COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council Meeting, October 16, 2023
PRESENT: Mayor Andy Morel, and Councillors Maya Provençal, Lisa Kwiatkowski, Jeff Weaver, and Eliza Boyce. Absent: Craig Humpherys and Stewart Spooner. Staff: CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo, CFO Mike Kennedy, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Manager of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont, Manager of Recreation and Events Kristi Calder, and Executive Assistant Rachel Newton.
PUBLIC INPUT PERIOD:
No one spoke.
The Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC): Rebecca Richards (Director, LCIC), Jacomien van Tonder (Director, Metal Tech Alley ), Morag Carter (President, Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society (LCCDTS)) and Brent Anhel (new LCIC Board Chair) attended. Rebecca Richards spoke to introduce people to LCIC’s purpose and direction – to plan for a more sustainable economy and more stable communities, rather than just “foraging” to take whatever is easily available without thought for the future. Jacomien van Tonder spoke to describe the history of Metal Tech Alley, which was begun in 2016. The feasibility study for a battery hub is on track to be complete by year-end. Van Tonder described the many networking connections made.
Morag Carter described the activities and successes of the LCCDTS and its various committees. One example: Trail’s farmer’s market contributes just a bit under a million dollars to the local economy annually. Among other initiatives, she also detailed the plans for expanding affordable housing in the region, and plans for a community health centre in the area.
Kwiatkowski asked about the LCIC’s strategic planning status and how municipalities can contribute; Richards described the processes underway, and pointed out that LCIC is under contract by the RDKB. Morel pointed out that the City has a seat available on the LCIC board, though there is no longer a formal Council liaison position appointed.
Permissive Tax Exemptions for 2024-2026, Bylaw # 2815:
A motion that the bylaw be adopted CARRIED after clarification that the term set out in this set of materials was in error, and that the actual tax exemption being granted to Golden City Manor is for one year only, as was clear in the three readings of the bylaw at previous meetings.
Humpherys, who was unable to attend this meeting, had noted the administrative error. He sent an email to the rest of Council providing his input on several items, and on this topic he had said, “it was my understanding that after a discussion at a Council Meeting in September that we would give one-year permissive Tax Exemption, while we reached out to the group for further information regarding their residents and their needs. While I support Affordable Seniors Housing, I also feel that it is important that forms are filled out in a meaningful way that provides relevant and coherent information.”
Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2820 – 1167 Black Bear Drive
The owner seeks to subdivide the large lot into two R1 parcels, plus an additional R1-Infill parcel – it’s the proposed infill parcel that triggers the need for an amendment.
A motion to give first and second readings to the bylaw, and to schedule a Public Hearing for November 20, 2023, CARRIED unanimously.
Asset Management Policy (New)
The Staff material presented explains that “The upkeep of an Asset Management Policy and Plan is becoming ever-more important in local government operations. Both recent information required by the Province in respect to annual Community Works and Local Government Data Entry (LDGE) Reporting efforts and previous senior government grant programs / funding opportunities have specifically requested information in respect to the City’s Asset Management planning and development activities. This policy aligns with best practices for Asset Management Policies and will aid the City in fulfilling legislative requirements for reporting.”
A motion to confirm the new policy as presented CARRIED unanimously. Kwiatkowski, Boyce and Morel expressed appreciation for the Staff work on this policy and the next one as well..
Asset Management Investment Plan Policy (renamed: Sustainable Financial Management Policy) – amended:
Amendments updated and clarified the policy; a motion to confirm the renamed and updated policy as presented CARRIED unanimously.
General, Park and Trail Donations Policy (amended)
Amendments to the policy include:
- Added terms to account for the adoption of existing infrastructure (e.g. to install a plaque on a non-sponsored City bench);
- Added terms to clarify how locations are determined for proposed amenities;
- Set a 10 year term for donation plaques, to align with the practices of other municipalities, with possibility of extension if a donor provides additional funds for ongoing upkeep;
- Clarified the conditions for donations to ensure alignment with the CRA donation requirements;
- Added reference to the CanadaHelps form as an alternative method of donations – this is already in use for Recreation donations (Youth Action Network) and the City’s account can be viewed here: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/city-of-rossland/
- CanadaHelps is an online donation platform for qualified donees (like the City) which automatically issues donation receipts and delivers donated funds via direct deposit monthly, which significantly reduces the administration time needed to process donations.
- Simplified the information on the donation form.
A motion to confirm the amended policy as presented CARRIED unanimously.
Rossland Recreation Instructor Payment Policy (amended)
This policy has been updated to establish standard compensation criteria for contracted Rossland Recreation instructors and to clarify requirements. A motion to confirm the amended policy CARRIED unanimously.
Reserve and Surplus Policy (amended)
Amendments include adding the Election Reserve and RMI Reserve, and a description of the Police Reserve, to Appendix I; updating information about reserve balances; correcting spelling and grammatical errors; and changing some phrasing for better clarity.
