COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council Meetings, March 14, 2022
The Financial plan, taxes, etc.; CBT’s CEO Johnny Strilaeff reports; what the Rossland Arena Society has done; a bunch of bylaws; those “art chairs” again; Councilor Morel’s RDKB report; and . . .
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councilors Chris Bowman, Dirk Lewis, Terry Miller, Janice Nightingale, Andy Morel, and Stewart Spooner. Staff: CAO Bryan Teasdale, Manager of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Manager of Recreation and Events Kristi Calder, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Año Nuevo.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE (CoW) MEETING, Rossland City Council, March 14, 2022, 4:00 pm
Public Input Period:
Laura Pettitt commented on how well the draft financial plan was presented, and sought clarification on one item – her question will be answered during the presentation by Chief Financial Officer Mike Kennedy.
Draft 2022-2026 Budget & Financial Plan Proposal:
The material for the Committee of the Whole presentation is publicly available on the City’s website, and [warning: editorial OPINION expressed here] is well presented to help lay people understand it all. Highly recommended reading for all residents concerned about property taxes and City spending.
Tax increase planned for the year: reduced to 3% from the original plan for 3.5%
Important point to understand: the fact that the large BC Assessment increases in the assessed value of properties does NOT mean that taxes will rise at the same rate.
Note to bear in mind: Costs of many supplies are increasing more than previously expected; all part of the factors the City must balance in its financial planning.
Rossland’s funding to the RDKB will also be rising – our share of the sewage treatment plant upgrades, increases in Fire Service cost, and upgrading the McKelvey Creek Landfill, among other items.
In closing, Kennedy touched on the topic of deliberately limiting growth and the complexity and difficulties involved.
Council will adopt Rossland’s budget and 5-year financial plan in early May, once it is finalized.
The CoW meeting adjourned at 5:44 pm.
ROSSLAND CITY COUNCIL : REGULAR MEETING, March 14, 2022, 6:00 pm
Public Input Period:
Jenna Lamont of “Sister Sister Mercantile” asked for an extension for dealing with their sign.
1. Columbia Basin Trust (“CBT” or “the Trust”) President and CEO Johnny Strilaeff addressed Council about the Trust’s work and current priorities. 2020 was the 25th anniversary of CBT; he began by playing a video about the origins of the Trust. After the BC government had constructed dams that displaced families and communities, flooded farms and towns, and intended to appropriate all the funding for provincial general revenues – leaving nothing to compensate the region for the damage done by the dams – citizens gathered and organized and convinced the government to enact legislation for what eventually became Columbia Basin Trust.
The Trust works on priorities based on public input: currently, support for business renewal, ecosystem enhancement, community well-being, local food production and access, high-speed connectivity, housing – along with climate resilience, and working with Indigenous peoples.
Strilaeff provided statistics for the work done on each of the listed priorities, and mentioned the book that is free to interested Basin residents. Download yours at ourtrust.org/25years
2. Rossland Arena Society representatives Ona Stanton and Marie Conradie gave a presentation on the volunteer society’s accomplishments so far, and work that they would like to do, to improve the arena and increase usage., particularly to bring more tournaments to Rossland. Arena lounge reno: Four new unisex washrooms replaced the two old washrooms, and a new storge closet.
One challenge they face in fundraising is being ineligible for grants because they neither own the facility nor offer programming.
Council Remuneration Bylaw # 2782: A motion to adopt the bylaw CARRIED unanimously. It will increase the annual pay for Council members, starting after the next civic election in October. The new mayor will receive $30,000 per annum, and each Councillor will receive $15,000 per annum; there will be annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index, and in each year of a civic election, the pay scale for Council members will be re-assessed by April 30.
Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2784: A motion to give the bylaw first and second reading, and to schedule a Public Hearing for April 19, 2022, CARRIED unanimously after discussion. The applicant wishes to change the zoning of a portion of the large lot at 1081 Olaus Way from CD2-GW2, to match the remainder of the lot, which is CD2-GW1.
OCP and Zoning Amendment Bylaws # 2757 and # 2758: A motion to adopt both bylaws CARRIED, with Nightingale opposed, and with the condition that the applicant dedicate and build a trail connecting Queen Street with the Rubberhead. This condition replaces the earlier suggested requirement for building a secondary access road.
