COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council Meeting, January 4, 2021
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore and Councillors Stewart Spooner, Chris Bowman, Terry Miler, Janice Nightingale, and Andy Morel. Staff: CAO Bryan Teasdale, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Manager of Operation & Infrastructure Scott Lamont, Manager of Recreation & Events Kristi Calder, and Executive Assistant Rachel Newton all spoke; others who were present were not distinguishable on the Zoom screen.
Public Input Period:
Sue Wrigley spoke on the issue of wildlife rehabilitation and Conservation Officer (CO) training; the 4-month training does not include anything about rehabilitating wildlife, and any subsequent rehab training is entirely at the discretion of the trainers. She supported the motion to be discussed later in the agenda, seeking greater consistency in CO’s approach to injured and orphaned wildlife throughout the province.
1. Arts Matter Working Group: Sarah Taekama presented a two-page introduction outlining the benefits of the arts to communities, including economic benefits, and a fifteen-page arts plan to be forwarded to the Official Community Plan Advisory Group. The plan includes seven goals, including the establishment of an arts collective to provide leadership and advocacy for the arts. She pointed out that several other communities have arts plans in place.
A motion to accept the plan and forward it to the OCP advisory group CARRIED unanimously.
2. Jada Basi of CitySpace Consulting presented the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Housing Needs Report, “House and Home,” a 27-frame PowerPoint presentation analyzing and summarizing the key findings about housing availability in the RDKB generally and Rossland in particular. Findings included statements that housing gaps include “market rental, low-end of market rental, non-market rental; diverse housing typologies including ground-oriented multi-unit housing or apartments; seasonal worker accommodation.”
Basi stated that Rossland’s population is not forecast to increase by very much. The material showed that Rossland’s housing prices are the highest in the RDKB. It also noted that amenity migrants, seasonal workers and young professionals are attracted to Rossland, but housing is expensive compared to wages; that there is low availability of housing for households ‘starting out’ or ‘not staying long’; and for households with accessibility needs. It also noted that the proposed new Mid-Town housing project will help alleviate pressure on affordable rental supply.
Moore asked where the information came from for the forecast for limited increase in Rossland’s population; Basi replied that it came from BC statistics, the latest being from 2016, and that it does seem that more people do seem to be coming in now; but it’s difficult to predict what will be happening in five to ten years. She noted that a local business start-up that employs people can bring in more families.
Request for Decision: 2021 Community Grant Funding Allocations: Nightingale had submitted a suggestion for adjusting and rounding off the amounts allocated by earlier Committee-of-the-Whole meeting, for the 2021 Community Grant Funding Program. A motion to do that CARRIED, after discussion of Council’s process for arriving at the numbers.
A further motion that Council approve the 2021 Community Grant Funding Allocations also CARRIED.
Motions to adopt the Business Licence Amendment Bylaw No. 2744 (2020), Water Rate Bylaw No.2746, 2021-2023, and the Sewer Rate Bylaw No. 2747 (2021–2023) all CARRIED unanimously.
Staff Updates and Reports:
A motion to endorse the Regional Housing Needs Report prepared for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary CARRIED. Spooner commented that he found the projections based on “historical trends” inadequately-founded; Nightingale concurred, but commented that the report is “a good start.” Planner Stacey Lightbourne agreed with the comments – that the report doesn’t really reflect what’s happening; and the OCP will likely use numbers based on actual development indicators in Rossland.
Development Permit Application – 2024 Columbia Avenue: The owner is applying for permission to build an addition at the rear of the building, which will enlarge the apartment there and also bring it into compliance with current building code requirements. The City Planner and the Design Review Panel have both recommended approval. A motion to approve the application CARRIED unanimously.
Temporary Use Permit extension: RED Resorts is applying for a three-year extension to a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) allowing areas to be used for parking, which are zoned for other types of development. According to the Local Government Act, a TUP can be issued for a three-year period, and renewed only once for a further three-year period; after that, the applicant would have to apply for re-zoning. A motion to allow the three-year extension CARRIED unanimously.
