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Council Matters: a climbing gym in the Miners Hall; neighbours oppose re-zoning; top cop wants more officers ...

Rossland City Council: Public Hearing and Regular Meeting, March 11, 2019

Public Hearing:  6:00 pm

For public input on Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2692, to re-zone 2770 Butte Street from R‐1‐Residential Single Detached to R‐1Infill Residential,  and  Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2693, to re-zone 1988 First Avenue from Short-term Rental to Infill Residential

Present:  Mayor Kathy Moore and Councillors Dirk Lewis, Janice Nightingale, Chris Bowman, Scott Forsyth, Stewart Spooner and Andy Morel.

Neighbours speak out:

Jack Irving made it clear that he’s in favour of development in Rossland, but considers the proposal to divide the property at 2770 Butte Street into four smaller lots  contrary to preserving the character of the neighbourhood.  He asked, what is the proposed use?  “We do  not want high, narrow cereal-box style dwellings that block the view.”  He addressed the issue of parking, and said there isn’t room for the required amount of off-street parking, which would compound the existing issue of cars parking on the street.  He said he could see creating two lots at this address, but not four.

Heather Kennedy spoke, noting that the plan is not consistent with the nature of the neighbourhood, and that a nearby corner is a dangerous one, where she once had an accident which was declared not her fault.

Another resident spoke in opposition to the re-zoning, agreeing with Jack Irving, and citing the tall, narrow home on McLeod Avenue as an example of what the nieghbours don't want.

Michelle Laurie spoke, explaining that she is one of the owners of the company that bought the lot, partly because she had some of the same concerns addressed by the previous speakers, and thought that dividing it into smaller lots would limit the height of buildings that could be built there. She and her family have just built a home right next to it, and don’t want anything ugly built on it.

Another resident pointed out that Laurie’s view would not be impacted by construction on the property, as their view is in another direction.  Another raised the issue of parking again, and the potential height of buildings on small lots – which would have a small footprint, and therefore be more likely to go up as far as possible. 

A neighbour directly across from the property in question shared the concerns of the previous speakers.

No one spoke to the re-zoning application for First Avenue.

Regular Meeting:

Public Input Period: 

Jason Ring, of Flux Climbing Ltd., offered to answer any questions about the agenda item on renting the large room downstairs in the Miners Union Hall to his business. 

Mayor Moore moved some items up in the agenda, but this report will deal with them in their original order.

Delegation:  Scott Leyland, for the Natural Control Alternatives Society, spoke about the communal bear-proof garbage bin that was located near the Museum.  He said that it was very successful; it runs on an honour system, and it was well used – Alpine Contracting had to empty it twice a week, and the proceeds covered the costs.  The only problem was that when it was over-full, the lid didn’t close properly, and a bear was able to pry the lid up and make a mess.  Leyland was able to install a mechanism preventing that from recurring.  MOT doesn’t want the bins there in snow season, because of plowing and snow storage issues.

Leyland’s request was that the City allow the Society to place its communal bear-proof garbage bin on City property, preferably in the area behind the Nelson and District Credit Union, because it’s central.

Spooner asked how much of a contribution is asked; Leyland responded that they ask the same amount as the McKelvey Creek landfill -- $4.00 per bag.  Spooner wondered whether the city ought to be providing that service; Leyland referred to the experience in Canmore, where the City-provided service was abused.  He also acknowledged that there was some abuse of the bins by the Museum, and he had done his best to clean it up.

Moore explained that Council would render a decision at the following Council meeting.

Council voted to approve the recommendations in the Design Review Panel  Minutes from February 26, 2019, that the proposed sign for “Jimmy’s Cannabis Shop” be approved.

Council received and reviewed the 2018 TRP Subsidy Report.  Spooner suggested that Council should defer to the Task Force, keep the amount of the fund the same ($10,000), and see how  much gets used.  (At the end of 2018, any unused amount in 2018 was redistributed to the groups that had applied.)

Lewis preferred to stick with the policy as it is, and just see how much of the fund is used, and roll any remainder over to the next year.  Nightingale pointed out that teams are “choosing” to use Trail facilities because Rossland doesn’t have the ones they’re going to Trail to use, and it’s less expensive to subsidize those uses to some extent than to build such facilities in Rossland.    Morel said the sees this as a “stop-gap measure” until the Recreation Task Force can “bring forth a brilliant solution.”

A motion to leave the policy the same for the time being CARRIED unanimously.

Policy Review:

Council then went on to its regular policy review work, and voted to approve the Bylaw & Policy Enforcement Policy, as amended.  Nightingale asked about the “directly affected” requirement, and was assured that people are “directly affected”  by such tings as excessive idling, smoking in the downtown core, illegal burning and so on. Bowman asked about the “in person” requirement, and Teasdale clarified that mere hearsay isn’t adequate.  Morel asked if the policy should specify that a written complaint is always required.  Teasdale explained that a phone complaint will be received if the caller is unable send an email, but can provide enough information.   A motion to approve the amended policy CARRIED unanimously.

Council also unanimously re-confirmed the Employee Training and Professional Development Policy and then the  Equipment Loan Policy.

Council voted unanimously to approve the Streetlight Policy as amended.

Bylaws:

Council voted on Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2692, to re-zone 2770 Butte Street from R‐1‐Residential Single Detached to R‐1 Infill Residential.  Lewis understood the concerns expressed by the neighbours at the Public Hearing, but felt that the change would meet Rossland’s needs for densification.  Nightingale agreed, as did Morel, who commented that Council has been diligent in adhering to requirements.  Lightbourne pointed out that the next stage would be a subdivision application, and that would be where driveways and snow storage issues would be dealt with.  Spooner said he has mixed feelings about tis one; he approves of the densification,  but is also sympathetic to neighbours who have enjoyed a lovely view, but can’t see that it should be made the deciding factor.  Forsyth agreed.