Other Council Decisions:
Development Variance Permit Application – 1533 St. Paul Street: A motion to grant the variance, reducing the front setback from four metres to 1.4 metres, CARRIED with Spooner opposed. The applicant wants to build a modest – 80 square metre – home on the lot, but seeks the variance to provide sufficient space between the new build and the encroaching structures belonging to a neighbour. The generous road allowance provides adequate snow storage, and the applicant notes that most of the homes in the block are “misaligned.”
Sign Review, 1995 Columbia Avenue – Development Permit Application: A motion to grant the application, allowing the contentious sign to remain until the end of 2022, given that the applicant may move the business — after which time the applicant is expected to remove the current flush mounted sign and replace it with a decal, making the green trim visible, CARRIED.
COVID Community Support Applications, March 2022: Council discussed the applications for grants from six groups:
Black Jack Ski Club: A motion to grant $5000 CARRIED with Spooner and Lewis opposed.
Cycling Unlimited: A motion to grant the requested amount CARRIED unanimously
Greater Trail Swim Racing Society: Grant $5000 CARRIED with Lewis opposed.
Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society: Grant of $3500 CARRIED unanimously
Rossland and District Search and Rescue: A motion to support the request FAILED. A majority of Councillors did not grasp the importance of laptops for SAR members.
St. Andrew’s United Church: Grant of $5000 CARRIED, with Spooner and Lewis opposed.
Rossland Arena: Off-season Staffing – Council discussed a motion to approve creation of a new recreation attendant position to facilitate increased off-season use of the Rossland Arena, which CARRIED unanimously after discussion about the concept and the sort of employee who would be hired.
Recreation Master Plan: A motion to award the Recreation Master Plan development contract to Expedition Management Consulting Ltd. and Lanarc in the amount of $75,815 (GST excluded) CARRIED unanimously.
Aqueduct Trail Improvement Project: A motion to approve the Tender submission from EMCO Waterworks Kelowna Ltd. for supply of additional infrastructure materials in the amount of $517,506.30 inclusive of GST, CARRIED unanimously. This enables the City to improve aging vital infrastructure – a portion of a water supply line – at less cost.
Active Transportation – Phase II, Green Link Trail: A motion to approve the application to the Active Transportation Planning grant program for the tender ready design and cost estimates for Phase 2 of the Green Link trail from Redstone Drive to Warfield CARRIED unanimously.
Heritage Registry Statements of Significance: A motion to approve six Statements of Significance submitted for the Heritage Registry CARRIED unanimously. The approved Statements can be posted on the Heritage BC website and the national Historical Places website. The six new Statements are for the Wagon Road from Rossland to Trail, the Rossland Section of the Dewdney Trail, the Rossland-Trail Country Clubhouse, the Red Mountain Railway Bed, the Columbia & Western Railway Bed, and the Happy Valley Orchard.
Council then approved the cheque register for the previous month, and reviewed ten reports that are submitted regularly to keep Council informed. These reports are all part of the publicly available Council materials for this meeting:
1. COR 2021 Annual Water Report
2. Building Permit Report February 2022
3. Building Permit Inspection by Type Report February 2022
4. Step Code Energy Rebates February 2022
5. Public Works Report February 2022
6. Water Production Report February 2022
7. Bylaw Enforcement Report February 2022
8. Rossland Midtown Construction Report February 2022
9. 2021 Regional & Rossland Age Friendly Year-End Report
10. Updated Task List 2022
Requests to Council:
1. Family Action Network – Council discussed FAN’srequest for support in the form of “a small gift” that could be given to each participant in their “Ages & Stages” developmental check-up program for children up to the age of five years. Included in their information about the program:
“Our Ages and Stages events, offered in partnership with local early childhood professionals, provide a chance for local families to have a free, one hour appointment about topics like eating, sleeping, walking, behaviour and talking. Parents and caregivers will learn about fun at-home activities to encourage growth and development and ensure that all children are prepared for their first day of school.”
A motion to provide some “swag” CARRIED.
2. Rossland Council for Arts & Culture – more Adirondack chairs: RCAC requests permission to install four cedar Adirondack-style chairs, painted by local artists, from June to September; after the summer the chairs will be auctioned off to raise funds for RCAC. Two chairs will be secured outside the library, and two will be secured in Harry Lefevre Square. A motion approving the request CARRIED unanimously.
Miller – noted that the Library AGM is coming up, and they’re looking for board members.
Moore reported, inter alia, that Nelson is challenging all communities to do a donation to Ukraine. Moore moved that Rossland donate $1 per resident to the Red Cross for Ukraine, and the motion CARRIED.
Nightingale mentioned that Rossland Rotary is raising money for “shelter boxes” to send to Ukraine.
