Router Melt-Down at City Hall; New Life for Rotary Health Centre Building? Concern for Wildlife and a New Bylaw.
Rossland City Council Meeting, July 18, 2016
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Aaron Cosbey, Lloyd McLellan, Andrew Zwicker, John Greene, Marten Kruysse, and Andy Morel.
New Chief Financial Officer Elma Hamming made her first appearance at a public meeting.
Public Input Period:
A resident asked the City for compensation (or a replacement) for the tree on her property that the City had to remove to build a retaining wall. Moore responded that Council would give her a decision at a later meeting, but that staff would likely get back to her earlier.
Demitri Lesniewicz, who is working with the owner, spoke in support of the first variance application on the agenda, for 1691 Kootenay Avenue.
Recommendations from Staff for Decision:
a. Development Variance Permit for 1691 Kootenay Avenue: After discussion about retaining trees and whether the proposed variance was necessary or merely convenient, a motion to approve the application for reduced front and side set-backs, and to increase the allowed driveway width, CARRIED unanimously.
b. Development Variance Permit for 2350 LeRoi Avenue: A motion to approve the application to reduce the front set-back requirement, on the condition that the driveway be located on the lower (west) side of the property, CARRIED unanimously.
c. Request from Huck’n Berries Bike Jam organizers: A motion to approve the use of the Centennial Bike Skills Park for the event on September 10, and to authorize a beer garden, approve the liquor licence application, allow use of water and electricity, and to loan (without charge) 8 tables, 40 chairs, 6 garbage cans, and 8 parking-control barriers, CARRIED, with a proviso that the event must not be allowed to impact the wetland. McLellan commented that the estimated or historical number of participants should be included with such applications.
d. Skateboard Park Construction: A motion that the City underwrite a contingency amount of $30,000 to enable the skatepark construction to proceed this year, on the condition that the Rossland Skatepark Association must repay the City for any portion of the contingency actually used, CARRIED. The City will be managing the financing, but the Skatepark Association has a separate project manager.
e. Council reviewed a draft amendment to the City’s Third Party Call-out Policy, which could reduce the amount charged to homeowners who need to call out City staff after hours for services to private property. Zwicker and McLellan suggested a wording change to clarify that only one employee will be called out unless it seems evident that more than one employee is needed. A motion to adopt the new policy, with the amendment, CARRIED unanimously.
f. Public Input for Financial Plan (2017 — 2021): Terry Miller and Associates submitted a proposal to complete further data gathering, to eliminate a potential bias caused by a poor response rate among younger, less wealthy residents on the first random survey, based on current respondents’ age and income brackets, and to write a report on the results for $2,500 plus GST. After discussion, a motion CARRIED to defer the decision until after the Thoughtexchange results on the topic have been reviewed.
1. Wildlife Attractant Control Bylaw #2615:
Cosbey suggested an amendment to define ” to store refuse” to clarify that it means long-term storage, not just while putting trash out for collection, and to add provisions about putting garbage out in garbage cans with lids, and to prohibit placing garbage cans out for collection before 5:00 am on the day of garbage collection. Another amendment removing a provision that would have exempted the City from the bylaw’s requirements also CARRIED, as did an amendment clarifying that residents are not required to have outdoor refrigerators or freezers, or to store anti-freeze on their properties. Motions to give the amended bylaw first, second, and third reading CARRIED unanimously. The new bylaw will double fines for a list of wild-life endangering infractions.
2. New life for the old Rotary Health Building?
A motion to give first and second readings to Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw # 2616, and Zoning Amendment Bylaw #2617, to rezone the former Rotary Health Centre building at 1807 Columbia Avenue from Public Institutional to C-1, Commercial Downtown Core, CARRIED unanimously. There will be a Public Hearing on August 15, 2016, and the proponent is required to erect a sign on the property within one week of this meeting informing the public of his plans for it.
But you can read about those plans here too: if all approvals are granted, the old Rotary Health building will bring a new business to town — the Seven Summits Coffee Company (and Kootenay Tea) will move in. The applicant states that their coffee roaster “is fitted with an electrostatic precipitator to reduce the amount of smoke and odour” from roasting coffee. He notes that the roaster formerly used at the Old Firehall in Rossland was much larger and had no such filtration to reduce odour.
