Garbage Cans Good Enough, Fire Services Query, A Threat of Legal Action, Trail Refuses to Pay -- and More!

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
August 17th, 2016

Rossland City Council Meetings, August 15, 2016

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

1.  At 6:00, a Public Hearing to consider bylaws to amend the Official Community Plan (OCP) to allow the parcel at 1807 Columbia Avenue to be re-designated, and also re-zoned, from Institutional Public Lands to Downtown Core.

Several neighbouring residents expressed concerns about parking and having their lane access blocked; about the odours from coffee roasting from the coffee and tea business proposed for the property; about what hours the roaster might be in operation; and about what other businesses might be eligible to operate there if the coffee and tea business fails or moves on. One neighbour stated, “I don’t want to be a NIMBY, but I don’t want to suffer.”

The electrostatic precipitator that the business owner plans to use, one resident pointed out, will remove the particulate matter (which makes the offensive burnt odour) but not the volatile elements  which also have smells.

The prospective buyer of the property spoke, and said he would be willing to commit himself in writing to using an additional odour-reducing technology if he significantly increases the volume of coffee being roasted — currently, only a small amount is planned.  He also noted that he expects his in-laws to be occupying the suite at the back, so he would be “answerable to them” as well as the rest of the neighbourhood.  

The Public Hearing adjourned at 6:26.

2.  Regular Council Meeting:

Public Input Period:

A resident asked whether Council has a considered removing the back wall of the Council chamber, to make more space for the public gallery, which is very small.  She also mentioned the problem of speeding, particularly on Thompson Avenue.

Another resident wanted clarification about the financial planning process, and Moore explained the method of random selection and also expressed disappointment that so many of those who had agreed to participate did not show up.  The resident asked about the cost of the Thoughtexchange process also being used to gather public input, and Moore stated that it was free; the company is donating it as a community service, and also testing a new product.

The resident asked if there is any planning toward additional parking for the Miners Hall (there is not).  She also asked about the Seven Summits Centre for Learning;  Cosbey confirmed that it is now a public school.  She also asked about the $30,000 funding guarantee for the Skatepark Association; Cosbey explained that Copcan is donating some of the work, which saves RSA about $12,000, and that the SkatePark Association will have to repay the City for any of the $30,000 actually used.  The resident asked if there was any remediation required of the site; Cosbey explained that the usual remediation method for such sites is to cap them with concrete, which the park would do anyway, and Greene mentioned that remediation was already done on that site about 10 years ago.

A resident asked about a recent report on fire services and emergency services, wondering why it has not been made public yet.  Moore explained that the report will be discussed in camera  under Community Charter Section 90(1)(k), discussions and negotiations about the proposed provision of a municipal service,  before being released to the public; Moore declined to discuss or speculate about how the in camera  discussion would go.  The resident cited an article in the Rossland Telegraph on June 2, 2015, on “the High Cost of Fire Services” and indicated that he’s been waiting for a follow-up ever since.   He is interested in the question of whether the Regional District is paying too much, or whether Rossland is paying too much within the District.  Council members responded that they are seeking answers to those questions, too.  The resident wants to know whether his insurance costs will be rising;  he also cares about the tax effects.  He also indicated that he thinks “going it alone” for fire protection and emergency services “is ludicrous.”   


1.  A dispute over damages:  A resident presented to Council about his insurance claim regarding water damage to his property.  The City’s insurance has offered him a settlement of $6,648 which he is not willing to accept, as it valued his own work on the repairs to his property at only $15 per hour, and he operates a company that charges significantly more than that for such work, and he feels he ought to be compensated at the rate his company would charge.   If the City is unwilling to pay the amount he wants — $15,534 — he stated that he will take the matter to court, and would then claim additional amounts for interest, time lost from work, and costs.  Moore said the City deals through their insurance company on all such claims, and that they would contact him within two weeks.     

2.  Bill Profili spoke about the Golden City Lions’ Club’s Old Growth Management Area project.  This is a 45-acre old growth forest, with many trees at least 400 years old, and the Lions Club has now entered into an agreement with Forestry for a recreation and trails site.  The Lions pursued its preservation to make sure it didn’t end up in a small-business timber sale.  They have been working with Atco foresters and Selkirk College to identify and catalogue species.   There will be a trail through the area, to encourage people to stay on the trail, because the forest floor is sensitive and subject to long-lasting damage by thoughtless random use. Moore asked when the trail would be done; Profili said they hope to have it done next summer.  

Recommendations from Staff for Decision:

1.   Council received a Development Variance Permit application for 1865 Kootenay Avenue  to reduce the front setback to .3 meters, and to increase the driveway width to 4 meters.  The location of the home makes this the best option to enable off-street parking.   A motion to allow the application CARRIED unanimously.

