Recreation questions, re-zoning disagreement, is there enough power at MetalTechAlley? -- and more.
Rossland Regular Council Meeting, March 26, 2018
Council Members Present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Lloyd McLellan, Andy Morel, Marten Kruysse, John Greene, Aaron Cosbey, and Andrew Zwicker
Staff Present: Chief Administrative Officer Bryan Teasdale, Executive Assistant Alison Worsfold, Manager of Finance Elma Hamming, Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Recreation Manager Kristi Calder, and Manager of Public Works Darren Albo
And the public gallery was packed with over 100 residents.
Public Input Period: Anticipating input on the issue of the money that needs to be spent on the arena if it is to be opened this coming fall, Moore provided some background on the history of the arena and the reasons for the upcoming expense: it’s a WorkSafe requirement for arenas with ammonia-based cooling systems, following the tragic fatalities in Fernie. Janice Nightingale had gathered statistics on the Rossland arena and its usage, revenues and costs. She was unable to attend, so her husband, Mike Ramsey, presented many of those statistics to the meeting, finishing to resounding applause. A hockey player in full goalie gear entered to more applause.
More residents spoke, including members of the Arena Task Force, urging more solutions to finding funding. All speakers earned applause.
Moore answered one of the points raised by asserting that the arena is a valuable community resource and the idea of closing the building is “not on the table;” rather, the question is, “what does the community want to do with it?”
1. Ona Stanton spoke to Council about its policy on financial assistance for the use of recreational facilities in Trail. She pointed out that year-round swimming (needed by competitive swimmers) and year-round baseball/softball are not available in Rossland, and Rosslanders participating in those sports are paying a LOT of money – with noted that registration for rookie baseball is only $85 per child, but with the TRP added, it’s $320 per child. She commented that for many families, 25% support for the TRP fees is not enough to enable participation.
2. Bill Profili of the Lions requested Council’s support for a grant application to fund improvement and expansion of the Lions’ Campground facilities.
Recommendations from Staff for Council decision:
Capital Plan Budget Financial Plan Draft 2018 – 2022:
Hamming presented information on the citizen input that had been elicited on the priorities around budgeting and taxation; on average, most residents were willing to accept tax increases of up to nearly 5%; Council had, at a previous meeting, authorized a tax increase for 2018 of 4.8% for planning purposes, but had expressed an intention of keeping the increase down to 4% if possible. Then City Hall’s roof caved in, and WorkSafe BC now requires expensive work to be done on the arena’s ice plant before the arena can open in the fall, so Hamming is requesting that the tax increase remain at 4.8% for 2018, and the tax increase planned for 2019 be raised to 3% instead of 1.25%, and for 2020, an increase of 2.5% instead of just 2%.
Hamming went through the financial plan explaining the various expenditures required for the next few years.
One expense of $300,000, for water meter equipment upgrade, is for one component in the water meters in town which doesn’t function; water usage has been estimated since mid-2017.
Cosbey moved that Council accept the changes proposed by Hamming in the financial plan document. The motion CARRIED unanimously, to applause from the gallery, which preceded a mass exodus – leaving only about a dozen people in the gallery.
Financial Assistance for the use of Facilities, Pools and Parks: staff recommended adopting the policy as amended. The amendments include provision for clubs, teams, and non-profit groups made up of children up to the age of 18 years; increasing the coverage from 25% to 50% of the differential between the TRP fees for other users and the fees for Rossland residents; groups, teams and clubs must have a minimum of five registrants unless they cater to people with physical and/or developmental disabilities, in which case there is no minimum number; and increasing the amount a group is permitted to receive from 25% to 50% of the total amount budgeted by the City.
A motion to further amend the policy to remove the requirement that there be five Rossland kids in a group before the group is eligible CARRIED unanimously.
A motion to adopt the amended policy CARRIED unanimously.
A further motion to divide up any remainder from the amount budgeted among the eligible users pro rata also CARRIED.
Retirement Gift Policy: staff recommended rescinding the policy, as its contents are now covered in another policy. A motion to rescind it CARRIED.
Employee Training and Professional Development Policy: staff recommended re-confirming, and a motion to that effect CARRIED.
Equipment Loan Policy: a motion to re-confirm CARRIED.
Business License Bylaw Review: Staff recommended refusing the request by Angela Price to have only one business license for her short-term accommodation business, which occupies two separate properties. Staff provided a brief history of the evolution of the current Business License bylaw, and pointed out that there are 12 other business owners who must pay for two or more business licenses because their businesses operate in two or more locations; and that the bylaw in its current form better enables the City to track and inspect the short-term rentals operating in town; and pointed out the revenue that would be lost to the City and Tourism Rossland if the bylaw were changed. Cosbey complemented staff on the presentation of information. A motion to refuse Price’s request CARRIED unanimously.
Council reviewed and approved the 2018 Corporate Management Work Plan. Kruysse made comments about the importance of focusing improving efficiency and cost savings; Albo assured Council that staff does that all the time. Zwicker thought the goal of driving recreation usage could be more prominent in the plan; Kristi explained that some of the measures in the plan are designed to achieve that goal.
A motion to adopt the 2018 Corporate Work Plan CARRIED.
Development Permit Application: Block Motel Renovation: A motion to issue a Development Permit for renovating theold Block Motel building, subject to conditions, CARRIED unanimously.
Council approved the2017-2018 Gold Fever Follies Service Agreement. Zwicker raised the issue of the Follies paying only $500 for the Miners Hall for the season; Teasdale explained the situation of the Follies, who had to pay a large amount of money to rent the old BoM building last year while the Miners Hill was under renovation. McLellan explained that he thinks the City should get a percentage of the profits when a group uses facilities – if they make a profit. Teasdale noted that he has had that conversation with the Follies; he also noted that when the main hall is in use, the attic space is sometimes unusable because of noise transmission. A motion to accept the agreement CARRIED unanimously.
