COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council Meetings, September 11, 2023

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
September 12th, 2023

CoW recommends losing some council liaison positions;  bear concerns and garbage; only modest campfires allowed;  a stricter wildlife attractant bylaw; support for a liquor licence application; more cost overruns; Rossland Yards updated occupancy estimate


Present:  Mayor Andy Morel, and Councillors Maya Provençal, Lisa Kwiatkowski, Jeff Weaver, Eliza Boyce, and Stewart Spooner.  Arrived somewhat late:  Craig HumpherysStaff:  CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo,  City Planner Stacey Lightbourne and Executive Assistant Rachel Newton.

Council met to review and discuss the appointment of Council members as liaison to various groups.

Parsing the numbers:

The City presently has Council members appointed as “council liaison” to 20 different groups.  Of those, three committees have three Council members,  two committees have two Council members, and four have one Council member plus an alternate; the rest just have one Council liaison..  That makes a total of 33 committee positions among seven Council members —  an average of just over 4.7 positions per councillor.  Mayor Andy Morel occupies the most, both in number (eight) and in time requirements – the most demanding position by far (aside from Mayor of Rossland) being that of Rossland’s representative to the RDKB board.

Discussion:   Morel noted that some of the groups who are supposed to have Council liaison are concerned with a lack of representation from Council; notably the library, the Museum and the Heritage Commission.

Spooner acknowledged that there are some legislative requirements and wants the City to be in compliance, but thinks that some Council members are overloaded with meetings and that the value of representation is too costly in terms of councillors’ time and energy. He pointed out that there are organizations that rely on funding from the City, but don’t have a council liaison – they do report to the City and communicate with the City, but don’t have a Council member attending their meetings, and function well.  He also cited the opinion of municipal governance expert Christina Benty, who thought that the current council liaison system was not the most beneficial use of councillors’ time and noted that it is not a usual municipal practice.

Kwiatkowski suggested that the titles and functions of all committees, commissions, and other groups should be reviewed to bring them into line with the definitions in legislation, and decide what form of communication would be most suitable.

Morel pointed out that Council has also asked organizations for annual reports and has other means of communication than having a council member as an embedded “liaison.”

Boyce thinks that rather than “supporting” the Sustainability Commission, for example, Council should be impartially evaluating the work it does, to better assess funding requests.  She thinks that the City should be eliminating many of the liaison positions and assessing the function of each committee.

Provencal cautioned against any action applied across the board, such as eliminating all liaison positions, because there are groups that would not function at all if that were done.

Kwiatkowski said she thinks that just being an avenue of communication is not useful – that communication with Council should be the responsibility of the group, not of Council members.

Spooner thinks that being a liaison can lead to a conflict of interest if the person develops a close relationship with the group and becomes biased.

Weaver agreed with that concern.

Council discussed each liaison position, and will recommend that some be eliminated.  Council will make the decisions at a future meeting and will probably vote to eliminate council liaison positions for the Museum, the Lions Campground Committee, Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, the Arena Society, Rossland Council for Arts & Culture, the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society, and the Age-Friendly & Seniors’ Centre group.

Council and Staff are also investigating the requirement for, and value of, liaison positions for the Youth Action Network, the Design Review Panel, the Heritage Commission, and the Library.  Some are created by bylaw and would require a bylaw change.



Present:  Mayor Andy Morel, and Councillors Maya Provençal, Lisa Kwiatkowski, Jeff Weaver, Eliza Boyce, Stewart Spooner and Craig Humpherys.  Staff:  CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo,  City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Executive Assistant Rachel Newton, Accounting Clerk Justin Brogan, and Manager of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont.


Sue Wrigley spoke to thank Council for its work toward becoming Bear Smart.  She pointed out that garbage day is a huge issue with bears, and suggested that garbage pick-up scheduling needs more attention.

Scott Leyland spoke about the effectiveness of communal bear-proof bins in conjunction with garbage pick-up, and offered the results of a study showing positive results.

Kathy More spoke on behalf of the bear task force, pointing out that those bears who have been utilizing the garbage down in Redstone will inevitably be shot—and that it should be “totally avoidable.”  She mentioned that some European tourists chose their destinations based on how responsibly a community deals with its natural environment.


City of Rossland Fire Prevention and Burning Bylaw # 2814:

A motion to adopt the bylaw, discussed at the previous meeting, CARRIED with only Boyce opposed.

