COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council meeting, January 8, 2024

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
January 9th, 2024

A contentious draft bylaw on STRs and a packed public gallery; that first F-bomb; encroachments on City property; Strategic Plan Update; Winter Carnival getting some snow – keep your fingers crossed for more!

PRESENT: Mayor Andy Morel and Councillors Maya Provençal, Lisa Kwiatkowski, Stuart Spooner (via Zoom), Jeff Weaver, Craig Humpherys, and Eliza Boyce. Staff: CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Anonuevo, Executive Assistant Rachel Newton, Chief Financial Officer Mike Kennedy, Manager of Operations Scott Lamont, Manager of Recreation & Events Kristi Calder, and City Planner Stacey Lightbourne.


The public gallery was packed and overflowing into the hallway.

Most were there to talk about the proposed Short-Term Rental bylaw, but first, a representative of the BC Public works Association spoke via Zoom to announce that Rossland is the recipient of a 2023 award – for the excellence of Rossland’s Public Works department’s “Public Education Day” which introduced school children to the functions and realities of municipal Public Works.

Manager of Public Works Scott Lamont received a little gift box from Mayor Andy Morel, and introduced his new deputy, Josh Solman.

Short-term rentals (STRs): About twenty people spoke, all of them opposing the draft new bylaw as written. Each speaker was vigorously applauded by the gallery.

Many pointed out the unfairness of “changing the rules in mid-stream” and shutting down STRs owned by people who have relied on the current system, followed all the rules and requirements and spent large amounts of money to build or adapt premises for STRs – at least one of whom has only just completed the work and hasn’t even had the opportunity to rent it to anyone yet.

One person asked if the City had done an economic impact study. Several stated that if the new bylaw is imposed in its current form, their lives will change drastically; Andrew Zwicker said that the proposed regulations would “make life here unaffordable” for him and his family.

Angela Price, who has operated Angela’s B&B for 44 years and her guest house for 24 years, said she thinks the City is trying to do the right thing regarding rentals, but “this is not the way.” She also said she thinks applying the regulations to “old town” but not the rest of Rossland, “is not f**king fair.” (Morel commented that this was “the first F-bomb in the new City Hall – the first public one, that is.” Laughter ensued.)

People pointed out that visitors in “old town” STRs appreciate being in town and able to walk to the downtown restaurants and stores. Several people related their personal situations, and explained how the proposed regulations would adversely affect not only their finances but also their personal lives.

Red Barn Lodge owner Anthony Bell spoke, saying that he has been in the business for 25 years, and STRs “are not the cash cow that many people seem to think they are.” He said he appreciates what the City is trying to do, but doesn’t agree that this bylaw, as written, is the way to do it.

Two non-STR residents also spoke, opposing the draft bylaw.


  1. Encroachment Bylaw # 2829:

This bylaw sets out how the City may deal with encroachments on City property, such as retaining walls and other landscaping work, paving, buildings, pools, signs, benches, trees and shrubs, and so on. Bylaws are usually created to address a problem; in this case, the problem arose when the City needed to work on sewer or water lines on a City right-of-way – a laneway – and found that the work was seriously impeded by landscaping work done on the City property by neighbouring property-owners. That situation was not unique in Rossland; hence the bylaw. If brief, if people place things on City property, they must be prepared to remove them, or pay the City to remove them.

In discussion, Humpherys asked if the signs (he doesn’t like them, he explained) placed along some trails would constitute encroachments; Lightbourne explained that they were approved by the City and put in place by Tourism Rossand.

Boyce commented that she finds the bylaw “too draconian” and opposes it.

Motions to give the bylaw second and third readings CARRIED with Boyce and Humpherys opposed.

2. Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2828 — Short Term Rental Regulations

Council discussed a motion to give the bylaw first reading, and revising it before the next meeting.

Humpherys thanked the gallery for their opinions, and said he does not understand why Rossland needs stricter regulations than the ones recently introduced by the Province, and he does not support the draft bylaw.

Provençal cited several examples of studies on the topic, and said that all the research she has seen supports strict limits on STRs. She also said that while both the surveys done by the City, and the OCP, are important, they conflict; and the OCP should take priority. She grew up in Rossland, often in rental premises, and commented that “leaving it up to the market would not ensure that marginalized people’s needs are met.” She favours grandfathering current STRs.

Weaver said he had read everyone’s letters, and praised the courage of all who came to speak. He stated that STR’s “are out of control in Revelstoke” and does not want that to happen here. He supports the intent of the bylaw, but does not want to penalize current STR operators. He suggests that current STR should be able to continue, but that their licence to operate should not be transferable with the property in the event of a sale.

Boyce said that she favours allowing all current STRs to continue, including people who have already obtained building permits to enable them to operate a STR. She noted that having STRs in town encourages visitors to patronize local businesses.

