Maybe a Rossland Triathlon; Littering's a No-No; FireSmart, Fireworks and Fire Hazard
Rossland City Council: Public Hearing and Regular Meeting, July 17, 2017
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Lloyd McLellan, Andy Morel, John Greene, Aaron Cosbey and Andrew Zwicker. Absent: Marten Kruysse.
Public Hearing: Reducing the number of units designated to be built on Lot A at the Red Mountain base area.
Council had received one letter opposing the bylaw to reduce the number of units on Lot A from 75 to 38 units, but no one appeared in person to speak to the bylaw. The letter was not from a resident of the Red Mountain base area, but from a resident of Lower Rossland who argued against the application for financial reasons. Council members expressed disappointment with the reasoning in the letter, noting that many of the points raised had nothing to do with the actual effects of the proposed change, and that it ignored one of the reasons for the reduction in density .
Since no one else had any input, the Public Hearing was adjourned and Mayor Moore called the regular Council meeting to order.
Public Input Period: A Triathlon for Rossland?
Diana Daghofer and Keith Robine presented a proposal for a first-ever triathlon event for Rossland, with a 1200-metre swim, and 20 kilometre bike ride, and a 10 kilometre run. The swimming portion was the catch, and their reason for appearing before Council: they were seeking permission, on a one-time trial basis, to use Star Gulch reservoir for the swimming portion. They wanted to be clear that this would not mean the City’s reservoir would be open for public swimming.
The date is possibly the same as the Golden City Grind, to better utilize volunteer energy. They also want to do a “trial run” at some time before the event itself, with just the organizers taking part ― three to five people. For the actual event, they estimate that only about 25 people are likely to participate.
Public Works manager Darrin Albo was away on holiday and could not be consulted about the potential effects of turbidity raised by swimmers on the sand filtration system’s “schmutzdecke” or other possible concerns. Moore had spoken with Albo earlier, and he had few concerns at that time.
Morel raised questions about possible involvement of the Interior Health Authority (IHA). Greene said he’d prefer the swimming segment of the triathlon to be in Ophir reservoir, but Cosbey pointed out that it might seem to give “greater social license” to swimming there (which is prohibited). Moore commented that Ophir would be more difficult logistically, and said that they would refer it to staff for next steps. She said Rossland is trying to attract people for multi-season events, and a triathlon would be good for that. McLellan thought it was “a great idea ― just what Rossland needs.”
City Planner Stacey Lightbourne explained the water system: Topping Creek can be fed directly into the treatment plant, and Star Gulch Reservoir can be isolated so it does not feed into the treatment plant, with water going into the treatment plant from Ophir Reservoir instead.
Cosbey moved that Council “approve in principle the idea, and refer it to staff to ensure that public health concerns are satisfied.” The motion CARRIED.
Youth Action Network (YAN):
Mike Kent appeared in his role as co-ordinator of YAN, seeking City support for a request to a potential funder for money to complete the YAN space by the future skatepark. He indicated that, if the funding is received, YAN will be “really close to having all the funding we need to complete the space.” He noted that Moore is donating a pergola to YAN, and joked that they were planning to call it the “Moore-gola” which prompted Moore to protest that it sounded too much like “morgue-ola.”
Borrowing Lots of Money: Council unanimously PASSED resolutions enabling the City to borrow $4,000,000 from the Municipal Financing Authority, for the now-completed Washington Street project.
An addition to Red Mountain Lodge: Council unanimously PASSED a resolution approving a Development Permit Application for 4300 Red Mountain Road, subject to the various conditions recommended by Lightbourne.
An addition to Paradise Lodge: After discussion and questioning, Council unanimously PASSED a resolution approving a Development Permit Application for a 256 square foot addition to Paradise Lodge, and construction of a separate washroom building and septic field. Once IHA has approved the septic system, Red will apply for a variance and Council will consider it. The application was accompanied by a report from Masse Environmental Consulting and the design, explanations and plans from Highland Consulting Limited.
Another Development Permit Application ― 2026 St. Paul Street: Council unanimously PASSED a motion to approve an application for a permit to build a duplex at this address.
Development Variance Permit Application ― 958 Redstone Drive: The applicant sought a reduced front setback, from 4 metres to 0.85 metre. The City requires a snow storage covenant, with no driveway permitted on the northwest side of the property. Cosbey expressed discomfort with the fact that the variance was simply to avoid the cost of blasting and excavating that would enable the home to comply with setback requirements, and Morel concurred; Lightbourne explained that the City likes to minimize the amount of blasting and excavating required for construction. Cosbey was still concerned that the variance would permanently diminish the quality of the neighbourhood. The motion to approve the application PASSED with Cosbey and Morel opposed.
Development Variance Permit Application ― 800 Old Cascade Highway: the applicant proposes to build a workshop and office with additional rental space, and seeks permission to do without the sprinkler system currently required by Rossland’s Building Bylaw. The requirement for a sprinkler system is not in the BC Building Code, and will therefore be void after December 31 of this year, as municipalities are then no longer permitted to impose additional measures in their own building bylaws. Besides, the building will be within 100 metres of a fire hydrant. A motion to approve the application PASSED unanimously.
The City’s Corporate Management Work Plan was gratefully received by Council.
A Tandem Dump Truck: Council unanimously PASSED a motion to “award the tender for the purchase and delivery of a tandem dump truck unit to R. James Western Star in the total amount of $119,461.00, exclusive of applicable taxes.” Council was pleased that the cost was lower than the $150,000 that had been budgeted for the truck.
Reviewing City Policies: Council reviewed and re-confirmed four policies: Third Party Charges; Third Party Call Out; Road, Sidewalk, Stair Snow Removal; and Asset Management Investment.
More thought on the Emcon Lot: Council examined and discussed a draft proposal for developing the Emcon lot to house both commercial and residential tenants, and passed a motion directing staff toconduct a Stage 1 Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) on the Third Ave sites together with a Stage 1 PSI update for the EMCON site.
Council unanimously PASSED the bylaw allowing a reduction in the number of dwelling units for Lot A at Red Mountain base area. Zwicker asked whether the formula used to determine density should be re-examined, and Lightbourne agreed that it would be a good idea ― when there’s time.
Good Neighbours don’t litter: Further discussion of the Good Neighbour Bylaw resulted in adding anti-littering provisions to it, and in clarifying the prohibition against using bear bangers in town, and in adding the “reasonable person” language to another section. Then Council unanimously PASSED a motion giving the bylaw as amended second and third reading.
Reams of housekeeping items, then fireworks: after a long list of reports and information items, the issue of wildfire was raised. Some residents have been eager to participate in FireSmart sessions aimed at helping private property owners reduce their wildfire risk; Rossland has funding for only three neighbourhoods this year, but could be eligible to apply for funding again next year. Readers who are interested in how to reduce their wildfire risk can access the FireSmart Guide for Homeowners at this link.
Moore commented that fireworks pose a high risk of fire, and Morel moved that Council direct staff to draft a bylaw restricting the use and sale of fireworks in town. Greene noted that the fire department used to put on displays; Moore suggested that such displays could be subject to a permit. Morel said it makes sense to restrict both the use of fireworks in town, and also their sale. Moore said that the risk of fire is so great, that anything we can do to prevent it is worthwhile. The motion PASSED.
After Council member’s reports on their recent meetings and other activities, Moore recessed the meeting to an in camera session.
And your reporter left the brutal air-conditioning of City Hall’s Council chamber for the milder but smoky evening outdoors and walked home, with the outlines of trees, hills and mountains looking strangely two-dimensional in the haze.