Councillor Morel’s RDKB report (hardly edited at all; Note — it’s longer than usual.)
East End Curbside Organics Working Group February 1, 2022 by Zoom
· Staff Report: Janine Dougal, Manager, Environmental Services
Curbside collection contract timing for East End 7 Communities and Areas (8200 residential units), is tied to Mckelvey Creek Landfill upgrade projects to support deposit and transfer of organics to Salmo.
McKelvey Project proceeding – 60% design stage. Reconfiguration of site to support more efficient and safer flow of traffic and staffing support.
Anticipating delays of construction project with related Covid issues thus pushing back rollout of curbside program for May 2023.
· Discussion on residential bin allocations. A portion of the bins purchased will be bear resistant – approximately 1300 of 8300. Allocation to be worked out in future. Rossland to consider need of bear resistant bins. New Bear Smart Community Designation Committee to likely weigh in on this issue and provide Council with suggestions in regard to rollout of Curbside Organics Pickup Program. The rollout of Program will include substantial public education support.
Regional Connectivity Committee (RCC) Meeting February 2, 2022 by Zoom
· Delegation – Telus Team Presentation – Doug Anastos, Wireless Team on Hwy 3 corridor cell service. With upgrades to 5G service, coverage from existing community hubs should increase supporting longer sections of the corridor with more powerful coverage. Current isolated, unserved sections of the Hwy 3 corridor is difficult and expensive without access to electricity to serve cell towers and infrastructure. Exploration of Private/ Public partnerships to support investment on these unserved sections.
Discussion on Telus SmartHub Technology for rural, high speed connections with the advancement of 5G network.
· The RCC plans to present the 3 Year Strategic Plan for review and endorsement to the Regional Districts during the months of March and April. Members indicated a preference of having the Strategic Plan presented by Rob Gay, Aimee Ambrosone and another Director from a different Regional District.
· A follow-up meeting to discuss the Government-to-Government Partnership Model will be held with RCC members and their respective CAO/CFOs on February 11, 2022 to highlight any potential pitfalls.
Board Budget Special Meeting February 2, 2022 by Zoom
· Special meetings (2) called for Directors and Staff to complete a deeper dive into the individual Service Budgets.
· Staff Report by Barb Ihlen, CFO to highlight budget change influences with Powerpoint presentation for 2022 and beyond including the adjustments made to support reallocation of the Board fees to individual services. In many cases, increases to larger, staff intensive service budgets have increased substantially, ie. Approx. $36K increase to Administration budget for this item alone.
· Finance and Environmental Services Departments challenged with rising workloads thus increased staffing required. Some temporary, some permanent to support the services. Directors generally supportive of rising costs and impacts to tax payers to support staffing levels however concerns over inflationary costs and the impact of the Board Fee reallocations has put extra pressure on many budgets.
· Board Directors have asked many Managers to re-look at their 2022 budget requests over the past couple of months with efforts to reduce proposed increases. In a number of cases, portions of reserve balances have been utilized to decrease increases for 2022 though many reserves need to be protected to support anticipated capital project costs and purchases into the future – a challenging balance of “pay now or pay more later”….
Liquid Waste Management Plan Steering and Monitoring Committee Meeting, February 3, 2022 by Zoom
· Staff Report: G. Denkovski, Manager of Infrastructure and Sustainability Project Management Services – Columbia Pollution Control Centre Upgrade. regarding the Project Management Services for the Columbia Pollution Control Center (CPCC) Upgrade to Secondary Treatment construction and commissioning, is presented.
· The RDKB has identified an initial total budget of $63.0 million including all construction costs, consultant costs, internal and external community meeting costs, additional RDKB consultant costs, taxes, disbursements and reimbursable expenses for the project. Project Management Services during the construction have been budgeted at $200,000. Currently the project is at the initial design stage and must proceed through value engineering prior to the final funding agreement. After approval to proceed by the funding agencies and Ministry of Municipal Affairs, the procurement stage will proceed.
· Project Management Service’s tenders have been vetted. McElhanney Ltd with an office in Penticton, was the successful proponent. Project Management Services were budgeted in the grant application for $200,000. The successful proponent’s budget was $238,962 for three years. As part of the funding agreement, the RDKB would be responsible or 27% of the cost.
· Next steps to include an RFP for consultant service for Value Engineering requirement for project. Required by both Federal and Provincial Governments prior to proceeding to construction tendering. Hopefully, can be completed quickly to support tendering for construction asap. Anticipate increasing costs with delays to project going forward.
