New to Rossland? Opinionated Advice on How to be Happier Here (Part two):
Getting to know you: volunteer!
Perhaps you have a group of friends and think you don’t really need to know anyone else. Perhaps you’re too busy. But if you’d like to extend your knowledge of Rossland and its people, volunteering is a great way to do that. Volunteerism is at the heart of much that makes Rossland a wonderful place to live. Rosslander Miche Hayden made a list of local organizations that make Rossland the vibrant community it is, and they might interest a wide variety of people. Click this link to go to that impressively long list and peruse it:
If you’re an introvert who would prefer to do your volunteering solo and anonymously, one good way to improve the community would be to take a sharp hoe and hack away at the bases of invasive weeds (more on those later) along the local trails and boulevards and other rights-of-way. Get them early, before they start flowering and going to seed. Don’t worry about dandelions – they may be invasive, but they’re also edible and good for the pollinating insects. Invasive weed-chopping is a task that could keep most of Rossland’s population therapeutically occupied for years – hack, chop! Take that, and that! Of course, slightly more gregarious types could do this in groups, too.
Just make sure that what you’re chopping IS a baddie, not a beneficial native plant. Check the long list of invasive weeds at:
Now, some opinionated advice for new Rosslanders on choosing a home.
If you’re new to town, you might not have purchased a home yet. Or you might be looking for a different one, or want to build. As in any community, renting for a while before deciding to buy (or build) may be wise.
Ready to buy a house or lot? Here are a few factors to consider in your search.
First, location: will it be easy to walk to town for shopping, or to school? Walking will make you happier. Eventually.
When to look?
April is a good time to examine potential houses, as that’s when basements with water and drainage issues will show their true nature. If you don’t mind having a river or a lake in your basement, at least you’ll be better able to assess the depth of your potential in-home water feature.
Early springtime also reveals those places where snow deposits build up from metal roofs that dump their snow-burden. It might be the roof of the house you’re thinking of buying, or it might be the roof of a house next door that will drop enough snow to destroy a fence, or build up a pile of snow between the homes to cause water issues in basements during the spring thaw.
Streets and driveways
Assess the grade of the street, and the driveway, and consider your vehicle and your comfort level when there’s ice. Some streets and driveways cry out for four-wheel-drive during the winter. Also think of the length of the driveway: do you have a snowblower? Or can you hire someone to keep it clear? If the driveway is short enough, all you’ll need is a good snow-shovel or two. It’s good upper-body exercise for the winter, right? And shovels don’t generate nearly as many noxious fumes as gas-powered devices. (Cough, gag, choke … )
Many Rossland houses have steep metal roofs. Unless they’re new and equipped with devices that prevent snow from sliding off them, they shed snow, resulting in great heaps of it, as mentioned above. Beware of metal roofs that shed snow onto decks or walkways; there has been at least one death in Rossland (and more in other places) caused by a person being buried, and killed, by snow falling off a roof.
If the roof is an older metal one that has any valleys, examine it closely to see if the profile of the metal – the ridges – have suffered damage from the force of snow pressing sideways against those ridges. Sometimes they get ripped, leaving holes in the roofing.
Snow storage issues:
Come a wintertime like 2017-2018, when City workers could barely keep up with plowing and were hard-pressed to find places to deposit snow with their giant snow-blowers, and people with narrow lots piled up huge heaps of snow just from shoveling their driveways, and some irritated their neighbours and all drivers and pedestrians by blowing snow out into the street – that’s contrary to the bylaws, and it could end up costing the miscreant money — or piling it on the neighbour’s boulevard instead of restricting it to their own yard and boulevard, and fences have been destroyed by the pressure of snow and by “roofalanches,” then it’s a good thing to have a home with a wide boulevard or enough space in the yard to store snow.
(Long-time residents assure us that the snowfall of that winter used to be normal. Perhaps it will become normal again – or perhaps, with climate change, there will no longer be any “normal.”)
So you have a wide boulevard (but it’s not yours: it’s city property – part of the road allowance), and you want to make it look nice? Fine. Just ensure that your efforts will not get in the way of City plowing and will withstand having twelve feet or so of snow piled on it. Don’t plant trees on it. Bear in mind that sometimes the City needs to dig up the boulevard to access pipes, too. Or sometimes they take a bucket-loader and shove away at the heaps of snow, which might damage your specially-planted underlying vegetation. Don’t get all annoyed – it’s not your property, remember. It’s really just part of the roadway, no matter which neighbourhood you’re in. Check your lot lines. Get a survey done if there’s any doubt at all.
The plowed or blown snow that gets heaped high on the snow-storage areas includes sand and gravel, and noxious substances from tire wear and vehicles – petro-chemicals and heavy metals. Many residents cover areas of boulevard with plastic tarps so the build-up of gravel is easier to move for spring sweeping operations. And you won’t want to grow any vegetables where the road-snow gets piled, because we get enough toxic additives in our food without that.
Rossland’s bylaws require people to park their vehicles on their own property, not on the street. Except that on some properties, that’s not possible, so the City turns a blind eye most of the time, but vehicles do obstruct snow-plowing and sometimes they have to be moved for that operation. Make sure you know where you can park before you invest too much affection in a potential home. If there’s limited (or no) parking, don’t buy it if you have multiple vehicles and other toys to store. Ideally, you’ll find a place with a garage or carport; it’s so much better for your vehicle, and so much more convenient for you. Especially if you park your vehicle in it, instead of just using it to store all that other excess stuff you’ve accumulated.
Driveways in Rossland are officially allowed to be sixteen feet wide, unless you have a variance. Just so you know.
If you’re looking at properties in the early spring, one thing may not show yet: infestations of Japanese knotweed and its close relatives, or the extent to which the yard is taken over by other common local invasives such as orange hawkweed, spotted knapweed, burdock, thistle, hoary alyssum, policeman’s helmet, common tansy, and so on. Rossland has a bylaw requiring home-owners to eliminate knotweed from their properties, and offering some assistance in doing so.
As for the other noxious weeds, if you’re digging them up, you can bag them, label them, and the local landfill will accept them free of charge.
Of course, there’s much more to consider in choosing a home anywhere in the world, but these are issues of special importance in Rossland.
Welcome to this amazing little city! Happy house-hunting.