COUNCIL MATTERS -- byelection, speeding woes, Council's schedule, and more

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
November 3rd, 2020

City Announcement:  A by-election by voting will be held to elect one Councillor. 

The candidates are:

Terry Miller, of 1950 Kirkup Avenue, Rossland, BC; and

Fletcher Quince, of 2004 Columbia Avenue, Rossland, BC.

For more information on the by-election, click here.

Rossland City Council Meeting, November 2, 2020

Present:  Mayor Kathy Moore and Councillors Janice Nightingale, Dirk Lewis, Stewart Spooner, Chris Bowman, and Andy Morel.  Staff: CAO Bryan Teasdale, CFO Elma Hamming, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Año Nuevo, Manager of Public works Scott Lamont,  City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, and Manager of Special Projects Darrin Albo.

Public Input Period:

Ken Marshall, a citizen living on Thompson Avenue, spoke to say that speeding  drivers are a problem, and also the stanchions narrowing some of the intersections; he said they are not helping to calm the traffic.  “We cannot get the police up here,” he said.  “They aren’t going to come up here and do anything about the speeding.”  He stated that the speeding has been getting worse.  “Everybody I’ve talked to, they want it stopped.”

Anthony Bell, a co-owner of Red Barn Lodge, spoke about the draft bylaw regarding business licenses for short-term rentals.  He said it felt to him as if the proposed bylaw is being used to “manipulate the short-term rental market.”  He is curious to hear the rationale from Council; he said it seems unfair to charge so much for short-term rental licenses. He cited a loss of long-term rentals due to people moving here and living in them as owners – not because of having too many short-term rentals.  He suggested that if the City wants to limit short-term rentals, they can do that by other means than “pricing them out of the market.”

Delegation:  Interior Medical Transport

Tabatha Webber and  Chris Buckley  presented their business, a non-emergency ambulance service based in the Kootenays.  They have three ambulances, two of them based in Trail.  They can move patients from one facility to another, or to and from medical appointments; they can transport people anywhere in the province. 

Buckley explained that the health authority (IHA) is responsible for transporting patients between facilities, and has been using the BC ambulance service to do this – increased calls for ambulances means that sometimes patients are waiting for ambulances, or some emergency calls must wait because there is no ambulance available.

They wish to assist IHA, but IHA will not accept or use their services unless they have significant community support.  Buckley said, “this is a contentious issue, because paramedics with the ambulance service need to make a living.”  But he indicated that help for patients with a medical emergency should not be delayed because ambulances are already in use for long-haul, non-emergency transportation of patients between medical facilities, and their business could help IHA with that.  They asked for a letter of support.   


A  motion to adopt the Climate Action Reserve Fund Bylaw #2737 CARRIED unanimously.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2734, for 2075 St. Paul Street, to change the zoning from R1-Infill to R-3 residential multi-family; the owner wishes to build a separate structure, joined to the current duplex by a breezeway, to accommodate four additional units.  The plan as presented will require a variance to enable the new building to be closer to First Avenue.  If permitted, the project will add to long-term rentals close to downtown, as the units cannot be used for short-term rental.  Spooner suggested an amendment to require vehicles to access the property elsewhere than from St. Paul; the motion CARRIED. A motion to give the bylaw first and second readings, conditional upon the owner having a City approved storm water management plan for the site to address runoff and snow melt from buildings, parking areas, snow storage areas and driveways so adjacent properties are not impacted,  CARRIED.

A Public Hearing is scheduled for December 14.

Light Industrial Service Commercial Use Bylaw #2739:  A local business is interested in operating a farm stand, which is a “service commercial” use, in a light industrial zone.  The current uses permitted  in Light Industrial zones do not include service commercial.   A motion to approve the request CARRIED unanimously.

A Public Hearing is set for December 14.

Changes to Business Licence Bylaw #2740 for short-term rentals:  Council reviewed the amended bylaw; staff had incorporated changes to update and streamline the bylaw for short-term rental businesses.  Lewis said he felt there were too many unanswered questions, and he doesn’t support it as it is.  Nightingale said she’s “pretty happy with this,” and explained that she thinks the fees compare very favourable with those in other communities.  Morel said he wants input from “our legitimate short-term rentals” before moving forward with a bylaw.  He commented that “it’s a shame that there is so much administrative work associated with the MRDT,”  and he wanted to hold off on the bylaw.  Spooner asked about “guest suites” which some jurisdictions don’t allow.  Moore said she would prefer to hold off until the City has been able to confer with more of the short-term accommodators.  She was also bothered by the fact that some illegal short-term rentals are operating in the community. Spooner agreed, but Nightingale felt that the draft bylaw wasn’t making any great differences, and didn’t see why the City can’t move forward with it and also penalize the illegal operators.  A motion to give first reading to the bylaw FAILED unanimously. A second motion, to defer the bylaw to a future meeting, after consultation with more short-term accommodators, CARRIED unanimously.

