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COUNCIL MATTERS: Rossland's Inaugural Council Meeting, November 7, 2022

L to R: Councillors Craig Humpherys and Stewart Spooner, Mayor Andy Morel, and Councillors Jeff Weaver, Eliza Boyce and Maya Provencal; on the Zoom screen but mysteriously invisible here, Lisa Kwiatkowski.

During the previous week, our new Council held a mock Council meeting as part of their training. This was their first real meeting, and it covered a number of necessary procedural motions. Discussion on one other matter resulted in a failed motion.

November 7, 2022, at 6:00 PM in the Miners Union Hall

Mayor Morel welcomed the new council members and spoke briefly of the opportunity they all have to serve the community.

Present:  Mayor Andy Morel, and Council members Lisa Kwiatkowski (by Zoom – her flight attempted to land but was turned back), Maya Provençal, Stewart Spooner, Jeff Weaver, Eliza Boyce, and Craig Humphreys.  Staff present: CAO Bryan Teasdale, Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Añonuevo, Manager of Recreation & Events Kristi Calder, City Planner Stacey Lightbourne, Manager of Operations and Infrastructure Scott Lamont, and Deputy Manager of Operations Ryan Niddery.

Territorial Acknowledgement:  Mayor Morel read it aloud; for those who may not have seen it before, here is the text:   

“We acknowledge and respect that we live, work, and play on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the sngaytskstx (Sinixt) People and honour all other Indigenous people who walked on and cared for these lands before us and continue to do so. We also support and add our voices to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action in order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.”

Public Input Period:

There was only one member of the public in the gallery and she did not speak.

Adoption of Minutes:  Along with the minutes of the previous Council meeting and a Committee-of-the-Whole meeting, Council adopted the minutes of the Sustainability Commission (SC) meeting held on Thursday, October 6, including the motion that the SC rent the  Miners Hall for a fundraising event for the Rossland Refactory, with the Refactory paying the cleaning fee.

BYLAWS:

2023 Annual Revenue Anticipation Bylaw# 2796:  A motion to give the bylaw first, second and third readings CARRIED unanimously.  This bylaw is a requirement of the City’s agreement with its financial institution.

POLICY:

Appointment for Representative and Alternate to the Board of Directors of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District: 

Council appointed  Andy Morel as the Rossland director representative to the Board of Directors of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, and as the alternate director to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District. 

Council appointed Jeff Weaver as Rossland’s director to the Kootenay  Boundary Regional Hospital District, and as the alternate director on the board of directors of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

STAFF REPORTS and updates:

2022 General Local Election:  Report of the Chief Election Officer
Deputy Corporate Officer Cynthia Anonuevo provided a report on the venue (Miners Union Hall), costs, staffing, detailed results, and other aspects of the recent local election.  Highlights include:

·       The number of eligible electors in Rossland has risen by 22%, from 2546 to 311, since 2014.

·       Rossland’s voter turnout was estimated at 52% of eligible voters.

·       The budget for the election was $12,400; the actual cost was $13,312.05.

In response to a question from Spooner about vote-counting machines that would give election results more quickly than our current system of hand-counting the ballots, Añonuevo responded that the City will look into the possible acquisition of such machines closer to the next election. Teasdale noted that the next election will have a slightly higher budget.

2023 Regular Council Meeting Schedule:  Council voted unanimously to accept the schedule proposed, so regular meetings are scheduled for the following dates – all beginning at 6:00 PM, and meetings will continue to be held at the Miners Union Hall until the new City Hall premises are ready for occupancy.

Monday, January 9, 2023                 Monday, June 19, 2023
Monday, February 6, 2023               Monday, July 10, 2023
*Tuesday, February 21, 2023           Monday, August 14, 2023
Monday, March 13, 2023                  Monday, September 11, 2023
Monday, April 3, 2023                       *Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Monday, April 17, 2023                     Monday, October 16, 2023
Monday, May 1, 2023                        Monday, November 6, 2023
Monday, May 15, 2023                      Monday, November 20, 2023
Monday, June 5, 2023                        Monday, December 11, 2023

Acting Mayor Schedule:  When the Mayor is unable to attend a meeting, other councillors fill in on a rotating schedule. Council voted unanimously to adopt the schedule below:

November 2022 -- Councillor Spooner
December 2022 -- Councillor Weaver
January 2023 -- Councillor Humpherys
February 2023 -- Councillor Provençal
March 2023 -- Councillor Spooner
April 2023 -- Councillor Boyce
May 2023 -- Councillor Kwiatkowski

June 2023 -- Councillor Weaver

July 2023 -- Councillor Provençal

August 2023 -- Councillor Spooner

September 2023 -- Councillor Boyce

October 2023 -- Councillor Humpherys

November 2023 -- Councillor Kwiatkowski

December 2023 -- Councillor Weaver

City Hall December 2022 Holiday Closure:  Council voted unanimously to accept the proposed closure of City Hall offices from December 26 to December 30, 2022. The council package notes, “Employees will still have the opportunity to come in and work if they choose to, or book vacation time/utilize other types of time off. Certain departments will still be required to have a presence during this time (i.e. Finance and Corporate Services) and Public Works staff will also remain on duty during this time to complete necessary operations for the City.”

