COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council meeting, April 3, 2023

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
April 4th, 2023

Music festival at Red in mid-September;  tennis and lacrosse speak up;  significant grants to the City relieve financial pressures; the Five Year Financial plan moves ahead; evaluating recreation proposals; anticipating rising policing costs;  concern about short-term rental regulation;  the latest RDKB report

April 3, 2023 — PRESENT:  Mayor Andy Morel, and Councillors Stewart Spooner, Eliza Boyce, Jeff Weaver, Lisa Kwiatkowski and Craig Humpherys.  Absent: Maya Provençal.   Staff: CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, CFO Mike Kennedy, Manager of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont, Manager of Recreation and Events Kristi Calder, and Executive Assistant Rachel Newton.


Shawn Gresley-Jones once again (for the fourth consecutive Council meeting) addressed Council and the public gallery, being videoed by another gallery attendee, to comment on the City’s loss of a lawsuit by local entrepreneur Warren Hamm, over the previous Council’s refusal to issue a development permit for cutting timber on his properties.  Gresley-Jones expressed displeasure that he has repeatedly and unsuccessfully asked Mayor Morel and Councillor Spooner to resign, and to be informed of the total cost to the City of the lawsuit, without being so informed.

Warren Ham himself also stood again to speak on the same topic, upbraiding Morel and Spooner and stating that the City was ordered to issue the development permits but has not yet done so. 

Paul Evans accused Council of acting “without common decency or ethics.” He referred to in camera sessions as being non-transparent and generally criticized Council in scathing terms.

A resident of Mountain View Road expressed concerns about the proposed music festival at Red in mid-September, and said he is not in favour of the noise bylaw being lifted from 9 pm to 11 pm.  He was concerned about people parking on other people’s property, about drug overdoses and associated ills.

Three people representing Red  Mountain spoke, hoping to allay concerns about the planned “Between the Peaks” music  festival.

Andras Lukacs of Tourism Rossland spoke in favour of the planned music festival, mentioning the amount of revenue that well-managed music festivals bring to host communities.


1.     Sam Ross, Paul DeVilliers and Laura Pettitt, directors of the Tennis Society, spoke about the society’s projects, the state of the tennis courts, and the society’s relationship with the City.  The Tennis Society has been here for about 35 years, and they have a lease on the courts through 2026.  The courts need resurfacing, but that can’ts be done because of infrastructure issues – subsidence.  They have been working with the City’s Manager of Operations to plan for rebuilding.

Spooner mentioned the potentially high costs of repairing the courts, and said he would like to know how many people use them. DeVilliers explained that it’s difficult to quantify, but that many school groups use the tennis courts, and that “the courts are busy.”  Last year they collected $840 from the $2 donation deposited on an honour system.

Humpherys urged them to collect and present more data so that Council can have a better understanding.  Ross said they have about $40,00 in their resurfacing reserve; he said the courts cost very little to operate from year to year.

Boyce asked if it would be possible to establish pickleball on the tennis courts, but Ross explained that pickleball is much noisier, and that would be a problem in that location.

2.      Lacrosse: Trevor Thirsk, President of the West Kootenay Minor Lacrosse Association, and Suzanne Belanger, President of  West Kootenay Junior/Senior Lacrosse, gave Council a brief history of Lacrosse in the Kootenays and in Rossland and explained the game’s requirements, as well as some wishes – for storage space, for space to practice starting in late March, and a clean floor for safety, with markings, and times allocated for games.


Council Procedure Bylaw # 2798:  Boyce pointed out an error in the numbering/lettering, and suggested that it be corrected, and supported the bylaw as corrected.  A motion to adopt the corrected bylaw, read and discussed at earlier meetings, CARRIED unanimously. 

2023-2027 Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw # 2804:  A 47-page document in the Council materials, available on the City’s website for those with an appetite for knowledge about the City’s finances, outlines the Financial Plan in detail, with changes since it was first presented on February 6 highlighted in yellow. Changes include the incorporation of an unanticipated grant to the City in the amount of 2.154 million dollars, plus successful grant applications to a total of $2.5 million which will enable some projects to go ahead without depleting reserve funds.   Bottom line for property owners: the anticipated tax increase for 2023 is 5%.  A public presentation is scheduled for April 19.

