Youth Soccer Woes, LED Street Lights, Rainbows, Another Guest House, and More
Rossland City Council Meeting, March 7, 2016
Council members present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors John Greene, Andy Morel, Lloyd McLellan, and Aaron Cosbey. Absent: Andrew Zwicker and Marten Kruysse.
Staff present: Consulting CAO Lynne Burch, Interim CFO Steve Ash, Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Manager of Public Works Darrin Albo, Assistant Alison Worsfold
Public Input Period:
A resident of Cedar Crescent read a letter that he wants forwarded to the City to the City’s Insurance agent. During a re-design of the “Bear Trail” a drain pipe was interrupted, resulting in flooding and damage to his home. Moore expressed dismay at the mishap and said the City will be following up.
Delegation: The Challenges of Rossland Youth Soccer
Council heard a delegation from Fred Fontaine, with Ian Johnson and Kelly Acheson, of Rossland Youth Soccer; the group is trying to make soccer affordable for all families in the area. Fontaine outlined the figures about local youth soccer — in 2015, there were 1160 youth playing soccer in our region, and 241 of them were in Rossland. Rossland Youth Soccer is a member of the Kootenay South Youth Soccer Association (KSYSA). He pointed out that Rossland Youth Soccer pays significantly higher fees for a shorter season than other communities, on fields that are not in very good condition. He pointed out that Rossland Youth Soccer is entirely self-funded, and has had “no hand-outs.” He summarized the problems they face, and made requests — to bring Rossland’s field-use fees in line with other communities in KSYSA, to waive fees for using Rossland’s fields this year, to refund last year’s fees, to improve the condition of the fields they play on (particularly Jubilee) and to bring a turf field to Rossland.
Cosbey pointed out that the North Jubilee Wetland restoration project may result in better conditions on the Jubilee playing field, but the effects of that work on the field won’t be known until the playing season begins.
McLellan asked whether Trail charges Trail Recreation Program (TRP) fees — which are twice as much for Rossland residents as for Trail residents — for the soccer players when games are on Trail fields. Acheson commented that so far, the TRP has been waived for the Youth soccer, but adults have been charged the TRP.
Moore explained that the requests made will not be answered until the following regular Council Meeting.
The Interim CFO, Steve Ash, recommended that the City use the existing CARIP Reserve Fund to install up to $20,000 worth of LED street lights in the Pinewood subdivision as a pilot project. A motion to do the project CARRIED unanimously, following discussion. Cosbey spoke strongly in favour — “a huge cost savings, with a relatively quick payback, and energy savings.” Cosbey pointed out that the fund is coming from a fund dedicated for just that kind of thing, and that “it’s an embarrassment to leave it sitting there.” McLellan agreed, pointing out that the spending will not result in any additional taxes, and also suggested disconnecting “some of our redundant lights.” Greene was concerned that if the City invests in LED lights now, the technology is improving so quickly that it might be obsolete in a year or so. Ash responded that this may be so with some types of LED lights, but street lights have been studied for long enough now that the time is right.
About disconnecting some of the “redundant” street lights, for example, where one intersection has two or more lights, Ash commented that before changing the number of lights, they want to test the “coverage” of the new lights and use that information. Albo pointed out that for liability reasons, the City has to have a policy in place before changing lighting. Cosbey stated that there are standards in place, and we need to meet certain standards; also that the City needs to engage in public consultation before reducing lighting.
Council unanimously consented to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s adoption of Bylaw # 1598, to raise the total regional requisition for Victim’s Assistance from $62,500 to $87,000.
Capital Plan: Ash explained the current state of the City’s Capital Plan, and how it has been updated to better work with the developing Asset Management Plan. He detailed the larger-than-usual expenses the City will be facing in the near future, and the City’s limited options for dealing with this “bulge” in expenditures. He said the City could either raise taxes by about 10%, or reduce expenses significantly — which he acknowledge would not be easy — but he also acknowledged that his calculations did not include any future grants that the City might be able to obtain.
Council considered a Development Permit application for a proposed triplex on Valhalla Terrace at Red, subject to five listed conditions; the motion in favour of granting the permit CARRIED unanimously.
