Report: Rossland City Council Meetings, December 11, 2023
By Alina Konevski
PRESENT: Mayor Andy Morel, and Councillors Maya Provençal, Craig Humpherys, Lisa Kwiatkowski, Jeff Weaver, Stewart Spooner, Eliza Boyce, and Jeff Weaver.
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 HEARING
Draft 2023-2027 Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw No.2824
Kennedy explained that under the Community Charter, council approval is required for amendments to the five year financial plan. The most significant amendment this year is the deferral of $1.3M of the planned $6M capital expenditure budget to next year. There were no comments from members of the public and the public hearing was declared adjourned.
- REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
Mayor Andy Morel presented the 2023 Rossland Community Contributor Award on behalf of the City of Rossland to Kim Deane. The Community Contributor Award is awarded annually, to recognize an outstanding community member who contributes significant volunteer time to enhancing the quality of life in Rossland. In accepting the award, Deane spoke to his “80 years and a bit” of being involved in Rossland: “We’ve had 4 generations of extended family live in Rossland, and we’re still continuing with our 9 grandkids growing up in Rossland.” With members of his extended family in attendance, Deane continued by highlighting two boom periods of significance to him: The first being at the beginning of his 80 years, and the second occurring now. In the mid-20th century, the region developed the smelter, two schools, a hospital, the ski hill, and connected to the rest of the province with a good highway. “Now the second boom is occurring around us as we speak,” Deane said. “The driver this time is the Rossland lifestyle. It has enormous appeal to the greater world…. Rossland enjoys terrain that’s perfect for a wide range of activities.” As Deane summarized, “Our delightful mountain town continues to be a wonderful place to raise a family.”
PUBLIC INPUT PERIOD:
There were no comments from members of the public.
Delegation from the Family Action Network (FAN)
Cindy Hall, Co-Chair of the Family Action Network (FAN) Board, presented to Council to introduce the nature of the work that the Family Action Network does in the Lower Columbia region. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many changes have occurred. The local nonprofit has been a regional coalition that for over 10 years has been focused on making the Lower Columbia region the best place to raise a family. Its five priority focus areas are: 1) community engagement, collaboration and capacity building; 2) special projects, such as the Backpack Buddies program that provides healthy food options for children; 3) development checkups for families with young children, which help identify developmental delays early and connects parents with relevant government support programs; 4) navigation services via a website and a toll free number for parents to obtain help finding supports and programs they need; and 5) as a program delivery agent, such as its recent management of the Youth Action Network contract for City of Rossland. Weaver asked Hall how many staff FAN had, with Hall stating that there was one full-time Executive Director and three part-time support staff, with most working from home and one co-located at the Skills Centre in Trail. Kwiatkowski asked how the transition with the YAN is going, to which Hall responded that it’s going very well, is in good hands, can be revisited down the road if needed.
Request for Council Decision – Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2820 – 1167 Black Bear Drive
A motion to adopt the bylaw CARRIED after substantial discussion at previous Council meetings. Boyce objected to the adoption.
Request for Council Decision – Solid and Yard Waste Regulation Bylaw No. 2817
A motion to adopt the bylaw CARRIED. This bylaw sets out the regulation for the collection of residential garbage, organics, yard and garden waste, including the size and location of garbage containers, the
amount/quantity of solid or yard waste to be picked up, the types of waste permitted and their disposal
requirements for specific types of waste and prohibited materials. This bylaw previously set the rates
and disposal fees for these services. With the transition to a regional residential solid waste collection, regulating the solid waste collection rates through this bylaw becomes unnecessary for the City.
Request for Council Decision – Draft Sewer Rate (2024-2025) Bylaw No. 2821
A motion to adopt the bylaw CARRIED, allowing for a 10% increase to the sewer rate.
Request for Council Decision – Draft Water Rate (2024-2025) Bylaw No. 2822
Council CARRIED a motion to increase 2024 and 2025 water rates to both parcel taxes & water base and
consumption fees by 10%. This would represent an additional $54.02 in 2024 over 2023 rates, and $113.45 in 2025 over 2023 rates.
Request for Council Decision – 2023-2027 Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 2824, 2023
A motion to adopt the bylaw CARRIED.
Request for Council Decision – 2024 Annual Revenue Anticipation Bylaw No. 2825, 2023
A motion to adopt the bylaw CARRIED, allowing Council to borrow, from time to time, needed funds until the Annual Tax Rate Bylaw is adopted.
Request for Council Decision – Housing Agreement Bylaws No. 2826 and 2827 – Rossland Yards
A motion to adopt the bylaw CARRIED, which seeks to account for the splitting of Rossland Yards into two strata lots.
Request for Council Decision – Encroachment Bylaw No. 2829, 2023
A motion to give the bylaw a first reading was CARRIED, with Boyce objecting. The bylaw seeks to introduce an Encroachment Bylaw and policy in order to standardize the approach to encroachments and create consistency moving forward. Boyce expressed concern that the draft bylaw as written represented a “fundamental change to the way that we’re addressing encroachments”. Her contention is that the draft text represents a “very restrictive bylaw that requires significant enforcement,” as well as more costly homeowner liability insurance as it requires the City be named an additional insured party. Lightbourne noted that according to a policy that will direct how the bylaw is to be enforced, enforcement would only be done when the encroachment causes challenges for City operations, such as snow plowing. “This bylaw gives us the power to enforce it when it becomes an issue,” Lightbourne said. Further arguments followed, with Spooner and Humpherys siding with Lightbourne, and Weaver crediting Boyce with raising an important concern. Boyce was not in favour of the motion on the grounds that the draft text promotes selective enforcement of bylaws and would require significant enforcement. Humpherys also noted that the bylaw should clarify exclusions related to art installations and commemorative benches, which Lightbourne indicated would be added to second reading.
