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COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland City Council, September 16, 2019

Image from Cycling Without Age

Cannabis edibles production in Rossland?  Get ready for the Thingery; Trail seeks water use exemption for cemetery; Cycling Without Age and trishaws; water billing adjustment, and  more.

Present:   Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Janice Nightingale, Dirk Lewis, Scott Forsyth, Stewart Spooner, Chris Bowman, and Andy Morel. Staff:  CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy corporate Officer Cynthia Año Nuevo, CFO Elma Hamming, Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Manager of Operations Darrin Albo, and Recreation Manager Kristi Calder.

Public Hearing:

The owners of 1725 Black Diamond Drive have applied to change the property’s zoning from R1-Residential to R1-GS, to allow for a Guest Suite for short-term rental.  No one spoke on the issue.

Council Meeting:

Public Input Period:  No one spoke.

Delegation:

Diana Daghofer and Marilyn Nelson presented on behalf of Cycling Without Age (CWA) and its pedal-assist trishaws,  to enhance quality of life for elders and others with limited mobility by providing them with open-air rides on a trishaw – to enjoy “the wind in their hair.” Founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2012 , the organization now boasts 1,643 chapters in 42 countries, so far. For more information, readers can go to the website: https://cyclingwithoutage.org/  and can view videos: a TED talk describes how it started.  There are links to several other videos on the CWA website.  Daghofer and Nelson are starting CWA Lower Columbia, starting with Trail and Rossland and hoping to expand to other communities.  They are seeking funding to get two trishaws to start with – first one for Trail, then one for Rossland. Columbia View Lodge has already committed to being the Trail hub. Daghofer and Nelson are asking the City of Rossland to include CWA under recreation programming, and to provide letters of support, when needed, for applications for funding.    

Bylaw:

Motions to give third reading to, and to adopt, the bylaw to change 1725 Black Diamond Drive from R1 to R1-GS both CARRIED unanimously.

Policy Review:

Motions to re-confirm three policies CARRIED unanimously; these were the “Information to the Media” policy, the “Community Events Sign” policy, and the “Community Contributor Award” policy.

Moore noted that nominations for the “community contributor” award must be received by September 30, and the City needs to publicize it. 

Council discussed the three-year “rolling” term possibility for the Grant-in-aid Policy, and Spooner moved that it should be articulated in the policy – not just in the application. His motion to amend the policy and to confirm the amended policy CARRIED.

Staff Reports and Requests

2019 Rural Dividend Fund application submissionre Rossland Museum Renewal Project Phase II:  Mine Experience – Council agreed to submit the application on behalf of the Museum, because the application requires audited financial statements and the Museum society doesn’t have those – but the City does.  Moore noted that the Museum is City property – a City asset.  Spooner said he thought the Museum wasn’t eligible for the grant because of that; and objected to the City applying for the grant to obtain funding for the Museum.  Hamming suggested that if the Museum is going to continue to apply for large grants, they should get their financial statements audited instead of just getting the much less expensive review of financial statements.

The motion to apply for the grant on behalf of the Museum CARRIED with only Spooner opposed.

Morel moved that the Museum be asked to get their financial statements audited if they are to continue to apply for large grants and manage large projects.  The motion CARRIED unanimously.

Cannabis Processing Zoning Amendment:  A local business, Linden Edibles, is in the process of applying to Health Canada for a license to process cannabis, to manufacture edible cannabis products.  The proprietor of the new business, Trish Dyer, wants to use premises in Rossland’s M-1 Light Manufacturing Zone, but cannabis processing is not currently permitted anywhere in Rossland.  A motion to direct staff to draft a bylaw to permit cannabis processing in the M-1 Light Manufacturing zone  CARRIED unanimously.

One-time water meter reading update adjustment:   Because of the system-wide failure of Rossland’s water meters in 2017, water usage since then has been billed based on estimated usage rather than meter readings.  Some people may have been under-billed over the course of the year, and some may have been over-billed.  The most recent utility bill did not charge anyone for usage at all – just the basic service connection charge.  Hamming proposed to do a one-time adjustment: customers who were under-billed will not be charged anything further to make up for it.  Customers who were over-billed will be given a credit.  The motion to accept Hamming’s recommendation CARRIED unanimously.  Council agreed that it was the simplest and fairest solution.