Zoning Amendment Bylaw for 3915 Red Mountain Road: Council discussed a motion to give first and second reading to a bylaw to change the zoning of the old Block Motel property that is within the City boundaries from Residential Rural (R1-R) to Comprehensive Development Zone 3 – Resort Mixed Use (a new zone designation).
The proponents plan to provide a variety of options on the property for short-term accommodation, potentially including camping, RV sites, a hostel, cabins, suites, and more.
Morel was concerned that having a convenience store or coffee shop – which could be located there – would compete with downtown businesses; but Lightbourne explained that one of the considerations is to keep guests out at Red from having to drive to town for every little thing. Dave Thoss (one of the proponents) explained that the intent would be to open some small facility just to serve guests, and only if it got busy enough.
Morel moved to amend the commercial use wording for this property to restrict potential retail usage to an office and convenience store. Kruysse said he would oppose the amendment, as he thinks it would be too restrictive. Cosbey spoke in favour of the amendment, to prevent sprawl and strip development; Greene spoke against the restriction; Zwicker spoke in favour, and McLellan was also initially persuaded. Lightbourne noted that the campground/hostel just down the road has no such restrictions, and expanded on the Official Community Plan and what it says. Others noted that there would be a perception of unfairness, and the amendment FAILED with only Morel in favour.
The motion to give first and second reading to the zoning amendment bylaw CARRIED unanimously; as did a further motion to set a Public Hearing on the matter for April 23, 2018.
Staff Updates and Reports:
Council reviewed the updated Task List and the Age Friendly Assessment and Action Plan Update.
It’s Popsicle-sticks-and-glue time again! The Engineers and Geoscientists of BC are holding their annual popsicle-stick bridge-building contest, and asked the City for a contribution to defray costs. Moore mentioned that the City has not contributed I the past; a motion to not contribute funding CARRIED.
The CBT Smart Cities Challenge: A motion to contribute $500 (along with the other participating communities) toward the initiative CARRIED, with McLellan, Kruysse and Greene opposed.
Heritage Commission meeting minutes contained a recommendation that the Heritage Commission be notified of any plans for new construction in the downtown area for their review and comments. Lightbourne noted that she invites the Heritage Commission to attend the Design Review Panel and comment on any changes to existing buildings, but not on new construction. She pointed out that there are appropriate guidelines in place for new buildings to help them blend in with Rossland’s heritage.
Moore suggested that a member of the Heritage Commission should sit on the Design Review Panel, rather than having representatives of two different committees reviewing designs. McLellan and Cosbey both supported that suggestion.
Cosbey moved that the Heritage Commission minutes be accepted, but not including the above-mentioned recommendation; the motion CARRIED unanimously.
Cosby also moved that staff come back with draft Terms of Reference for the Design Review Panel to include a member of the Heritage Commission; the motion CARRIED unanimously.
Honourable Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Minister Responsible for Sport and Multiculturalism, confirmed via letter that RMI funding will be provided for the 2018-2019 year. Moore said Rossland’s share will be about $33,000.
Morel reported, from the LCCDTS AGM, that there is some concern that there may not be enough power to serve any further expansion of the Metal Tech Alley industrial area at this time; he noted that some of the high-tech industries use very large amounts of power, and that any more start-ups may be restricted until more power becomes available.
McLellan reported on the RDKB proceedings, and on Council’s meeting with Katrine Conroy on March 19.
Greene reported on the weekend’s National Championship ski races at Red. There were about 350 athletes in town, about 1000 visitors in total, and Greene praised the City crews who worked hard to get things set up, and to take them down again at night in the pouring rain. There was music and singing, and the Rossland Light Opera put on a skit. He also reported that Howard Katkov had heard a board member of Alpine Canada comment that he had never seen such a great turn-out of volunteers to put on an event like this. Greene thanked the City for its contributions.
Cosbey reported that the south part of the YAN building is “up and running” but the north side still needs some work.
Kruysse thinks the Seniors’ Association “could be made a lot more relevant.” Moore hoped that the age friendly thing will help.
Moore has been busy with the Highway 3 corridor tourism strategy planning; met with the Arena Task Force; and swam in the Swim-a-thon, which raised $11,000 for Hospice.
Council then discussed how to approach the issue of obtaining wide-spread community input on recreation priorities and spending. Cosbey pointed out that Council’s essential job is get accurate information out to the residents, because if they don’t, there will be lots of misinformation filling that vacuum. He thinks there should be a non-binding referendum. Zwicker suggested that the City needs to first gather information from residents. Greene agreed. Kruysse likes “the staged approach.”
Hamming suggested that something could be sent out with the tax notices. Zwicker was opposed to hurrying the process, and said it cannot be done in two months.
(If there is a referendum, it would be held concurrently with Council elections, in October, along with the Provincial referendum on electoral reform. That’s a lot of voting for one day.)
Moore suggested directing staff to look into hiring a consultant to engage with the public on the issue of recreation spending and priorities – all the City’s recreation spending; trails, fields, pool, arena, administration and so on. Cosbey raised the question of the timeline, “because we’re not going to be here after October.” The question was left for staff’s attention.
Council recessed to an in camera session, pursuant to section 90(1)(c) (labour relations or other employee relations) of the Community Charter.
Your reporter walked home in the dark and dank night, with a few wet snowflakes swirling about, making good use of a tiny LED flashlight and wondering which dedicated citizens will be up for election to City Council in the fall. And looking forward to interviewing them and publishing their responses here.
Below: some of the gallery at the Council meeting, advocating for Rossland's arena — and a few other matters.