City of Rossland staff welcomed (from left) Councillors Craig Humpherys and Stewart Spooner, Mayor Andy Morel, Councillors Jeff Weaver, Eliza Boyce, Maya Provencal and Lisa Kwiatkowski (on screen) to the first meeting of the new council Monday, Nov. 7 at Miners Hall. (Jim Bailey photo)

City of Rossland staff welcomed (from left) Councillors Craig Humpherys and Stewart Spooner, Mayor Andy Morel, Councillors Jeff Weaver, Eliza Boyce, Maya Provencal and Lisa Kwiatkowski (on screen) to the first meeting of the new council Monday, Nov. 7 at Miners Hall. (Jim Bailey photo)

Rossland council holds inaugural meeting

The new council met with city staff for its first meeting on Nov. 7 at Miners’ Hall

For a first council meeting, it went pretty well.

Aside from a weather problem that stranded Coun. Lisa Kwiatkowski in Kelowna, five councillors and the new Mayor elect attended the Rossland City Council meeting at Miners’ Hall Nov. 7, with Kwiatkowski convening via Zoom.

“Before I do my call to order, I would like to acknowledge the great opportunity that all of us have to sit at the council table and congratulate those who have been successful,” said Mayor Andy Morel. “I wish everybody success in the upcoming year.”

The new council consists of one incumbent in Stewart Spooner and five first-time elected officials in Maya Provencal, Eliza Boyce, Jeff Weaver, Craig Humpherys, and Kwiatkowski.

Council breezed through the first orders of business, adopting minutes from the final meetings of the last council and unanimously passing the 2023 annual Revenue Anticipation Bylaw.

Coun. Spooner was quick to move that Mayor Morel resume his role as director on the board of Regional District Kootenay Boundary.

Coun. Weaver volunteered to be alternate director of RDKB and to represent Rossland on the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital board.

“I see the positions as an opportunity to get to know the community, and also our regional partners,” said Weaver. “I am really interested particularly in working with our friends down in Trail. I had a great opportunity to meet a lot of people on council, and have a lot of optimism for the future.”

Council received staff reports and updates, which led off with the Election Officer Report, the 2023 council meeting schedule and the acting mayor schedule.

Council also addressed the recent Trail RCMP third quarter crime report, with Coun. Spooner pointing out that many of the calls are mental-health and substance-use related and could be addressed through other mechanisms. He was also critical of the inevitable increase in policing costs Rossland will have to pay once it’s required to create its own police force when the population reaches 5,000.

Morel said he spoke with other mayors and they would like to see more cooperation when it comes to addressing crime and the need for more social services support in Greater Trail communities.

“The reality is we hear more and more that this tends to be a downloading and obviously the social services part of it is not being addressed as it needs to be,” said Morel. “When opportunities come to the table, requests for more support and programs, the agencies within the area need to try and lobby governments to improve our social service networks.

“Hopefully, as Stewart pointed out, less money into policing and more money into social services and preventative requirements necessary.”

Coun. Kwiatkowski suggested creating a ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ template for the community. Morel observed that there is something similar already in place online, and that Rossland was fortunate to have a very low instance of crime, yet encouraged residents to remain vigilant.

Council addressed and will revisit business regarding short-term rentals, a social procurement initiative, and that the Sustainability Commission research the prospect of banning natural gas installations in new or renovated buildings.

Council cleared the way for the Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, and then started a lengthy discussion regarding the Regional District of East Kootenay request for appointed representative to the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty Advisory Committee.

Council voted against providing a representative by a 4-3 vote.

As the meeting wound down, council voted unanimously to provide a letter of support for the Rossland Museum and its New Horizons for Seniors grant application.

Mayor Morel asked councillors to look at the many and varied committees and decide which ones interest them before committing at the next council meeting. He briefly explained the ongoing work at the RDKB and its various capital projects, before closing the meeting.

“I think it was very smooth,” Weaver told the Rossland News after the meeting. “We have a lot of very smart people and very capable people who have done their homework and made sure that we’re able to work efficiently even when we have disagreements, which we had some minor ones today.

“I am really excited to be working with all these super-capable people.”

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