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COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council meetings, June 20, 2022

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

Committee of the Whole talks recreation; Praise for financial statements; Crisis for the Curling Club;  Dumpsters for the arena parking lot, coming soon; our Bylaw Enforcement Officer will be official; various variances . . . and more

Present:  Acting Mayor Andy Morel and Councillors Dirk Lewis, Terry Miller, Stewart Spooner, Janice Nightingale, and Chris Bowman.  Staff: Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo, Manager of Recreation & Events Kristi Calder;  starting with the regular meeting at 6:00 pm: Manager of Public Works Scott Lamont, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, 

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING – 4:00 PM

Council heard from Expedition Consulting Ltd. about the process for developing Rossland’s Recreation Master Plan, and responded to questions about it.  See separate article for details.

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – 6:00 PM

Morel repeated the official land acknowledgement.

Public Input Period: 

Wes Meager spoke regarding  the Rossland Curling Society.  He opined that the City calculation of utilities and the curling club’s assigned share of those is “oversimplified, inaccurate and unfair.”  He listed the differences between the power-use of the arena and the curling rink; suggested that the City reconsider their formula and invited City staff to go over it with him.

Delegations:

1.        Grant Thornton LLP, Municipal Auditors: 

Ms. Ashley Ruggiero provided a brief summary of the City’s audit for the year ending December 31, 2021.  She reported that the audit opinion was “clean” – no issues with the financial statements.  She rapidly summarized the financial statements, one portion of which reads, 

“The City of Rossland is fortunate to have many natural assets that reduce the need for engineered infrastructure that would otherwise be required. This includes the numerous creeks, ditches, forests and wetlands, all of which contribute to rain-water management. Canadian public sector accounting standards do not currently allow for the valuation and recording of such assets into the financial statements of the City. As such, these natural assets are not reported in these financial statements. Nevertheless, the City acknowledges the importance of these assets and the need to manage them in conjunction with engineered infrastructure.”

Morel took a moment to thank CFO Mike Kennedy, and the other staff members who contributed their efforts for this work.

2.       Rossland Curling Club:

Mike Amann and Zak Nixon presented material challenging the City’s assessment of Curling Club’s share of arena expenses and the 30% increase in the cost of their agreement with City.

Amann noted that the curling club provides winter activities for residents and visitors of all ages. He took issue with the split of expenses, as noted by Wes Meager in Public Input.  He said that Covid has impacted their activities – a significant reduction in their membership. Their members’ fees are based on the amount they have to pay the City, plus other expenses they pay.  They had 327 sheets curled; three years ago, that number was 460. 

He requested that Council revisit the lease agreement for the curling club, and said that until they receive more information for the City, they cannot agree to the new agreement.

Spooner asked Amann what he hoped to accomplish – raise membership numbers?

Nixon said, we can’t manage with a 30% increase in cost, plus a 30% loss in members, in one year – “that’s punitive.”

Bowman asked what a fair increase would be – Nixon said, two to five percent would be reasonable.  Morel commented that the City is trying to move closer to having users pay more of the costs of facilities.

Nightingale requested the society’s financials; he said that they are available and can be looked up.

Miller asked whether the unfairness was principally in the split of expenses between the rink and the curling lanes, or is it because they fear that members cannot afford the additional cost.

Morel thanked them and said that Council will consider their positions; Nixon said the club would like to participate in discussions and could bring their financial statements.

Temporary Garbage Drop Off Program in City Limits:

After discussion of  security and the possibility of installing cameras to  monitor the site,  Nightingale said she would prefer Option 2 – to leave the bins at the Museum; status quo.  Bowman pointed out that Option 1, recommended by Staff, would be informative and perhaps useful. Morel noted that waste disposal will be changing in a little over a year.  Spooner emphasized that he would like some form of surveillance; and expressed concern that the bin(s) be emptied often enough.  A motion for Option 1, to direct staff to work with the Natural Control Alternatives Society and install two bear proof Garbage containers for the residents of Rossland at the City arena parking lot for a trial period until October 2022, CARRIED with only Nightingale opposed.

Approval of the 2021 Audited Financial Statements:

A motion to approve the 2021 audited financial statements CARRIED unanimously.

Bylaw:

A motion to give first and second readings to Zoning Amendment Bylaw # 2791, to rezone a portion of the area near the Redstone golf clubhouse from P-3 (Resort recreation) to C-3 (Commercial Resort Accommodation), and that a Public Hearing be scheduled for July 11, 2022,  CARRIED unanimously. 

Development Permit Application -- 2070 Columbia Avenue

The application is to build a storage room and improved parking at the rear of the property.  A motion to approve the application CARRIED unanimously.

Development Variance Permit – 1808A Kootenay Avenue

A motion to approve the variance, reducing the front and side setbacks to allow a double garage to replace the single garage, and to ensure that the new structure does not encroach on the neighbouring property as the current carport does, CARRIED unanimously with the condition that any water run-off from the building is directed to the owners’ property, not the neighbour’s.

Development Variance Permit – 2214 Columbia Avenue

A motion to approve the application for a reduced interior setback – from 1.2 metre to one metre – to enable a new garage to re-use the foundation of the existing garage, CARRIED unanimously, with the condition that the roof of the new building drain onto the applicant’s property.

Covid Community Support Fund (C2SF) Applications - June 2022 - Intake #9

The Family Action Network applied for $2,500 to cover costs or hosting “Three and Thriving Parenting Cafés” and their Ages and Stages program, to repair “the harm caused by the pandemic as it relates to social isolation.”  The application had letters of support from other organizations. A motion to grant the funding in full CARRIED unanimously.

Bylaw Enforcement Officer:

A motion to approve the appointment of Zakari Keating as Bylaw Enforcement Officer for Rossland CARRIED unanimously.  Section 264 of the Community Charter requires that Bylaw Enforcement Officers be appointed by Council for the purpose of issuing tickets for bylaw infractions, and according to Section 28 of the Offence Act, for the purpose of serving a summons.

Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) Fund project pre-approvals:

A motion to allocate a portion of RMI funding to two projects, the RossGlen Gazebo ($50,000 for the City’ portion) and the Lions Campground electrical and water upgrade ($35,000 to be contributed from the RMI funding), CARRIED unanimously.  

Submission of 2022 UBCM Strategic Priorities Fund Applications:

A motion to direct Staff to develop and submit an application under the UBCM Strategic Priorities Fund Capital Infrastructure Stream for the Second Avenue/ St. Paul Street Infrastructure Improvement Project in the amount of $3,965,600 (inclusive of all engineering, construction and contingency), CARRIED unanimously.

And a motion to direct Staff to develop and submit an application under the UBCM Strategic Priorities Fund Building Stream for development of a Utilities Master Plan in the amount of $284,445, also CARRIED unanimously.

2021 Supplementary Statements of Financial Information:

A motion to approve  the supplementary statements of financial information CARRIED unanimously. These statements are required to be prepared every year, approved and then sent to the Ministry, and must be made available to the public before the end of June of each year.

Member Reports: 

Bowman Spent some time cleaning up at the Columbia Cemetery, and recommended it as a vey tranquil place to spend some time.

Nightingale attended the Public works session for Grade 4 on Friday and said it was a wonderful and informative event, and hopes it will be repeated annually. 

Morel spoke glowingly of the graduation ceremonies he had attended and the RSS Pride Parade, which he said was great fun and that there must have been 300 participants.

The meeting adjourned, and your reporter strolled home feeling very grateful for the coolish temperatures and frequent showers we’ve been having, rather than the killing heat and drought being experienced in some parts of the world right now – even in parts of Canada.