Council Matters: June 1, 2020 Rossland City Council Meeting

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
June 2nd, 2020

Rossland City Council Meeting, June 1, 2020

Trash talk, new fees and charges bylaw, greening the fleet

By web conference

Present:   Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Dirk Lewis, Stewart Spooner, Andy Morel, Chris Bowman, and Janice Nightingale. Staff present who spoke during the meeting:  Manager of Special Projects  Darrin Albo, CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Anoñuevo,  and CFO Elma Hamming.

Public Input Period: There was no one present to raise their electronic “hand” when invited to do so.

Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw (#2727):  The new bylaw includes additional changes to the schedule of fees and charges for certain City services.  One of these is a small additional fee to be charged when people require staff assistance to pay at City Hall with a credit card, instead of using the laptop kiosk; another addition is a $50 charge for tree removal permits, and for highway access permits. The bylaw also adds a $50 charge for a Design Modification Fee and $100 for a Building Inspection Fee.

Lewis commented that he didn’t like the “convenience fee,” said that he thought it seemed punitive, “especially given the demographic that may need assistance.”   Hamming responded that the one-quarter of one percent convenience fee is only for people who need staff assistance “over the counter.” She said it was intended as an incentive for people to pay on-line, or to use the payment kiosk themselves, instead of using staff time.

A motion to give first, second and third readings to the Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw CARRIED.

A further motion to adopt the bylaw CARRIED.

Editor’s Note:  Councils must normally wait at least one full day after third reading to adopt a bylaw; but a ministerial order valid for the duration of the pandemic state of emergency states (inter alia) that, “Despite section 135 (3) [requirements for passing bylaws]of the Community Charter, a council may adopt a bylaw on the same day that a bylaw has been given third reading.”

Request for Proposals:  Solid Waste Collection and Disposal

The City received only one response to its RFP, from Alpine, the current contractor.  Alpine proposes to raise the cost to the City per month per unit served from $5.00 to $5.80 for August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2022, and to increase it to $5.95 from August 1, 2022 to July 31 2023, and again to $6.13 for 2023 to 2024, and to $6.32 for 2024 to 2025.

Residents  would be more likely to notice the change in the “pay as you throw” stickers:  Alpine proposes to do away with the “small bag” option, and double the price of a sticker for a large bag (up to 28” x 36”) to $3.00 each.

Nightingale observed that “it’s certainly  more money than we’ve been paying, and maybe we’ve been getting a good deal for the service.”  She commented that, all things considered, the increased cost seems reasonable.

Morel agreed that, once we get organics pick-up, the total tonnage is likely to go down.  Teasdale also noted that labour costs are likely to rise over the term of the contract.

Spooner’s main concern was the lack of flexibility in the “only large bags” provision, especially for those people who spend a whole month accumulating a large bag’s worth of garbage – and there are unfortunately people who stuff their small bags of garbage into the city trash receptacles and plug them up, passing the cost of disposal onto the rest of Rossland’s taxpayers.

Morel acknowledged that the Regional District will be raising the cost of accepting trash at the landfill by $10 per ton – from $110 to $120.  They would have done it already, but delayed it by a few months because of the pandemic.

Teasdale noted that Rossland is the only community that has had the option of two sizes of bags. 

Bowman asked Teasdale whether we have an opportunity to negotiate any changes in the proposal from Alpine.  Teasdale indicated that if Council wants to try for two sizes of bag, he can talk with Alpine.

Spooner said he didn’t think their proposal is unreasonable, but he does think it will result in more abusive disposal of trash.  A motion to award the contract to Alpine as submitted FAILED, with only Spooner and Nightingale in favour.

Bowman moved a resolution to accept the contract’s proposal except for the size and price of the trash bags; he wanted a “medium” sized bag for $2.00 each.  Nightingale commented that Bowman’s idea might work.  Teasdale pointed out the difficulty of going to Alpine without specific dimensions for a “medium” bag. 

Spooner thought it would be great if it could be implemented, but Alpine staff might feel challenged by trying to enforce the right size of bag. He wanted the bag size to be expressed in metric, in volume – capacity in litres.  Nightingale pointed out that some municipalities sell the bags instead of selling stickers to put on the bags – that way the City can determine the bag size, or sizes.

Editor’s Note:  Trash bags—instead of stickers – were sold in Rossland  too, several years ago – back in the 1990s. They were bright blue, and one could buy an entire roll of them at once.

Lewis said he’d rather have Teasdale try to negotiate with Alpine on  the sticker pricing and bag size issue.  Teasdale agreed that he could do that, and would recommend a two-year term at minimum.

