Rossland City Council Meeting, May 2, 2022
Fascinating statistics from the RDKB; Trail Minor Baseball reconsidered; variances galore; a Land Acknowledgement; curbside organics collection — with or without countertop devices?
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Chris Bowman, Stewart Spooner, Janice Nightingale and Andy Morel. Absent: Terry Miller and Dirk Lewis. Staff: CAO Bryan Teasdale, Executive Assistant Alison Worsfold, CFO Mike Kennedy, and City Planner Stacey Lightbourne.
Public Input Period:
The applicant for the development variance permit for Macleod Avenue spoke in favour of his application, and another person spoke in opposition to it, citing the lack of a plan with elevations so they can assess the effect on their viewscapes. Another person spoke in favour of the variance being sought for 2605 Maple Crescent, and architect Demitri Lesniewicz spoke in favour of the application for a variance at Butte Street. A resident on Elmore, just below Macleod Avenue, spoke in favour of the Macleod Avenue variance application.
Mark Andison, Chief Administrative Officer, and Barb Ihlen, Chief Financial Officer, of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), presented information about the RDKB’s 2022 budget, and the Five-year Financial Plan. Ihlen explained that the large share of expenses for “environmental services” is for the sewage treatment plant upgrade. Capital expenditures constitute 51% of this year’s budget. The RDKB is hoping for grants to total 34% of revenue. The RDKB requisition for Rossland is increasing by 9% this year.
Trail Minor Baseball Funding Reconsidered:
At Moore’s request, Council reconsidered the applications by Trail’s Minor Baseball for funding to compensate Rossland players for the additional costs imposed by Trail’s “TRP” charges. Moore felt she had made an error in her earlier vote. Any Council member can request reconsideration of motion within 30 days if they want to change their vote on it. A motion to rescind the previous decision CARRIED unanimously after a brief discussion. Nightingale moved to provide funding to cover 50% of the additional TRP charges for one year only; she pointed out how the funding supports our OCP. Spooner objects to supporting this one out-of-town sport, citing the various other activities that the City does not support, and said he would prefer the City to have a policy that is fair to everyone. Nightingale’s motion CARRIED, with Spooner and Morel opposed.
1081 Olaus Way — Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2784: This bylaw changes the zoning of a portion of the property from a commercial zone to a residential zone to match the rest of the property. Nightingale spoke against it, as she liked the idea of that part remaining commercial instead of residential. A motion to give third reading to the bylaw, and a further motion to adopt the bylaw, both CARRIED with only Nightingale opposed.
Rossland’s 2022-2026 Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw # 2785: A motion to adopt the plan, which was presented on April 19 to Council and all five of the interested members of the public who attended the Public Consultation, CARRIED unanimously.
Rossland’s 2022 Municipal Tax Rate Bylaw # 2786: A motion to adopt the bylaw, which includes a 3% increase in residential property taxes, and a 4% increase for all other classes of property, CARRIED unanimously.
Motions to adopt Ophir Reservoir Local Area Tax Rate Bylaw # 2787, and Red Mountain Tax Rate Bylaw # 2788, both CARRIED unanimously.
Policy: Land Acknowledgement
City personnel have met and consulted with representatives of local Indigenous peoples to develop a draft land acknowledgement, a part of the City’s policy to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the findings and recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Official Land Acknowledgement:
We acknowledge and respect that we live, work, and play on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the sngaytskstx (Sinixt) People and honor all other indigenous people who walked on and cared for these lands before us and continue to do so. We also support and add our voices to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Actions in order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.
Spooner expressed his opposition to reciting things like this at the beginnings of meetings or events; he felt that the recitation becomes rote and meaningless. Moore and Morel both agreed with Spooner’s point, but also think that accepting the land acknowledgement is an important and necessary step in addressing the injustices committed against Indigenous people.
A motion to accept the draft land acknowledgement CARRIED with only Spooner opposed.
Development Variance Permit Applications:
2545 Macleod Avenue – for a reduced front setback, from 4 metres to 1.2 metres; staff recommends allowing the variance, subject to a snow storage right-of-way along Macleod Avenue, and subject to the height of any part of the building within the area of the usual setback not being more than one storey.
Four neighbours submitted letters opposing the application, but the City Planner addressed each objection to Council’s satisfaction, pointing out that the applicant could have built a single-car garage with a setback of only .3 metre; that the lot line is 5 meters back from the pavement and sightlines are not a problem; that the building will be mainly downslope, and thus not as tall as if the land were level; and that a full building design with elevations is not required to obtain a variance. A motion to allow the variance CARRIED unanimously.
