A Ginger-bread Community, a Noisy Neighbour, Planning for the Mid-Town Lands, Dumping Telus
Rossland City Council, Regular Meeting on November 28, 2016
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Lloyd McLellan, Andrew Zwicker, Andy Morel, John Greene, and Aaron Cosbey. Absent: Marten Kruysse.
Public Input Period:
Special guests from Rossland Summit School (RSS), two children in the elementary grades, explained that they are building a “a gingerbread community” model of Rossland which will be divided into five segments to be raffled off; with the proceeds they want to create a “gift cupboard” to be located in a public place such as Harry Lefevre Square or in Esling Park opposite the day-care building. It would be intended as a permanent installation, which future classes could fund-raise to keep filled with helpful items such as “tissues for snotty explosions” as the young presenter phrased it, band-aids, soap, shampoo, books, and items not provided by the Food Bank or the Thrift Shop.
A resident suggested to Council that when Emcon land plans are being considered, “current needs should be reflected.” She mentioned that speeding on Thompson Avenue, especially by certain commercial trucks, is a problem again.
A resident complained about a very noisy truck owned by a noisy and inconsiderate neighbour; the diesel truck has “aftermarket” exhaust system products that make it very loud instead of a proper muffler, even when idling. He reported that its owner idles it far too long after starting it early in the morning, has loud parties until late, runs ATVs and snowmobiles around the neighbourhood in the wee hours, and has threatened the speaker when he tried to talk to him; and that other neighbours are equally upset, and are afraid to even talk to him. CAO Bryan Teasdale said there is a history of complaints and notices being served to this person. The resident commented sorrowfully, “We had a nice neighbourhood, and it just takes one person to wreck it.” He would appreciate meaningful enforcement of Rossland’s Good Neighbour Bylaw and its anti-idling provisions, and police enforcement of noisy-vehicle laws.
Beverley Rintoul presented to Council about the library, in support of a request for increased funding. The library’s annual funding has been cut by $10,552 since 2012; Rintoul and the library board are seeking to have it reinstated so they can restore service levels. “When you say ‘library’ most people think about buildings and books; but what libraries are really about is people.” She explained how they would use the additional funding to increase library hours on some weekday mornings, and on Wednesday evenings. There are many community groups who want to use the meeting room on Wednesday evenings, but there is no longer adequate funding for the library to stay open then. Rintoul also noted that the library’s basic operating expenses, such as lighting and heating, have been rising, along with the cost of books and other equipment.
Joelle Hodgins, director of the Rossland Museum, made a lengthy and detailed presentation to Council in support of the museum’s funding request. She spoke of the museum’s many contributions to Rossland’s community life, recent volunteer improvements and the future development of the facility, new funding the museum has brought in, new grants applied for, and steps taken to reduce operating expenses. She pointed out that the Visitors’ Centre there provides public washrooms, free Wifi, parking for RVs, picnic areas and a concession. She also spoke about the “Lily May Heritage Raffle” fundraiser, with the grand prize a dinner for 12 at the Old Fire Hall by chef John Premier; only 140 tickets will be sold, at $100 each. Prize-winners’ names will be drawn on the Saturday of Winter Carnival.
Janice Nightingale made a fascinating and eye-opening presentation to Council on Rossland’s comparative value for money in terms of taxes, average house assessments, and amenities. For those who wonder how Rossland really compares with other communities, please see the separate article on Nightingale’s extensive research (done at no charge to the City) and findings.
Council then moved on to some housekeeping items: a list of which Council members will serve on what committees for 2017, which is accomplished by mutual agreement and appointment by the Mayor. In addition to the usual list of seventeen committees, there will be a new ad hoc “Arena Group” to gather input from arena users and find ways to make the arena a “more viable facility” — to increase revenues and decrease costs; Cosbey, McLellan and Zwicker will serve on that group.
City Hall over the holiday season:
Council also dealt with days of closing over the Christmas / New Year period: In addition to the statutory holidays, City Hall with be closed on Tuesday, December 27th and Wednesday, December 28th, but will open again for Thursday, December 29th, and Friday, December 30th. City Hall will be closed again on Monday, January 2nd, and will re-open on January 3rd.
Planning for the “Mid-Town Transition Lands”
Staff proposed retaining CTQ Consultants to prepare a Mid-Town Lands Development Strategy.
After a thorough discussion on whether the City is ready to retain a consultant, when Council hasn’t yet come to any conclusions about what sort, or sorts, of development would be both feasible and also most beneficial to the community, Council DEFEATED a motion to retain CTQ. The rationale for its defeat was that Council should reach some conclusions on the best direction for the lands, before deciding to retain anyone. Council and staff will meet and discuss the issue.
The City’s IT Services
Staff recommended that the City enter into a three-year contract with Shaw for phone and internet service, to discontinue the current CISCO phone system, and use the Shaw desktop phone system included with the service.
Discussion: Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (CBBC) would not be able to provide phone service at this time; only internet. Morel pointed out that CBBC had really gone out of its way to serve Rossland, and thought “the optics are really bad if we don’t support CBBC.” Cosbey wanted to postpone the decision until the next meeting, until they can discuss it further with the Broadband Task Force and CBBC. He also agreed that CBBC did go way out of its way for Rossland. He acknowledged that the financial information is a major consideration. CFO Elma Hamming noted that whichever option the City decides on, they have to do something about the phone service — that they cannot continue with Telus; she recommended “at least take Shaw for the phones” and that CBBC could be a back-up. Moore agreed that getting more information would be valuable. Hamming explained that the City now has an eight-year-old system that there are no parts available for any more. Teasdale thought that using the Shaw telephone service makes sense because CBBC can’t do phones now. Moore suggested getting more information from the Task Force and dealing with the topic on December 5th, when Council meets for community grants. Cosbey moved that they defer until the 5th; the motion CARRIED with only McLellan opposed.
Council unanimously passed three motions, which had been discussed in earlier meetings:
· To adopt Climate Action Reserve Bylaw #2625;
· To give first, second and third readings to Revenue Anticipation Bylaw #2627; and
· to give first, second and third readings to City of Rossland Financial Plan 2016 – 2020 Bylaw #2628.
Council agreed to requests for services from the City for Winter Carnival, with the stipulation that a snow-cat and operator for preparing the Rail Jam would have to be donated by some other party.
Council members reported on the committee meetings and other events they had attended since the previous Council meeting. During those reports, McLellan noted that the agreement between the City and the Seniors’ Society was antiquated and suggested that it be re-negotiated; a motion to that effect CARRIED.
The meeting recessed to an in camera session, to discuss a matter falling within “the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements, if the council considers that disclosure could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality.”
At that point, your reporter packed up and walked home making clicking noises with traction devices on the ice-glazed surfaces underfoot, feeling grateful for cooler, crisper conditions and hoping they will last, along with snow — lots and lots of fluffy snow, especially at Red and beyond.