Council Matters: Rossland City Council, October 21, 2019

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
October 22nd, 2019

Recreation Task Force’s recommendations for Rossland Arena;  RDBK board didn’t agree on climate emergency;  Terry Van Horne resigning as ED of LCIC;  property tax forecast; nominations open for community contributor award; Open House about Emcon lot development . . . and more

Present:  Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Janice Nightingale, Dirk Lewis, Stewart Spooner, Chris Bowman, Andy Morel; Staff members – CAO Bryan Teasdale, CFO  Elma Hamming, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Año Nuevo, Manager of Operations Darrin Albo, Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Recreation Manager Kristi Calder.

Public Input Period:

Diana Daghofer spoke on the Cycling Without Age initiative, and agreed with the staff recommendation that the City provide various forms of assistance, but that the program be run directly by Cycling Without Age.  She reported that a donor has provided a generous $7,500 contribution to the program.

Ona Stanton spoke in support of the Recreation Task Force’s report, and asked that Council try to get to an expedited decision.  She also talked about the community value of the arena, evidenced by a donation of over $5000 CDN from friends and family in memory of a late Seattle resident, Doug Henry, who played hockey in Rossland and “fell in love with the town and the arena.”  A note from Henry’s widow said, “The Rossland arena typified everything Doug loved about Rossland.  A place for good sport in a relaxed atmosphere, where everyone is always welcome.  So many good athletes, all good sports.  Doug formed many great friendships at the arena, and the welcome he was shown at Rossland Arena was emblematic of the inclusive spirit of Rossland.”

Trent McNabb of the Greater Trail Hockey Association spoke in favour of keeping ice in the arena during the hockey and curling season, citing its importance to the whole area.

Moore spoke to let the crowded gallery know that  no decision would be made that evening or even very promptly, because the City has to work the results into their financial planning.  She assured everyone that the arena would be open this winter, and hopefully for a long time to come.  

Delegation:  Recreation Task Force

 Aaron Cosbey and Thompson Hickey presented the task force’s report and recommendations for Rossland’s arena.  They explained their mandate, and noted that they are not acting as “representatives of the community” but have worked to compare options, and recommend what they think is best for the community and the City.  They have looked at information from many sources, explored various options, and are recommending that the arena be equipped with ice in the winter, and with a gym floor surface in the non-ice season.  They presented scenarios for each of the options considered, and their costs and potential revenues.  The ice and gym-floor combo appears to offer the most flexibility, the most continuity, and the best potential for new uses.  The cost is slightly higher, but the task force thinks the revenues could also be higher, as well as the number of people served.  

Council accepted the report and will eventually  make a decision on which option to pursue.

Cycling Without Age Program Request

A motion to support the Cycling Without Age Program within the City’s existing budget, with the Cycling Without Age group directly operating the program with some assistance and support from the City – but not an expanded budget —  CARRIED unanimously.


              Council discussed a motion to give second and third reading to the Traffic and Highways Bylaw # 2689.  Lewis  suggested having a lower speed limit—20 k  km/hr — in school zones; Morel agreed.  Spooner objected, saying that it’s no use having speed limits that no one obeys; CAO Bryan Teasdale noted that if there is a court challenge to a municipal speed limit which is lower than the provincial limit, then the provincial limit will prevail.  Nightingale suggested leaving the speed limits consistent with provincial ones, and wait and see what the province decides.  The proposed amendment FAILED.  The original motion CARRIED with only Lewis opposed.

 Morel moved that the City apply to the Ministry for permission to reduce its school zone speed limit to 20 km/hr;  Spooner objected, saying it’s unreasonably slow.  The motion CARRIED with only Spooner opposed.  

              A motion to give first and second reading to Park Street Lane Closure Bylaw # 2708, and a further motion to give notice of a public representation opportunity at a future meeting, CARRIED unanimously.  The owners of 2302 Park Street have applied to purchase the lane right-of-way;  they hope to demolish the current encroaching building and construct a new home there, with more space for a septic field, and retaining some fruit trees on the right-of-way.  Staff had no objections to the sale.

Policy Review:

              Council reviewed and reconfirmed the Council Information Policy, and the Ethics, Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy.

              Council then discussed the amended “Donations – General, Parks & Trails” policy;  the policy was amended to facilitate accepting gifts to the City, and clarifying how gifts can be eligible – and when they are not eligible – for a tax receipt.  Council confirmed the policy as amended.

              The Reserve and Surplus Policy  was amended with the addition of a paragraph adding a reserve fund for the Regional Sewer Utility, and another adding a reserve fund for Climate Action.  Council confirmed this policy, too, as amended.

              The Tangible Capital Asset Policy  was amendedby adding some categories of assets and adjusting some  of the thresholds – below which an acquisition is recorded as an operating expense, and above which it is listed and depreciated as a capital asset.  Council confirmed the policy as amended.

Development Variance Permit Application:  The owner of 2090 Macleod Avenue  applied for a variance to allow construction of a double carport with a setback of .3 metre, instead of the usual setback of  4 metres for a double carport or garage.  Staff recommended approval, and a motion to allow the application CARRIED unanimously.

A joint regional Age-Friendly Coordinator?

A motion to approve an application to the Columbia Basin Trust Social Grant Stream for the hiring of a joint regional age-friendly coordinator, and to provide a letter of support to accompany the application, CARRIED unanimously.  The coordinator would work with Rossland, Warfield and Trail.  If the application is successful, Rossland would put $6000 of its existing $15,000 age-friendly budget toward the position, plus $2,000 of in-kind contributions. Rossland’s current age-friendly coordinator, Heather Anderson, would extend her duties to serve Warfield and Trail as well as Rossland.

Budget and Financial Plan Preview, 2020 – 2024

Council reviewed the five pages of detailed material presented by Chief Financial Officer Elma Hamming, which shows that property tax increases (and the reasons for them) for the next four years are expected to be 2.5% — following the 2019 increase of 3%, and the increase of 4% in 2017 and 4.8% in 2018, necessitated by the debt incurred by the infrastructure projects on Washington Street and Spokane Street.  Those projects received significant grant funding.

“Getting to Home” request:  A motion to provide a letter of support for the “getting to Home” program for the Lower Columbia area CARRIED unanimously.

A few selected highlights from Member’s Reports:

Morel submitted a written report on the RDBK board meeting.  Climate change is a contentious topic there and the RDKB board failed to agree on a declaration of a state of climate emergency.  The topic was deferred until the next board meeting.

Morel also reported that Terry Van  Horne will be resigning as ED of the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC) effective as of the end of this year.

Moore reminded citizens that nominations for the Community Contributor Award are open until October 31, for volunteers who “demonstrate extraordinary leadership and community service outside of their employment.Well -respected in the community, they inspire others with their caring and positive attitude and spirit of cooperation.”

The City also wants to remind everyone about the Open House at the Miners Hall on October 29, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, about the re-zoning of the western half of the former Emcon lot — more technically known as 1920 Third Avenue – for the purposes of a mixed-use development.  See the proposed plans and give your input, citizens.

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