COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council meetings, February 21, 2023
CoW: working toward a Recreation Master Plan; the “15 Minute City” conspiracy theory surfaces in Rossland; electronic participation in Council meetings; “CIP” is now “ReDi”; a new RDKB report; and, federal electoral district boundaries changes are coming; and, Ophir Reservoir is filling nicely.
Council met at 3:00 PM for a Committee-of-the Whole meeting to continue working toward a Recreation Master Plan, then broke for half an hour before the regular Council meeting began at 6:00 PM.
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING:
PRESENT: Mayor Andy Morel, and Councillors Eliza Boyce, Maya Provençal, Stewart Spooner, Lisa Kwiatkowski, Craig Humpherys. Absent: Jeff Weaver. Staff: Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Anonuevo, Executive Assistant Rachel Newton, CFO Mike Kennedy; Manager of Recreation and Events Kristi Calder; Manager of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont; City Planner Stacey Lightbourne.
Morel read out the City’s Territorial 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 Calls to Action in order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.”
PUBLIC INPUT PERIOD:
A member of the public gallery set up a video camera and recorded the public input period.
Warren Hamm spoke about the recent court decision in his favour, and he called the previous Council’s decision to deny his application to harvest timber on four properties as “illegal” and “in bad faith.” There was a smattering of applause.
Shawn Gresley-Jones spoke about the lawsuit and reiterated his comments made at the previous Council meeting, and said he still wanted answers. He cited a number of provisions from the City’s policy on Council conduct, and once again demanded resignations from Morel and Spooner.
Another resident whose name I missed spoke about the “15-minute City” concept, and made it sound like a bad thing – he compared it with Nazi Germany ghettos and advised everyone to inform themselves about it. (For more information on the concept, click here.)
Sara Golling spoke about the Council Procedure Bylaw, urging Council to allow virtual participation in Council meetings without putting in place “Byzantine rules” limiting electronic participation.
Then a few people in the gallery became disruptive and shouted further questions at Council –“When are you going to answer our questions?” and more in that vein. Morel responded that it was “Public Input Period,” intended for Council to hear people’s concerns, not a Q&A session, and that they had had their opportunity to speak and Council had heard their input.
PREVIOUS MINUTES: Council adopted the minutes of the previous Council meeting, and the previous meeting of the Sustainability Commission (SC). Meetings of the SC are open to interested observers.
Council Procedure Bylaw # 2798 – Council discussed how to approach remote (virtual) participation in Council meetings by Zoom or similar technology, which had been discussed at the previous meeting without reaching any conclusions about whether a certain number of councillors should be required to be “physically present” in a meeting space, and if so how many, and under what conditions electronic attendance would be allowed, and how many times in a year, and so on, without reaching any conclusions.
Boyce and Kwiatkowski spoke in favour of not limiting electronic participation in any way.
A motion to give second reading to the original version of the bylaw, which did not limit electronic participation in Council meetings, CARRIED unanimously.
Another motion to seek advice from staff on the issue of recording meetings CARRIED unanimously.
Zoning Amendment Bylaw 2800 – 990 Black Bear Drive – Council discussed the application, along with the issue of the upcoming request for a setback variance. A motion to give the bylaw third reading CARRIED.
Council reviewed and unanimously reconfirmed both the Council Minimum Benefits Policy and the Employees – Management Minimum Benefit Policy.
Privacy and Information Sharing Policy (as amended): the Council materials explain that the amendments prescribe:
“the use of privacy impact assessments (PIA) and expands on information sharing agreements (ISA) to ensure that the City of Rossland is collecting, using, storing and/or sharing personal information in a responsible and compliant manner.
“Once adopted, the Privacy Officer (Deputy Corporate Officer) will conduct training with staff around the use of PIAs and ISAs. Privacy awareness and education activities are a mandatory component of a privacy management program/policy.
“Much of the prescribed processes based directly on the guidance documents and directives provided by the Province of BC.”
A motion to approve the policy as amended CARRIED unanimously.
Personal Expense and Travel Policy (as amended): amendments include referring to the National Joint Council Travel Directive of the Government of Canada’s Treasury Board as the source of allowable rates for travel expenses (rather than the Canada Revenue Agency) and a new section requiring City Staff to report annually on the Greenhouse Gas impacts of business-related city travel.
