Rossland City Council meetings, March 9, 2020
Declassified material on the Mid-town Transition Project; GreenLink Trail; better by-law enforcement; and more
Present: Mayor Kathy More, and Councillors Janice Nightingale, Chris Bowman, Andy Morel, and Stewart Spooner. Absent – Dirk Lewis.
1 Public Hearing to consider:
Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2718to rezone the lands located at 1827A LeRoi Avenue from R1 Infill Residential to R1 Infill Residential – Guest Suite (R1I to GS); and Official Community Plan (OCP) Amendment Bylaw No. 2720 to include supporting policy within the Official Community Plan for the proposed South Kootenay Green Link Trail – a bicycle and e-bike commuter trail between Rossland, Warfield and Trail.
2 Regular Council Meeting:
Public Input Period:
Fletcher Quince began to ask questions about the Mid-town development, and Moore informed him that the Council materials for this meeting contain newly-released materials that may answer his concerns.
Those materials include a detailed 11-page discussion dated February 10, 2020, of the relative costs, and a comparison of the other advantages and disadvantages of each option – rebuilding the old City Hall or building a new City Hall at the Mid-town Transition site; the floor plan of the old City hall building, the floor plan of the proposed new City Hall building, rankings for both rebuilding the old and building the proposed new facilities — neither option produces a “perfect” score, but the new building results in a somewhat higher (better) score than rebuilding the old. Calculations include scores for each option on Public Health & Safety, Regulatory issues [such as document storage requirements], Environmental Risk, Financial Risk, Service Level Increase, Environmental Enhancement, and Net Present Value/Payback.
Readers can access the amended agenda package for the March 9 Council meeting, and peruse these documents, at this link. The newly-released documents are at the bottom of the agenda materials. They comprise the final 27 pages of the 244-page package.
A neighbour of the Earl St. variance request asked about where snow off the deck would go; City Planner Stacy Lightbourne indicated that the deck could not be shoveled. “The deck had better be built strong enough to hold the snow,” Moore commented.
Delegation: Trail & District Chamber of Commerce
Erika Krest, Executive Director, presented an overview of the organization in support of its first-ever request for financial help from all five of the area’s municipalities.
a) Zoning Amendment By-law #2718 – a motion to give third reading to the by-law re-zoning the propertyto allow short-term rental of two basement rooms at 1827A LeRoi AvenueCARRIED unanimously.
b) Official Community Plan Amendment By-law #2720 – a motion to give third reading to a by-law amending the OCP to include a specific paragraph to support the South Kootenay Green Link, a bicycle and e-bike trail connecting Rossland, Warfield and Trail, intended particularly for commuting, CARRIED unanimously and a further motion to adopt the by-law also CARRIED unanimously.
c) Municipal Ticket Information Bylaw # 2721 – a motion to give first, second and third readings to an updated by-law to account for new, amended and repealed bylaws and to consolidate earlier amendments CARRIED unanimously.
i) A motion to re-confirm the By-law and and Policy Enforcement Policy CARRIED.
ii) A motion to re-confirm the Employee Training and Professional Development Policy CARRIED.
iii) A motion to re-confirm the Equipment Loan Policy CARRIED, after discussion during which Spooner raised a question about whether serving a single community group would meet the criterion for “broad community benefit” if that group’s activities benefited the community at large. Moore said it would; “It’s just that English isn’t your first language,” she suggested, to general laughter.
iv) A motion to re-confirm the Street Light Policy CARRIED.
Staff Reports and Updates:
Development Variance Permit Application – 2191A Earle Street: the owner seeks a variance to allow a deck on the roof of a carport when the home is built on this odd-shaped vacant lot. A motion to allow the variance CARRIED with Nightingale and Spooner opposed, on the basis that neighbours had raised privacy issues about the deck – people on the deck could see into their yards, one of which is on the other side of an alley and the other of which features a large tree near the property line, but any privacy screening around the deck might also block natural light for neighbouring yards.
Development Variance Permit Application – 1725 Black Diamond Drive: the owner seeks a variance to allow a proposed detached secondary suite above a garage/workshop to be built to a height of 7.17 metres instead of the allowed 6.0 metres. A motion to allow the variance CARRIED, as the location is such that it will not interfere with neighbouring properties’ views or light, and no one has objected. Council discussed the relative merits of dealing with requests for variations as opposed to having higher limits to reduce the number of applications, but decided tht the number of applications isn’t very onerous, and different locations pose different problems.
