COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council meeting, June 5, 2023
Name the Plow contest! Appropriating City property isn’t cool; check out the Museum Open House event; Curling Society gets a longer-term lease; Rotary’s “Run for the Rest of Us” event; Annual Report now available; that WHY mining proposal and the City’s response; and more.
PRESENT: Mayor Andy Morel and Councillors Jeff Weaver, Maya Provençal, Eliza Boyce, Craig Humpherys, Lisa Kwiatkowski and Stewart Spooner. Staff: CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy CO Cynthia Añonuevo, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Manger of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont, Deputy Operations Manager Ryan Niddery, Executive Assistant Rachel Newton, Manager of Recreation and Events Kristi Calder, and CFO Mike Kennedy.
PUBLIC INPUT PERIOD:
Laura Pettitt expressed concern about the speed of traffic on Thompson Avenue, and asked if more signs could be added.
A resident of Iron Colt Avenue spoke to oppose construction of the planned trail along the strip of City property between 2690 and 2671 Iron Colt, to provide a second access to Southern Cross trail. The owners of the two properties have appropriated the use of that strip of land, have installed landscaping features and large boulders to block the trail work, and the speaker asked that the order to remove the obstacles be rescinded; the speaker explained that he does not want a trail so; near his property.
Melanie Mercier, who operates a gardening service, explained the focus of her services and offered to help the City create a “biodiversity protection” bylaw.
1. Community Energy Association: Jessica Martin Thompson, Climate Initiatives Specialist, explained the goals – steps to reduce energy consumption — and progress of the Rossland Retrofit program. There has been very good uptake, and she noted that contractors are very busy. She noted that participating homes are, on average, 77 years old.
2. Rossland Arts Centre Society: Myra Rudakewich, Chair, Sarah Taekema, Grants Committee member, and Karina Farr, Board Member, presented the Society’s plans to reopen the Drill Hall as a community arts centre and described the expected benefits to the community as a whole. The Society obtained a 30-year Licence of Occupation in December of 2022, through a Crown grant.
3. Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre: Joelle Hodgins , Museum Director, Mike Sloan, Board President, and Chris Bowman, Trustee, presented some Museum history, and updates on recent and upcoming events and developments at the Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre.
The Museum & Discovery Centre is a registered charity, operating on a 5-acre parcel that was originally the site of the Black Bear mine. Prior to 2012, one of its most attractive features was the “Mine Tunnel Tour” that took visitors into an old portion of tunnel, but that was closed in 2012 for reasons of safety and potential liability. The Museum, Rossland’s official Visitor’s Centre, has been making steady progress on its renewal strategy, and increasing visitor numbers after losses following closure of the mine tunnel feature, and then COVID.
This year, the Museum invites everyone to an Open House on Friday, June 9, from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Recreation Fees and Charges Bylaw # 2811:
A motion to give the bylaw first reading CARRIED unanimously after discussion. Boyce said that Rossland’s user fees are higher than in surrounding communities, and would prefer that the City pay for a higher portion of recreation program costs through taxes, instead of user fees, because the “user-pay” principle puts more of the financial burden on lower-income people and tends to discourage their participation in activities. She hopes that if the City keeps raising user fees, it will also put in place “robust supports” for lower-income people. Spooner noted that the City is not getting full cost-recovery from its user fees. Morel noted that in Trail, residents enjoy the benefit of significant contributions from Teck.
Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2810 – 2010 and 2052 Phoenix Avenue:
If ultimately approved, the bylaw will rezone both properties from R1 Residential to R1-Infill Residential, and allow the subdivision and sale of a portion of 2010 Phoenix to the owner of 2052 Phoenix. A motion to give the bylaw first and second readings CARRIED unanimously, as did a further motion to set a Public Hearing on the matter for July 10, 2023.
Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2812 – Lot 2, Old Red Mountain Road
The applicant seeks to rezone the property from R1-R, Rural Residential, to CD-3-RHP, Resort Holiday Park. The owner also owns the adjacent property at 3975 Old Red Mountain Road, which was zoned CD-3-RHP in 2014, and wishes to amalgamate the two properties. A motion to give the bylaw first and second readings CARRIED unanimously, as did a motion to set a Public Hearing for July 10, 2023.
OTHER REQUESTS FOR COUNCIL DECISION:
Rossland Curling Society Facility Use Agreement – 2023-2028:
A motion to extend a five-year facility use agreement to the Rossland Curling Society at an annual rate of $28,120 for 2023/24, with subsequent increases annually indexed to the Province of BC’s official Consumer Price Index rate for the preceding year, CARRIED with only Spooner opposed, after discussion about the timing – Spooner thought it was premature to do a 5-year lease. Calder explained that the Curling Club can contribute more to capital projects if they have longer-term certainty about the lease.
Draft Recreation Master Plan:
A motion to adopt the Draft Recreation Master Plan with an amended project evaluation matrix and project priority scoring summary as presented CARRIED unanimously after discussion about the evaluation matrix and its effect on the scope of projects – Boyce was concerned that the matrix might tend to eliminate larger, more expensive project because of the weighting of cost; but Calder explained that “financial impact” also considers all other aspects including the expected life of the asset.
