COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council meetings, February 6, 2023

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
February 7th, 2023

Morel and Spooner castigated;  Sustainability Commission explained;  Strategic Plan reviewed, and the five-Year Financial Plan introduced;  Assessment shows child care inadequate;  Victims’ Assistance program costs rising;  Winter Carnival a spectacular success;  and more …

Present:  Mayor Andy  Morel, and Councillors Maya Provençal, Stewart Spooner, Craig Humpherys, Eliza Boyce (by Zoom), Jeff Weaver, and Lisa Kwiatkowski.  Staff:  Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo, Executive Assistant Rachel Newton, City Planner Stacey Lightourne, CFO Mike Kennedy, Deputy Manager of Public Works and Infrastructure Ryan Niddery, Manager of Recreation and Events Kristi Calder

Before the meeting, the Deputy Corporate Officer mentioned that a person in the audience was recording the meeting, so that everyone present would be aware.


Council sought public input on the application to change the zoning of 990 Black Bear Drive from R-1 Residential to C-2 Commercial, to accommodate three cabins for tourist rentals.

A resident of Black Bear Drive expressed support for the application, but wanted more reliable garbage pick-up in that area.



The public gallery was well-attended – more chairs had to be set out.

Shawn Gresley-Jones spoke to Council about the City’s loss of the lawsuit by Warren Hamm challenging the previous Council’s rejection of an application to  “harvest timber” on four properties owned by a  numbered company.  He accused them of going against the advice of staff and “acting in bad faith.”  He suggested that the two current members of Council who were involved in the decision “should already have resigned” and asked for “a detailed financial breakdown of this fiasco.”  There was a smattering of applause.

Paul Evans spoke in a similar vein, and asked how the City will ensure transparency in future. His comments also garnered some applause.

Adam and Tara Howse spoke in favour of their application for a variance, as did architect Dimitri Lesniewicz.

Morel thanked the speakers for their input.


Rossland’s Sustainability Commission Chair Matthew Watkins spoke on the current activities of the Sustainability Commission (SC).

He identified the current Task Forces:  Bear Smart, Economic Development, Energy, and Food Security, He noted tht all members of the SC and its Task Forces are volunteers, with a budget of $13,400 per year, plus some staff time.  He explained the roles of the SC – to support City initiatives, including policy and bylaw development, and to “inform and empower” our community.

He listed the main activities and accomplishments of the four Task Forces – the Bear Smart group works to reduce human/bear conflicts — is helping Rossland move toward official “Bear Smart” status, and as part of that effort, is developing a “Bear Aware package for new residents.

Food Security – Caley Mairin has recently stepped down as head of that Task Force, and Ann Damude has stepped up.   The group is responsible for creating the “Fruit Finder App,” as well as an annual Seed Swap, pamphlets on composting and keeping chickens, the “Chicken Crawl,” a lecture on native plants, and the annual fruit gleaning and pressing – which also helps to reduce bear attractants in Rossland.

The Energy Task Force has spearheaded the Home Energy Retrofit talks and follow-up resources; developed a downloadable “Home Energy Benchmarking Tool” (see the Youtube video), and  has a “See the Heat” infrared camera loan.

The Economic Development Task  Force has been working on a Childcare Strategy and produced a report (by Bock and Associates) on the state of childcare in Rossland, with recommendations for how to improve it, received by Council at this meeting. Other initiatives include community consultations on housing and expanding access to broadband, and is developing a comparative tax rate and allocation visualization – a comparison with other communities of similar size and tax base.

For the future, the SC is planning to improve public awareness of the SC and its role(s) in the community; to be present at more events, more often, and to make better use of social media.


Land Development Application Procedures Amendment Bylaw # 2803:

A motion to adopt the bylaw, discussed and explained during previous meetings, CARRIED unanimously.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2802 – 3980 Old Red Mountain Road:

A motion to give the bylaw third reading CARRIED unanimously, as did the next motion, to adopt the bylaw.

Council Procedure Bylaw No. 2798, 2023:

The updated bylaw, with plain language and gender-neutral pronouns, has amended provisions for electronic participation by Council members, as well as being reorganized and re-numbered for greater ease of reference.  In discussion, Spooner questioned being too free to attend meetings electronically, but acknowledged that he doesn’t know what would provide a better balance. Provençal suggested having a provision for online public participation when technology permits.  Añonuevo mentioned that amendments can be worked into the bylaw before later readings. Boyce spoke up (via Zoom) to express her support for the updated bylaw as is.

 A motion to give the bylaw first reading CARRIED unanimously. 


The applicant seeks a variance to change the side setback from three metres to one metre to allow the desired one-storey  home to be built on the small R-1I (Residential Infill) lot.  The City boulevard between the property line on the side in question and the pavement is nearly as wide as the lot for much of the length of the lot.  A motion to approve the variance CARRIED unanimously.


