COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council meetings, October 11, 2022
A Committee-of-the-Whole meeting, then this Council’s final regular meeting; improved application processes in the works; the new OCP adopted, with amendments; final COVID Community Support Fund disbursements; do YOU have your “Eye on Water” yet? Tributes, appreciation and farewells all ‘round.
Rossland City Council Committee-of-the-Whole Meeting, 4:30 PM, October 11, 2022
Present: Mayor Kathy Moore and Councillors Terry Miller, Janice Nightingale, Dirk Lewis, Stewart Spooner, Andy Morel and Chris Bowman.
Staff Present: CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, CFO Mike Kennedy, and Manager of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont.
Consultants Kristen Harder, RPP, MCIP, Planner, and Brandy MacInnes, RPP, MCIP, Associate, both of Dillon Consulting, are working with the City and others to assess the current practices around development permits, variation applications, zoning amendments, OCP amendments and so on, to see if the City can improve them – and decrease the burden of time and energy on applicants, City staff, and Council. They noted that this exercise is 100% funded by the Province of BC.
From their work with other communities, Harder and McInnes have found that challenges often include the quality of the applications; lack of clarity regarding roles; lack of appropriate delegation; and understaffing – insufficient staff time for reviewing submissions.
Miller asked if sometimes there are requirements for, for example, an engineering report for minor projects where it should not be needed; consultants answered that this could be dealt with in pre-application consultation, to determine what the requirements should be.
Spooner spoke of minor projects, or sign approvals, that come to Council, that he suggested could be delegated to staff. Morel agreed, but said he thinks Council needs to be involved when there is public concern.
Moore thought that better information to developers might be helpful, for realistic expectations, to avoid situations like a developer demanding that an application go to Council when it doesn’t meet requirements, then when Council turns down the application because it doesn’t meet requirements, complaining that they are not supported.
Following a question from Morel, Lightbourne said that people understandably don’t want to have to wade through our bylaws to answer simple and common questions like “how high can I build my fence” or “what are the setback requirements” and so on, and the City could have a “cheat sheet” to help convey that information to people.
The consultants suggested that there are ways to show people how to do things, such as short 3-minute videos.
Miller spoke of the issue of subjectivity on the Design Review Panel; Bowman expressed it as the difference between standards and opinions.
Spooner also spoke of “unguided subjectivity” and the lack of support in the OCP when dealing with competing and conflicting interests. Lightbourne said she thinks the new OCP does provide better guidance than the previous version, and the City will find out soon.
On zoning, Lightbourne pointed out that the first public hearing doesn’t come until after second reading, and some people have expressed dissatisfaction with not having an opportunity for input until after second hearing, when they feel it’s a “done deal.” Moore suggested that communication to nieghbours could more pointedly invite people to submit concerns in writing, earlier in the process, before the public hearing.
Harder and MacInnes expect to provide a set of recommendations in May, 2023.
Regular Council Meeting, 6:00 PM, October 11, 2022
Present: the same cast of characters as for the Committee of the Whole meeting.
In honour of the fact that this was her last Council meeting, Moore handed out a few locally-made chocolate tokens of her thanks to staff members, noting that chocolate does not do justice to their contributions; then she went on to express her gratitude (with chocolates) to the other members of Council, and even to both members of the press present.
Teasdale then handed out plaques to all the members of Council.
Moore read out the City’s Territorial Acknowledgment, as she has done at the beginning of each Council meeting since its adoption.
Public Input Period:
Laura Pettitt thanked all the Council members for their service and dedication.
Official Community Plan Bylaw # 2792
Council voted unanimously in favour of a motion that: “Official Community Plan Bylaw # 2792 be read for a third time including thefollowing amendments:
1. Including Land Acknowledgement
2. Including a statement about why we make Land acknowledgements.
3. Removing past tense when referring to Indigenous Peoples.
4. Replacing “First Nations” in the document with “Indigenous”.
5. Referencing “Turtle Island” when discussing Canada in introduction section.
6. Adding policies regarding Indigenous consultation and Sinixt traditional
ecological knowledge and perspectives throughout all sections and not only
in the specific section regarding Indigenous Peoples.
7. Minor textual changes and typographical corrections.”
Spooner commented on the complexities of consulting with Sinixt; Moore noted that Lightbourne has been working on establishing communication.
A further motion to adopt the bylaw CARRIED unanimously.
Development Variance Permits:
Council granted a development variance permit to the owner of 2182 Davis Street, reducing the required side setback from 3 metres to 0 metres, to allow for an addition to the home, on the condition that the existing stairway encroachment on City property is registered on title.