Road Patching & Paving Service Agreement:
A motion to award Selkirk Paving a contracted service agreement for road patching and paving services (2023-2025) CARRIED unanimously. The City allocates $200,000 annually for the Public Works patching and paving program, which is funded through the Canada Community-Building Fund (CCBF).
Rossglen Park Improvements – Tender Results:
A motion to award the contract to complete the Rossglen Park Improvements project to North Mountain Construction Ltd. In the amount of $195,330.00 (exclusive of GST) CARRIED; a further motion to reallocate funding to increase the overall project budget by $55,950 to cover other project costs including design, architecture, and engineering, estimated at $44,000.00, and to allow for a 15% project contingency at $35,900, also CARRIED unanimously. Spooner expressed relief that the increase wasn’t higher; Humpherys agreed, as costs in general seem to be rising quickly.
FOR INFORMATION ONLY – Redstone (Rossland) Laneway and Right of Way Encroachments
Staff presented the history of problematic laneway encroachments in Redstone that obstruct City access to services, and included the ”final notice” letters that will warn the homeowners in question that if they fail to remove the obstructions, the City will remove them at the homeowners’ expense.
FOR INFORMATION ONLY – WHY Resources: Proposed Record Ridge Industrial Mineral Mine
Staff supplied a summary of the City’s concerns about the proposal by West High Yield Resources (WHY) for an open-pit magnesium mine on Record Ridge, for discussion about next steps. One concern was that the proposal was designed to avoid triggering an environmental assessment that would be required if the project were to take even one more ton of ore per year than the declared 249,000 tons. Another major concern was the destruction of the unique red-listed grassland ecosystem that covers much of the area that would be turned into an open pit to access the ore. [Red-listed: Any species or ecosystem that is at risk of being lost (extirpated, endangered or threatened)] The addition of ore trucks to Rossland’s traffic was another concern, as was the potential effect on recreation – the planned pit would be a mere 200 metres from the renowned Seven Summits Trail.
Boyce commented that she had seen a number of pro-mine opinions posted on Bhubble and the Rossland Talks Facebook page, but that the residents attending the public meetings hosted by WHY on May 17 and 18 seemed to be overwhelmingly opposed.
Kwiatkowski wondered whether the City should get legal advice on its options, and wondered if it could take a more active role. Morel thought Rosslanders want the City to take a leadership role. Provençal mentioned that Section 11 of the BC Mines Act states that, “If the Minister considers it to be necessary in the public interest, the minister, in respect of the issuing of permits, has and may exercise all of the powers that the chief permitting officer may exercise under this Act.”
A motion that Council send a letter to the Minister expressing the community’s concerns CARRIED. .
Request for Support: “Run for the Rest of Us” event (July 15, 2023)
Rossland Rotary is requesting the free use of Jubilee Field and some equipment, including 50 chairs, 10 tables, garbage bins and barricades, all to be delivered to a home near the event on the Friday and to be picked up the following Monday. The estimated cost to the City in staff time is $360.
A motion to approve the requests CARRIED unanimously.
Provincial Meeting Requests at the 2023 UBCM Convention
Staff requested guidance from council on request to meet with provincial officials during the 2023 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention in September, and Josie Osbourne, the Minister of Mines, Energy and Low-energy Innovation, was the only name suggested.
MEMBER REPORTS (highlights only):
Boyce had attended the Heritage Commission meeting, and announced that the annual Columbia Cemetery Clean-up day is on June 15, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Morel promised a written report on RDKB doings for the next Council meeting. He had attended a “Keeping it Rural” conference held in Kelowna, and said it was excellent, with useful topics and good attendance from all over the province, including First Nations.
The meeting adjourned, and your reporter wandered home, enjoying Rossland’s beautiful setting and the glorious weather, and contemplating the unintended effects of “pump & dump” stock value inflation schemes, designed to allow speculators to acquire easy, if slightly risky, wealth – sometimes at the expense of communities, wildlife, ecosystems, and the beauty of our surroundings. And experiencing the meaning of the word “Solastalgia.” (For a more in-depth discussion, check out this 2022 article in The Atlantic.)
Aprѐs-meeting update: OTHER NEWS FROM THE CITY:
Public Works educational Day – on Friday, June 16, the City invites Grade 4 classes (and combined 3—4 and 4—5 classes) from RSS and Ecole des Sept-Sommets to a day of discovering just what the Public Works department of the City does.
Topics will include what happens when you flush – wastewater treatment; where our water comes from and how it gets to our homes; water conservation and why it’s a good idea; the GIS mapping system and what it tells us; and looking after all the City’s vehicles.
There will be a “Name the Plow” contest – each student can write their idea for a name for the snowplow on a slip of paper before arriving at the Public Works yard. The winning name will be made into a sticker for the plow,and the student can have their picture taken with the plow.
Engaged citizens take note: the City of Rossland 2022 Annual Report is now available at this link: