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COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council meeting, August 8, 2022

Rossland's Miners Union Hall in 2017; photo credit -- City of Rossland

Dealing with compost; a shift in Short Term Rentals; moving the OCP along; the return of Golden City Days, the Fall Fair, and Huck’n’Berries; an RDKB report; and – beware, scofflaws -- the Bylaw Enforcement Officer has “flexible" hours!

Present:  Mayor Kathy Moore and Councillors Terry Miller, Chris Bowman, Janice Nightingale,  Stewart Spooner and Andy Morel; by Zoom, Dirk Lewis.  Staff present:  CAO Bryan Teasdale, Manager of Operations Scott Lamont, CFO Mike Kennedy, Manager of Recreation and Events Kristi Calder, and Rachel Newton; by Zoom, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne.

Mayor Moore read out the City’s Territorial Acknowledgement.

Public Input Period:

Laura Pettitt said she thought the 80 and 120-litre bins are “a bit excessive” and costly. She suggested that centralizing the gathering of organics might help.

A response from Indea D’Aigle of Bear Smart pointed out that smaller containers are more subject to just being hauled away by bears, and are easier for them to damage and get into.

Delegations:

1.       Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society: 

Jan Morton (President) and, by Zoom, Spencer Andres addressed Council on the matter of a possible permissive tax exemption for the housing portion of Rossland Yards.  Morton said that the Society now owns and operates 19 affordable housing properties between Rossland and Trail. She spoke about the focus on workforce housing, needed for those who keep Rossland’s economy functioning – workers.  She pointed out four priorities from the City’s OCP that the residential portion of Rossland Yards fits. She mentioned the amount of grant funding the project has brought into the community – over 7 million dollars.  She also pointed out that the Society’s only source of funding is the rent collected from its units, and the costs they must pay to maintain their buildings. She also mentioned the unexpected costs that can happen without warning, such as one of the Society’s buildings that was hit by lightning, knocking out the door-opening system  and necessitating an expensive replacement.  She urged Council to approve the full five-year program, culminating in the fifth year with full payment of taxes.

Bowman asked what level of uptake the society expects; Morton answered that she thinks it is likely to take around three months to achieve full occupancy.

Miller asked if the tax exemption was part of the Society’s plan from the beginning, and Morton said, yes, it had been.

2.       Rossland Bear Smart Task Force:

Indea D'Aigle,  Chair,  presented an update with initial recommendations, supported by Scott Leyland. She proposed that Rossland engage in a pilot program, with communal organic waste bins, distributed in different neighbourhoods. 

She suggested allocating the limited number of bear-resistant bins that will be provided by the RDKB to higher-risk neighbourhoods in Rossland, such as Pinewood.

Request for Council Decision:  Regional Organic Diversion Program (Green BinAllocations for City of Rossland):

A motion committing Rossland to maintain the City’s current mix of green bin allocations for the program, as per the RDKB’s original grant application figures, CARRIED with only Miller opposed.

Bylaws:

Climate Action Reserve Fund Bylaw  #2794: 

A motion to give the bylaw first, second and third readings CARRIED unanimously.  The bylaw contains provisions to bring Rossland’s legislation up to date and in line with current government funding requirements for climate action initiatives.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2791:

For 953 Redstone Drive, proposed Lots 17 &18, to be zoned  C3 - Commercial Resort Accommodation/Commercial:  A motion to give the bylaw third reading CARRIED unanimously, as did a further motion to adopt the bylaw.

Short term rentals:

Nightingale moved the alternative motion, which favours restricting residential short-term rentals: “That Council direct staff to draft bylaw amendments as identified in the staff report on August 8, 2022 and bring them to Council for further consideration AND FURTHER THAT staff initiate further community consultation on the proposed bylaw amendments.” The motion CARRIED unanimously.

Lewis asked if the City could remove the  STR status of a property on a change of ownership; Lightbourne responded that she would have to do research before answering. 

Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 2792:

For residents interested in viewing the proposed bylaw, it can be found in the materials for this Council meeting, starting at Page 135 and continuing through to Page 359. Please allow sufficient time for the material to download -- there is a total of 733 pages of Council material for this meeting.

A motion to give the bylaw -- the culmination of months of preparation and public input and meetings -- first and second readings, CARRIED unanimously.

A further motion to confirm that Council has considered the proposed Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 2792in conjunction with the City of Rossland Financial Plan (2021-2025) and the relevant waste management plans, and finds no significant conflicts, also CARRIED unanimously.

A further motion also CARRIED, to refer Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 2792 to the:
a. School District 20
b. Ministry of Transportation
c. Regional District Kootenay Boundary
d. Sinixt Nation, and
e. Interior Health Authority

And a further motion to schedule a Public Hearing on the OCP for September 6, 2022, CARRIED unanimously. 

Moore moved that the City add in the proposal that the City allow low-speed alternative electric vehicles (such as golf carts) on City streets, CARRIED with Nightingale, Lewis, and Spooner opposed. Spooner visualized a flock of golf carts looking for parking near Ferraro’s, and  Moore pointed out that golf carts take less space than most cars and trucks.

Policy Review:

Road, Sidewalk, Stair Snow Removal:

From the staff explanation introducing the amended policy:

“When the Supreme Court of Canada released the decision in Marchi v. the City of Nelson, a media stormerupted. Headlines proclaimed that local governments could now be sued for negligent snow clearing activities, and reporters began calling MIABC members asking if they now had to double their annual snow clearing budgets. But the decision in Marchi did not substantially change the law, rather it simply clarified its application. MIABC recommended that all cities and municipalities review their policies and bylaws.”

For residents interested the Supreme Court of Canada decision, a brief commenting on it and written for the Municipal Insurance Association is included in the Council materials for this meeting, starting at Page 369.

Theproposed amended 2022 Road Sidewalk Stair Snow Removal Policy is the result of the MIABC recommendation. Staff noted that the amended policy contains more detail detail than the existing version and can better guide staff in handling snow and ice removal operations, and that the improved level of detail can help the public to better understand the City’s approach to snow removal.

A motion to approve the amended policy CARRIED unanimously.

Permissive Tax Exemptions:

Staff sought direction from Council on two applications for Permissive Tax Exemption: one for the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society for the residential portion of the Rossland Yards,  and one for Golden City Manor Society.

Spooner moved to grant the permissive tax exemption for Rossland Yards as requested; the motion CARRIED after discussion.  Spooner, Morel, Miller, Moore, Bowman and Lewis supported the motion; Nightingale raised a number of objections and opposed the motion.

Nightingale moved to grant the 100% exemption to Golden City Manor for three years.  Spooner questioned how the Society verifies the income and asset levels of the residents to establish need for affordable housing.   Morel said he was not in favour of granting the exemption until the Society provides satisfactory answers to the vetting question. Nightingale said she’d like to see consistency – Golden City Manor has provided their guidelines and it isn’t fair to assume that they don’t enforce them.  Morel said he’d be in favour of granting a one-year exemption, and requiring them to “tighten up” their vetting processes in the meantime. Lewis commented that he’s “not convinced of the need” an does  not support the notion.  The motion CARRIED, four to three, with Lewis, Spooner and Morel opposed.

Development Variance Permit:   1841A Fourth Avenue

The applicant seeks permission to move one of two parking spaces from the alley just south of Fourth Avenue, to  Fourth Avenue. Manager of Operations Scott Lamont had provided a detailed explanation of how adding driveways challenges and creates greater demands on snow removal operations.

Council discussed the request and the added challenges regarding snow removal.  Nightingale and Spooner were concerned about the implications for the City’s snow removal operations. A  motion to allow the variance CARRIED five to two, with Spooner and Nightingale opposed.

Development Variance Permit:  2665 Spokane Street

The applicant seeks a reduced interior setback, from 1.8 metre to 0.85 metre, to build a new  non-encroaching garage to replace the current one that encroaches on City property.  A motion to allow the variance CARRIED unanimously.

Development Permit Application:  The Red Pair Shoe Store will occupy the premises formerly occupied by “Feather Your Nest,” and has applied for approval of signage.  A motion approving the proposed signage CARRIED unanimously.

Development Permit Application:  Red Mountain Resorts applied of a permit to construct a seating area and washroom around and near their “Taco Rojo” food truck, which will be moved to the base of the Topping Chair. The facility will be called Topping station; a motion approving the application CARRIED unanimously.

Child Care study: A  motion that Council approve sole sourcing Bock and Associates, and the allocation of $15,000 to provide the City with a Childcare Feasibility Study CARRIED unanimously.

Development Approval process modernization award:  A motion that  Council award the Development Approvals Process Modernization contract to Dillon Consulting Limited, in collaboration with Performance Concepts Consulting in the amount of $94,905 (GST excluded), CARRIED unanimously. 

Two proposals had been received, and Dillon was chosen because it “has significant qualifications and experience with Development Approvals reviews and have a larger depth of team members to draw from. They also indicated a completion date one month ahead of the RFP requirement.”

Covid Community Support Fund: the only applicant this month was the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society, and Spooner left the room for the discussion and vote.  KCTS applied for $1.200 to put on the Poker Run event. A motion to approve the funding CARRIED with Lewis opposed.

Council then officially approved the City’s list of invoices paid, and  perused the usual list of information items and reports, including a new format Bylaw Enforcement Report.  One council member asked what the Bylaw Enforcement Officer’s hours are, and Teasdale replied -- with a smile --“Flexible.”

Golden City Days, the Fall Fair and Huck’n Berries events had all submitted requests fo City support, and a motion to provide all the support requested CARRIED unanimously.

Members’ Reports:

Nightingale related various meeting and events she had attended.

Miller thanked the whole community for support during a tough time for his family.

Morel had supplied his report on recent RDKB activity, provided here without editing::

RDKB COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES:

Board and Staff Consultation – Climate Action Consultation/Workshop – July 7, 2022

• Workshop with Consultant, Pinna Consultation – Cariad Garrat. Review of public consultation on proposed Climate Action Plan questions – 250 members across Regional District. Draft version to be drafted for Sept. consideration by Board.

Policy and Personnel Committee – July 27, 2022

• Continued review and finetuning of Board Member Code of Conduct Policy. Review of Procurement and Purchasing Policy and Staff report on establishment of a new Disposal of Surplus Equipment.

Board Meeting – July 27, 2022

• Staff Report: Recommended special adjustment to purchase policy. Approved by Board to increase Staff authorization for procurement up to $100K without bid process. Required for a unique challenge for Environmental Services Manager for the McKelvey Project in procurement of equipment to support upgrades.

• Staff Report:  A staff report from Freya Phillips, Senior Energy Specialist, regarding the Province's new Local Government Climate Action Program - the RDKB Climate Action Reserve and Carbon Offset Reserve, is presented. The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Board of Directors directed staff to receive the funds in the General Government service and transfer the $85,082 to the ‘RDKB Climate Action Reserve Fund’ in General Government service for years 2022, 2023 and 2024; FURTHER, that the 2022-2026 Financial Plan Bylaw No. 1801 be amended accordingly.

• Good News! The Board of Directors approved the Gas Tax application submitted by the City of Rossland and Rossland Historical Museum and Archives Association and the allocation of Gas Tax funding for $50,000 from Electoral Area 'B'/Lower Columbia - Old Glory for the costs associated with the building upgrades.

[End of RDKB Report]

The Council meeting adjourned,and your reporter walked home in the warmth, wondering why anyone would want to have a fire in their backyard when the temperature outside is in the mid-twenties after sundown and when open fires, including campfires, “chimineas” and so on have been prohibited throughout our entire region, but there it was, blazing away and highly visible – making one wonder about the Bylaw Enforcement Officer’s flexible hours and where he might be at any given time.