2.  Recreation Fees and Charges Bylaw:   Council considered a motion to direct staff to revise the current bylaw, to increase fees and charges and to decrease service levels to achieve “an appropriate operating recovery rate.”  Cosbey mentioned that the only other option might be to impose increases more gradually.  Kruysse noted that the fees haven’t changed for six years, and the new fees (in the already-produced draft revised bylaw to be voted on later in the agenda) are closer to market pricing.   McLellan suggested he’d prefer to “go easier on the students” and charge adults more; Moore noted that the actual dollar increases are not that great, and that the current discussion was not actually about the draft bylaw, but merely to direct staff to produce it.  The motion CARRIED unanimously.

3.  To renew a lease agreement with the curling society, with changes from the previous agreement, including annual increases.  The shorter ice time (for both the arena and the curling rink — starting 1 week earlier and stopping two weeks earlier; a net reduction of one week of ice time) is a response to higher operating costs and relatively low usage. CARRIED unanimously. 

4.  A motion to direct staff to consider various options to contain the necessary tax increase in 2017 to no more than 5%  (Moore clarified that an increase would not necessarily be 5%)  CARRIED unanimously.


1.  A motion to adopt the revised  Wildlife Attractant Control Bylaw #2615 CARRIED unanimously.  During discussion, Kruysse said he had been accosted by a senior who objected to the new bylaw, who doesn’t want to have to go out and buy a new garbage can.  Cosbey clarified that he doesn’t need a new garbage can as long as the one he has is lidded — it doesn’t have to be bear-proof, it just has to make it hard for dogs, coyotes, ravens and so on to get at it.  

2.  Two motions in succession,  to give third reading to OCP Amendment Bylaw #2616 and Zoning Amendment Bylaw #2617  (for the Rotary Building),  CARRIED unanimously.  Morel said he is comfortable with the provisions made, and thinks that the Good Neighbour Bylaw  should apply.  McLellan noted that he lived next to the previous coffee roasting operating and never had any complaints.  Kruysse says he “sides with the residents” and hopes that there would be some recourse if there are objectionable odours, but still supports the bylaws.

3.  A motion to give first and second readings to the Recreation Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw #2618 was defeated unanimously.

McLellan made a motion to amend the bylaw’s schedule of fees and charges by using option 3, which was to mirror the rates charged by Trail,  so as to lower the rates which had been proposed for youth and children.  Kruysse demurred, saying “we’re painting ourselves into a corner with this.”  Moore pointed out that the bylaw could be amended “at any time.”  She also noted that the increased fees still do not address any of the upcoming capital expenditures that will be needed.   Cosbey expressed concern about how much the amendment would raise the adult rates.  Kruysse and McLellan provided a moment of diversion by arguing heatedly about whether Rossland or Trail has the better ice surface, causing Moore to brandish the ruptured water pipe that sits at her place instead of a gavel.  About the fees, McLellan opined that the actual dollar difference for adults was “minimal.”  The motion to amend the bylaw CARRIED,  with Cosbey and Kruysse opposed. 

A motion to give the amended bylaw first and second readings CARRIED.

Staff Updates and Reports

Cosbey asked about the pilot project LED streetlights in Pinewood; Public works Manager Darrin Albo said he expects the project to be done within two weeks.

Council then reviewed the Task List, and heard reports on the Miners Hall project and the Washington Street project, and reviewed and officially approved the July 2016 Accounts Payable by unanimous resolution.

Miners Hall:  DJM is now working on the siding.  Windows are on site and will be installed this week.  The project is still on target to finish during the first week in September.  In case anyone was wondering why a strip of roof at the north end remains uncovered, the last panels on the roof cannot be installed until DJM finishes their fascia work.

The Washington Street project is  going well and is  on budget. 

Highways Departmentwork on replacing the  retaining wall on Columbia Avenue is starting.  Traffic on LeRoi Avenue will be increased during the construction, as traffic will be re-routed along LeRoi instead of going up onto Columbia in the construction zone.

Correspondence:  Rossland Council for Arts and Culture requested a letter of support for a grant application for funding for “community spaces” in the Miners Hall attic, and it was  unanimously approved.

In a letter to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary chair, the City of Trail refuses to pay the City of Rossland the amount owing under the agreement on reapportionment of costs for liquid waste management, on the basis that Trail “remains very concerned about the validity of the recorded flow results which form the basis for the reapportionment.”  Trail intends to withhold payment until after an external review of the flow readings  to “ascertain the accuracy of the data and better understand the variability of the relative contributions.”  Trail’s letter did not mention how much such an external assessment would cost, how long it would take, or who should foot the bill for it.

After several information items in “Members’ Reports” from the meetings and events Council members had attended,  Council recessed to an  in camera  session, possibly to discuss the long-awaited report on fire services and emergency services (inter alia).

And your reporter walked home admiring the big round moon, and contemplating the rather odd practice of instructing staff in a resolution to produce something that they have already produced for discussion later in the same meeting; red tape tangles everyone sometimes.

Categories: GeneralPolitics

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