Retaining wall replacement on Columbia, flood damage claim, sewerage differences, and more
Report on Rossland City Council’s Regular Meeting, May 16, 2016
Council members present: Mayor Kathy Moore, Councillors Lloyd McLellan, John Greene, Andrew Zwicker, and Andy Morel. Absent: Marten Kruysse and Aaron Cosbey
Public Input Period: Christine Andison of Red Mountain Racers (RMR) handed out a summation of the race hosting by RMR. It estimated that racers & their families spend about $215 per day in Rossland on average, per racer. They are trying to raise money to replace timing huts, as the current ones suffer rodent infestations and are over 50 years old. To that end, they are seeking letters of support from Council for their various applications for funding. Moore clarified that Andison was hoping to be supported for the Rural Dividend Grant, to be discussed later on the agenda, and referred to the City’s inability to provide letters of support for capital applications to CBT.
A resident who lives on Cedar Crescent spoke about damage to his property from flooding (over 3000 gallons/day plus the spring snow-melt for four weeks) from a problem arising from construction; he had appeared before Council at a meeting about two months ago. He said that in a conversation with the adjuster, he came away with the impression that “the City is liable.” However, the City has not heard any such determination from the adjustor, and Moore explained that the matter would have to wait until the adjustor had communicated with the City. The resident stated that if the insurance company doesn’t cover his claim for damages, supported by receipts, he expects the City to cover it.
1. Jackie Drysdale, Chair of the Heritage Commission, provided a lengthy update on the Heritage Commission. She informed the meeting that the Heritage Register contains 29 buildings and 13 sites, and announced that the Commission will be hosting a talk on “Downtown Rossland: 1895 to 1900” — the boom years — at the Legion on June 9th, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Drysdale emphasized the value of having Rossland’s “front-line workers,” who interface with the public, more informed and aware of the history, the stories, of Rossland’s heritage buildings and sites.
2. Miche Warwick, Chair, with Kathleen Hill, Secretary of the Soc., presented on behalf of the Rossland Mountain Market Society. They are seeking some minor adjustments to their contract with the City, and gave an update on their progress. Warwick reported that last summer was “about the worst season ever” with fewer vendors, thus attracting fewer customers, but they expect this season to be much better. The winter season started in November, and they had an excellent winter season. Thursday May 19th is the Garden Festival market event.
By unanimous resolution, Council approved the Rossland Mountain Market request for minor changes to their agreement with City.
Council then unanimously approved two Development Variance Permit applications: one for 1599 Thompson Avenue, to allow for a decreased interior side set-back, and one for 2066 Columbia Avenue, to allow a taller building on a steeply sloped lot.
Should taxpayers donate to charities by way of the City subsidizing charitable organizations? And if so, how much?
Kootenay Carol Children’s Festival and Benefit requested that the City waive any and all costs of using City equipment for an event to be held on June 29th, from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre. Zwicker asked if the City would be collecting a damage deposit; Teasdale said it would be a good idea. McLellan indicated that he would vote against the motion to waive all fees, because it is really a gift of taxpayer’s money. He distinguished between requests like this for a charitable event, and events such as Golden City days which are community events for the benefit of the community as a whole. Council discussed charging for staff time involved. A motion to waive fees for the use of the equipment, but to charge for staff time CARRIED with McLellan opposed.
A motion to create a policy on waiving fees for equipment rentals, or having reduced fees for charitable organizations and events CARRIED.
Rural Dividend Fund:
Council rescinded an earlier motion to support the Museum renovation project for the Rural Dividend Fund, as it was not ready to apply, and then discussed which project to recommend in its place.
McLellan moved that the City support the application for development of the Lions Campground, contingent on their agreement to have a Council member representative on the Lions Campground Committee, for better communication with the City. Morel supported the motion, saying he thinks the Campground is a great asset to the community, which would benefit from being further improved.
Greene said he would vote against the campground project, as he would rather support the Red Mountain Racers’ request.
McLellan said he thought the Centennial Wetlands project and the campground project need to be co-ordinated so that one does not infringe upon the other.
Moore said she wanted the City to support a project with more obvious economic benefit to the City, as that is one of the grant criteria. She thinks the Red Mountain Racers project has more economic development benefit.
The vote to support the Lions Campground project CARRIED 3 to 2: McLellan, Morel, and Zwicker in favour, Moore and Greene opposed.
Liquid Waste Management (also known as sewerage): Chief Administrative Officer Bryan Teasdale explained the recommended option, and noted that although we must ultimately aim for tertiary treatment, we have to go to secondary treatment first. Elise Paré, an engineer and a member of the City’s advisory committee on the issue of liquid waste management, explained that tertiary treatment is out of the scope of discussion at present for a number of reasons, including cost.
Zwicker said he thinks the liquid waste discussion is the most important fiscal discussion the City will be having for the next 50 years. He related information he has been collecting about the potential for a stand-alone “green” tertiary-treatment plant in Rossland, with various possible additional benefits. Zwicker characterized the distinction between primary and secondary treatment of sewage as “whether we’re putting big turds or small turds into the river.” Zwicker advocates having a strong “plan B” in hand for negotiations with the Regional District.
McLellan thinks we have a good proposal already, discounted the material cited by Zwicker, and said that the Province is not likely to require tertiary treatment for another 50 years, as it took them 75 years to get to secondary treatment.
Paré pointed out that in 2008, “we were at this same stage, and then Rossland wanted to look at a stand-alone plant, which was decided against, and it has taken 8 years to get to this same stage again.”
A motion that Council continue to participate in and support the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s Liquid Waste Management Plan process and pursue the recommended option from the Stage 2 study CARRIED.
A second motion, that “if favourable information about alternative treatment technologies become available, that these technologies be proposed and incorporated (where appropriate) into the planning and design activities of a Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant … ” CARRIED unanimously.
Zwicker moved that Rossland also pursue a parallel process for a Plan B, including a stand-alone and regional liquid waste treatment plant, without involving more than minimal staff time. McLellan expressed disappointment with this motion, as he felt it showed a lack of respect for the work done by the advisory committee. Moore noted that Paré and her crew were not given the information that Zwicker had been collecting, so could not respond to it; Moore characterized this as a communications issue. Whether or not the advisory committee will provide any response to the material Zwicker is investigating remains to be seen. Zwicker’s motion CARRIED, with McLellan opposed.
Highway 3-B retaining wall:
The “bin wall” separating highway 3-B from upper Columbia Avenue will be replaced by the Ministry of Transportation and Highways this year, and since some City facilities will be exposed by the work, the City will enter into a cost-sharing agreement with MOT, to the tune of about $160,000 — $43,00 more than the City had already budgeted. McLellan asked whether MOT would be resurfacing the upper roadway, as that item was not included in the items listed. It was noted that upper Columbia is on the MOT right-of-way, but the question remained unanswered. The motion to allocate an additional $43,000 for the project CARRIED.
Council unanimously adopted Rezoning Bylaw 2608.
A motion to approve Rossland’s financial statements CARRIED unanimously. The statements have already been filed with the provincial government in draft form, but will now be filed as final.
Council discussed various items of routine correspondence, studied the RCMP’s report on crime statistics for the area, and noted that the RCMP team won the Silver City Days grape stomp — probably because of their greater weight.
Council adjourned the meeting, and your reporter strolled home enjoying Rossland’s strong springtime scent of lilacs, apple blossoms, mountain ash blooms, and chestnut flowers.