A motion to approve an application to the 2023 Community Emergency Preparedness Fund Disaster Risk Reduction – Climate Adaptation funding stream, in the proposed amount of $40,000, to develop an Integrated Climate Action Plan, CARRIED unanimously. No matching City funds would be required.

The Council materials explain, “The plan will identify broader disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation goals, objectives and strategies by producing one cohesive and clear climate action plan. The plan will include a detailed implementation guide with high level cost estimates for projects and a detailed reporting card system for ongoing monitoring. The plan will cover corporate climate mitigation and energy conservation, community climate mitigation and energy conservation, climate adaptation and resilience, co-benefits of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.”


Spooner expressed a wish for a more in-depth strategic planning process in future;  Morel suggested that after this Council has had a year of experience, they will be in a stronger position to take that on.  Boyce said she supports what was done, but also agrees with Spooner.  A motion to approve the DRAFT plan as presented CARRIED unanimously. 


Council members perused the 29-page presentation by CFO  Mike Kennedy, developed “in consultation with managers and staff members with direct operational oversight and budget responsibility for each department.”  The presentation explained the proposed 5% increase in property tax rates, saying,

“The increase relative to the previous draft of the budget factors in additional known and anticipated increased costs, informed through direct quotes and linked to expected MPI (Municipal Price Index) increase of 5.6% in 2023, and BC CPI of 6.6% as at year end.”

Council expressed approval of the general direction of the plan. It will return to Council in April for final approval after any amendments.

Cheque register:  Spooner queried the amount paid to Andrew Bennet; Lightbourne explained that Bennet is overseeing a grant-funded trial exercise in dealing with FireSmart debris by hügelkultur instead of by burning. 


Council received the 23-page report by Bock and Associates, produced for the Economic Development Task Force of Rossland’s Sustainability Commission.  The report identifies Rossland’s need for greatly increased child-care availability, and the barriers to achieving that – along with the steps needed to overcome those barriers.  There was  no indication at this meeting of what next steps Council can encourage or initiate.


A  motion that Council  “consents to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Board of Directors adopting Bylaw No.1828, being the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Police-Based Victims Assistance Establishment Amendment Bylaw No. 1828, 2023,"  CARRIED unanimously.

If five or more of the seven communities served by Police-based Victims Assistance consent to the RDKB bylaw, each community’s share of the cost will rise by 25%  from the 2022 amount  — for Rossland, from $16,327 in 2022 to $20,400 in 2023.  Humpherys questioned the sudden jump in the charge to municipalities; Morel tried to explain it, referring to a cap on certain expenditures and a need to make up the actual costs.  Spooner said he felt uncomfortable approving such a large increase in funding when there was “zero explanation” about what the money will be spent on. Morel said the information goes to the Regional District. Morel agreed to pass on the message that more information about the increase in funding requested should be provided to the municipalities expected to approve it.


A motion to provide a letter of support to the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre for their upcoming grant funding application to the BC Destination Development Fund CARRIED unanimously.

REQUEST FOR Letter of Support for the City of Nelson’s Application for a UBCM Disaster Risk Reduction Grant: Category 2 Funding – Municipal Level Sustainability Hazard Risk Policy: a motion to provide the requested letter CARRIED unanimously.

REQUEST — Artisan Market at the Museum in September:

A motion to approve the use of additional City-owned property adjacent to the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre, and the use of City barricades for the BC Culture Days Outdoor Artisan Market event on September 22nd to September 26th, 2023, CARRIED unanimously.


Spooner attended Midtown Project meeting and reported that the Rossland Yards project seems very successful.  He also mentioned that he’d like Council to discuss the issue of how it addresses commissions of Council, to ensure the City is in compliance with the Local Government Act.

Kwiatkowski thanked everyone involved with Winter Carnival – said it was a “herculean” effort; Morel said it was “spectacular.”  He said he didn’t recall ever seeing that many people on the main street before.

Morel – reported that there is an opportunity for additional  “top-up” grant funding in support of some aspects of the Rossland Yards project via the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.  The City will be asking for letters of support for an application for the additional funding. 

Morel has been attending “a plethora” of meetings at the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), as the RD is coming up to budget time. He was unable to provide a written report on RDKB meetings this time.

The meeting recessed to an in camera session, and the remaining public gallery attendees filed out and milled around in the foyer for a while.  Your reporter put her cleated boots back on and crunched home, contemplating the topics of risk and errors in judgment, and feeling the weighty burden of being human during this time of the ongoing anthropogenic  Sixth Mass Extinction Event, and how that burden affects different people. Perhaps the dark and foggy weather contributed to the gloom.


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