Excitement at Red in March; lower playing field fees; seniors and the TRP; and more!
Rossland City Council Regular Meeting, January 22, 2018
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Lloyd McLellan, Aaron Cosbey, John Greene, and Andy Morel. Absent: Marten Kruysse and Andrew Zwicker
Public Input: That Budget Tool
Janice Nightingale provided input on the Budget Tool, and complimented council on its willingness to hear from citizens. She said the tool is “quite amazing” and very useful for gathering input from, and providing information to, residents. She suggested that, rather than showing “gross budget numbers, net per household numbers, gross per household numbers, and percentages covered by user fees — if the tool was capable of it, the simplest format for participants would be to see only their net cost per household, based on their assessed value.” She noted that the use of the City’s 2016 figures for the recreation and culture section failed to capture user fee changes that were implemented in 2017. She suggested that a citizen committee could preview the tool and make helpful suggestions about it before the City releases the next version; when queried by Moore, Nightingale agreed that she would be willing to be part of such a committee. Moore expressed appreciation for her input.
Delegation: Excitement at Red and lots of visitors in late March
Christine Andison and Brian Fry made a presentation on the Sport Chek Canadian National Technical Championships to be held at Red Mountain March 21 to 28, 2018. Both are part of the organizing committee. Red has also been awarded the Canadian National Ski Cross Championships. Fry commented, “Who else could host these events simultaneously, and have the depth of volunteers to pull this off?”
Andison noted that there will be a new, World Cup level specialized start gate for the dual slalom event. She invited the Mayor and Council to an awards gala on March 24, and said the group is hoping to have Council’s support for the opening ceremonies, which will take place on March 22 after the first day of competition; and asked if they could close a block or two of either Queen Street, on either side of Columbia, or Washington Street, for festivities; and the free loan of the City’s stage, and staff to put it up; and permission to install some banners, also City staff help to install them.
For the two events together, they are expecting between 260 and 300 athletes, and a total of about a thousand people to visit the area.
Council then dealt with a request from the Rossland Youth Action Network. A motion to approve YAN’s request for Council approval of an application to Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) for funding to complete the renovation of the “youth space” building beside the new skatepark CARRIED unanimously.
Zoning Amendmentfor 2160 Queen Street (the former Oddfellows and Rebekah Hall site)
After discussions of the reasons why the former R3 zoning was not workable, a motion to give first and second reading to the bylaw changing the zoning to R1-Infill, secure a snow storage easement, and set a Public Hearing for February 26, 2018, CARRIED unanimously. Morel was concerned about reducing the density, but City Planner Stacey Lightbourne pointed out that the lot has been sitting vacant for 15 years and that the old foundation is still there. The proponents were present, and explained their plans for the property, which would be less intrusive for the neighbours than the taller structures permissible under R3 zoning; also, the current plan would include snow easements, which would require the rezoning anyway. Cosbey commented that the discussion had been very useful.
Development Variance Permit Application for 2650 Railway Street; to allow a reduced front setback, and an increased driveway width. Manager of Public Works Darrin Albo explained that this application would not cause any problems for snow storage. A motion to allow the variance CARRIED unanimously.
Policy Review: Seniors won’t automatically qualify for financial assistance with recreation
Council reviewed four City policies; reviewing four policies per regular meeting ensures that Council reviews all policies in a timely fashion.
· Advertising and Promotions;
· Innovation and Service Recognition Reward (as amended);
· Financial Assistance for Use of Facilities, Pools and Parks (as amended; one amendment was that people over 55 were a separate category eligible for assistance): On the special inclusion of seniors for financial assistance, Morel pointed out that Rossland has many seniors who can well afford to pay the fees, while we have many younger families who cannot afford the extra expense. McLellan and Greene and Cosbey agreed, but Cosbey noted that means testing is very difficult. McLellan reminded Council that there is a citizen group working on the issue. A motion to adopt the policy providing financial assistance for seniors FAILED.