Spooner said that he is happy with the Provincial regulations, and agrees with many of the points made by the gallery. He also thinks that duplexes should be treated like stand-alone residences for this purpose.

Kwiatkowski noted that this is not the City’s first conversation on the topic, and pointed out that the OCP imposes a mandate to protect long term housing. She thinks the direction of the bylaw is correct, but favours grandfathering existing STRs.

Morel noted that the other 13 Resort Municipalities are also struggling with these issues, and that he will likely support grandfathering current STRs.

The motion to give the bylaw first reading (on the understanding that subsequent motions would be incorporated into the draft bylaw before second reading) CARRIED, with Humpherys and Spooner opposed.

Boyce wanted to reduce the parking space requirements, saying she didn’t think street parking was much of a problem. Lamont stated that street parking is a problem – vehicles parked on the streets impede snow removal operations, and City crews cannot access those places to do their jobs.

Weaver proposed a motion that existing STRs be allowed to continue operating, but that the STR licience would not be transferable when the property sells. The motion CARRIED, with Humpherys and Spooner opposed.

Humpherys commented that RED should be pressured to build staff accommodation. The gallery applauded. Morel said, “That conversation will continue.”


  1. 1969 Cook Avenue: The owner wishes to build a duplex, and seeks two variances – one to reduce the front setback from four metres to zero, and one to allow for a six-metre wide driveway – a variance of two metres. A motion to allow both variances CARRIED unanimously.
  2. 2031 McLeod Avenue: The owner seeks a variance to allow a small building with a zero front setback in the front yard – below the retaining wall that supports McLeod Avenue. A motion to allow the variance CARRIED unanimously.


The Museum is planning the next stage of its improvements; this application is for a new addition to the building, with a new ramp and pathway. A motion to approve the permit CARRIED unanimously.


A Motion to renew the Heather Anderson 2024 Regional Agreement for age-friendly services in Rossland, Warfield and Trail CARRIED unanimously.


Background, from the Council package: Council originally reviewed the current 2022–2026 Strategic Plan in a facilitated workshop with an external consultant in mid-January of 2023, and formally adopted it the following month. Council reviewed the Plan again at a Committee-of-the-Whole meeting in November, 2023, and the document now reflect changes suggested then.

A motion to approve the draft 2022 – 2026 Strategic Plan (2024 update) as presented CARRIED unanimously.


Council then approved the monthly cheque register and reviewed the regular “for information only” monthly reports:

Building Permit Report

Building Permit Inspections by Type

Step Code Energy Rebates

Public Works and Water Production Report

Eye on Water Report

Bylaw Compliance Monthly Report


  • Winter Carnival: Council reviewed requests from the Winter Carnival Committee, and passed motions assist with the Carnival by:

    closing Queen Street for one block South of Columbia Avenue for the Winter Carnival Ice Palace from 8:00am Wednesday, January 24th until 8:00pm, Sunday, January 28th, 2024

Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL):

A motion to provide CBAL with a letter of support for their submission to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada CARRIED.


Boyce asked if Rossland is able to impose a vacancy tax; Teasdale answered, No – we are not one of the municipalities empowered to do that.

Kwiatkowski reported that currently, plans are to go ahead with the bobsked race, the rail jam, and the ice palace, and that formal decisions will be made on the 19th based on what’s feasible.

Spooner reported that the next mine review meeting (regarding the proposal for a magnesium mine on Record Ridge) is scheduled for Valentine’s Day, and he will be attending.

Morel reported that RDKB meetings will begin this week.


Council closed the remainder of the meeting to the public pursuant to section 90(1)(a): to discuss personal information about an identifiable individual who holds or is being considered for a position as an officer, employee, or agent of the municipality or another position appointed by the municipality, of the Community Charter.

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Editorializing: Homeward bound, your reporter contemplated the difficulties of decision-making, and thought of the book by Dietrich Dörner, “The Logic of Failure – Recognizing and Avoiding Error in Complex Situations” – which all decision-makers, and all those who criticize their decisions, could benefit from reading. I find Chapter One particularly enlightening, with its examples of attempts to solve simulated problems in complex situations, and the outcomes of different styles of decision-making.

One later passage came to mind (from pp. 98-99):

Anyone who has a lot of information, thinks a lot, and by thinking increases his understanding of a situation will have not less but more trouble coming to a clear decision. To the ignorant, the world looks simple. If we pretty much dispense with gathering information, it is easy for us to form a clear picture of reality and come to decisions based on that picture.

Needless to say — but I’m saying it anyway — that “clear” picture will be very incomplete, will omit much of reality, and decisions based on it will be at high risk of failure.

Here’s to well-informed decision-makers.

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