Retaining Elements and Landscaping Features Encroachment (AD-19)
The motion CARRIED, with Boyce opposed.
STAFF REPORTS AND UPDATES
Request for Council Decision – Community Grant Funding Applications for 2024
Councillors completed an initial adjudication of Community Grant Funding applications for 2024. Prior to adjudication, Morel commented that “as usual, we are seriously over-prescribed,” with just over $119K available to respond to $204K in requests among 17 applicants. This grant program is funded through a total of five per cent of property tax revenue, and substantial allocations have already been made with long-term agreements. Applicants can apply to up to four years of funding in the current round, and funding for subsequent years can be reviewed and amended at a later date. Councillors reviewed and evaluated each application according to robust criteria.
Morel invited members of the public to comment to their applications if they had new information to add; there were no comments. Kwiatkowski declared a conflict of interest for the Rossland Winter Carnival application and abstained from allocating funding to the society.
Spooner noted that the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society (LCAHS) was a regional organization, and asked Patricia Marshall-Thompson, in attendance as the Vice President of the Board for the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society (LCAHS), to clarify the request for the City of Rossland to fund the project. Marshall Thompson responded that the City’s grant program was the first to be opened and that LCAHS will be applying to all other funding avenues as they become available.
As the adjudication proceeded, all but one of the 17 applicants reached the minimum threshold of four councillors in favour in order to proceed to funding allocation. The exception was the Greater Trail Stingrays, ultimately unsuccessful in their request for funding support to cover non-TRP usage fees.
Councillors then called out their recommended funding allocation per application, with Kennedy recording average amounts in real time. He clarified that Council was not required to allocate all available funds, and that any leftover funds would be put into a specific account to allow Council flexibility to address urgent ad hoc requests throughout the year.
Approval of finalized funding amounts for each of the 16 successful applicants will be completed at next Council meeting.
Request for Council Decision – Climate Action Plan Request for Proposals (RFP) Award
The motion CARRIED to award the Climate Action Plan contract to WSP in the amount of $59,201 (GST excluded), with Boyce and Spooner abstaining due to conflict of interest.
For Information Only – City Reports for Council Information for the Month of November 2023
Boyce commented that in the Eye On Water Report, the City seems to have slowed in acquiring new users to the system, which connects users to supported water utility accounts and tracks their latest water usage, detects leaks, and discovers trends for of usage. She asked whether the City can explore incentives, such as a small discount on water usage, in order to encourage people to sign up. Teasdale responded that the City remains interested in exploring ways to continue reducing overall water usage.
REQUESTS ARISING FROM CORRESPONDENCE
Request for Council Decision – 2024 JL Crowe Grad Class Fundraiser – Christmas Tree Collection & Recycling
The request to issue a one-time donation of $1,000 to the graduating class of JL Crowe Secondary in exchange for the collection and delivery of Christmas Trees to the McKelvey Creek Regional Landfill was APPROVED. Lamont commented that existing green waste recycling systems within Rossland were filling up, and that City’s recommendation was to bring the trees to the landfill for chipping.
Request for Council Decision – School District No. 20 (Kootenay-Columbia) Jubilee Field License to Occupy Extension
Council APPROVED a one-year extension to the School District No. 20 (Kootenay-Columbia) Jubilee Field License to Occupy. Boyce commented that she attended her first drop-in class through Rossland Recreation, being Gym Class Heroes, and that it was fun and she encourages everyone to join.
MEMBER REPORTS & INQUIRIES (INCLUDING NOTICE OF MOTIONS)
Morel attended many events since last meeting, including a meeting to affirm and extend Betty Anne Marino as the RDKB representative to the Columbia Basin Trust board. “She’s been an excellent representative for us,” said Morel. He also commented on an event at Teck, where he learned that Teck is undergoing a major carbon storage initiative in which the company plans to drill deep below the surface in Waneta, around Trimac, in order to sequester and store carbon. The project would turn carbon into rock, Morel summarized.
Morel also attended a meeting with other mayors of resort municipalities in BC, where there was wide support to continue advocating for more funding from the Municipal & Regional District Tax Program (MRDT), a program that applies an up-to three percent tax to sales of short-term accommodation provided in participating areas, and distributes the funding to local tourism marketing, programs, and projects. The mayors of resort municipalities also discussed short-term rentals (STRs), a hot topic for all. Morel heard “nightmare stories from communities trying to hold back STRs amidst a lack of any policy to constrain,” and noted that Rossland was ahead of the curve. Kimberley in particular is being challenged with STRs that become “party houses” and is considering substantial fines if police are called.
Kwiatkowski, in her role as representative of the Rossland Winter Carnival, stated that the society received “verbal confirmation that there will be insurance for a bobsled race this year.” The society is waiting for an official quote. One of the reasons that the society is seeing progress on this operational challenge is that “we were able to tick the box that we haven’t had any claims in the last five years,” said Kwiatkowski. “We’re building back. More to come.”
Other member updates included planned upgrades by FortisBC for electric charging infrastructure, Weaver attending Chamber of Commerce event and subsequently joining the Chamber.
The meeting ADJOURNED.