COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council meetings, November 15, 2021
Rossland City Council Meetings, November 15, 2021
Hard decisions on short-term rentals; get your stuff off laneways and City RoWs, or else; a benefit for Community Groups; kudos on the new, improved courtyard; “NO” to a letter opposing Zincton development; RDKB report; and more …
Present: Acting Mayor Chris Bowman and Councillors Janice Nightingale, Stewart Spooner, Andy Morel and Dirk Lewis. Absent: Mayor Kathy Moore, who was assisting in rescuing orphaned bears, and Councillor Terry Miller, who was called to help with emergencies.)
Staff: CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo, CFO Mike Kennedy, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Manager of Recreation and Events Kristi Calder and Manager of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont.
1. PUBLIC HEARING
The Public Hearing was scheduled to hear public concerns about two proposed zoning amendments.
The owner of 1992 LeRoi Avenue wishes to change the zoning of the property from R1 Residential to C-1, Downtown Commercial Core, retaining the three residential units on the main floor, and converting the basement area into accessible commercial premises – office space. The owner spoke, explaining the goals in greater detail.
The owner of 3113 Happy Valley Road has applied to rezone the property to R1-GS, to allow them to build a suite and use it as a short-term rental. The City received one letter protesting this, from another nearby resident of Happy Valley Road who said that their earlier application for short-term rental zoning had been turned down on the basis that there should be “only one short-term rental per street.” The letter suggested that it would be unfair to allow this application to succeed when theirs had been rejected. No one spoke at the meeting.
2. REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
Speaking for the Lower Columbia Initiative Corporation (LCIC), Rebecca Richards and Jacomien Van Tonder (Directors) and Greg Richards (LCCDTS President), provided an update on recent and current projects and activities. They highlighted Metal Tech Alley and the Circular Economy Club of Canada, and their Supply Chain Resiliency Project (see: https://lcic.ca/publications/) and Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot. They are also working on an updated cost-benefit analysis between the Waneta and Paterson border crossings.
Morel asked if they had had meetings with the RDKB regarding the border crossings; the answer was yes, and they have discussed next steps.
2022 Annual Revenue Anticipation Bylaw # 2776: A motion to adopt this bylaw CARRIED unanimously.
Police Services Reserve Fund Bylaw # 2778: A motion to adopt the bylaw establishing a reserve fund for future costs of police services CARRIED unanimously.
2021-2025 Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw # 2777: Spooner asked a question about the costs of the Wagon Road upgrade; Lamont explained that the City needed to add storm drainage to the project. A motion to give first, second, and third readings to this bylaw CARRIED unanimously.
Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2779 – 2330 St. Paul St.: The owner is applying for rezoning from R-1I to R1-IGS to allow short-term rental of a room in their home. A motion to give the bylaw first and second readings, and a further motion to schedule a Public Hearing for December 13, 2021, both CARRIED unanimously. Spooner clarified that people renting a room in their home for less than 30 days at a time do require short-term rental zoning to do that.
A motion to approve the Christmas Gift Certificates for City Employees Policy CARRIED unanimously; Council had discussed it in detail last year.
A motion to approve the Video Surveillance Policy CARRIED unanimously.
A motion to approve the Emergency Operations Centre Activation Wage Reimbursement Policy CARRIED unanimously.
After discussion, Council members voted to approve the Council Committee System Policy, with only Spooner opposed. Spooner expressed a wish that committees of Council and liaison positions should be in two separate groups. Teasdale explained the rationale for putting them together in the same policy.
A motion to approve replacing the COVID-19 Pandemic Policy with the Communicable Disease Policy CARRIED unanimously after discussion about vaccine mandates and workplace safety. The new policy recognizes that COVID-19 is just one example of a communicable disease and that there may be others, as yet unknown; it is designed to adapt to changing circumstances.
2022 Council Meeting Schedule:
As required by section 127 of the Community Charter, Council presented the proposed schedule of Council meetings for 2022. The next municipal election will be held in October 2022, and the inaugural meeting of the new Council will take place on November 7.