Boyce queried what happens when a reserve exceeds the maximum set out in the policy. Kennedy explained that the city would stop making contributions to a particular reserve when it reached its maximum. Boyce also echoed a concern expressed by Humpherys in an email that “it may be prudent to raise the Maximum Level of the Legal Reserve Fund.” Teasdale explained why that wasn’t needed at this time.
A motion to confirm the policy as presented CARRIED unanimously.
Tangible Capital Assets Policy (amended)
CFO Mike Kennedy explained in the materials, “Overall, updates are intended to clarify the policy and orient it to provide guidance for Management to make decisions regarding the TCAs of the City within the confines of the Public Sector Accounting Standards (PSAS), rather than just restating the Accounting Standards.” A motion to confirm the amended policy CARRIED unanimously.
Third Party Charges Policy
A motion to reconfirm the policy CARRIED unanimously.
Emissions Reduction Transportation Purchasing Plan Policy
A motion to reconfirm the policy CARRIED unanimously.
Regional District Appointment Policy
A motion to reconfirm the policy as presented CARRIED.
A further motion to reappoint Andy Morel as the City of Rossland Director representative to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary board of directors and as the Alternate Director to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District CARRIED unanimously, and,
A further motion to appoint Jeff Weaver as the Director to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District, as well as the Alternate Director representative to the Board of Directors of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary also CARRIED unanimously.
MUNICIPAL INVOICES PAID:
A motion to approve the register of municipal expense paid during September CARRIED unanimously.
Council perused the 2023 Corporate Management Work Plan Third Quarter (Q3) Progress Report and the 2023 Third Quarter (Q3) Budget Update.
The essence: “At this time, it is likely that the listed timeline and/or priority of projects contained within the 2023 Corporate Management Plan will be completed close to their expected scheduled [sic] and/or without significant amendment(s).”
Council reviewed the following reports as well:
- Building Permit Report
- Building Permit Inspections by Type
- Step Code Energy Rebates
- Public Works & Water Production Report
- Eye on Water Report
- Bylaw Compliance Monthly Activity Report
- Rossland Yards Status Update: occupancy permit issued September 28; some work still being completed.
- Updated Task List
Curling Club Building Permit Fee Reimbursement Request:
The Curling Club has done extensive renovations to the City-owned facility, and is requesting that the club be reimbursed for the cost of the building permit – promising that the funds will be rolled over into any further improvements in future.
Boyce asked that their request be permitted, and suggested that groups working to improve City assets should not have to pay for building permits. Kwiatkowski pointed out that it would be more consistent to pay the amount to the Curling Club by means of a Community Contribution allocation instead, and Calder agreed – explaining that the City itself pays for building permits when it works on one of its own facilities. Morel and others expressed concern about setting a precedent; Boyce suggested a policy that would include a maximum allocation per project. A motion to implement Kwiatkowski’s suggestion CARRIED unanimously, and Staff will develop a policy as suggested.
Rossland Arts Centre Society – letter of support:
The Society has requested a letter of support for its grant application to BC’s Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program. The Society’s intent is to improve the Drill Hall – a heritage building – for use as an Ats Centre, “to maintain its heritage character while also updating and renovating it for community use and accessibility.” A motion to send a letter of support CARRIED unanimously.
Provençal and Weaver commented on a recent function at the Josie Hotel involving 72 representatives from mountain resort communities from all over North America, and expressed appreciation for being able to learn how others are dealing with the common problems all face – including questions about “Whose community is this? Who is the community for?” and “What is this community’s “north star”?” Provençal added that it was inspiring to hear about other communities whose councils had done “really bold things” and survived. Morel added that some communities expressed cautions. Teasdale commented, “It’s a balancing act.”
The event was titled “The Mountain and Resort Town Planners Summit (MRTPS)” and the online blurb describes it as “a small and interactive conference, where ideas, questions and responses flow freely among participants, facilitators, and the host communities. The summit is multi-disciplinary, with programming designed for planners, designers, conservationists, elected officials, and anyone else interested in preserving the uniqueness of their mountain community. Past attendees have found the conference to be extremely helpful in finding solutions to day-to-day challenges, creating a network of peers from similar communities, and fostering big picture thinking.”
On to other topics, Morel added that the McKelvey Creek landfill is now operational again; the landfill management encourages people to do as much of their recycling as possible at the recycling centre in the Gulch.
He stated that “there are lots of bear-resistant bins available” to be a purchased.
THE MEETING ADJOURNED, and your reporter walked home from the Miners Union Hall in the dark and damp evening, admiring the fallen leaves everywhere, pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t raining just then, and looking forward to the longer walk to (and home from) the next regular Council meeting, which is scheduled to be held at the new City Hall at on November 6.