The City’s  Monthly Expenses:  Council voted unanimously to approve the expenditures recorded in the Cheque Register Report, which also records electronic payments.  Morel noted that if councillors have any questions about items on the cheque register, they are welcome to contact staff.

Task List:  Currently there are only three items on the list, including drafting a proposed new bylaw regarding short-term rentals, based on a staff report from August 8, 2022, and initiating community consultations; Council touched on the community engagement that has taken place so far, and how the review and community discussion will be handled in the future. The other two items – asking staff to investigate joining the BC Social Procurement Initiative,  and the Sustainability Commission’s research into the prospect of banning the installation of natural gas in all new buildings, and banning the installation of new gas services in renovation projects -- were also briefly discussed informally, and will remain on the list.  The Sustainability Commission will come back to Council with information on the gas issue.

RCMP Report on Crime Statistics for Third Quarter, 2022:  Council perused the five-page report from the RCMP on statistics for the detachment’s area.  Spooner expressed the thought that we live in a low crime-rate area, that most of the crime is a result of mental health problems and drugs and alcohol, yet we will be on the hook for a large bill for policing that he thinks we don’t need.  Kwiatkowski suggested that, with a recent spate of thefts and people snooping in carports and stealing from vehicles, we might use a program such as Neighbourhood Watch. Morel suggested that Council might request a few more RCMP patrols. Boyce noted that a community’s crime rate can change very quickly, as she said occurred in Squamish.

Remembrance Day ceremony event request:  Council voted unanimously to approve the Legion’s request to close Washington Street on November 11, from  10:00 to 11:30 AM,  for the parade from the Legion to the cenotaph, and to use the courtyard around the cenotaph.  Staff noted that the Legion already has an agreement in place with the Department of Highways and Transportation to close Columbia Avenue for this event.

Request from the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty Advisory Committee for a representative from Rossland City Council to be appointed.  The invitation contained the following statement from a former chair of the committee:
“UBCM negotiated the ability for local government to have input into treaty settlements. We should not take this lightly nor should we take lightly the potential impact on local government. We must be prepared for the changes. To be prepared, we must be aware of what has transpired and know what the effects will be on our jurisdictions. If we do not participate during the negotiations, we will not be prepared for these changes.
“Treaty negotiations and the final treaty settlement have implications for local government. It takes years for settlements to be reached; however, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of maintaining our level of interest and participation throughout the process. Once a final settlement is reached, it is too late to provide input on how the changes resulting from the final agreement may affect us.”

Spooner stated that he saw no point in participating because he said Rossland is not in the area under discussion, but not everyone was clear on what the area is, and thought that Rossland is included and should be concerned.  Boyce, Provençal and Kwiatkowski seemed to favour appointing a representative.   Provençal moved that the question be tabled until Council has the training scheduled for them.  Teasdale said the question asks for a response by December 23, and there is no way that could be managed before then. Provençal withdrew her motion; both she and Kwiatkowski initially expressed interest in serving as the City’s representative.  

A motion to appoint a representative FAILED, with only Morel, Kwiatkowski and Boyce in favour.

Rossland Museum request for a letter of support for a “New Horizons for Seniors” grant application: a motion to provide a letter CARRIED unanimously.

Member Reports:

Morel mentioned that the appointments of Council members as liaison to different committees and boards will happen at a later meeting.

Morel spoke about the very expensive upcoming sewage treatment upgrade for Rossland, Trail, and Warfield, which will greatly reduce the pollution going into the Columbia River, and will impact all of our tax rates in the next few years.

The meeting adjourned at 7:00 PM, and your reporter put her spike-clad boots back on for the walk home in light snow and below-freezing temperatures, feeling fortunate to live in a jurisdiction free from violent attempts to reject election results, and where our elected local officials seem driven by the best interests of the community, and discuss any differences of opinion with mutual respect rather than rancour and character assassination. Let’s be grateful -- and keep it that way.