Curling, Soccer, Fire Services, Beer Goggles and more
Regular Rossland City Council Meeting, March 21, 2016, 6:00 pm
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore and Councillors Marten Kruysse, Lloyd McLellan, John Green, Andy Morel, and Aaron Cosbey. Absent: Andrew Zwicker
Public Input Period: Ann Damude spoke on behalf of the RCAC Miners Hall project. She reported that their fundraising push raised $27, 859, plus the matching funds of $25,000; and that RCAC has now secured $363,000 toward the goal of $500,000 for the attic renovation, and that they are seeking further donations to fill that final gap.
1. Sean O’Farrell of the Kootenay South Youth Soccer Association spoke on the Trail Recreation Program charges and the effect on soccer. He informed Council that last year, the soccer league consisted of seven teams, four of which were from Rossland; 72 Rosslanders played. Trail’s initial position was that they wanted all non-Trail players to pay $226 per person for a pass. He pointed out that for a single 16-player team, that would amount to $3,616. However, they have “back-tracked” and will charge only $356 per team — that’s twice the amount charged for Trail teams. He thanked Council for working on the issue. He cited Trail’s past demands — in 2009, they were asking Rossland to pay $131,000 for Rosslanders to use Trail’s recreational facilities at the same price as Trail residents. That amount averages about an extra $40 per Rossland resident; and last year Trail had upped the amount further, and Rossland was willing to pay $50,000. He noted that “the situation with recreation still persists,” and “I really implore Council … to continue to negotiate.” Moore assured him that Rossland intends to continue negotiations, but noted that Rossland currently spends about 20% of its budget on recreation, and has huge infrastructure requirements that are core City functions.
Cosbey agreed that efforts to negotiate will continue, and mentioned that Council has people come in and say things like, “I ski — you don’t cover any of my expenses, so why are you subsidizing swimmers?”
2. Shane Preedy is a director of the Rossland Curling Association. He spoke of concerns about Rossland’s curling rink and its value to the community. Moore emphasized, before he began, that the City has made no decisions about the arena or the curling rink. Preedy acknowledged that and went on to give information about the state of curling in Rossland. The association has 175 dues-paying adult members, and includes 5 curling leagues that use the rink weekly throughout the curling season. They have developed a program for 20 to 30 junior curlers in Rossland, for kids from grade 5 to grade 8, at no cost to the kids. They curl once a week from Christmas until the ice is taken out, and they’re going to bonspiels now. The association has provided free ice time this past year to students and teachers of both Rossland Summit School and the Seven Summits Centre for Learning. The association runs bonspiels and attracts people from out of town for events. Recognizing that city officials will soon be called upon to make difficult decisions, Preedy submitted a petition with 239 signatures in favour of keeping the rink open, and explained that the petition was intended to apply to the entire arena building. He promised that the association will be willing to consult and answer questions. He acknowledged that, as with many other sports, curling numbers have generally declined, but he thinks Rossland has turned that around; the association has “seen some growth” in the past while.
Cosbey let Preedy know that there will be a business case made for each facility, and that should include ways to improve revenue earning capacity. McLellan expressed appreciation for the tone of the presentation.
Moore reiterated that the City has not made any decisions yet, and deplored the “Rossland rumours” promulgated on social media recently that criticize Council for decisions that it has not in fact made. She emphasized that Council will be consulting the community on priorities and welcomes ideas for recovering more of the costs of facilities.
Based on recommendations from staff about the use of Jubilee Field for Rossland Youth Soccer, there was a motion that Council advise Rossland Youth Soccer that the City is not in a financial position to eliminate the field fees for them; and that Staff be directed to continue to improve Jubilee Field within the financial constraints facing the City. Cosbey felt that with the soccer league’s income, they could manage the fees, but every bit of revenue now makes a big difference to the City. The fields cost much more to maintain than they earn for the City. Morel concurred, explaining that people need to understand the City’s costs of providing these facilities. The motion CARRIED unanimously.
Council discussed the City’s “task list” and clarified progress on various items on the list. One item was the LED street light project in Pinewood, and Kruysse suggested that, once the lights have been installed for a while, the City should consult with Pinewood residents to find out how they have responded to the LED lighting. Moore mentioned that this was always part of the plan.
A letter from Carol Enns and Marjorie Kidd requested the use of the arena parking lot on June 29, and the free use of equipment, for a Kootenay Carol Children’s Festival and Benefit Concert. Staff recommended using some alternate venue, as the arena parking lot would be needed for the staging for the Washington Street project construction. Greene asked how much of the arena’s parking lot would be used for the construction, and Consulting CAO Lynne Burch explained that the construction will be under way, and it would be much safer and less noisy to have the children further away from all the moving construction vehicles.
Council discussed the issues of lost revenue from moving the event to a field that usually earns fees, and the inconvenience to sport teams that would otherwise be using the field, and the issue of renting versus providing equipment for free. A motion to refer the request back to staff to assist the Festival in finding a better venue, and for more information to Council on the current charges for renting equipment CARRIED.
McLellan submitted notes on the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary meetings he has attended. They include discussions on potentially cost-reducing measures for Fire Services, but no actual decisions yet.
The Heritage Commission requested “more accurate (financial) reporting.” Ash commented that the accounting for the Heritage Commission needs to be revised. Rather than the City having to cut a cheque for $14 for the Heritage Commission (he said it costs more than $14 to cut a cheque), the Commission should receive funds and account for them.
McLellan reported on the Fire Services Task Force. It now consists of McLellan, with Gerry Woodhouse, Vince Whiteside, Bill Profili, Larry Simms, and Fletcher Quince, who was appointed Chair. A motion to amend the Terms of Reference of the Fire Services Task force by adding that they are to investigate alternate ways of funding fire services, other than charging based on property assessments, CARRIED.
Morel: The Rossland Public Library board is going ahead with their library renewal project. The open house and formal presentation for Rossland’s new broadband will be at the library on the Wednesday, March 23rd, starting at 7:00 pm. LCCDT has entrusted Tourism Rossland with $183,000 of community-directed funds from CBT for promotion of regional tourism.
Cosbey: The Sustainability Commission’s energy task force responded to call from BC government for input on climate leadership and drafted a letter with recommendations to the provincial government for achieving carbon reductions. A motion to support the letter and send it CARRIED unanimously.
Greene reported on the recent activities of the Heritage Commission; among other things, it has done more work on the Columbia cemetery. Red Mountain Racers hosted 3 days of intensive racing on Red this past weekend, with about 200 athletes, and brought about 1000 people to Rossland during the past few weeks. The snow quality has been excellent.
Moore volunteered at the provincial U14 race, and reported that the Rossland Beer Company won the “Fan Favorite” award at the Beer Goggles event at Red, for the second year in a row. Moore spoke at the “Women in Business” luncheon, and has a meeting scheduled with the Rossland-Trail Chamber of Commerce executive director.
Council voted to declassify a number of in camera items from 2015 and 2016, and then adjourned the meeting. And your reporter strolled home, delighted with the amount of daylight remaining as evening began to darken our hills.