1395 Washington Street (formerly 1995 Union Avenue) – for a reduced front setback, from 4 metres to 0.65 metres, and a reduced exterior setback, from 3 metres to 1.55 metres, to build a garage with a second-storey living space above it. Morel recused himself; Spooner joked that he had tried unsuccessfully to think of some reason to “shoot it down,” eliciting general laughter, and a motion to approve the variance CARRIED unanimously.
2605 Maple Crescent – for a reduced front setback, from 4 metres to 2.68 metres, to avoid having to build on the steepest back portion of the property, and to preserve more of the existing trees. A motion to grant the variance, subject to a snow storage right of way on Maple Crescent, CARRIED unanimously.
1910 Butte Street – for a reduced front setback, from 4 metres to zero meters, and a reduced exterior setback from 3 metres to 1 metre. The existing building (built about 125 years ago) encroaches on the setbacks by these amounts, so a variance is necessary for any addition to the property. The owner wishes to add some living space by adding a modest wing to the north side of the property. A motion to allow the variance CARRIED unanimously.
COVID Community support Funding — May intake:
The City received three applications: Golden City Days asked for $4000, Red Mountain Academies (Academy Athletes) asked for $5000, and The Rossland Light Opera Players asked for $5000.
Council considered each application. Nightingale and Morel both spoke in appreciation for the volunteers who keep these community events going, and a motion to provide the requested funding for Golden City Days CARRIED unanimously.
Red Mountain Academies: a motion to provide the funding FAILED unanimously, but a motion to invite them to re-apply with more details CARRIED.
Rossland Light Opera Players: a motion to proved funding as requested CARRIED unanimously.
Members’ Reports, selected highlights only:
Nightingale reported on the many meetings she attended, including an RDKB meeting (see her report further down); and on the 2021 Census figures. From the 2021 Census report, released on April 27, 2022, she summarized the following information:
“Highlights include: residents in age ranges 5 to 19 and 20 to 44 have increased by 13%, the 40 to 64 age group has remained stable, and ages 65 to 84 have increased by 49%. Sadly, after 15 years of maintaining 45 residents aged 85 and over, that number has fallen to 40. The total number of private households has grown by 14%, even though the population has grown by 11%. 67% of Rossland’s households are occupied by either one (30%, increasing) or two (remaining stable at 37%) people. Three person households compromise 13% (shrinking), four person households 16% (stable), and five or more person households are 4% (stable) of our total. The Census data captured all but 5 residents.”
Spooner commented on the AKBLG, and moved to direct staff to investigate the feasibility for Rossland of Nelson’s model of countertop composters. He thought it would involve less waste sitting outside to tempt critters, and less moving compost around with heavy trucks. Morel noted that it could throw a wrench into the curbside organics program which has been underway for some time. Nightingale said she would like to hear more information. Spooner’s motion CARRIED unanimously.
Nightingale had filled in for Morel at one RDKB meeting, as noted above, and provided this report:
RDKB Board of directors Meeting, April 26th, 2022, 9:30 am
“Paige Thurston from Living Lakes Canada reported on the Columbia Basin Database Project. This project monitors wells in the Columbia Basin to monitor water quality and quantity. Paige indicated that Living Lakes is interested in expanding the project to include more wells, and members of the board requested that the Boundary area be included.
“The board voted to defer any decision of the expansion and cost sharing until Living Lakes had provided additional information to staff, and the board received a staff report on the proposal.
“The board discussed the renewal of in person meetings, and whether the provision of a meal for longer or multiple sessions was appropriate. The majority of the board felt it was.
“Director Linda Worley from Area B asked the board to correspond with WHY Resources regarding their proposed mine development in the Record Ridge area. Director Nightingale seconded and indicated that even though the decision is a provincial one, there is strong desire in the community of Rossland for additional information and the opportunity to provide local input. Director Nightingale went on to say that this is an issue it would be appropriate for the board to advocate on in the interests of our constituents. The motion passed unanimously.”
The Rossland Council meeting adjourned at 7:38 pm and your reporter walked home feeling lucky to live here, pondering the land acknowledgement discussion, and realizing that there is no possible way for our governments to “redress” the massive and continuing injustices done to Canada’s Indigenous peoples – that the best we can do is to work to prevent further injustices, and even that will be difficult, partly because of abusive legislation that remains firmly in place, such as the federal Indian Act, and – in BC – the Mineral Tenure Act, among others.