East End Services – Special Budget Meeting – February 4, 2022 by Zoom
· Reports by numerous Management staff outlining workplans and proposed budgets specific to East End Services. Victim Services and Culture Arts and Recreation Budgets supported by committee with 0% increases for 2022. Use of some reserve funds to zero out increases supported.
Utilities Meeting – February 9, 2022 by Zoom
· Staff Reports: Goran D., Manager of Environmental Services. Workplans and Budgets of numerous services across District. Many with cost pressures proposing budget increases for 2022. 3% increase being proposed for 2022. Decision being deferred to Special Board Budget meeting later in Feb.
Board Meeting – February 9, 2022 by Zoom
· COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Operations M. Stephens, Manager of Emergency Programs Mr. Stephens reported that the seven-day case count in the Interior Health Authority is 406 cases per day. The seven-day test positive average is 27.44%. • Trail/Lower Columbia region currently has 101 cases; 43% test positive; 89% of adults 18+ years older have received two doses • Grand Forks: 18 cases; 42% test positive rate; 80% of adults 18+ years older have received two doses • Kettle Valley: 10 cases; 40% test positive rate; 73% of adults 18+ years older have received two doses In BC, the percentage of adults 18 and older who have received a second dose is 90.8%. To date, 325 people in the Interior Health Authority have died from COVID. BC has seen 2,707 people die from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.
· Verbal Update on Snow Pack Conditions C. Pires, Emergency Program Coordinator Ms. Pires reported that the RDKB will be sharing a Freshet Dashboard through social media. The snowpack in the Boundary is at 88% of normal, which is the lowest in the province (normal is 90—110%). Currently, the West Kootenay snowpack is at 116%. Seasonal snowpacks can still change. The Emergency Management department will monitor snowpacks and freshet conditions daily.
· East End Curbside Collection Working Group – February Re: McKelvey Creek Wasteshed Green Bin Program MOVED/SECONDED: 86-22 That the Regional District Kootenay Boundary Board of Directors approve the plan to initiate the McKelvey Creek Wasteshed green bin program in May of 2023.
· Letter of Support: Expand boundaries of West Kootenay region for Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot The email from Andrea Wilkey, Executive Director of Community Futures Central Kootenay, requesting that the Board send a letter of support to Immigration Refugees and Citizen Canada asking that the boundaries of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot be expanded, was presented. That the Board send a letter to Immigration Refugees and Citizen Canada asking that the boundaries of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot be expanded to include a portion of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.
Regional Connectivity Committee Meeting, February 11, 2022 by Zoom
· Committee Members, CBT/CBBC Staff and a number of CAOs and CFOs from Member Regional Districts present to see and hear Power Point presentations from Aimee Ambrosone, CBT staff on overview of proposed Government-to Government Partnership Model to support Residential Internet Connectivity across the Columbia Region. Aimee provided PowerPoint Presentations on both a conceptual overview and proposed Financial Framework and Reporting Structure. CAOs and CFOs were consulted on proposal with some solid feedback and support. This concept would be more a business model reducing or eliminating the need for grant funding and the challenges that the granting model perpetuates. Funding the model with tax dollars through economic development, gas taxes, etc. and supporting smaller internet service providers are some of the obstacles looking to overcome.
East End Services Committee Meeting, February 15, 2022
· Delegation by BC Transit Staff, Seth Wright and James Wadsworth – service updates including Trail Transit Project and bus stop shelter plans. Ridership recovery has increased through 2022 with some higher than pre-pandemic. Rossland ridership numbers are back to pre-pandemic levels. Electronic payment options coming in 2022. Low carbon fleet changes coming over next 10 years. 75% of fleet being replaced by zero emission – electric. Transit Operations Centre re-alignment to design for existing or new in support of operations, including a permanent location (non-leased).
· Staff Report: Chief D. Derby – Regional Fire and Rescue Service 2022 Workplan and Budget. 2021 noted as 3rd highest ever call volume with 45% of calls being first responder (non fire related). 3.15% budget increase being proposed. Includes, cost allocation policy changes which added to the overall increase for 2022 and beyond.
· Economic Development Service – approved forward with a 8.64% increase in 2022 to support progressive multi-year contract with LCIC.
· Transit Budget was approved with a 0% budget increase for 2022.
Policy and Personnel Committee Meeting, February 23, 2022
· ½ Flag Mast Raising Policy reviewed. Updated and supported.