Discussion: Spooner noted there have been no discussions about the planned upgrades to Centennial Field; Lamont explained the need to repair the sprinklers if the field is to be maintained. Boyce suggested that maintenance is likely to be less expensive in the long term than letting it go and requiring major repairs later.  Teasdale noted that several items in the plan are place-holders and are subject to future decisions.

Kwiatkowski noted a significant drop in “protective services” and asked it that was thanks to a grant or grants.  She also asked about the cost of policing rising with our population; Kennedy explained that once our population goes over 5000 according to census figures, Rossland will “take a one-time hit of about a million dollars.”   

Ongoing annual costs for policing would also rise; at the Council meeting on November 1, 2021, Kennedy reported,  “While additional research is required, a very basic estimate of the shift from the City covering 30% to 70% of policing costs (not including any provision for a detachment building or civilian support staff) would result in a minimum increase from $233K (2021) to $543K. There would be many factors that would impact the actual cost, from rates of crime to levels of service agreed upon.” 

In 2021, Rossland established a Policing Services Reserve Fund Bylaw in anticipation of these increased costs.

Morel commented that, during the height of COVID, some municipalities cancelled property tax increases, and later had to impose larger increases to make up for the losses; Rossland reduced a planned increase only slightly at the time, and is now able to impose only a 5% increase.  (Vancouver made headlines this year with a 10.7% property tax increase.)

Motions to give the bylaw first and second readings both CARRIED unanimously.

Rossland Growing Communities Fund Reserve Bylaw # 2805:   This is the bylaw drafted to create a reserve fund to hold a one-time $2.154 million grant, intended to help municipalities cover the increased costs of population growth,  and collect interest on it until the City determines which of the eligible projects Rossland needs the most. Spooner asked if there is a timeline by which the money must be used; the answer, no – the City has time to decide what the best uses will be.

Motions to give the bylaw first, second and third readings CARRIED unanimously.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2806 — Density Definition:  This proposed bylaw, if adopted, will allow property owners to apply for a variance to increase the percentage of their lot(s) allowed to be covered by buildings. Restrictions on lot coverage affect storm-water management, snow storage, esthetic considerations, viewscapes, access to natural light, and neighbourhood character, inter alia.

Discussion:  Boyce reluctantly offered support for the bylaw, but commented that she would not be in favour of very many variances to allow more lot coverage. Kwiatkowski wants to ensure that “we are not losing the specificity needed” to make sound decisions. Spooner said he thought the suggested draft sustainability checklist will be “doing a lot of heavy lifting” when applications come in; would like to see the checklist refined to put the onus on satisfying its requirements on applicants for variances, rather than on staff.  Boyce put in a plug for making the process accessible  and understandable to everyone.

Motions to give the bylaw first and  second readings, and to schedule a Public Hearing for May 1, 2023, CARRIED unanimously.

Development Variance Permit – 1840 Planer Crescent:  The owner seeks a variance permit to accommodate the existing overhang of the eaves of the house into the setback allowance by .78 metre (just a fraction over two and a half feet).  After a very lengthy discussion, the motion to approve the variance CARRIED with only Spooner opposed.

Recreation Project Evaluation Matrix:  Staff have developed weighted criteria for evaluating recreation projects, and have asked Council to approve the evaluation matrix or to suggest amendments.  A motion to approve the matrix as presented, and to apply it to all future proposed recreation projects, including those in the draft Recreation Master Plan, CARRIED after extensive discussion.

Housing Affordability Task Force – Terms of Reference:  A motion to approve the Terms of Reference for a newly established Housing Affordability Task Force of the Sustainability Commission, as presented,  CARRIED unanimously.

“Between the Peaks” Music Festival Special Event Permit Liquor Licensing:  A motion to classify the “Between the Peaks” Music Festival as a municipally significant event for liquor licensing purposes CARRIED unanimously.  This will enable the event, to be held at Red Mountain on private property, to charge more than “at cost” prices for beverages. The dates of the event will be September 15 and 16, 2023.