Proposed Rossland Covid19 Safe Restart Funding Usage: Council reviewed a five-page document submitted by CAO Bryan Teasdale on the appropriate uses of the funding. The proposals are likely to be subject to further limitations and directions from the Province, but Teasdale sought reactions and suggestions from Council. A motion to accept the suggestions in the document CARRIED unanimously, including (inter alia) covering shortfalls in facility revenues, and transitioning over the next two years to a full-time, in-house bylaw enforcement officer. Moore asked whether Council should consider helping groups other than the ones who ask for help. Spooner said he thinks Council should start with the groups for whom the City has an existing obligation, and Nightingale concurred.
Curling Club COVID-19 relief: The Curling Club Society is unable to operate at this time be because of the COVID restrictions imposed by the Provincial government on December 2, 2020; and the club has informally requested a reduction in rates payable for the rink. The club invests a significant amount of both paid and volunteer time to maintain the ice and facility for their members, and though they cannot currently use the facility, they are maintaining the ice in hopes that curling can begin again in 2021. A motion to pro-rate the amount payable by the Curling Club according to their use of the facility CARRIED unanimously.
A motion directing Staff to develop and submit an application under the Adaption, Resilience, and Disaster Mitigation (ARDM) Program for Centre Star Gulch Reservoir and Dam Improvements CARRIED unanimously. The Dam Safety Officer has identified potential weaknesses in both dams enclosing the Centre Star Gulch reservoir, and City Staff suggest applying for funding to accomplish as many as possible of the following upgrades:
1. Structural remediation of the north and south dam berms,
2. Replacement of outlet/overflow structure,
3. Design and replacement of WTP intake structure and piping through the north dam berm,
4. Dredging of the reservoir bottom to increase capacity, and/or
5. Installation of siren/alarm system (required for the completion of the Dam Emergency Response Plan).
West Kootenay 100% Renewable Energy Plan:
A motion to adopt the West Kootenay 100% Renewable Energy Plan as presented CARRIED unanimously, and a further motion CARRIED, directing Staff to investigate implementation of the following recommended priority actions as part of the Official Community Plan update currently underway:
1. Develop an electric vehicle charging strategy
2. Continue to support residents and builders to increase efficiency in new and existing buildings (Step Code)
3. Establish and improve trail network within Rossland and between Rossland, Warfield and Trail
4. Participate in regional organics composting
Council reviewed the Fourth-quarter update to the 2020 Corporate Management Plan, and passed a motion to approve the updated Task List.
Requests arising from correspondence:
1. A motion to provide a letter of support to the 2nd Rossland Scouts Group for their grant application to Columbia Basin Trust for the Energy Sustainability Grants Program, to make upgrades to the Scout Hall, CARRIED unanimously. The program funds alternative energy generation and energy efficiency upgrades/retrofits to community purpose buildings; it will fund capital purchases, installation costs and consulting fees to a maximum of 75% of the cost of eligible cash expenses up to a maximum of $100,000. In addition, the CBT will also advance the application upon request to FortisBC and/or BC Hydro and the application will be reviewed for eligible rebates.
2. A motion to provide a letter of support to the Rossland Arena Society for their grant application to Columbia Basin Trust’s Energy Sustainability Grants Program with the arena lounge upgrade as the proposed project, CARRIED unanimously.
Member Reports (highlights only):
Mayor Moore had submitted a Notice of Motion to send to the 2021 Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments, seeking to have the Province “support the work and informed decision-making of Conservation Officers to consider (not require) all orphaned and /or injured juvenile wildlife for rehabilitation, and further, that the BC Provincial government work with licensed wildlife rehabilitators in BC, wildlife biologists, veterinarians, and Conservation Officers to develop a standardized procedure for the assessment of suitability for rehabilitation, capture, emergency treatment, and transfer to a wildlife rehabilitation facility for orphaned and injured wildlife.” She cited inconsistency in decision-making throughout the province about whether to kill or rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife. Her motion CARRIED unanimously.
Morel has joined the “Regional Connectivity Committee” which was formerly the broadband group, and attended its inaugural meeting; he will report on it in future.
Council adjourned the meeting at 7:30 pm, and your reporter felt the peculiar exhaustion that follows Zoom meetings, and used it as an excuse to be completely non-productive for the rest of the evening.