Rossland city council creates Climate Action Reserve Fund

Rossland city council created a Climate Action Reserve Fund to cover expenses for its new Corporate GHG Reduction Plan.

Rossland city council voted to create a Climate Action Reserve Fund at Monday night’s council meeting. Money for the fund will come from the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) grant the City received when it signed the BC Climate Action Charter, committing to being carbon neutral in its own operations. Further funds will come from a fee of $25 per tonne that the City will charge itself for its corporate carbon emissions.

The CARIP grant is based on the total carbon tax paid by the City each year (e.g. in 2o15 Rossland paid $12,794) and the City currently has a balance of CARIP funds totaling $51,493, which will be allocated to the fund. As for carbon emissions fees, the City’s 2015 corporate carbon emissions were 428 tonnes of CO2e, which at $25 per tonne would cost the City $10,700. Council was hesitant to approve the $25 per tonne fee, given that mayor and councillors will be looking to cut $250,000 from the 2017 budget, but ultimately decided to commit to it. The more the City is able to reduce its carbon emissions, the less it will have to pay into the fund.

The decision to create the fund came after council approved a Corporate GHG Reduction Plan earlier in the evening. The Climate Action Reserve Fund will be used to pay for expenses outlined in the plan.

A number of the actions listed in the plan have already been implemented, such as ensuring the City’s fleet of vehicles is maintained and developing a monitoring program for the fleet’s fuel consumption. Goals for 2017 include committing “to building the most energy efficient facilities” and helping staff reduce emissions from commuting to work.

To have a look at the full Corporate GHG Reduction Plan visit rossland.ca/regular-meeting-october-24-2016 and click to view the full agenda package for Monday night’s meeting.

Council moves ahead with water and sewer rate increases

Council moved ahead with two bylaws that will increase water and sewer rates for 2017, 2018 and 2019. There were however a few recommended changes from staff before council approved a third reading.

City staff discovered that Rossland hotels would be charged as if they were multi-unit residential units, and some would pay water and sewer base rates per room. They recommended differentiating between a residential multi-unit building and non-residential buildings, and also recommended introducing a fourth tier for metered residential and non-residential water consumption rates. For 2017, the new monthly consumption rates would be 28 cents per cubic meter for 30 m3 or less, 45 cents per cubic meter for 31-60 m3, 68 cents per cubic meter for 61-100 m3, and $1 per cubic meter for over 100 m3.

Council approved a third reading of both bylaws with the recommended changes.

Rossland needs plan to tackle invasive plants

Following a teleconference with Jennifer Vogel of the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society, council asked City staff to report back with a proposal on how to tackle invasive plant species in Rossland, such as knotweed.

Vogel identified knotweed as the highest priority plant in Rossland, with three species— Japanese, Giant and Bohemian that have invaded. She also identified Scotch thistle and Giant hogweed as invasive species of concern.

Vogel also said that knotweed can be very hard to get rid of and that “manual control has been shown to be ineffective at best.” The most effective treatment is to use herbicides, which could need to be applied for one to five years before infestation on the site is eradicated. Even then the site needs to monitored for at least five years to make sure the knotweed doesn’t return.

Library requests budget increase

Adam Howse, the Rossland Public Library’s board chair, appeared before council to request an increase of $11,000 to the library’s 2017 budget, which would increase the City of Rossland’s contribution to the library to $126,948. The increased budget would allow the library to have longer hours, provide more programming, offer improved access to meeting space and hire one more part-time librarian.