Staff Reports and Updates:

Development Variance Permit Application – 2490 Washington Street: the owner seeks to build a carport with a deck on top, with a reduced side setback of .3 metre instead of 3 metres, to match the home.  A motion to grant the application CARRIED unanimously.  

Temporary Use Permit – 2033 Cliff Street:  Ryan Kelly has had a commercial trailer parked partially on his property and partially on the City road allowance under a temporary Use Permit for the past year, to provide housing for Garry Camozzi.  Kelly has been attempting to find an alternate location for the trailer but has so far not found one, so he is applying for a further Temporary use Permit.  A motion to allow the extended TUP for a further three years CARRIED four to two, with Spooner and Morel opposed; they felt that extending the TUP for three years would take away the “motivation” to seek another location for the trailer.

Grant Application:  Clean BC Communities Fund:  A  motion directing staff to applyfor a grant  under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – Green Infrastructure: Climate Change Mitigation Sub-Stream, CleanBC Communities Fund – to apply toward energy efficiencies in the City Hall project.  The motion CARRIED unanimously.

City Hall closure for Holiday season:  A motion to approve closing City Hall (except for Public Works and others required to work) from December 21 to 24 inclusive CARRIED unanimously.

Council Meeting Schedule for 2021:

 A motion to approve the proposed schedule of Council meetings for 2021 CARRIED unanimously:

RCAC Lily May Room Agreement

Council unanimously approved a written agreement between the City and Rossland Council for Arts and Culture for the use of the Lily May Room from December 1, 2020, to May 31, 2021.

COVID-19 Budget Impact Assessment for 2021:  Chief Financial Officer Elma Hamming led Council through her nine-page analysis of the potential and likely impacts of the pandemic on the City’s finances in the coming year.  The bottom line: Rossland is seeing effects, both in decreased revenues and in some cases in decreased costs, but is doing relatively well, compared with some other communities that are struggling because of the impacts of COVID-19.

Review of alternative methods of Council meeting attendance:  CAO Bryan Teasdale led Council through a review of the current bylaw governing remote participation in Council meetings, noting that the current meeting space at the Miners Union Hall does not  readily accommodate remote attendance, and requesting Councillors to give some thought to how the bylaw should be amended when Council has a more permanent meeting place.

Arena Update:  Manager of Recreation and Events Kristi Calder presented a report on Arena operations and expected expenses – which, because of COVID-19, are expected to be higher than originally budgeted, and to result in a higher than budgeted deficit.

Variances and Energy Efficiency:  Council had asked Planner Stacey Lightbourne to investigate the possibility of tying development variance permit applications to incorporating some desirable achievement into the structure, such as a higher level of energy efficiency.  Lightbourne responded that adding extrinsic requirements is possible only if they are related logically to the variance being sought.

Moore commented that she wants to send our plastic check-out bag bylaw to the Province for approval; the motion to that effect CARRIED unanimously.

A  motion to provide a letter of support for a funding application by the RDKB for a grant toward curbside “organics” pick-up, probably using “green boxes,”  CARRIED, with Spooner opposed.  

Rossland Refactory wants to borrow the City’s generator for a plastic-shredding demonstration to be held outside by the Museum on Saturday, November 14; a  motion to approve the loan, if no other way can be found to meet their need, CARRIED.

Morel reported that the RDBK is still meeting by Zoom, and  commented that the City may have to go back to that if COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.

Nightingale commented on an excellent webinar on food security she attended.

Moore moved that the City provide a letter of support for IHA doing something effective to resolve the need identified by the delegation from the private medical transport service; the motion CARRIED.

Moore attended an initial meeting for the OCP review, which Moore characterized as “challenging.”  

Council recessed to an in camera session and your reporter walked home, contemplating the huge range of human potential – from, on the one hand, philosophy and ethics and logic, to all the branches of knowledge-seeking science, and art and poetry and music – to, on the other hand, our primitive greed and lust for power and wealth and comfort, to criminality, bigotry and sociopathic disregard the well-being of others and for the long-term effects of our collective rapaciousness on life on earth as a whole; in short, the ancient interplay of good and evil in human form.

Categories: GeneralPolitics

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