Humpherys raised the question of where the “target audience” would stay; Lightbourne pointed out that the question put to Council is not about accommodation, or permitting the event.

A further motion to approve an exemption to the Good Neighbour Bylaw # 2631, to allow for noise to extend past 9:00 p.m., ending no later than 11:00 p.m., also CARRIED.

A further motion directing staff to include a definition of “municipal significance” in relation to special events in the forthcoming draft Special Events Policy, also CARRIED unanimously. Council examined an example of such a definition, used by the City of Coquitlam.

For information only — Rossland Pool:  A nation-wide shortage of lifeguards and pool managers  may bring about a reduction in the Rossland Pool’s operating hours, especially in June. The information provided by staff for this meeting gave detailed explanations of the reasons for the staff shortages, and the steps staff are taking to offer the largest possible number of hours for the pool to be open.

Members’ Reports:

Humpherys sat in on a “Living Lakes” Zoom meeting and referred to  CBwaterhub.ca as a valuable resource.  Lamont noted that the City is working with Living Lakes Canada.

Morel raised the issue of the fatal fire in an illegal AirB&B in Montreal that  killed seven people; he proposed sending a letter to the Province supporting better regulation of short-term rentals.  To read a CBC article on the topic, click here.

Below, please find Morel’s report on recent RDKB activity.

REPORT: Regional District of Kootenay-Boundary

By Andy Morel, Rossland Representative to the RDKB Board of Directors


Liquid Waste Management Plan Committee Meeting – Mar. 2, 2023 Trail, BC

• Columbia Pollution Control Centre Project posted publicly, under a “Negotiated Request for Proposal” procurement process. Invitation opened Feb. 22, 2023, closes April 26, 2023 through Bonfirehub.ca Proposal evaluations expected to take approximately one month to complete. A mandatory contractor site inspection occurred on March 15.

Regional Connectivity Committee Meeting – Mar. 13. 2023 by Zoom

• Regarding the Universal Broadband Fund announcements for grant support, the Committee is still waiting to hear of the result. If successful, the grant will support approximately 5500 homes throughout the Columbia Valley region.

• Presentation by Andrew Esser, Haines Consultants regarding the Deloitte Canada study on economic impact of investing in rural connectivity within BC. In the Kootenay Region, a $281M return on a $105M investment generating a 14X return on investment confirming the value of supporting connectivity throughout the underserved communities.

• Provincial announcement anticipated for a $75M contribution BC wide towards cellular service. Good news for safety on remote highway travel.

East End Services Committee – Mar. 14, 2023 Trail, BC

• Delegation: Gina Ironmonger, Market Manager – Incredible Farmers Market Tracee Zelke, Marketing Marylynn Rakusson, Farmers Market Nutrition Coupon Program Re: Presentation – Sustainability of Markets Incredible Farmers Market representatives attended the meeting and provided a presentation on this initiative. The group was seeking funding of $30,000 to support a market manager, insurance and software. Committee to consider request.

• Staff report with Watt Consultants on updated bus shelter designs. Both wood and metal designs very appealing. Site visits for April once snow melts to determine best locations for new shelters. Continued refinements on design and costing for construction. Expected to receive one new bus shelter in Lower Rossland.

• That the East End Services Committee approve the 2023-2027 East End Transit Service (900) Five Year Financial Plan as presented to the Committee on January 24th 2023 including minor changes for adjustments to year-end totals. Carried

• That the East End Services Committee authorizes staff to execute the project funding agreement with BC Transit for the construction of the downtown Trail exchange, as presented to the committee on February 13th 2023. Carried.

• That the East End Services Committee approve the 2023-2027 East End Economic Development Service (017) Five Year Financial Plan as presented to the Committee on February 13th 2023 including minor changes for adjustments to year-end totals. And, that the East End Services Committee approves the 15% increase to the contract between the RDKB and LCIC. Carried.

East End Curbside Working Group March 14, 2023 Trail

• Staff Report: Contractor liaison staff reporting on McKelvey Creek Landfill upgrade project underway currently. Substantial changes in the works at site with major changes to current usage of landfill site. Access by general public still available however, more challenging to navigate with construction underway. Recommend reducing the landfill trips if possible. For residential recycling, use curbside as much as possible or drop off at the Gulch Bottle Depot. Timeline for completion of project – summer 2023.

