More Pay for Next Council; Harder to get TRP Reimbursement than Citizenship; and much more
Monday, April 23, 2018: Rossland City Council held three meetings – at 5:00 pm, a Public Consultation on the City’s five-year Financial Plan (2018 to 2022); at 6:00 pm, a Public Hearing on re-zoning the old Block Motel property at 3915 Red Mountain Road; and a regular Council meeting immediately after the Public Hearing.
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Lloyd McLellan, John Greene, Marten Kruysse, Aaron Cosbey, and Andy Morel. Absent: Andrew Zwicker.
Public Consultation on the 2018 – 2022 Financial Plan (5:00 pm)
Four members of the public attended and asked questions during the presentation. Finance Manager Elma Hamming presented the Vision Statement and the Mission statement, then Strategic Priority #5: “Ensuring that all City taxes, fees and service charges are competitive and appropriate, and a long-term tax strategy is in place.” She explained what the planned tax increases are for this year (4.8%) and the next four years. She explained that any budget items that cost less than anticipated over the year will result in deposits to a reserve fund to cover future over-expenditures because of unforeseen circumstances.
Public Hearing (6:00 pm) re the re-zoning of 3915 Red Mountain Road (the former Block Motel property).
Council had received a letter from Brian and Carmel O’Flanagan, objecting to the potential presence of RV sites and tent-sites. No one spoke at the meeting, so Council moved on.
Regular Council Meeting
Public Input Period:
Janice Nightingale spoke regarding the recreation users allocation policy; she noted that if youth users are prioritized, it may reduce recreation revenues as youth often get favourable rates.
Laura Petit asked about the $10,000 allocation for the tennis courts; Hamming responded that it was for any capital items required.
Harder to get reimbursement for TRP than to get Canadian Citizenship, passport, or CPP?
Mike Ramsey spoke about the TRP reimbursement policy, and particularly Rossland’s application form; he stated that it has 29 questions and that at least six of them require written sentences or paragraphs to answer, and subjective evaluation by staff. He compared it with the application forms for Canadian citizenship, a passport, and CPP. He stated that an application for Canadian citizenship has 11 questions, an application for a passport has nine questions, and a CPP application has 16 questions. His point: the TRP reimbursement questionnaire could be streamlined so that it is less complex — less trouble to answer and less time and trouble for staff to evaluate.
Delegation: Ryan Kuhn for the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society thanked Council for their contributions and updated the meeting on progress made in 2017 and plans for new work in the coming year, in addition to maintenance. KCTS completed the third and final phase of the Dewdney Trail upgrades, made improvements to the Seven Summits Trail, and competed the new Upper Redhead Trail as well as new route for parts of the Green Door Trail between Warfield and Rossland, to address concerns about invasive weeds. They hosted events such as the Singletrack 6, the Broken Goat, and the annual Poker Ride events. This year, here will be a new trail built in the Fruitvale area, funded by the Beaver Valley Recreation Committee; and a new Blue Elephant trail between Red Top and Larry’s is in the works.
Morel asked about the degradation of the trails by big events during dry spells; Kuhn responded that they are not allowing events during the usual dry season any more, and reserve the right to refuse races to run on certain trails during excessively wet or dry periods, or to run races downhill on uphill routes. Morel also asked about e-bikes; Kuhn responded that e-bikes are likely to be categorized as motorized vehicles, therefore not permitted on most local trails.
Moore asked about an intermediate trail from Rossland to Strawberry Pass; Stewart Spooner explained that it would probably cost about half a million dollars to build. Kuhn added that the maintenance would be a considerable ongoing financial burden.
Columbia Basin Trust; Johnny Strilaeff, CEO of CBT
Strilaeff referred to CBT’s 2014 community engagement /consultation and its results, and described the different methods CBT uses to contribute to communities, and listed new programs, including the basin youth network,climate action program, farm advisors; recreation infrastructure grants, and many more. He noted that Rossland has submitted an affordable housing proposal, and that CBT is not able to give a response yet, except to say that it is a very impressive proposal.
He noted that trail development benefits communities economically as well as recreationally.
What keeps Johnny up at night? — High and growing expectations; balancing strategic priorities and emergent opportunities; and impactful programming addressing priorities. He doesn’t want CBT programming to be so narrow that it cannot respond to opportunities.
Cosbey asked whether the Columbia River Treaty renegotiation also keeps him up at night; he responded that CBT has no role in that. McLellan noted that recreation infrastructure could include infrastructure such as some that Rossland now faces large expenses to maintain (a barely veiled reference to the arena).
Recommendations from Staff for Council Decision:
Red Mountain Resort had two applications, both pertaining to the proposed development of an 88-pillow hostel at Red. The first application was for an Environmental Development Permit; a motion to allow it, subject to the usual conditions, CARRIED unanimously.