Timing Clock Sale: a motion to sell the City’s large, heavy timing clock – used by a few users annually, including Black Jack to time their loppets, to Black Jack Nordic Ski Club, for $1.00 – Morel recused himself and left the room; the motion CARRIED unanimously.
Citizen Budget Results – Council reviewed the results of citizen input on budget items.
Moore expressed some disappointment that more people had not provided input. She also noted that many of the budget items were evenly balanced between people who wanted to spend more on them and people who wanted to spend less, except for trails (spend more), the library (spend more) and the Heritage Commission (spend less). CFO Elma Hamming commented that, compared with other communities, the amount of input was “actually good!”
Moore suggested giving it a rest for a year, and do it again in the fall of 2021. Council agreed.
Draft Financial Plan 2020 – 2024
Council reviewed the draft plan. Spooner queried funds set aside for the tennis courts, to replace a retaining wall and re-surface the courts, to leverage funding for future grant opportunities. Bowman queried Rossland’s readiness for a 20% increase in Electric vehicles (EVs); Moore suggested talking with other municipalities about possible savings with a “bulk buy” of certain vehicles if each municipality needed one, for instance, of a certain type.
2020 Corporate Management Workplan: A motion to approve the plan CARRIED unanimously, with expressions of approval.
Bylaw Enforcement Services Review: “Is the level of enforcement adequate?” Morel asked the Deputy Corporate Officer, who commented, “It’s difficult; because often when we require bylaw enforcement, there’s no officer on duty.” Rossland’s current Bylaw Enforcement Officer works only 12 hours a week, and each ticket or warning generates paperwork for office staff, increasing the cost to the City of enforcement actions. Nightingale suggested increasing the amount of Bylaw Enforcement Officer time by another 4 hours per week, perhaps in an evening or on a weekend.
Spooner moved that staff be asked to investigate a phased-in approach to incrementally increase the amount of bylaw enforcement services provided by the City, including consultation with other communities and improved cost recovery; CARRIED unanimously.
Bylaw Notification and Adjudication System: Nightingale moved that the City take advantage of the Bylaw Notice Enforcement system, available to municipalities that register for it. The motion CARRIED unanimously. The system involves the use of qualified, neutral adjudicators to resolve any disputes arising from tickets for by-law infractions, instead of the more expensive and formal court system. Cost savings may be helped by partnering with one or more other municipalities.
As usual at every regular council meeting, Council kept its fingers on the pulse of City activities by reviewing the monthly payments made by the City, the Public Works Report, the Water Production Report, the 2019 Annual Water Report, the Bylaw Enforcement Report, the Building Permit Report, and the Updated Task List.
The Public Works Report revealed one disturbing incident: repairs necessitated when a vandal cut the lock off the electric meter on the side off the Miners Hall, ripped off a panel and left live wires exposed.
Rossland Rotary Request:
Rotary asked the City to return a deposit on the Miners Hall for an event planned for February 29which will not happen because too few tickets sold. Morel moved to return the deposit; Morel and Nightingale both noted that Rotary has put a lot of money and effort into the Miners Hall, unlike most others who might have booked an event. The motion to return the deposit CARRIED with only Spooner opposed.
Rossland Mountain Market Request — to hold an outdoor market on Queen Street in March.
Morel suggested that the additional March market be allowed on Queen Street as long as it does not block the alley entrance between Columbia and LeRoi Avenues; Spooner suggested that the Market negotiate the most suitable location, for the least adverse community impact, depending on how many vendors the Market has, and a motion incorporating both suggestions CARRIED unanimously.
Commenting on the Federal designation of the Miners Union Hall as a Historic Site, Bowman noted that Rossland now has two of the entire nation’s 971 historic sites.
Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) report from Morel:Moore expressed deep disappointment that a motion to combine the Fire Services training officer and Deputy Fire Chief positions did not pass; the expense will be considerable. The RDKB draft budget for 2020 includes an expected 30% increase for Emergency Preparedness.
Nightingale reported enthusiastically on the Columbia Basin Alliance or Literacy (CBAL) and the work they do to engage people of all ages in improving their literacy. Inter alia, she spoke about children being motivated by telling their stories.
Declassification of Mid-town Development Report: 27 pages of newly-released material were included in the Council package; see the second paragraph of the “Public Input” session above for a description of its contents, and a link to the package.
The meeting adjourned, and your reporter walked home under a remarkably huge and brilliant full moon, with a rare detour for a relaxing beverage and snack first, and then avoided potentially icy sections on parts of the sidewalk by clomping down LeRoi Avenue’s temporarily traffic-free and completely ice-free roadway.