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COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council meeting, September 20, 2022

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

CORRECTION:  The All-Candidates Forum at the RSS gym will be on October 5.

All-candidates forum at RSS gym on October 5, thanks to Rotary; new energy for Rossland Curling Club; a shiny new Vactor truck; Harry Lefevre Square and Rossglen Park improvements postponed; “Discover Rossland” is on September 22 at the Miners Hall; and more.

Present:Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Stewart Spooner, Andy Morel, and Chris Bowman.   Absent:  Janice Nightingale, Terry  Miller, and Dirk Lewis.  Staff Present:  CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo, CFO Mike Kennedy, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Manager of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont and our new Deputy Manager of Operations Ryan Iddery.

Moore read out the City’s Territorial Acknowledgement.

Public Input Period:

Merv McConnachie announced that Rossland Rotary will be hosting an all-candidates forum at the RSS gym, on October 5, instead of the earlier date previously planned at the Miners Hall, because they need more space – given that previous attendance at such forums has exceeded the safe number for the space in the Miners Hall.

A resident spoke on behalf of the new Curling Club executive, elected just last night. He announced that they are willing to work completely transparently and cooperatively with the City, and want to do everything they can to ensure a new curling season.  He said that most of the members are willing to pay more for membership fees, but that the Clubs needs to operate sustainably, and has been losing money – over $3000 last year.  He said that even if the club increases its fees by 30%, they still cannot afford a 30% increase in the lease of the facility.

Moore asked if they have a specific request; he responded that they haven’t yet had time to quantify a request.  Bowman suggested that the club apply for a grant under the COVID Community Support fund.

A member of the Rossland Arena Society spoke to express support for the Curling Club and willingness to do whatever they can to help.

Moore offered congratulations to the new board of the Curling Club.

BYLAW:

Permissive Tax Exemptions Bylaw # 2793:

A motion to adopt the bylaw, discussed and finalized in earlier meetings, CARRIED unanimously.

POLICIES:

Electric Transportation Policy Update:

A motion to approve the amended policy  CARRIED unanimously.  The staff materials provided for this meeting explain that the purpose of the policy is “to encourage City employees and Council to reduce the emissions associated with commuting to work by assisting City Employees and Council in purchasing electric bicycle and electric vehicles for personal use, by providing a loan. The proposed amendments seek to expand the Policy to additional low emission based means of transportation and to adjust eligible loan amounts upward to reflect cost increases since the policy was initially enacted.”

The information provided also included the total cost to the City in foregone interest income ($114 so far) and noted that the CRA treats the interest-free loan as a taxable benefit to those who take advantage of it.

Respectful Workplace Policy:

A motion to approve the policy as amended CARRIED unanimously, though Spooner commented that it seemed highly prescriptive and detailed; then Moore made suggestions that would clarify some of the detail – and made a  motion to amend the amended policy.  Moore’s motion for CARRIED before the vote on the amended motion. The original amendments consisted of clarifying and expanding on the expectations around workplace behaviour and treatment of City employees.

Social Media Policy (new):

A motion to approve the new policy  CARRIED unanimously.  The meeting materials explained, “It is considered to be an organizational best management practice to provide a code of conduct to explain how the City interacts with the public on our social media platforms. The Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act applies to social media content and therefore content must be able to be managed, stored and retrieved to comply with the Act.” 

OTHER BUSINESS:

Resort Development Strategy 2022 -- 2024:

Rossland is a Resort Municipality and receives funding under the Resort Municipality Initiative.  To be eligible for that funding, Rossland must have an approved Resort Development Strategy in place that meets the Provincial requirements.  A  motion to approve the updated Resort Development Strategy as submitted CARRIED unanimously.

Vactor Truck Replacement – award of contract:

A motion to approve the award  of contract for delivery of a 2024 Combination Vac/Hydro Truck to Vimar Equipment in the amount of $547,668.23 (inclusive of trade-in and PST), CARRIED unanimously.

Review and award of Rossglen Park Improvements RFP:

A motion to reject the only submission received in response to the RFP, and to revisit the project in 2023 CARRIED unanimously.

Review and award of Harry Lefevre Square Improvements RFP:

A motion to reject the single submission received in response to the RFP, as it significantly exceeded the allocated amount,  and to consider other options in 2023, CARRIED unanimously.

Heritage Statement of Significance – Chinese Gardens:

A motion to approve the Statement of Significance for the Chinese Gardens area of Lower Rossland  CARRIED, with only Spooner opposed; he thought these have consequences for some owners of property.  He asked, “Where does it end?”

Award of contract for 2022-2024 Financial Statement Audit Services: 

A  motion to approve the appointment of Grant Thornton to audit the City of Rossland’s Financial Statements for the years 2022-2024, for $75,050, CARRIED unanimously.  Grant Thornton has done the City’s audits for the past five years and was the lowest bidder on the RFP. In recommending Grant Thornton as the winning bidder, City staff assessed the submissions based on the following criteria:  Understanding of Engagement - 10%;  Experience with Municipal Audits - 10%;  Personnel - 10%: Audit Implementation / Methodology - 10%;  Additional Services - 10%;  References - 10%;  Audit Fee - 40%.

COVID Community Support Fund:

With a total of $6,511 remaining in the Fund for the remainder of this year, after which time the fund is exhausted, the City received one application for funding for this intake:  Rossland  Mountain film Festival applied for a grant of $5000.  A motion to approve the application CARRIED. 

(Information Only) 2023-2027 Five Year Financial Plan Preview:   

The Chief Financial Officer’s preview of the City’s financial plan for the next five years provides an overview of how the City’s finances work. The report is on pages 104 to 139 of the Council package for this meeting.

All-candidates forum:

Rossland Rotary had submitted a letter requesting that the City waive the usual fees for use of the Miner’s Union Hall  so that the Rossland Rotary Club and host an All-candidates Forum  on September 28, but now the request has changed to cover the cost of a forum at the RSS gym on October 5.  After a brief discussion, a motion to cover those expenses – rental and insurance – CARRIED unanimously.

RSS Water Tower Mural Proposal:

A motion to approve a proposal from the RSS Grade Nine French Immersion class for a mural for Rossland’s water tower FAILED, with Spooner and Bowman opposed. With only a bare quorum of four Council members present, their opposition caused the demise of the motion.

Power and Pride Final Report: 

A motion to approve the 39-page Power and Pride Report, done for Rossland by Tara Howse and funded by a grant, CARRIED unanimously. 

Community Energy Association Program -- Inspiring Youth Action in Community Retrofit and Weatherization Programs:  

A motion that Council provide a letter of support to the Community Energy Association for their proposal to Natural Resources Canada for the Inspiring Youth Action in Community Retrofit and Weatherization Programs CARRIED unanimously.

Manger of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont introduced Ryan Iddery, Rossland’s new deputy manager of operations.

Member Reports (selected highlights only):

Moore – reported that Golden City Days was “a huge success,”  and that the UBCM got though all its resolutions this year.  She noted that “Discover Rossland” is on September 22 at the Miners Union Hall, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.

Moore moved that the City extend the Curling Club’s contract at the old rate for one year while the new board gets organized.  Spooner said he’s not prepared to go back to the old rate.  The motion FAILED with Spooner and Morel opposed.  Spooner moved that the City let the Curling Club know that a new lease with a 15% increase will be acceptable.  The motion CARRIED unanimously.

The meeting adjourned, and your reporter wandered home, feeling the increasing chill of the evening as summer ends, and contemplating questions to ask all the candidates for Rossland’s next City Council – for publication soon!  Watch this space. (Please!)