Rossland council hold back on CETA concerns
Council voted not to send a letter backing objections to Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), after some discussion during Tuesday’s council meeting and instead refer the matter to staff.
The push for a letter came from a letter that New Denver sent to the province, as well as a NDP report that gave the agreement a scathing review.
The review, sent by MP Alex Atamenenko, was critical of CETA taking power away from municipalities to chose local suppliers and businesses for projects, as well as many other things.
Coun. Kathy Moore said that the previous council had sent a letter on the matter to the government.
“I’m just wondering if this council wishes to make a statement of concern like the one New Denver had submitted,” she said.
“At this point I don’t know if it matters. I think the government’s not really paying that much attention to municipalities.”
Moore said the letter would be more of show of unity with other municipalities concerned about the issue.
“I just wanted to put in something that says we’re in support of this thing,” she said. “Especially after reading the NDP dissenting report that was included there.”
Moore made a motion that the city send a letter requesting exemption for local governments and concern about losing the ability to source locally and control their own infrastructure projects under the proposed CETA legislation, as well as support for the recommendation sent forth in the dissenting report.
Coun. Kathy Wallace asked that they refer the report to staff instead for feedback.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to read thoroughly through that and I certainly don’t feel well grounded in those matters,” Wallace explained.
CAO Victor Kumar said that the Union of B.C. Municipalities has a paper on the subject, as well as a position.
“We can certainly circulate that,” he said. “There is ongoing discussion between FCM and UBCM.”
The motion was narrowly defeated with the mayor’s vote as the deciding the factor, since Coun. Jill Spearn was absent.
“We can get that back from staff on where that’s at, get an information packet together and see what the UBCM is doing, because I know they’re doing something for sure,” mayor Greg Granstrom said.
In other city council news, there was a request from the Golden City Days Committee regarding the Miners’ Hall and waver of fees.
There was also concern about how the construction on Columbia Avenue could effect the festivities.
“I’m just wondering how we’re going to phrase it,” Wallace asked.
“Do we have a back-up plan if Golden City Days is really interfered with? How are we going to phrase it to the committee?”
The mayor said that the first step is to get some numbers and make some decisions back from the tender.
Once they have a decision, they will speak to the Golden City Days committee as well as other groups that could be affected.
Tracey Butler informed council that the public works manager is in contact with the Golden City Days committee.
“They understand that things may have to change depending on what’s going on,” Butler said.
“Staff will look after it.”