A motion to accept the policy without special assistance for seniors but including the other changes CARRIED.
There will be two “intake periods” each year; groups and individuals who have paid to use Trail recreational facilities from January 1 to June 30 must have their applications for financial assistance submitted electronically to the City by July 31, and those who paid from July 1 to December 31 must have their applications submitted by January 31 of the following year. The City will review all applications and notify the successful applicants after nthe review; funding is not awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The City has allocated a total of $10,000 to this program, and funding will be divided equally between the two intake periods.
Recreation Fees and Charges Bylaw No. 2640, 2018: Lower fees for our playing fields.
A motion to adopt the Recreation Fees and Charges Bylaw No. 2640, 2018, CARRIED. Recreation staff explained why fees for playing fields had been reduced; other communities were charging much less, and Rossland’s shorter-season fields were not being very well used. Council members mused that the fields are expensive for the City to maintain. “If they’re not being used . . . maybe they’d make better sites for low-cost housing,” joked Moore. “Use it or lose it, people!” Hilarity ensued.
Statutory Officers Bylaw No. 2645, 2018: Motions to adopt the bylaw CARRIED unanimously, as did motions to appoint Bryan Teasdale as Chief Administrative Officer and Corporate Officer, and to appoint Elma Hamming as Financial Officer, and to appoint Stacey Lightbourne as Approving Officer. These were housekeeping motions, required by the provisions of the Community Charter (Part 5, Division 5)
West Kootenay Inter‐Community Business Licence Bylaw No. 2648, 2018: A motion that West Kootenay Inter-Community Business Licence Bylaw No. 2648, 2018, be read a first, second and third time CARRIED unanimously. The Inter-Community Business Licence is different from the Inter-Municipal Business Licence and will cover more communities; an eligible business must already be licenced either in one participating community, or through an Inter-Municipal Business Licence, to obtain an Inter-Community Business Licence, which will allow the business to operate in all participating communities.
Morel reported that Jan Morton was guest speaker at LCCDTS on the Lower Columbia Housing Initiative; though now retired, Morton will remain involved in this initiative.
McLellan reported on the various Regional District meetings he had attended, and noted the dissolution of the Fire and Rescue Sustainability Committee, apparently a victim of meeting overload. He reported on the increases in Rossland’s requisition for most of the Regional District levies, based on our higher property assessments. He also noted that his name was drawn to attend the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention in Halifax at the end of May.
Moore reported that she and Teasdale participated in a webinar with BC Housing and CBT discussing affordable housing projects. Rossland has hired “CitySpaces” for a potential workforce housing project at the Emcon site. Moore asked for a motion to direct staff to submit an expression of interest to BC Housing for affordable housing funding; the motion CARRIED unanimously. Moore attended a Tourism Rossland board meeting; according to participants, business has been good; one restaurant owner said they no longer have a shoulder season but are busy all year. The Rossland Legion got a “New Horizons” grant for further building upgrades. Moore would like Council to reconsider banning plastic bags; Morel, McLellan and Greene supported the idea. Cosbey was supportive, but pointed out that Council would have to sit down and talk with ALL business owners first. Morel reported that Victoria recently announced a ban on plastic bags. The ban will have a few exceptions and will take effect starting July 1, 2018.
Winter Carnival parade is on Friday night, starting at 6:00, and some Council members will be in it with the Council bobsled.
Council discussed the Red Mountain requests for the National Championships. Moore suggested agreeing to the requests because of the magnitude of the event for Rossland. Manager of Public Works Darrin Albo commented that the costs to the City would be minimal, and a motion directing staff to fulfill all the requests CARRIED unanimously.
Council recessed to an in camera session, and your reporter crunched home in the snow, contemplating the fact that we will have municipal elections this fall and wondering how many citizens – and which ones – will step up to stand for election to Council. Having attended Council meetings for just over four years now, I can assure readers that municipal government is about much more than just taxes and pot-holes. It’s about how we shape our town and how we live together in it, and how we can influence the world beyond it.