City parting ways with Maturo bigger than one man

The city's decision to let go of its senior city planner is a loss of more than one job to the community of Rossland.

To the Editor:

In late September, at a council meeting packed with public wanting to talk about Cooke Avenue rezoning and broadband, council noted its in-camera decision at meeting two weeks earlier in which they voted not to renew the contract of the city’s manager of planning, Mike Maturo.  Maybe it’s that there was so much other news going on then, or maybe it’s that I’ve just missed it, but I am astounded that this event has passed without any further remarks from council or the press (Editor’s note: Maturo let go story in Oct. 17 Rossland News).

Mike did a lot of good things for this town.  I had a chance to see some of that by dint of my work with the city’s Sustainability Commission and other efforts I was involved with. For those don’t know him, for over six years Mike managed the planning department, comprised of the building inspector and a half-time planning assistant.

I first saw him in action soon after he arrived; he was a driving force on the drafting of Rossland’s revised Official Community Plan (OCP), and in organizing the extensive public input as part of that process. The final OCP includes lots of material from the Vision to Action process that asked Rosslanders where they wanted to be 25 years hence. The result was a plan that is visionary, and serves as a solid guide to city policy.

Mike spearheaded the expansion of the in-town trail system through the approval of the Rossland Active Transportation Plan. Every time you hit the Louie Joe trail or the Centre Star trail, or the rest of the five kilometres of in-town trails, think of Mike. Almost $100,000 of the budget for that work came from grants that he brought in.

He introduced key amendments to the city’s zoning bylaws to increase density and affordability in Rossland housing: allowing secondary suites throughout town; reducing front/rear set-backs from seven metres to four metres, and allowing easier development on small-lots.

The new zoning bylaw that he brought to council in 2011, after a year of public information meetings, limited sprawl by encouraging higher in-town density and preserving the town’s peripheral green belt.

He played a huge role in the Columbia Washington project. If you like the look of the street as it is now—irrigated maples, LED lighting, planted bump-outs, bike racks, benches, cool paving—you can thank Mike for the major hours he spent sitting in the Miners’ Union Hall at design charettes, and the work he did to incorporate that input and his ideas into the final design.

How about the new parking beside the Thrift Store and behind the Post Office, or the expanded parking behind the Credit Union? Again thank Mike for those ideas. And while you’re at it, thank him for getting the grants and shepherding the process of installing electric vehicle charging stations by the Thrift Store, making Rossland an EV charging oasis along the number three highway.

Mike was also the point person for the Community Wildfire Protection Plan—the plan whereby the city got some $400,000 in provincial money to brush the areas surrounding Rossland to reduce fuel and the risk of damage to the town from forest fires. This was in part an offshoot of another project in which he was heavily involved—the CBT Communities Adapting to Climate Change Initiative, on which I worked with him closely.

Mike served as an essential guide and partner with those of us working to build a skatepark in the old Emcon lot. He shared and encouraged our vision of this jewel in the heart of town as transformed from a wasted asphalt storage yard into a civic plaza.

And of course he did the day-to-day grunt work of reviewing building applications, dealing with developers, writing reports to council, helping ensure respect for the OCP in council decisions, etc. The planning department did over 100 building permits last year by my calculations—more than any year since 2006. He brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding.

Mike left some good legacy in this town. His removal from City Hall, and the unceremonious manner in which it was done (not even a thank you?), is at odds with that record of service.

Aaron Cosbey, Rossland

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: DriveBC says road re-opened after accident

Highway 22 closed for seven hours on Saturday

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Tour company plans shuttle service to Kelowna for stranded travellers

SMT Kootenay wants to help travellers get in and out of ‘Cancelgar’ in winter months

Josie Hotel will be ready on opening day, says management

West Kootenay’s first ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel to open this month

Castlegar pastors find life in wheelchair a challenge

The men found the obstacles were both physical and mental.

Josie Hotel will be ready on opening day, says management

West Kootenay’s first ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel to open this month

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

Most Read