Wildlife Attractant Bylaw # 2816:

The Council materials inform us that, while management of wildlife is a provincial responsibility, the management of garbage and other things that attract wildlife is a responsibility of local government.  The materials go on to explain the need for a new bylaw:  “The roll-out of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) Green Bin Program, coinciding with the completion of the City’s Bear Hazard Assessment, requires necessary updates to the City’s Animal Attractant Bylaw to address the storage, disposal and management of additional organic materials on collection days.”

Bird feeders: The new bylaw forbids “the placement of outdoor bird feeders containing bird feed, seeds, suet, nectar, or similar other Wildlife Attractants … between March 1st and November 30th of each year.”

Fines:  Penalties for failing or refusing to follow the bylaw now range from a low of $50 for minor offences such as not keeping one’s barbeque clean enough or  having a bird feeder in use outside the permitted dates, to $200 for such offences as “attracting large carnivores” or “camping activity attracting wildlife,” or $300 for “Failure to store refuse properly for commercial, industrial, institutional and tourist accommodation building, multiple family residential (3+ units) dwellings.”

Discussion: Spooner said he was concerned that the bylaw sets standards that people will be unable to meet; for instance, bears sometimes eat mountain ash berries – are we not allowed to have mountain ash trees? He cited other examples as well.  Humpherys raised the issue of electric fencing and safety with toddlers.   Boyce said she would like the wording changed to be more realistic; that bylaws should be enforceable exactly as written, and should be enforced.  She thinks the bylaw should focus more on the real problem – garbage –instead of the “minutiae” in this bylaw.  Weaver said he thinks this wording is acceptable, and pointed out that it is very similar to the wording of Squamish bylaws; Boyce responded that Squamish is very different from Rossland, with far fewer bears and far fewer fruit trees. Morel thinks it is important to have a bylaw like this in place, with “some teeth” and he notes that our bylaw officer is working to enforce the current bylaw. Kwiatkowski noted that education is important, and our bylaw officer emphasizes warnings and education before punitive measures.

A motion to give the bylaw first reading CARRIED with only Boyce opposed.

A further motion to give the bylaw second and third readings  CARRIED, with only Boyce opposed.

City of Rossland Fees and Charges Bylaw # 2818:

This updated bylaw reflects changes such as the fact that the City no longer has a fax machine, and that most development permits no longer require Council approval.  It also reflects the rising cost of nearly everything by increasing most fees and charges —  “by, on average, 15% to account for:

  • CPI increase of over 16% since last time charges were updated in 2018.
  • CUPE wage increases of 10.5% (not including other benefit increases) over the same time period.”

A motion to give the bylaw first reading CARRIED unanimously, as did a further motion to give the bylaw second and third readings.


Community Events Sign Policy:

The amended policy no longer refers to the fees and conditions for renting the event sign in Rossland. Those are now included in the Recreation Fees and Charges Bylaw # 2811, updated and adopted in August of 2023.  For those interested, the rental fee for the sign is $55.44 per week. A motion to approve the policy CARRIED unanimously.

Community Contributor Award Policy:

A motion to reconfirm the policy CARRIED unanimously.

Council Information Policy:

A motion to confirm the amended policy CARRIED unanimously.  The amendments include changing the name of the policy to “Council Communication and Information Policy,” adding some definitions, clarifying who will respond to different types of messages,  and noting that “All materials produced through the City of Rossland email accounts belong to the City of Rossland and are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.”

Information to the Media Policy:

A motion to reconfirm the policy  CARRIED unanimously.

Social Media Policy:

A motion to reconfirm the policy CARRIED unanimously.


B&T’s Hard Knock Café:  Liquor Licence Application

B&T’s Hard Knock Café is applying for a liquor licence, and seeks a letter from the City to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch in support; their intended hours of opening are from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., with seasonal variation within those hours.  Service will be liquor-free from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m., and the café is applying for a Family Food Service endorsement to allow minors during liquor service hours when accompanied by an adult.  Residents and businesses nearby are generally supportive, with one caveat from residents – that late-night noise at the rear of the building by staff or others is unacceptable. The owners have promised that this will not happen.

A motion to provide the letter of support to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch  CARRIED unanimously.

