Rosslanders attended an open house at the Old Fire Hall on Monday night to share their input on the action plans local college students are preparing to present to Rossland city council.
Second-year students from the Selkirk College Integrated Environmental Planning Program presented their action plans — which were developed following Rossland’s Strategic Sustainability Plan (SSP) and Official Community Plans (OCP) — to the public and solicited feedback, often in the form of questionnaires.
Chelsea Mathieson is working on a complete streets plan — streets that are designed with all road users in mind, including pedestrians, cyclists and the disabled — and asked attendees to mark a map using stickers to indicate streets that are working, streets that aren’t working and streets with opportunities for innovation.
Mathieson looked at some key issues regarding street use and safety while working on her plan.
“Vehicle speed was number one, just because of the recent change in speed limit. There’s a lot of people that either don’t know about it or just ignore it or maybe don’t even realize they’re going too fast. Road user safety is another one. There’s not a lot of sidewalks and there’s not a lot of room for cyclists and pedestrians on a lot of the streets, so I think that’s going to be key,” said Mathieson.
Connecting lower and upper Rossland so that downtown is easily accessible from both on foot is also important to her complete streets plan.
The students’ plans cover a wide range of topics. Garrett Connolly is working on an assessment of best management practices for the impending skatepark, looking at all aspects including water runoff, increased noise and after development management.
Jayme Anderson is working on a plan for revitalizing and reusing heritage spaces in Rossland. The Miners’ Hall and the Old Fire Hall are working local examples of what she has in mind — heritage spaces that can be used for different kinds of community events. Anderson also looked at examples of heritage revitalization in other municipalities in BC.
Isha Gupta is working on an air quality plan, and said Rossland’s biggest problem is that it doesn’t have air quality monitoring stations to provide concrete data, which makes it difficult to say anything definitive about our air quality.
Kevin Frank is working on a parks and recreation master plan, and thinks the best course of action would be to conduct a survey to see what Rosslanders want out of their parks system. Kira Sawatzky’s plan examines the possibility of planting edible perennials in public spaces, such as parks.
A number of politicians were among the open house’s attendees. Mayor Moore and several city councillors were there, as was South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings, who happened to be visiting the area.
Councillor Andy Morel was very impressed with what he saw from the students.
“I certainly believe that all these different projects are important to our community. I’m impressed that a lot of them are related to the natural environment,” he said.