RDKB Board Meeting – March 15, 2023 – Virtual Teams

• Delegation: Lower Columbia Community Health Centre presenters, Andrew Earnshaw, Executive Director, Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice • Dr. Tobias Gelber, Lower Columbia CHC Network Working Group Member • Alison Fines, Lower Columbia CHC Network Society Board Member • Jen Schmidt, Project Manager, advocating for Community Health Centre model for East End 7 Communities and Areas. Boundary Area also exploring the model advantages. Majority of Board of Directors community representatives nominated by Municipalities and Areas. The Group, Prima Health Care – local network of clinics have made application with Province and awaiting decision on Health Centre planning and funding approval. A number of Community Health Centres have been approved around the Province.

• Cooling and Warming Centre Policy – Policy and Personnel Committee have an updated report and policy in support of Staff recommendations. The Province has requested that local jurisdictions have policies in place to support the vulnerable populations in our communities. Approved.

• Growing Communities Fund J. Chandler, General Manager of Operations/Deputy Chief Administrative Officer 1. The letter dated February 10, 2023, from Minister Anne Kang, Ministry of Municipal Affairs, announcing the $1 billion Growing Communities Fund, with RDKB receiving a contribution of $1,177,000. Details on spending and approved allocations to follow by Staff.

Canadian Award for Financial Reporting – Congratulations to RDKB Finance Staff! The letter and award dated March 2, 2023, from the Government Finance Officers Association announcing that the RDKB’s 2022 annual report has won a Canadian Award for Financial Reporting.

Policy and Personnel – March 29, 2023 – Teams

• A staff report from Mark Andison, Chief Administrative Officer, presenting for review the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Board/Committee Meals Policy was presented. That staff bring an amended version of the Board/Committee Meals Policy to the next Committee meeting for discussion. Staff suggested that Directors receive a per diem should they forgo a meal. It was resolved that when there is a morning meeting followed by an afternoon meeting, that lunch be provided to the Directors. That a variety of snacks be provided for Directors attending meetings (food that can be stored in the cupboard). Suggestions forward to next meeting for continued input from Board members.

• Policy Review – Columbia Basin Trust – RDKB representative appointment. Policy language to be updated to reflect CBT policy language. Representative can be re-appointed by Board for multiple terms.

• Director Remuneration related to Extended Absence Policy to be brought inline with Provincial guidelines.

• Employee Recognition Policy – update policy to include long term part-time employees. Update $ values with Staff looking at comparative numbers from other organizations.

Board Meeting – March 29,2023 – Teams

• Delegation: ILMA – Independent Lumber Manufacturers Association, Representatives -Paul Rasmussen, President, Scott Weatherford, ATCO Lumber, Dan McMacmaster, Vaagen Lumber, Dan Battelstella, Past President. Representatives provided a PowerPoint presentation regarding a number of concerns with Provincial policies regarding Forestry Sector changes – old growth logging, biodiversity, species at risk legislation. Concerned for log availability, competing with large forestry corporations for fibre. Looking for advocacy for small producers. Old Growth Policy Local Government Engagement – Apr.13, 2023.

• Boundary Tour being planned for RDKB Directors – potential June dates.

• Growing Community Fund contribution to RDKB – $1,774,000. Board discussed how the funds are to be utilized within the Region. Staff recommendations to offset cost overruns for large capital projects. This was rejected by Area Representatives. It was approved by Board that the Funds will be distributed between Areas A- E within the District.

• Staff Report – Financial Plan for 2023-2028. Final numbers in with some increase to overall 2023 budget to just over $93M. Increased costs to future closure and post-closure expenses of McKelvey Creek have required an increase in the overall budget. The 5 Year Budget was approved.


The Council meeting adjourned, and your reporter stacked a few chairs and walked home, avoiding a few remaining icy patches and contemplating the amount of snow still covering the vegetable garden (an estimated average of a trifle under half a metre) and wondering what other challenges this year’s growing season will bring the gardeners of Rossland.


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