The motion re medium sized bags FAILED.

Lewis moved that Teasdale negotiate with Alpine and bring results back to Council; the motion CARRIED.

Request for Waiver of Rent at 1953 Third Avenue:  Simm Excavating and Snow Removal Ltd. rents the premises from the City, and has been given notice to vacate by August 31, 2020,  to enable the City to begin cleanup to prepare it for “future market opportunities.”  Simm has requested that the City waive rent for the last three months of the tenancy, so the he could donate the funds to the Rossland Food Bank instead.

Spooner moved to deny the request; he said, “It’s not their money.”  Morel noted that there will be “substantial costs to cleaning up the property.”  Lewis said he’d be up for negotiating with Simm to get him to do some of the clean-up, in return for waiving an appropriate amount of rent.  Moore pointed out that the Food Bank has received $25,000 from CBT.

The motion to deny the request CARRIED.

Council  reviewed the updated Task List, then considered a resolution prepared by the District of Saanich proposing a “Global Compact of Mayors” to address climate change mitigation and adaption and sustainable energy sources.

Morel moved to join the group.  The motion CARRIED unanimously.

Members’ Reports:

Bowman noted the top priorities of the Heritage Commission from the Heritage Management Plan; the top one was  coordination with the Museum, RCAC and Tourism Rossland, followed by developing more heritage content and working on the website, coordinating grant writing and funding applications, and creating neighbourhood Statements of Significance.

Bowman and Nightingale had both attended the Mid-town Transition meeting, where additional energy-saving ideas were discussed. 

Lewis had attended the Sustainability Commission meeting, and suggested that the City should have a “sustainability page” on its website; he elaborated on some of the interesting sustainability information and incentives that the page could host.

Notice of Motion:  Moore, Lewis, Morel proposed a motion under the heading “Greening of the Rossland fleet” with the following wording:

THAT Council directs staff to create a municipal fleet renewal policy, which would  include specific language regarding the greening of City of Rossland fleet (research  feasibility of alternative fuel, hybrid, or EV when any vehicle is being replaced or added  to the fleet).         

Morel noted that the cost of electric vehicles and other tools is now more competitive.  Spooner thought staff must already be doing these things, and wondered what the motion would accomplish.  Moore responded that the motion would “bring the intention more front and centre.”  

Nightingale asked if they could include “options to reduce our Greenhouse gas emissions”  instead of specifying EVs.  Moore pointed out that the language already includes alternatives, but the wording “with the intention of lowering our greenhouse gas emissions” was added by agreement to the motion. 

Lewis mentioned that there is a very nice electric garbage truck available, made in Quebec.  He pointed out the symbolic value of such low-emission investments, and the savings in operating expenses.

Nightingale pointed out that it’s important to pursue these initiatives in a way that is just, fair and inclusive to everyone in our society. 

The motion CARRIED unanimously.

A further motion elaborated,

AND THAT Council directs staff to work with other regional 100% renewable communities to  identify upcoming local government fleet replacement needs for the next 5 years; 

AND FURTHER    THAT Council directs staff to work with other 100% renewable partners to compile a list  of potential electric or other alternative green fuel vehicles that could be obtained at a  discounted price through a negotiated multi‐vehicle contract;   

AND FURTHER    THAT Council directs staff to work with other 100% renewable partners to include other  tools that could be replaced with electric or other alternative green fuel (vs. gas  powered) and consider a similar bulk purchase negotiation with suppliers. (Such as shop  tools, snow blowers, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, weedwhackers, etc.) 

The further motion CARRIED unanimously.

Morel then moved to encourage including the purchase of replacement items with used ones if that would be the cost cost-effective option.

 Spooner acknowledged that it’s worth considering second-hand.  Teasdale mentioned that staff always looks at all the factors that lead to a decision about the best option, including purchasing second-hand items. 

The motion CARRIED.

Morel noted the flooding and evacuation alerts and orders in the region, and expressed sympathy for all the people affected by them.

Moore noted that the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce  wants a liaison from Council;  Bowman volunteered.  Moore reported that tendering for the Mid-town transition project has been pushed back to August rather than July.

She said the City has had a complaint about some “art work” along the Kootenay-Columbia trail that had offended someone, and someone else had complained about unauthorized trail work near Drake’s that is adversely impacting  flora and fauna.

The Council meeting adjourned, and your reporter sent a brief flurry of emails, then retired in exhaustion to a recliner in the living room and was immediately leapt upon by a purring, soothing, lap-warming cat; and felt a bit guilty about not rushing outside in the gloaming to plant more carrots.

Categories: GeneralPolitics

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