A motion to approve the policy as amended CARRIED unanimously.
CBT‐ReDi Grant Allocation Policy (as amended): the only change is the change in name – formerly the Community Initiatives Program (CIP), it has been renamed the Resident Directed grant program by Columbia Basin Trust, and the update to the policy incorporates the new name.
Morel explained the customary process for deciding how to allocate funding to grant applicants to the rest of Council, and Spooner queried whether Council should re-think the process. Boyce suggested leaving the process open, rather than defining it in a policy. Spooner would like a more in-depth conversation to decide what values should guide Council’s decisions.
A motion to approve the amended policy CARRIED unanimously.
Purchasing, Consulting, & Publicly Tendered Contracts Policy (as amended) — CFO Mike Kennedy explained that the proposed amendments are intended:
· To meet legislative requirements with respect to relevant trade agreements;
· To address Council’s previous directives to consider incorporation of social procurement into future decisions;
· To more clearly align the policy to many of the directives outlined under Corporate Strategic Plan pillar No.6: “Climate Leadership & Environmental Stewardship”;
· To incorporate more specific language with respect to considering natural asset-based solutions;
· To clarify policy principles and procedures.
After brief discussion, a motion to approve the policy as amended CARRIED unanimously.
A motion to include allocations in the City’s 2023 to 2027 Financial Plan for the following: the JL Crowe Rossland Health Awareness Award of $500, the JL Crowe Rossland Award $750, the Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre Scholarship of $500, and the Seven Summits Centre for Learning Scholarship of $500, CARRIED unanimously.
Council perused the usual set of staff reports: Building Permit Report, Building Permit Inspections by Type, STEP Code Energy Rebates, Public works Report, “Eye on Water” report (only 12% of Rossland households have signed up for it so far), the Water Production Report, the Rossland Midtown Status Report (substantial completion still forecast for April 10), and the Bylaw Compliance Report (highlights — parking scofflaws cause problems for City snow removal crews; 17 short-term rental scofflaws identified in January alone; and one dog attack resulted in injuries).
Spooner asked Lamont about the status of Ophir Reservoir, because he keeps being asked about it – Lamont assured him that there are no problems: Star Gulch is full, and Ophir is filling well, following the work done on water lines and the Aqueduct trail.
Morel had presented his RDKB report in writing – see it reproduced in full below.
Morel also commented on MP Richard Cannings’s email (not provided) regarding federal electoral boundary changes suggestions – i.e., that Fruitvale and Montrose be removed from our current riding and be added to the riding to the east. Morel suggested that the City write a letter opposing that change, considering the very close geographic, business, and social ties linking all the Lower Columbia communities. A motion to that effect CARRIED with four in favour, and Spooner and Kwiatkowski opposed.
RDKB REPORT, by Rossland’s representative on the RDKB board, Mayor Andy Morel:
East End Curbside Committee – January 10, 2023
· Two new Staff members to support the Environmental Department upcoming projects. Project support for McKelvey Creek Landfill Upgrade project and support/ communication and coordination for Curbside Organics Program slated for Oct./2023 rollout.
· Contract for McKelvey Creek project awarded to CopCan Construction. Project staring very soon with completion for Mid-September anticipated.
· Curbside Green bin upgrades to bear resistant bins will cost approximately $150/bin over the standard bin purchased through the grant program. Costing will be discussed by RDKB staff and City of Rossland staff and Council.
Utilities and Board Director Meetings – January 11, 2023 (not able yo attend as Council members engaged in City Strategic Planning workshop, January 11 & 12)
· Agenda items were mostly specific to finalizing workplans and budget updates for the various services Rossland participates in. A number of the minor services were approved. Larger service budgets were deferred into upcoming Special Budget Board and Committee meetings.
Liquid Waste Management Plan and Steering Committee – January 12, 2023,Trail, BC
· Staff Report, Goran Denkovski provided an update on Columbia Pollution Control Centre Upgrade Project. Value Engineering completed. Request for Proposal requests being sent out soon. Various construction companies have expressed interest in project. Good news thus far. Hoping to have a contractor signed to contract by Summer 2023.