· Code of Conduct Review for Board Directors. A number of suggestions presented by Directors and Staff. Support for an informal resolution process between Directors in confrontational issues. Three in the room rule is important. Dealing with issues arising quickly is important. The responsibility of all Directors to deal with concerns within meetings calling, “Point of Order” when necessary.
· Discussed issues around the role of workplans in relation to budget process timing, dealing with late agenda items and opposing votes being automatically recorded.
Board Meeting, February 23, 2022
· Presentation to Board: Old Growth Deferral– Veridian Ecological Consulting Spokesperson: Dr. Rachel Holt, Independent Ecologist. Dr. Holt is a provincial old-growth forestry expert who was hired by the Province of BC to help map old-growth forests. Less than 11 million hectares of old growth is left; 400,000 hectares of that is very large old growth. She spoke about the Provincial old-growth logging deferral, which is a temporary measure to halt the decline of the old trees and their ecosystems. She believes that we must change how we manage our forests as they are vital and valuable for biodiversity, carbon storage, watershed and climate change.
· Delegation: Bridging Homelessness and Well-Being Selkirk Innovates Spokesperson: Jayme Jones, Researcher Ms. Jones spoke to a proposal from Selkirk Innovates called Bridging Homelessness and Well-being, which will look at homelessness from a regional perspective. The objectives are to: conduct research to allow stakeholders to have data to make evidence-based decisions based on needs; collaborate regionally – to strengthen stakeholders’ relationships and share resources (by establishing an advisory team and planning a summit); use Selkirk College resources (faculty and students); and finally, to share the learnings. Sixteen community partners, including local governments, have signed on to the project. Selkirk Innovates is requesting five days of in-kind staff time per year from the RDKB. Board approved the 5 days staff time towards the project.
· COVID-19 Verbal Update – Emergency Operations M. Stephens reported that the seven-day new case average is 185 cases per day. The seven-day test positive rate in the Interior Health Authority is 19.4%. Trail: 39 active cases; 24% test positive rate, adults 18+ with two doses: 89% Grand Forks: 9 active cases; 21% test positive rate; adults 18+ with two doses: 80% Kettle Valley: 26 active cases; 25% test positive rate; adults 18+ with two doses: 74%. Since the start of the pandemic there have been 2,830 deaths in BC and 348 deaths in the Interior Health Authority.
· Impacts of the RDKB Wage Continuation COVID-19 Pandemic Policy M. Andison, Chief Administrative Officer reported that to date, the RDKB has spent $123,888 under the wage continuation policy (paid leave, quarantine pay and work from home pay). Staff will be encouraged to start returning to the office.
· Census Figures – Director V. Gee. Discussion ensued about the results of the 2021 Census and how the data does not seem to reflect what is occurring in communities. MOVED – That the Board send a letter to Richard Cannings, Member of Parliament, and Statistics Canada requesting that they investigate and correct data discrepancies, including building statistics, in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.
Board – Special Budget Meeting February 24, 2022 by Zoom
· Staff Report: Barb Ihlen, CFO The staff report of Feb. 17, 2022, providing an overview of the General Government/Legislative & Administrative Services draft proposed Five-Year Financial Plan, was presented. Discussions on the proposed purchase of two vehicles, bylaw enforcement and animal control.
Moved / Seconded – That the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Board of Directors recommends that the proposed purchase of one vehicle be deferred to 2023. Approved
· Numerous Service budgets reported on by Staff. Minor adjustments made where possible. All were approved to go forward. Approved service budgets specific to Rossland include: Regional Solid Waste, Emergency Preparedness, 9-1-1 Emergency Communication, Culture, Arts and Recreation.
· Staff Report: B.Ihlen, CFO – re: 2022 Requisition (unadjusted) for Rossland – a 9% increase to $2,034,635. From 2021 costs of $1,874,148. Reflecting an increase of $160,487.
· Note: Region-wide Alternative Approval Process Underway.
An alternative approval process to determine if eligible electors are opposed to the RDKB entering into long-term borrowing to fund necessary upgrades to the McKelvey Creek Regional Landfill and to purchase organics processing equipment is underway. Any eligible electors who are opposed to the long-term borrowing will be able to submit an Elector Response Form between February 18 and March 21, 2022. For information on the project and the process, please visit our public engagement site at https://jointheconversation.rdkb.com/regional-solid-waste-aap
[End of RDKB report]
Council moved to an in-camera session, and your reporter splashed home in fast-falling slush – it looked lovely illuminated under the streetlights – contemplating the widespread phenomenon referred to as “crackpot realism” by sociologist C. Wright Mills: for details, read this article.