The motion to give third reading to the re-zoning bylaw CARRIED unanimously. At that point, most of the audience in the gallery got up and left.

Council then voted  unanimously to give third reading to Bylaw # 2693, to re-zone 1988 First Avenue from  R1 Short Term  Rental to R1 Infill Residential.

New!  Proposed Check-out Bag Regulation Bylaw

Council voted on First Reading to a DRAFT bylaw aimed at reduction in single-use plastic bags in Rossland, and to initiate public consultation, and to direct staff to develop a preliminary plan for amendment or implementation.   City Planner Stacy Lightbourne presented Council with an extensive discussion and analysis of initiatives so far in other municipalities.

Lewis commented that the check-out bags are the “low-hanging fruit” and thinks it should extend to other single-use plastics as well.   Nightingale liked getting the issue on the books and involving the public, and  noted the court case “lesson” that the focus of a bylaw must be how the use of single-use plastics affect the municipality and its services.  Morel reported a conversation with Tim Dueck of the RDKB, who said that plastics are about 30% of our waste stream.  Bowman thinks `this is a great start.``  Moore emphasized that we are running out of space in our landfill.  Forsyth asked who the community members and groups are who are interested in the issue; Moore mentioned a few.

The motion to give the bylaw first reading CARRIED unanimously.

RED gets an amendment to a Development Permit:

In September of 2018, Council approved a Development Permit for an addition to the Base Lodge, to house all the functions that have been housed in temporary structures, on condition that those structures be removed by a certain date.  The planned addition would not have sufficient space for all the functions required, so RED proposes to build a separate, 3000 square-foot structure to accommodate them all, instead of the originally-planned addition to the Lodge.

Council voted unanimously to approve the amendment to the Development Permit.

A climbing wall in the Miners Union Hall:  Council reviewed and voted to approve an agreement between the City and Flux Climbing Ltd., to lease the Lodge Room in the Miners Hall for a five-year rental agreement, at a rent of $1,750 per month, for a bouldering /climbing gym.  An amendment to the motion ties the rent to the Consumer Price Index.

Nightingale thinks it’s a great opportunity to increase the City’s revenues from the Miners’ Union Hall.  Morel isn’t convinced that this is the best location for it, and is concerned about the multi-use of the Miners Hall – he’s concerned that noise will conflict with other usages. Kristi Calder pointed out that  the agreement takes that into account – staff can require that sound levels are reduced for such events as the Gold Fever Follies, movies, and especially during celebrations of life.

Bowman commented that he’s conflicted because there aren‘t that  many venues in town suitable for the arts.  Morel raised the issue of parking, and hoped that walking to the climbing facility would be encouraged. 

The  motion to approve the amended agreement CARRIED unanimously.

Council reviewed the 2018 / 2019 Youth Action Network Interim Report.

Sergeant Mike Wicentowich of the Trail RCMP sent Council a detailed and well-supported  proposal for a two-staff-member increase to the local detachment; a  motion to support the proposal by forwarding the proposal to the Province CARRIED, and Council requested Teasdale to talk with the other local communities about it.

Council received the annual Water Report, and the latest Building Permit Report, and the Bylaw Enforcement Report.

Members’ Reports:

Lewis spoke on behalf of the Sustainability Commission (SC),  with a motion to appoint Sarah Heyer to the SC, which CARRIED unanimously.  The SC is looking for additional members.  He also reported that the Rossland Society for Environmental Action (RSEA) is hosting two wetland events here, including a wetland classification course.  The Rossland Public Library AGM will be on May 15 – the Library is seeking two new volunteers for the board; retiring chair Adam Howse has reached his eight-year limit as board chair.  The Library is also seeking “Rossland Reads” volunteer debaters. 

Bowman reported on behalf of the Heritage Commission that “Heritage Week went off without a hitch!”  He was pleased with the response to the Public Input Session about the proposed Emcon lot development at the Open House last week.

Nightingale reported on her attendance at meetings, including the first Recreation Task Force meeting and the “Elected Officials Seminar” in Kimberley at the end of February.  Also attending the EOS were Moore, Morel, Lewis, and Bowman; Nightingale explained that this was a very worthwhile exercise, with seminars on procedure, governance, finance, and planning;  she said the “biggest take-away was the strong base of knowledge and support our staff have given us to work with,” especially in comparison with some of the other attendees.

Morel reported on the RDKB  meetings.  He  noted that, according to the head RCMP officer in Nelson,  there has been an increase in drug trafficking in the Kootenays. He stated that the East End Services Committee directors voted to support the evaluation of the RDKB regional fire and emergency service, and its rising costs; several RDKB directors agree that the service’s escalating costs aren’t sustainable.

Spooner attended the Recreation Task Force meeting and a LCCDT meeting on improving the north-south transportation corridor.

Moore reported that Aaron Cosbey was elected chair of the Recreation Task Force. She expressed excitement about the next phase of the Kootenay  Boundary Regional Hospital improvement plan: the Ambulatory Care and Pharmacy Project (for details, please see separate article on this.)

Council recessed to an in camera session, and your reporter perambulated home on alternating stretches of ice and gravel, thinking thoughts of springtime and wondering how long it will take for the badly neglected garden to re-appear and demand attention.