Council also agreed to grant a development Variance Permit, reducing the required front setback from 4 metres to 2.64 meters, to the owner of 2266 Thompson Avenue, to rebuild an old deck and to partially cover it to provide shade to the south side of the house. The old deck is only 2.64 metres from the front property line. It was pre-existing when they bought the house, and was poorly built, allowing water damage to the house.
COVID Community Support Fund:
Rossland started the year with a $50,000 fund to disburse to community organizations that had suffered losses because of the pandemic, and applied for one-time grants from the fund, of up to $5000 per organization. As of October 11, 2022, the money remaining in the fund totals $2,151. There are two applicants for funding: the Rossland Curling Club applied for $4,000, and the Rossland Society for Environmental Action asked for $1,000. Both organizations provided their financial statements.
Spooner moved to divide up the remaining funds by allocating $500 to RSEA and the remainder to the Curling Club. Teasdale commented that if Council wanted to grant the full amount of each request, the City could handle that, and Spooner amended his motion to grant both requests in full; the amended motion CARRIED unanimously.
Local Government Climate Action Program Funding:
Staff suggested a motion to allocate $15K of known annual Local Government Climate Action Program funding toward supporting programs of the City’s Energy Efficient Building Incentive Policy in 2022, with the remaining $54K being allocated to the City’s Climate Action Reserve Fund to leverage for future grants. Moore proposed an amendment that added, “and further, that $25,000 be allocated to the Fund in each succeeding year.” The amended motion CARRIED unanimously.
[For those interested, the package of materials for this meeting contains background information, including a letter from the Associate Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, from page 313 to page 319.]
Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Application:
A motion to authorize the 2022-2023 Active Transportation Infrastructure application with secured funding and commit to provide grant management for the program, which will contribute to an end-of-trip facility in Harry Lefevre Square including bike parking, water bottle fill station/water fountain, ebike chargers, lighting and washroom structure, CARRIED unanimously.
Keeping track of City expenditures:
Council perused and approved the monthly cheque register report.
Information to Council: Q3 Progress Report on the 2022 Corporate Management Work Plan
The report is a detailed compilation of the progress made on the City’s priorities and other work and projects, and for those interested, it can be found from page 329 to page 346 of the Council materials (link above).
Third-Quarter Budget Update:
The update provided details, but the bottom line was that revenues, expenses and capital expenditures are all “in line with expectations.”
Council then perused the various other staff reports that are presented regularly:
· Building Permit Report
· Building Permit Inspection by Type Report
· STEP Code Energy Rebates Report
· Public Works Report
· Water Production Report – Lamont acknowledged that the reservoirs are low, but they are getting some water now; the low levels are due more to the drought conditions than to the work on the pipes.
· Eye on Water Report — 40 more households are needed to register to meet the year-end target!
· Rossland Midtown Construction Report: the targeted substantial completion date is now January 27, 2023.
· Bylaw Enforcement Report
· Updated Task List
Member Reports (highlights only):
Miller commented that he hopes new Council can figure out how to engage the few people who have complaints about City Hall.
Nightingale expressed her feeling of honour at having been able to serve on Council with the other members and with this staff.
Lewis touched on various community programs, such as Rossland Refactory and the Rossland Market, and their situations.
Morel – RDKB: East End curbside organics and bin purchase proceeding; at the landfill, there will be an ongoing waste audit – garbage bags will be examined to assess the composition of our waste; he commented, “amazingly, a lot of people still throw recyclables in their garbage.” The RDKB Climate Action Plan should be released shortly. He also expressed pride in the councils he has been able to serve, and paid tribute to Moore’s leadership.
Bowman commented that it was hard to believe that four years had already gone by, and that he has learned so much by serving on City Council.
Moore said that the union bargaining team and the management team have been working amicably on a new contract and have done good work. She reiterated that the new Council, will have a great team to work with.
Council then recessed to an in camera session, “pursuant to both Sections 90(1)(c) – labour relations or other employee relations and 90(1)(e) – the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements … of the Community Charter.”
So your reporter packed up and walked home, enjoying the hint of cooler weather after sundown, and making plans to go and VOTE at the advance poll early the very next morning – at the Miners Union Hall, voting starts at 8:00 AM and goes until 8:00 PM on Wednesday — hoping that all eligible Rossland voters will learn as much as they can about all the candidates and then vote. The final day to vote is Saturday, October 15, at the Miners Hall, from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. It’ll be over before we know it!