Monday, January 10 Monday, June 20
Monday, February 7 Monday, July 11
Tuesday, February 22 Monday, August 8
Monday, March 14 Tuesday, September 6
Monday, April 4 Monday, September 19
Tuesday, April 19 Tuesday, October 11
Monday, May 2 Monday, November 7
Monday, May 16 Monday, November 21
Monday, June 6 Monday, December 12
Acting Mayor Schedule, 2022: Council then voted unanimously in favour of adopting the schedule of Council members to act as Mayor in case of the Mayor’s absence – as follows: Councillor Nightingale – January and July 2022; Councillor Morel – February and June 2022; Councillor Spooner – March and September, 2022; Councillor Lewis – August 2022; Councillor Miller – April and October 2022; Councillor Bowman – May 2022.
No assignments for November or December can be made until after October’s municipal election.
Laneway and Right-of-Way Encroachments:
Staff sought direction from Council on the preferred approach to deal with encroachments placed on City laneways and Rights of Way. The encroachments that have caused problems recently are in Redstone, but such encroachments can be a problem throughout the City. Some encroachments interfere with access to the laneways and to City infrastructure, obstructing City operations to maintain and repair infrastructure, increasing the time and labour and expense required to deal with emergency repairs and potentially adding to the damage caused to other properties by emergencies such as clogged drains, blocked storm sewer catchments, and so on.
Council considered options; and a motion CARRIED unanimously directing Staff to deliver letters to property owners who have encroaching structures and potentially problematic landscaping on laneways and Statutory Rights of Way, requiring them to remove or relocate any such encroaching features by October 1st, 2022, and informing them that if the encroachments are not removed by October 1st, 2022, the City will remove them at the owners’ expense.
Morel asked about trees planted on City property; Lamont indicated that the City will be considering that issue.
Community Groups take note!
COVID Community Support Fund:
Chief Financial Officer Mike Kennedy presented information in the Council materials, including this statement: “The Fund will take the form of one-time grants of up to $5,000 to eligible community groups to help offset costs related to financial pressures related to COVID-19. Fund applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis, with rolling approval occurring on a monthly basis at Regular Council Meetings until all funds have been disbursed.”
“How It Will Work:
“1. Eligible organizations will fill out a short online application form asking for basic information about their organization, financial statements, how they have been impacted by COVID-19 and how they would make use of funds.
“2. Staff will perform an initial review of applications, following up with applicants for additional details as necessary and preparing a report for Council.
“3. On a monthly basis at a scheduled Regular Meeting of Council, Council will review and approve funding requests up until the point that all funds have been distributed.
“4. Staff will follow up with successful applicants to sign an agreement governing terms of the release of funds.”
Kennedy indicated that the City will publish information and a link shortly.
Council reviewed and considered the following reports from Staff:
Building permit Report; Building Permit Inspection Report; Step Code Energy Rebates; Water Production Report; Water Production Report; Bylaw Enforcement Report; Midtown Construction Report; Updated Task List.
Morel noted that construction on the Mid-Town Project seems to be progressing slowly, with few workers on the job; Teasdale responded that he thinks the contract protects the City from additional costs from slow work.
Moore had drafted a letter to the appropriate department opposing the Zincton recreation tenure proposal; Lewis brought it forward on her behalf. Council discussed it, and a motion to send the letter FAILED with Nightingale, Spooner and Bowman opposed. Nightingale objected to sending the letter, as she felt it wasn’t Council’s place to oppose the development, and that it is somehow hypocritical for a resort town to oppose another resort development. Morel countered that this is the right time for input, and noted that many other groups have expressed opposition to further development of this section of wildlife habitat. Morel said he thinks it’s important to speak up for the values of preserving wilderness habitat. He also pointed out that the Sinixt people are strongly opposed to the development. Spooner thought the issue is “outside our boundary” and it’s not our place to comment; Bowman agreed.
Bowman expressed thanks to those who helped make the new courtyard and bike washing area adjacent to Revolution cycles. He singled out Tourism Rossland to thank for their expertise in obtaining and donating RMI funding; Sourdough Alley Holdings for contributing the land to give the project a home; to the City of Rossland for help in facilitation; Powder Pig for excavation services; Al Eagleton Woodworks for the beautiful post and beam structures; and a special thank-you to Patricia Marshall Thompson and Laundry Dog for a donation enabling better accessibility and “a cool glow in the dark pathway.”
