City recognizes climate crisis; ‘Bullshooters’ query; pesticide policy refined; plastic bag input session coming up (and more!)
Rossland City Council Meeting, May 22, 2019.
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Chris Bowman, Dirk Lewis, Scott Forsyth, Stewart Spooner, Janice Nightingale, and Andy Morel; and CAO Bryan Teasdale, CFO Elma Hamming, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Año Nuevo, Manager of Planning Stacey Lightbourne, Manager of Operations Darrin Albo, and Manager of Recreation & Events Kristi Calder.
Public Input Period:
Maureen Lloyd spoke on behalf of Golden City Manor, explaining to Council that there are age restrictions and income restrictions for tenants, and that 12 of the 20 occupants are on subsidized rents; that the Society is a not-for-profit, operating under the umbrella of – and reporting to – BC Housing.
Another resident spoke about the bears in his yard (near Spokane and Second Avenue) – he’d like something to be done; he also spoke about technology – he explained that having the internet is as important now as having electricity, and wondered if there was any hope of government improving its security and accessibility. Moore explained that the internet issues are beyond the scope of municipal councils, and that he could talk to the WildSafe representative to get help about the bear issue. She noted that his yard may be on a long-established bear path.
A resident spoke about his request for compensation for the cleanup and damage repair resulting from the flooding of his property by a ruptured water main. On February 4, a six-inch main broke, and flooded for about an hour, resulting in major damage to his property and home. His insurance covers the house, but not the property, so he’s asking the City for compensation; he thinks a mini-excavator for two days, and eight worker-days could repair the damage to his land and rock wall. Moore indicated that the matter was in the hands of the City’s insurance company; the resident said he has heard from the City’s insurance company, who told him the City’s insurance covers negligence, but that a worn-out water main isn’t negligence. Moore apologized but said there is nothing Council can do.
A motion to adopt the Outdoor Water Use Regulation Bylaw # 2696 CARRIED unanimously. Spooner commented that he didn’t think the City would get compliance on “something this complicated.” Morel and Moore think that with the Water Ambassador in place, it will work.
A motion to adopt the Council Conduct and Procedure Bylaw # 2697 CARRIED unanimously.
A motion to give second and third readings to the amended Recreation Fees and Charges Bylaw # 2698 CARRIED unanimously.
Council considered the Permissive Tax Exemption Policy, and a motion by Nightingale to amend the policy by removing from eligibility “organizations that provide any business, service or facility that will compete with privately owned, pre-existing businesses.” The amendment CARRIED unanimously, as did a vote on the amended policy.
Council reviewed the Pesticide and Herbicide Use Policy. Lewis suggested amendments to clarify “for pest outbreaks” and to remove from the list of suggested alternatives both methoprene and “naturally derived pesticides” such as pyrethrins and rotenone – which hurt bees and other beneficial insects. Forsyth suggested that the City should also have a “do not use” list. Lewis commented that the list would be huge; Forsyth said a huge list would be fine, but no list was added. The policy, including Lewis’s amendments, CARRIED unanimously.
Staff presented a DRAFT Electric Transportation Purchasing Plan Policy, to enable City employees to access an interest-free loan of up to $4000, which would be paid back over two years by payroll deductions. The taxable benefit of the free interest would be calculated and declared to comply with Canada Revenue requirements. The aim of this policy is to encourage staff to use electric vehicles and thereby reduce the City’s GHG emissions. The motion CARRIED unanimously.
Staff also suggested that the City purchase an electric bike to add to the City’s fleet of vehicles, for staff use for travel that does not require a larger vehicle. A motion to do that CARRIED unanimously.
A motion to re-confirm the City’s policy on Retaining Elements and Landscape Features Encroachment CARRIED unanimously.
A motion to approve the Recreational Facilities User Allocation Policy, as amended for clarity, CARRIED unanimously.
The Golden City Days organizing committee submitted their request for the usual assistance from the City, and a motion to grant the request CARRIED unanimously.
The Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre submitted a request for assistance with this year’s Canada Day celebrations, estimated to cost the City $1,192.50. A motion to provide the requested assistance within City policy, and with the exception of cleaning up trash post-event, and setting up and taking down the stage, CARRIED unanimously – with the suggestion that the Museum try to source less pricey cake. In response to a question about clearing the trail up Mt. Roberts, Spooner noted that KCTS clears it.
Kootenay Dance Works requested permission to close a section of Spokane Street on June 16th to hold “a fundraising event with 100% of the proceeds going towards doing a full production of Nutcracker at the Charles Bailey Theatre December 6‐8, 2019. It will include dancers from various dance studios throughout the Kootenays. The idea is a ‘vintage’ style fair which will include games, popcorn, live entertainment (juggler, singer, pianist), face painting, photographer, with a ‘hint’ of Father’s Day celebration sprinkled in.” A motion to grant the request CARRIED unanimously.
Housing Needs Reports: The provincial government now (as of 2018) requires each local government to prepare a Housing Needs Report at least every five years. The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary proposes to apply for a grant to enable the RDKB to compile the material required for the detailed reports for each of the municipalities, and a motion to support the application CARRIED unanimously.
CAO Bryan Teasdale presented a draft 2019 Corporate Management Work Plan, developed to enable better tracking of progress on key initiatives and projects. A motion to approve the plan CARRIED unanimously.
Cheque Register: Council reviewed the list of payments made by the City. Spooner asked what the “Bullshooters” item was; Hamming explained that it is a staff savings plan – involving a voluntary deduction from pay, which is saved and then paid back to the employees in December. Albo further explained that the name recalls an event when a former long-term CAO shot his neighbour’s bull, because it kept jumping the fence into his property.
CFO Elma Hamming presented a detailed report on the City’s grant revenues over the past ten years, and grant applications pending.
Council considered three further motions:
Morel proposed “THAT Rossland City Council directs staff to report back within 150 days on opportunities to build on work already being undertaken by RDCK, to increase and/or accelerate timelines for existing actions under the ICSP and the SCEEP, and to create a unified document highlighting this work.” Morel explained that this can enhance regional collaboration; the motion CARRIED unanimously. Morel reported that the RDKB will also be working on this.
“THAT Rossland City Council recognizes that the world is in a global state of climate crisis. This reality creates an imperative for ALL ORDERS OF GOVERNMENT to undertake “rapid and far reaching” changes to building construction, energy systems, land use and transportation.” This motion CARRIED unanimously.
Lewis proposed a further motion “that the City of Rossland send a letter of support to the provincial and federal Minsters of Environments (and copy local MLAs and MPs) declaring support for the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada’s draft Bilateral Conservation Agreement under Section 11 of the Species at Risk Act to recover Southern Mountain Caribou, including provisions for habitat protection.” The motion CARRIED unanimously.
Before the meeting adjourned, Moore reminded everyone that the June 3 Council meeting will be preceded by a 6:00 pm public input session on the DRAFT plastic bag bylaw.
After the traditional Miners Hall communal chair-stacking exercise (no more than three chairs high, please!), your reporter admired the Mayor’s electric bike, then walked home in the fragrant evening, enjoying all the scents of new green leaves, lilac and apple blossoms, chestnut tree blooms, and every other sweet-smelling new bud and flower flourishing out there.