COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council Meetings, July 12, 2021
Metal Tech Alley forging ahead; a farmers’ market coming to Esling Park; City seeking an EV; is logging four lots in the City “development”? Green Link improvement moving along; a campfire left burning despite province-wide campfire ban! – and, how much should farmers pay for water?
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore and Councillors Dirk Lewis, Janice Nightingale, Chris Bowman, Andy Morel, Stewart Spooner and Terry Miller. Staff members who spoke included CAO Bryan Teasdale, CFO Michael Kennedy, Manager of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, and Manager of Recreation and Events Kristi Calder.
Members of the public had an opportunity to express themselves about the following applications for re-zoning:
1. Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2760 – 1615 Nevada Street (to subdivide a large property): one resident spoke to point out that homes built on smaller lots tend to be taller, which spoils the view for others.
2. Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2761 – 1508 Park Street (for short-term rental zoning): no one spoke.
3. Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2762 – 2276 Second Avenue (for short-term rental zoning): no one spoke.
4. Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2763 – 1312 Victoria Avenue (for short-term rental zoning): no one spoke, and the Public Hearing adjourned.
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING:
Public Input Period:
No one spoke.
Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC) Jacomien Van Tonder, Metal Tech Alley Director, Rebecca Richards, LCIC Director, and Dino Dorazio, LCIC Board Chair spoke on their new approach to management, and the successes of LCIC activities and Metal Tech Alley, with a PowerPoint presentation. The spoke about leadership in the Industrial Circular Economy (“ICE”) and provided local examples. Below, one of the slides from their presentation:
Old City Hall Rezoning:
Council considered a motion to amend the Official Community Plan (OCP) and a second motion to re-zone the old City Hall building at 1899 Columbia Avenue. Both motions CARRIED, as did a motion to set a Public Hearing on the matter for August 9, 2021.
1. Freedom of the City Policy: Staff sought direction from Council, and motion to leave it “as is” CARRIED, with Spooner, Lewis, and Morel opposed; they wanted to remove it altogether.
2. Employee Step Discipline Policy: Approval CARRIED
3. Respectful Workplace Policy: approval CARRIED
4. Employee Rules and Regulations Policy: approval CARRIED
5. Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy: approval CARRIED
6. Asset Management Investment Plan Policy: approval of amended policy CARRIED
Staff Reports and Updates:
Rossland Council for Arts and Culture is requesting permission to use City Parks for a variety of events and classes, for fundraising purposes. RCAC would work with City Staff to ensure that activities do not conflict with other scheduled uses, and would maintain insurance. A motion to approve the request CARRIED unanimously.
A group is requesting the use of Esling Park for a farmer’s market for the 2021 season, on Wednesday afternoons and evenings. Esling Park, in addition to the private area beside Mountain Nugget, is expected to provide enough space for this season. A motion to grant the request CARRIED unanimously.
TransRockies Singletrack 6 event in 2021 requests permission to close of portions of Dunn Crescent, Nevada Street, Victoria Avenue, Union Avenue and Spokane Street from 8:00 am to 8:10 am Saturday, September 11th for the race start, and to use Centennial Field on Saturday, September 11th from 6:00 am-5:00 pm and from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm on Sunday, September 12th. The event managers are working with the Kootenay-Columbia Trails Society (KCTS) for the use of trails on the race route, and will provide insurance with the City as an additional insured. A motion to approve the request, but to charge for the use of the field, CARRIED.
Approval of the City of Rossland 2020 Annual Report:
A motion to approve the report CARRIED, with Moore commenting that “I think it’s the best we’ve ever seen!” The report is included in the meeting’s agenda package.
Tender Review and Award – AWD Electric Vehicle:
A motion to approve the submitted tender for supply and delayed delivery of a 2021 Ford Mach-E Select AWD in the amount of $63,802.20(inclusive of trade and applicable taxes) FAILED — after discussion of the need for an all-wheel drive vehicle, and purchasing versus leasing.
A further motion to approve leasing an appropriate vehicle for approximately 6 months for the new bylaw officer, who starts on July 19, CARRIED with Lewis and Spooner opposed.
A motion to instruct staff to expand their search for an EV to include 2-wheel drive CARRIED.
Tender approval — Wheel Loader Replacement:
A motion to approve the tender to supply and deliver a 2021 Wheel Loader from Brandt Tractor in the amount of $173,815 (inclusive of trade-in and PST) CARRIED unanimously.
Tender Review and Award – Rossland to Redstone Wagon Road (Green Link) Improvement Project:
A motion to approve the Tender submission from Double Barrel Industries (DBI) for completion of this portion of the Green Link Improvement Project in the amount of $152,525 exclusive of applicable taxes CARRIED unanimously. This part of the project is to provide a good base for the trail, and proper drainage.
Notice on Title – 1622 Esling Drive:
Council discussed a motion to direct the Corporate Officer to file a notice on title under Section 57 of the Community Charter for the deck that is constructed on top of the carport located at 1622 Esling Drive. Moore asked about the consequences of a notice on title; there is no penalty, but it’s a notice for future purchasers. The motion CARRIED.
Development Permit Applications:
Council discussed four separate applications, all of which involve the harvesting of timber on four different plots of land owned by a numbered company; one lot is on the south side of Granite Mountain, one is the narrow forested strip of land just south of the Rock Cut Pub’s lower parking lot (part of the Rock Cut Pub property), one is a large lot immediately north of and adjacent to the Rock Cut pub lot, and one is at 125 Granite Road, bordered on the north by Ritchie Road.
Spooner commented that he thought the City’s tree retention bylaw should protect the community from people just logging their properties for profit. He commented that he didn’t see any “best practices” being used in these cases. Lightbourne noted that the tree retention bylaw is not very well written, and that the owner is “pushing the limits.” Lewis commented that the application is not in the spirit of the Official Community Plan, that there’s no pretense that this is being done for development, and stated that he felt handcuffed and that he thinks it’s appalling. Miller asked if it might be worthwhile to ask legal counsel what steps the City could take to stop a person from taking advantage of loopholes.
The motion to approve the first application FAILED with only Nightingale in favour.
Spooner cited a section of the Red Mountain Development Permit Area portion of the Official Community Plan requiring limiting removal of vegetation to only the areas that require leveling for construction of buildings and roads.
Separate motions to defer decisions on the four applications and to obtain legal advice on the City’s options, all CARRIED.
Cheque register: Nightingale pointed out two entries in the same amount to the same vendor; new CFO Michael Kennedy committed to looking into the items and reporting back.
City Reports for Council Information — Council perused the usual reports:
1. Building Permit Report June 2021
2. Building Permit Inspection by Type Report June 2021
3. Step Code Energy Rebates June 2021
4. Bylaw Enforcement Report June 2021
5. COR Budget Update Q2 2021
6. Updated Task List
Andrew Bennett was given permission to speak briefly to the letter he had written to Council about water rates for agriculture, pointing out that the current agricultural rates are not viable or farmers, unless they “are independently wealthy.” Lewis asked what the timeline would be for changing the water rates bylaw, to be effective this year; CAO Bryan Teasdale answered that it would take until the autumn to make it effective. Spooner commented that he’d like to be able to “dig into” the topic and consider it properly, but he doesn’t want to feel rushed. Morel suggested that Council ask Staff to look into the water rate bylaw. Miller said he thinks it’s “critical that we remove barriers” to local agricultural production. Nightingale spoke against reworking the water rate bylaw because Rossland has very few agricultural producers, and our water resource is limited. Dirk pointed out that the fact that there are few farmers means that lower rates for farmers means it wouldn’t cost the City very much. Miller said he wants Rossland to take every opportunity to be a leader in local food security, even if our food production is limited. Spooner wants to take a long-term view, and to think in terms of the cost of water delivery being covered, and allowing water for lower costs to achieve social goals – a water subsidy. Miller wanted a comparison of agricultural water rates in other communities; Moore pointed out that Bennett included information on that in his letter. A motion directing staff to revisit the water rate bylaw, including the agricultural rates, and to consider Rossland’s water needs and costs, CARRIED.
Request for Letter of Support to Honourable Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport — regarding BC Hotels Association's requests for additional assistance; Nightingale objected to the portion of the letter asking the government to continue the school tax reduction. Another councillor objected to the claim about the “average” salary of $54,000 earned in the hotel industry, noting that the service personnel do not likely make anything close to that. Moore suggested that she edit the letter and council voted in favour of sending the edited letter of support.
EcoSociety Letter in support of protecting BC’s remaining vestiges of old-growth forest; Council passed a motion to send a letter using the wording suggested by the EcoSociety.
Spooner moved that the City move toward allowing swimming in one of the reservoirs. Morel noted that Council has discussed this before; and Spooner responded that there are some issues outstanding regarding health and safety, and it would be helpful to have those resolved. The motion CARRIED.
Lewis mentioned that a friend of his put out an abandoned campfire at the Eagle’s Nest the other night, and was upset that someone was so obtuse as to have a campfire when there is a campfire ban, and then to exacerbate the offence and the danger by leaving it unextinguished.
Spooner mentioned that the City could do more to emphasize the time limit on delegations.
The meeting adjourned at 9:10, and your reporter gratefully shut down her computer and wandered outside into the smoke-scented air and the garden, noting the scalded-looking leaves of the zucchini plants, the little empty holes where a pocket gopher ate several endive and radicchio plants, and the wilted-looking Warbas, then went on to moisten a freshly-planted row of beet seeds … rather late, but perhaps they’ll mature well enough before the first frost, whenever that may be.