East End Services Meeting – January 24, 2023
· Delegation – KCTS Staff and Board member providing year end financials, 2022 reporting and 2023 workplans. New trail development in Beaver Valley and continuation of Rossland Cedar Trail from BlackJack area – West towards Pass. Looking for increased funding for 2023 as costs are increasing for labour.
· Delegation – Vikki Gee, firmer RDKB Director on Boundary Community Ventures – Boundary Food Hub. Substantial work in boundary region in supporting sustainable agriculture. East End Areas and Communities looking at increasing support for similar ventures here.
· BC Transit Staff Presentation and discussion regarding 2023 workplan and capital projects including the Trail Transit Exchange Project. BC Transit agreeing to cost share public washroom in exchange. New transit facility project in planning. Future transition from ICE buses to battery/electric anticipated. Capital costs continue to rise for projects.
· Greater Trail Victim Services – Staff Report on 2023 Workplan and budget. Smaller budget increase to support wage increases for Part time Staff and rent increase/office space in RCMP building. Accredited support dog program being pursued for 2023.
· Kootenay Boundary Fire/Rescue Service – Staff Report – Workplan presented. Increased # of first responder calls once again for 2022/2023 thus far. Paid On Call Firefighter retention and recruitment lowest ever. Looking at better incentives for recruitment and retention. Reduction of service range to built communities – not beyond Rossland up to Highway 3B/3 as previously. Motor vehicle accidents will still be attended on Highway corridors.
· Green Link Trail – Active transportation consultant contracted by Village of Fruitvale in anticipation of continuing project from East side.
Regional Connectivity Committee Meeting – January 24, 2023 by Zoom
· New members to Committee welcomed along with new CBT staff to Broadband Team.
· Still waiting for notification on Grant Application –Community Broadband Fund.
Policy and Personnel Committee – January 25, 2023– Grand Forks Board Room
· Terms of Reference approved for committee.
· Staff Report – Mark Stephens – Emergency Operations Manager re: warming and cooling centres policies from Ministry of Health Order. Concerns of Directors of downloading Provincial responsibilities once again. Further information being sent to Municipality Staff and Councils for discussion and input – response to RDKB.
· Staff Report – RE: Privacy management Program Policy – Provincial Policy bill 22 requirements regarding protection of public privacy and breach protocols and protection.
· Procedures Bylaw Review by Staff and Directors – no changes currently.
· Email Policy Review – working with IT Department to support changes. IT will continue to work to assist in development of new policies.
RDKB Board of Directors Meeting – January 25, 2023, Grand Forks Board Room
· Staff Report –CAO Andison, reporting that the City of Grand Forks be notified that the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary is willing to participate in discussions with the City and other stakeholders regarding the possibility of a municipal boundary expansion to accommodate a proposed new development area located north and west of the City’s current boundaries. Our communities are growing.
· Staff Report – RE: RDKB Board and Committee meetings being transitioned from Zoom platform to Microsoft Team platform. Wil provide better alignment to overall IT software platform used by RDKB.
· Staff Report – Bylaw to increase Tax Requisition Limits to a maximum of 25% of current ceiling. Rossland and participating East End jurisdictions required to approve.
· Staff Report – CFO Barb Ihlen presenting a summary report of 2022 Budget Amendments for all services. Total increases — $1,031,213. Specific to Rossland – Kootenay Bo9undary Regional Fire & Rescue service )050) to amended to increase the short-term borrowing of $159,101, and increase the capital purchases of the same amount in 2022, as well as the related future reserve utilization, capital purchases, short term borrowing and repayment amendments as presented in the 2022-2026 Amended Five-Year Financial Plan.
(END of RDKB REPORT)
Council recessed to an in camera session, and your reporter wrapped up in all the winter outer layers for the below-freezing temperatures, and strode home through the four inches of fresh fluff that had fallen during the past few hours, contemplating human errors in judgment, including conspiracy theories, and wishing everyone would read the book “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)” by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, for a healthy and constructive approach to mistakes – one’s own, and other people’s. Besides, it’s a good read.
P.S. – for a timely cartoon on the 15-minute city conspiracy fears, click here.