The second application was for a Development Variance Permit, to allow two variances: one to allow the hostel parking to be above-ground, and the other to allow the hostel to be built without a sprinkler system for fire suppression. Regarding the parking, Morel asked how an 88-bed hostel could get away with only 20 parking spots; Planner Stacey Lightbourne explained that 20 spots exceeds the City’s requirements, and the City cannot require more. Morel thought that a hostel could require more vehicles than, for instance, a hotel. Motions to approve both variances CARRIED unanimously.
A note on the sprinkler issues: municipalities are no longer allowed to require anything more than the BC code requires, and that will soon no longer require sprinklers – it will impose other fire control measures.
Community Initiatives Program funding: Council reviewed a policy to guide future decision-making on CIP grant recommendations. The policy would prioritize funding for projects and organizations that benefit Rossland, and clarifies that Council prefers to benefit a larger number of organizations rather than just a few. McLellan proposed amendments to remove the preference for funding many instead of a few, saying he’d prefer to leave it to Council’s discretion each year, and Cosbey suggested clarifying that many regional projects may benefit Rossland, and could therefore be supported. A motion to adopt the amended policy CARRIED.
Policy Review: As part of its regular policy review procedure, Council unanimously confirmed the City’s Pesticide and Herbicide Use Policy, with the removal of one word – which removal clarified the intent of the policy. Council also confirmed the City’s Land Transaction Policy.
Then Council members discussed proposed amendments to the City’s Recreation Facilities User Allocation Policy; one amendment removed the words “according to history and revenue” from the considerations for awarding ice time, and another stated that pre-payment is required for playing field bookings, unless authorized in advance; a motion to adopt the amended policy CARRIED.
Mayor and Council Remuneration: Staff had compiled information about Council remuneration in 38 other communities of comparable size, which showed that Rossland pays Councillors 44% less than the average, and our mayor’s pay is 43% below the average for communities of similar size.
Cosbey moved that council and mayoral remuneration be increased by 40%, starting on the first day of the next Council’s term. This, he said, would still keep Rossland below the provincial average for communities of our size, but also make it more likely that some qualified but limited-income people will be better able to stand for office. McLellan and Kruysse supported the motion; Kruysse commented that it would be good to attract some younger people. “Are you calling us old?” one council member queried, to general laughter.
Greene commented that Sun Peaks council members take their remuneration and then donate it to a charity or school. Moore noted, “There’s nothing stopping anyone here who wants to do that!”
Cosbey’s motion CARRIED. The next step is for staff to draft a bylaw to put the motion into effect, and the bylaw will then have to go through discussion at first, second and third readings, and a final motion for adoption.
Council accepted and reviewed a report prepared by staff on the historical trends in the composition of Rossland’s revenues, and on the distribution of property taxes among classes of property, and admired its depth of information and also “how pretty it is.”
A motion to give second and third readings to City of Rossland 2018 – 2022 Financial Plan Bylaw #2662 CARRIED unanimously.
A motion to give first, second and third readings to City of Rossland 2018 Municipal Tax Rate Bylaw #2663 also CARRIED unanimously.
A motion to give First, second and third readings to Red Mountain Specified Area Tax Rate Bylaw #2664 CARRIED unanimously.
A motion to give second and third readings to Fireworks Regulation Bylaw #2651 CARRIED unanimously.
Staff Updates and Reports:
Requests arising from Correspondence:
Trail & District Chamber of Commerce requested a financial contribution to the Healthy Lifestyles Expo.
John Greene moved to NOT support it, but there was no seconder. McLellan moved to support the Expo with $550. Cosbey noted that they did a good job of it last year, and it’s expanded this year. Several Rossland businesses will be part of the Expo and some Rosslanders will be selling goods at the farmers’ market. The motion to provide $550 CARRIED unanimously — Greene withdrew his opposition, but said he will check membership lists. (Editor’s note: he may have to wait until after the organization has completed its move to smaller premises.)
Seven Summits Centre for Learning request for scholarship of $200 was approved unanimously
Communities on the Move – Morel moved that Rossland add its name to endorse the goals outlined for improved active transportation, safer roads, more equitable transit; the motion CARRIED unanimously.
Rossland Summit School Sheet Mulching project – A motion in favour of allowing the projectCARRIED unanimously.
Heritage Commission asked Council to approved “statements of significance” for a five of Rossland’s heritage buildings; these statements are now required for the Provincial Heritage Register. A motion in favour CARRIED unanimously. Moore suggested that dates ought to be included in the statements, as some of them have statements about current occupancy which may not be true in a few years’ time.
Council members reported on their activities since the previous meeting, then recessed the meeting to an in camera session.
Your reporter packed up and walked home in the clear, chilly evening, admiring the brilliant planet that blazed away at the very peak of Mount Roberts, and hoping for a time when Council meetings can be held in a room with better acoustics – but still lots of room for the public.
Click the link below to see some of Hamming’s graphs on City revenues: