in favour of the variance allowing the driveway width to be increased from  4 meters to  6.7 meters CARRIED unanimously.


(a)  Review Process for Collection of Business License fees:

Arnott  brought a recommendation to Council for a review of the City’s Business License bylaw.  After discussion, Council added the word “comprehensive” to the motion.   Kruysse commented,  “This has been an issue in communities around the province and it hasn’t been resolved.   The original purpose of business licences was to protect businesses from unscrupulous competitors.”   An amount roughly equal  to the business license  revenue used to go to the  business association, but the  City reduced  Chamber of Commerce funding  last year.   Cosbey supports the review, but notes that the past three years of overdue license fees and fines  adds up to a total of only  $3700.   Greene  commented that  if you have a bylaw, you ought  to enforce it.  McLellan agreed that  it’s important to be consistent.    The motion for a comprehensive review of the bylaw and process  CARRIED unanimously.

Member Reports:

Zwicker reported that the  local agriculture group  submitted letter of intent for an application for funding and  have now received confirmation that it was received.

Greene reported that the  Museum development is “going ahead full steam.”

Cosbey reported that  Rossland’s  fibre cable for broadband  is now all laid.  Internet Service Providers (ISPs)  may offer  free hook-ups for a limited time, but only to those who will guarantee a year’s subscription.   The library is concerned about potential costs of a hook-up, given that their operating funding was cut last year and they are also trying to raise funds for their “renewal” project.

Kruysse noted that “Rekindle” was a really good event, very busy;  “Hats off to everybody who participated.”

McLellan reported on the East End Services Committee meeting on December 8.  Trail had “revamped” the contribution agreement that had been agreed to by all parties, and both Rossland and Warfield objected;  it was then referred back to Trail Mayor Mike Martin, Warfield Mayor Ted Pahl  and  Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore, and  “they resolved it in a matter of minutes.”   McLellan noted that Trail has always questioned the sewage  flow reports submitted by the engineers, and said that if Trail wants to buy additional meters, they should be free to do so, but the other partners are not willing to pay for two sets of flow meters.  Riverview / Oasis  now have  a magnetic  flow meter. 

Moore  explained further the terms of  East End Services agreement agreed upon, which have now been made more explicit.   She was was pleased to see that the Regional District’s Christmas dinner  had a cash bar instead of an open bar,  as in the past  (which would have been paid for by taxpayers).     Moore toured the pipe crossing bridge site with Mayor Martin and others;   she’ll go down there every other month and track progress.   She noted that the Library wants to be a demonstration spot for  broadband.    Moore  attended the RSS PAC and reported that there had been an incident with a schoolboy stepping through the ice on one of the Jubilee Wetland ponds  and getting wet up to his knees;  his mom had to bring dry clothes to school.   There  is yellow warning tape  around the ponds to discourage  such incidents. 

There will be a Winter Market on Saturday, December 19, and Moore elicited Council members to be present  at the Market  for interaction with interested members of the public.

Release of Declassified In  Camera Minutes for November 10, 2015:

Moore commented that the included report contains “a few historical inaccuracies, but overall  it’s a good overview.”

Council then recessed to an  IN CAMERA session  pursuant to Community Charter Section 90(1)(e), (g), and (i).  

Your reporter bundled up and  trudged home in the crisp cold night, making lots of noise with those spiky traction devices, and  pondering  some  large issues  such as  the wonderful  intelligence, far-sightedness, wisdom, talent, humility, generosity and graciousness of many humans, contrasted with the likes of those who go around looking for things to steal — whether it’s just expensive toys in someone else’s car, or the very land and its resources that others depend upon for their living.  We are such a varied lot, and the struggle of the far-seeing ones against the damage done by  the heavier-duty thievish variety is likely to continue for as long as we exist.  A holiday toast:  here’s to all of our  far-sighted, wise and generous beings.    

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