He intends the business to be “akin to a boutique cellar-door experience, where customers could tour the roastery, observe the roasting process, interact with the roaster in a cupping session and sample coffees and teas of varied origin and brew methods.” The applicant also plans to turn the back portion of the building into a residential apartment.
The Miners Hall work is about a week behind schedule, because of an issue with the gauge of the steel roofing. Observers may have been wondering why the roofing project was interrupted; 26-gauge steel was being installed, until it became clear that the warranty on that was not adequate; a heavier 24-gauge steel is required for the warranty and will be used instead.
The Washington Street project is, so far, slightly under budget on the rock removal portion, and is slightly behind schedule because the water quality through the new pipes had not passed muster on time, requiring re-flushing and re-chlorinating.
City Hall’s technical woes:
City Planner Stacey Lightbourne reported that City Hall had a major malfunction of their router –it “basically melted” and cut out the server, the phones, and the internet. Staff are now working on replacing the equipment on a temporary basis before finding a longer-term upgrade.
A motion to approve the usual Fall Fair requests for assistance CARRIED.
A motion to approve the usual Golden City Days requests also CARRIED, with a note that the City will close the north side of the 2100 block Columbia to parking, for the parade.
A motion to approve the Tennis Society request, for permission to proceed with soil testing for an engineer, with the Tennis Society to bear the cost, CARRIED.
Apparently someone, possibly with an excess of rage and/or stupidity and an inadequate sense of community, has vandalized a Lui Joe Trail sign by bashing it with a rock; Council discussed who owns the signs and the responsibility for maintaining them.
A motion by Cosbey to direct our RDKB representative, Lloyd McLellan, to make a request for funding from the RDKB for cemetery upkeep, as Rossland pays into a regional fund for that purpose, and to staff to provide a 5-year plan for it as suggested by CAO Bryan Teasdale, CARRIED unanimously. Your reporter heard the words “spirit of regional co-operation” during the brief discussion.
The mayor of New Westminster is seeking the support of other municipalities for a resolution about “renovictions” to take to the Union of BC Municipalities convention this year. The resolution would require landlords of rental properties who evict tenants “under the guise of performing major renovations, and then significantly increase the rent on those units” to allow renters the “right of first refusal” to return to the units they were renting, at a rent that is “no more than the landlord could lawfully have charged, including allowable annual increases, if there had been no interruption in the tenancy.” The use of the word “guise” suggests that at least some of the landlords in question do not actually perform the major renovations, and that their announced plan to renovate is merely used as an excuse for evictions. The concern is that the practice contributes to housing unaffordability and homelessness, and that many tenants affected by the practice do not know their rights as tenants or how to enforce them. Cosbey spoke in favour of supporting the resolution. Moore took the opposite view, on the ground that if passed, it could lead to un-maintained and hazardous properties. Council did not vote on it.
A few selections from Member Reports:
Zwicker reported that two local gardeners are working on a “food charter” for Rossland. He mentioned that he has seen many drivers in Rossland who are not stopping at, or even slowing down for, stop signs, and one particularly abused intersection is at Second Avenue and Spokane. Zwicker expressed concern for pedestrian safety, particularly children.
Kruysse reported that Chris Bowman has resigned from Tourism Rossland, and recommended a letter of thanks to him for his years of service. Kruysse noted that there is a new tourist information centre downtown, in addition to the one by the Museum; the downtown version is sharing premises with Maboue and will continue to occupy that location.
Moore thanked Cosbey for leading the Canada Day hike up Mt. Roberts, and Cosbey commented that next year, the City should get a larger flag. Moore noted that next year, all of our usual community events should display a “Canada 150” theme in some way. Moore has been elected chair of the Highway 3 marketing sub-committee, tasked with creating a strategy for bringing more visitors to the entire Highway 3 corridor from Hope to the Alberta border; their plan is to have a proposal ready by the time of the UBCM.
Council then excused members of the public and press and recessed to an in camera session. Your reporter tried unsuccessfully to see the tiny Canadian flag flying atop Mt. Roberts, then wandered down to Maboue in the lovely evening to see if there was any visible sign of a Tourist Information Centre there. At that time the only indication of it was the sandwich board parked just inside the door for after-hours storage.