Rossland Historical Museum & Archives Association Operating Agreement,  2024 to 2028

A motion to offer a five-year facility use agreement to the Rossland Historical Museum & Archives Association at an annual rate of $1 per annum for the years 2024 to 2028 CARRIED unanimously.

The agreement includes some minor amendments from the previous version, to improve administration for both the City and the Museum.

2023 Province of BC Infrastructure Planning Grant

A motion that the City develop and submit a proposal to the 2023 Province of British Columbia’s Infrastructure Planning Grant CARRIED unanimously.  CFO Mike Kennedy explained in the Council materials that the City is seeking to move from a reactive response to infrastructure needs to a more proactive approach, and that the grant funds being sought would “support development of an engineering estimate to assess the viability and potential benefits a natural asset based approach to rerouting/replacing existing aging sewer infrastructure to avoid/ minimize impact to a sensitive wetland riparian zone in Lower Rossland.”

Aqueduct Phase 2: Additional Funding

A motion to approve Copcan Civil Ltd. to continue the Aqueduct Trail Improvements Project through to completion with an additional budget of $150,000 CARRIED unanimously.

Rossglen Park Improvements:  Additional Funding

A motion to continue the Rossglen Park Improvement Project through to completion with a maximum additional budget allocation of $114,350  CARRIED unanimously after discussion of concerns about the magnitude of, and reasons for, the cost overruns.

Permissive Tax Exemption overview

Staff requested further direction on Permissive Tax Exemptions for applications received for future tax year(s), for input into proposed Bylaw No. 2815 (Permissive Tax Exemptions for 2024 to 2026) to be read for a 1st, 2nd and 3rd time at the October 3rd Regular Meeting of Council and then adopted at the October 16th Regular Meeting of Council.  Kwiatkowski suggested that the duration of the exemption for Golden City Manor be shortened, and that the City require more complete information to support the exemption, and that Council create criteria for making consistent decisions.  Boyce suggested that merely shortening the duration may not send a strong enough message, as the City has unsuccessfully requested more complete information in the past. Weaver was not comfortable with refusing the exemption altogether.

Weaver moved to give a one-year exemption at 100%, and to emphasize the need for more complete information on their next application.  The motion CARRIED unanimously.

Bear Hazard Assessment and Bear Smart Community Designation Status

A motion to adopt the Bear Hazard Assessment CARRIED.

Council discussed the Staff request for further direction regarding the completion of a Bear-Human Conflict Management Plan. Kwiatkowski expressed a preference for utilizing local expertise rather than hiring someone from elsewhere. Humpherys agreed with the approach outlined by Scott Leyland.  Weaver predicted that any attempt to influence residents to be more responsible in managing their garbage and other bear attractants will soon be identified by conspiracy theorists as evil authoritarian attempts to control and ultimately imprison people (as has happened with the benign and climate-friendly “15-minute city” urban planning concept and even sex education); “I’ll just watch and wait,” he said, with a smile.


Council then approved the monthly “cheque register” of payments made.

Climate Dashboard and Local Government Climate Action Program (LGCAP) Reporting:

Justin Brogan, representing the city’s finance department, submitted a fulsome report, as required for some grant funding received, on the City’s progress in addressing emissions targets and other climate-friendly actions.

Council then quickly reviewed the usual list of reports (not listed here).  According to the Rossland Yards update, occupancy may be possible by the end of this month.

Request for Partner Letter – BC Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program Application

The Museum requested a letter from the City in support of its application for a provincial grant to assist with its ongoing upgrades, including the above-ground replacement for the “mine tunnel tour” that was closed in 2012.  A motion to provide the letter CARRIED unanimously.

The Museum also requested a letter of support for its application for a federal grant for its project titled Seniors Historical and Cultural Engagement, to further the Musem’s seniors-focused programming and outreach efforts such as Rossland Recollections and Speaker Series talks, Senior’s Workshop Series, and outreach efforts such as shuttles to and from locations in Rossland to community events held at the Museum.  A motion to provide this letter also CARRIED unanimously.

There were no significant reports by Council members, and the meeting recessed to an in camera session.

Your reporter packed up and wandered off home in the balmy evening (noting that darkness is settling in earlier, signaling that winter is on its way) to put her feet up and read escapist literature (wonderfully far-fetched sci-fi), cat on lap, to avoid thinking about anything too onerous.

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