COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council Meetings, October 18, 2021
Editorial Comment: These meetings were held by combining the in-person City Council at the Miners Hall with Zoom. Your reporter attended by Zoom, but found both the audio and the video problematic – not all the Council members were visible at one time, so tracking votes completely was impossible, and garbled sound often rendered it impossible to hear everyone’s contributions very well – or at all.
1. PUBLIC HEARING
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Janice Nightingale, Dirk Lewis, Chris Bowman, Andy Morel, Stewart Spooner, and Terry Miller.
The Public Hearing was scheduled to hear public input on three applications: one to include Leisure Facility use in Public Institutional zones, and two different applications for rezoning from R1 Residential, to R1-I, Residential Infill.
No one spoke about amending the scope of the Public Institutional zone.
1723 Victoria Avenue application: one person expressed concern about safety for pedestrians and cyclists if there are two dwelling units there, and if people park on or near the street. Another related having cars in his yard as an example of the hazards of the corner, and an increase in congestion there. He expressed concern about snow removal. A resident about half-way up the steep block on Davis Street said that she has witnessed many problems with traffic at that intersection and on the hill. She also expressed concern about infrastructure, and where snow from the roofs would be shed.
2444A Third Avenue – no one spoke.
2. REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
Public Input Period: Laura Pettit reported briefly on the tennis courts.
Judy Gresley-Jones and Kathy Bowcock presented detailed arguments to Council in favour of building dedicated pickleball courts in Rossland. They pointed out the economic benefits of having good courts in Rossland, and noted that many Rossland pickleball players go to other communities with dedicated courts, and washroom facilities, to play.
Moore asked whether the pickleball players would be willing to maintain the courts if they could be built. Morel and Spooner spoke but the audio was terrible. There was some discussion of potential sites, and the area near the skatepark was mentioned.
Council Procedure Bylaw # 2770 – proposed amendments clarify how electronic meetings may be held. Lewis moved to add the requirement that people speaking in Public Input must state their names and addresses, and that if someone provides false or harmful information it must be struck from the record, both written and electronic. The motion CARRIED. Lewis also moved that City notices should also be posted at the arena and the museum, but staff noted that it would be onerous; he withdrew the motion. Lewis then moved to eliminate the cap on the number of meetings a council member could attend virtually; he thought it would open up the possibility of serving on Council to more people, but he withdrew the suggestion after some discussion that your reporter could not hear clearly enough to report.
A motion to give the bylaw as amended first and second readings CARRIED.
Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2772 – to rezone 1992 LeRoi Avenue from R1-I Residential Infill to C-1, Commercial Downtown Core. The owner wishes to open offices in the basement, while maintaining the three existing residential units on the main floor. Additional parking isn’t available on the property, so the owner will pay the City $3000 per parking space for the required four additional spaces. A motion to give the bylaw first and second readings CARRIED unanimously, and a Public Hearing is scheduled for November 15, 2021.
Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2772 – to rezone 3113 Happy Valley Road from R-1R Residential Rural to R-1R GS (Guest Suite) to allow for short-term rental of a secondary suite. The application does not quite meet the “one per block” guideline for short-term rentals, but the block is quite large and the nearest other short-term rental is half a kilometer away. A motion to give the bylaw first and second readings, and set a Public Hearing for November 15, CARRIED with only Spooner opposed – he felt it would set a bad precedent, but Nightingale pointed out that applications are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Permissive Tax Exemptions Bylaw # 2773:
A motion to give the bylaw first, second and third readings CARRIED. The same bylaw was adopted at the September 20 Council meeting, but staff explained that an administrative error made it necessary to be brought forward with a new bylaw number – the only change made.
Indemnification for Municipal Officials Bylaw # 2775:
This bylaw is intended to replace the outdated indemnification bylaw. A motion to give it first, second and third readings CARRIED unanimously.
Council reviewed the City’s Regional District Appointments Policy and its Council Information Policy, and motions to confirm each policy CARRIED unanimously.
A further motion to appoint Andy Morel as Rossland’s director on the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary board of directors and Janice Nightingale as alternate CARRIED.
The General, Parks and Trail Donations Policy was amended to expand the means of making donations, and to require that donors fill out a donation form; Lewis moved that the 2% “convenience fee” on credit card donations be removed. His motion CARRIED with four in favour and three opposed, and a motion to accept the amended policy CARRIED.
Council reviewed and resolved to accept the Ethics, Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy, as amended by the addition of two pages of material from the UBCM/Province of BC/LGMA Working Group on Responsible Conduct.
Council reviewed the amended Reserve and Surplus Policy; changes clarified the uses of reserve funds, added reserve funds for elections and for Resort Municipality Initiative programs, and explained limitations around municipal investments. A motion to accept the policy as amended CARRIED.
Policing costs will increase:
Council then discussed an additional topic raised in the staff materials, which said:
“Additionally, something that council may wish to consider in the future is the creation of a formal police services reserve fund. Under the BC Police Act, the provincial government must provide policing and law enforcement services to municipalities under the 5,000-population threshold. Those municipalities pay 30% of the total policing costs. Once the municipality exceeds 5,000 people (per the latest Statistics Canada figures), it must pay 70% of its policing costs and provide policing and law enforcement by means of one of the following:
“a) forming its own municipal police department;
“b) entering into an agreement with the Province under which policing and law enforcement in the
municipality will be provided by the RCMP; or
“c) entering into an agreement with an adjacent municipality that has a municipal police
Moore noted that Rossland’s population is rising and suggested that the City should start “squirreling away” money for police coverage earlier rather than later.
Covid Safe Restart Fund Disbursement Plan:
Chief Financial Officer Mike Kennedy presented a detailed plan for the remaining COVID-19 funds from the Province that would see the money spent by the end of 2024. After discussion about the concept of a part-time event coordinator, a motion to accept the plan CARRIED.
Halloween is coming! Hooper’s Bakery Request:
A motion to approve the bakery’s request to use the sidewalk for a music event on Halloween, including the use of fire stands, CARRIED with much good cheer.
Council perused and discussed the draft 2022—2026 Budget and Financial Plan Review. However, most of the discussion was garbled and not intelligible.
Nightingale moved that the City add a reserve fund for policing and begin contributing to it in the next year; most of the discussion was unintelligible except for a few words, but Spooner asked, “would that mean that we’d actually have a police presence in our community?” The motion CARRIED.
Members’ Reports– audible highlights only:
Nightingale – Mid-town transition project is a couple of weeks behind schedule, largely because of the soils issues, but supply-chain has not been a problem.
Moore spoke about her various meetings, and noted that she has been hearing a lot about the need for volunteers in many community groups; people have asked whether there might be another “Discover Rossland” event to introduce newer members of the community to opportunities for participation.
The meeting adjourned at 7:45 pm, and your reporter decided that if the next Council meeting is a combined Miners Hall – Zoom meeting, it might be better to try attending the meeting at the Miners Hall, if possible, to see if the speakers might be more clearly audible there – despite having had difficulties with the acoustics in pre-COVID Council meetings. Stay tuned, Council watchers.