Morel provided his written report on the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, below, complete and unedited.
RDKB COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES:
Regional Connectivity Meeting, October 6, 2021 by Zoom
· Shaw Telecommunications Delegation responding to Regional infrastructure investment and third-party internet access competition to businesses and households. Emphasized the importance of the balance between affordability and investment in infrastructure. Concerns that the CRTC mandated rate drops are too low for re-investment.
· Working with CBT staff and other committee members to lobby MLAs, Roly Russel and Brittny Anderson to solicit support for Federal/Provincial, Universal Broadband Fund Application – $42.6M towards a $92M Kootenay Columbia Regional connectivity development. Zoom meeting presentations to MLAs held through October.
RDKB Board Meeting, October 13, 2021 by Zoom
· Staff Report – Francis Maika, Communications Director – Website metrics updates and print metrics. Workplans, 2022 in support of emergency services and increased visits to RDKB website.
· Emergency Services Update, Mark Stephens provided Covid stats update for October 5-11. Infections – 14 in Trail Region. Covid Vaccination rate – 82% in Trail Region includes Rossland.
· Staff Report – Barb Ihlen, Manager of Finance regarding final approval of new Cost Allocation Policy. Staff provided a report to compare historical board fee vrs new CAP. Changes include a fairer re-alignment of administrative costs to individual services. Some service allocations will go up, some down.
South Eastern BC Regional Connectivity Committee Planning Session, October 18, 2021 – Hybrid Zoom and Inperson, CBT HQ, Castlegar
· 3 year planning workshop. Historical highlights of Columbia Basin Broadband initiatives over the years including fibre to Rossland and many other projects around the Region.
· Promoting the need for rural connectivity to be considered an essential service by Federal and Provincial Governments. Strong lobbying efforts required to continue to garner support for backbone projects.
· Increase efforts in lobbying for improved cellular services throughout Region. Noting the lack of service on many highway corridors.
East End Services, October 19, 2021 by Zoom
· Staff Report – James Chandler re: North/South Low Elevation Highway Corridor through Waneta. RDKB Board approved letters be drafted to MOTI, MLAs and MP regarding support in replacement of Waneta Bridge replacement – a pinch point requirement to support further highway expansion. Importance of highlighting the environmental, safety and economic values associated to this upgrade.
· BC Transit discussions with future replacement of bus shelters in BV and Trail. City of Trail working with BC Transit to establish new Bus Transit Hub in downtown Trail. Location and design of facility being established. Public washrooms being designed into new facility.
RDKB Board Meeting, October 28, 2021 by Zoom
· Delegation – CBT 2021 Annual Report – Johnny S., CAO and Jocelyn C., Board Chair
In 2020/21, the Trust delivered $71.2 million in benefits. Chair Carver detailed how those funds impacted Basin residents and how they aligned with the Trust’s strategic priorities: community wellbeing, ecosystem enhancement, high-speed connectivity, housing, local food productions and access and support for business renewal. Additionally, climate resilience and working with indigenous peoples were prioritized. Strategic planning being initiated for 2022 and beyond. An invitation will be sent to CBT to present this Annual Report to Rossland Council at a future meeting.
· Staff Report – Freya Phillips, Senior Energy Specialist Re: Proposal for grant funding application. That the RDKB Board of Directors approve the letter of support for the BCIT micro-credential “Advanced Studies for Airtightness Construction Site Supervisors” funding application. Carried. This item is a further effort to provide contractors/ builders with the tools to improve building efficiency standards related to BC Step Code requirements. Looking to establish the reach of this program regionally. Will report back.
· Staff report – Anitra Winje, Manager of Corporate Administration/Corporate Officer re: detailing the process for the election of the Board Chair and Vice Chair for the upcoming November 10, 2021 meeting.
[End of Councillor Morel’s RDKB Report]
The meeting adjourned, and your reporter walked home in the moonlight, admiring a few stars, with her unnecessary rain-pants and raincoat rustling loudly – the thunderous rainfall having ceased just before the short hike to the Miners Hall, after the waterproofs were donned.