Operating Budget High Level Financial Plan Preview, 2020 – 2024:  The preview put forward suggestions for new hires needed in upcoming years, and suggested that a study to determine infrastructure needs, and one to investigate the likely cost of providing our own Fire Service as compared with present and anticipated costs to Rossland for Regional Fire Services.  Spooner moved that the City use funds from reserves to cover the cost of the proposed studies, instead of increasing taxes to cover the cost.  His motion CARRIED unanimously.

Council noted the August 2019 Public Works/Water Consumption report, which reflects the relatively moist summer weather this year in somewhat reduced water usage (based on output of the water treatment plant) for August (and every other month so far except June) compared with 2018.

August 2019 Bylaw Officer Report:  Spooner commented that “it seems such a token effort,” but  Nightingale provided observations showing that some behaviours have changed for the better after warnings were issued.

Council briefly reviewed the Building Permit Report.

Requests arising from Correspondence:

1.           The City of Trail requested an exemption from outdoor water use restrictions past Stage 1, for Mountain View Cemetery.  Hamming noted that the cemetery watering uses 130 cubic meters per day at Stage 1 – the average household uses about one cubic meter a day during the summer.  Morel pointed out that the water in question is treated water, and that the cemetery uses a very large volume.  Nightingale stated that when restrictions are in force, Rossland’s parks and playgrounds are affected to the same degree as the cemetery; and that lawns can “come back” after being dried up.   Albo brought up the fact that increased water use also accelerates the need for capital expenditures. Teasdale pointed out that our water restrictions are intended simply to protect an adequate supply of water for domestic needs, and that Rossland’s water sources are small.  [Editorial Note: a conversation with Mayor Moore after the meeting also mentioned comments by UBC Professor Emeritus Hans Schreier, who has referred to Rossland’s water supply as “precarious” and pointed out the increasing uncertainty of our water supply as climate change affects the snowpack and rainfall that feed those little creeks that are Rossland’s only water source.]    Spooner expressed regret -- and the other Council members agreed that it is truly unfortunate -- that Council could not reasonably agree to the request.  

2.           Joint local government submission regarding a provincial plastics action plan:  A  motion to sign onto the letter provided and signed by the mayors of Squamish and Tofino CARRIED.  The letter responds to the provincial government’s call for submissions on proposed amendments to the recycling regulation of the  Environmental Management Act, to address plastic waste, and outlines several actions suggested to improve matters.

3.           Rossland Library and Kootenay Library Federation requested parking space for  “The Thingery.” A motion to allocate three parking spots in front of the library from September 23 to 29  CARRIED unanimously.  [Editor’s Note: the schedule for “The Thingery” visit to Rossland has changed since this meeting.  Stay tuned.]

Member Reports (selected highlights only):

Lewis – spoke about the Rossland Public Library’s 80th birthday party and invited everyone to help celebrate it on October 5, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.  

Forsyth – mentioned the Tourism Rossland AGM this Thursday.  He also moved that Council request City staff to investigate the feasibility of making City footpaths legal for Level 1 e-bikes; the motion CARRIED.

Morel – reported on the BearFest event, and emphasized the importance of fruit gleaning; eg, Harvest Rescue.  He commented on the hazards to both drivers and bears caused by the large heap of apples someone had dumped right beside Highway 3-B some distance north of town.

Moore – issued a reminder to the community to nominate people for a Community Contributor award.  A motion  to extend the deadline for nominations from the end of September for a month, to  October 31, CARRIED. 

The meeting recessed to an in camera session, and your reporter walked home in the peaceful dusk, contemplating the interplay of the climate crisis, extreme weather events, protests such as Extinction Rebellion and related strike actions, most politicians ignoring it all as much as possible while engaging in the usual nastiness toward each other, and business as usual just about everywhere.