Council considered a draft Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy. Moore questioned whether the policy could be broadened to prohibit “pornography” generally instead of just “child pornography.” Cosbey pointed out that the draft policy defines pornography and other related activities as “unacceptable.” A motion to adopt the policy CARRIED unanimously.
Council gave first and second readings to Bylaw #2607 to allow the use of 2615A Railway Avenue as a guest house. Morel asked whether Council should be concerned about the number of guest houses, and wondered how many unofficial “air bnb” premises are in Rossland. Cosbey echoed Morel’s concerns. Moore mentioned that staff had been directed to look into the issue; that accommodators are complaining about unzoned, unlicensed short-term rentals, but that this applicant is seeking to be a lawful accommodator. Ash noted that the mayor of New York was recently quoted on the same issue, with a focus on fair competition. There will be a public hearing on April 11, provided that the applicant posts the required sign on the site within one week of this meeting.
Council gave first and second readings to Bylaw # 2608, to amend the R-5 zone by reducing the rear set-back requirement from 3 meters to 2 meters, and reducing the interior side setback from 4 meters to 3 meters.
Rainbow flag and Rainbow crosswalk: McLellan proposed a motion to grant permission to paint a rainbow crosswalk be granted on a one-year trial basis; CARRIED unanimously.
Cosbey moved that the City fly the rainbow flag during Gay Pride week; CARRIED with only Greene opposed, as he “has a problem with flying a flag like that” along with the City, Provincial and Canadian flags.
Council read a lengthy letter from Rossland Mountain Market, requesting that the City waive fees for operating the last three Winter Markets in the Miners Union Hall. Morel praised the Market and acknowledged its value to the community, but said he felt the taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize it further, in these difficult financial times for the City. Cosbey concurred, praising the market and its work, but also recalling that the Market initially requested a waiver of fees for a limited time only, as a test of the viability of the market, and that it appears to have been successful. Moore agreed, and noted that she didn’t fully understand the Market’s rationale for saying that they did not wish to go after grants to cover “these business expenses” and noted that being self-sufficient means being able to cover operating expenses. She asked staff whether or not the Market had inquired about other potential City premises while the Miners Hall is closed for renovations, such as the arena after the ice is removed; staff said, no. Greene and McLellan agreed that the City cannot continue to subsidize the Market by waiving hall rental fees. A motion not to waive hall rental fees for the Winter Mountain Market CARRIED unanimously.
Council briefly noted a letter from a resident on Princess Avenue, discontented with the City’s sale of an adjacent property without notifying her specifically. A letter in response from Consulting CAO Lynne Burch explained the process, and said that the City would notify adjacent land-owners if a private sale to another adjacent landowner was contemplated, but in this case, the City had chosen to use the services of a local Realtor, and the Realtor erected a “For Sale” sign on the property to ensure that it was publicly known that the property was for sale.
Kruysse and Moore will attend the Association of Kootenay-boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) conference this year. Rossland will be hosting that event in 2017, and will be putting out a Request for Proposals for a co-ordinator.
McLellan moved that Rossland investigate the practicality of moving Tourism Rossland to the Museum; he pointed out that the large parking lot at the Museum is appealing for tourists with large vehicles. CARRIED. Members of the gallery included Joelle Hodgins, manager of the Museum, who pointed out that Tourism Rossland and a Visitor’s Centre have different purposes.
And a couple of tid-bits from Members’ Reports:
Greene reported that the Museum needs $30,000 for hazardous material removal; and that Red Mountain Racers held a very successful ski race this weekend, which he described as an important economic event for Rossland, with teams from the US, Japan, and Europe. Even in the terrible weather, he noted that ” the courses held up beautifully in the pouring rain.” He said that the Teck U14 provincial championships are coming up at Red, from March 18 to 20; and he noted that “these are younger athletes; they bring their parents.”
Moore told us that the Public meeting on the budget will be on April 13th.
Council recessed to an in camera session, and your reporter wandered home on dark wet streets, hearing the varied voices of water rushing and echoing in different storm drains, and thinking that there seem to be no redundant street lights on the way down LeRoi from Spokane to Davis — especially when the one at Leroi and Spokane blinks out just as this lone pedestrian approaches.