Last year saw the completion of the Washington St. project, a new home for the Rossland Food Bank and a new retaining wall built on Highway 22. There was also a lot of discussion about the municipal budget over the next four years and, of course, plans for another infrastructure project on and around Spokane St. The Rossland News caught up with Mayor Kathy Moore to get her thoughts on 2016 and her hopes for 2017.
Rossland News: Of everything that happened in Rossland in 2016, what are you most proud of?
Mayor Kathy Moore: So many good things happened in 2016 it’s hard to make a short list! But here goes:
- I am very proud of the fact that we have a solid, permanent senior management team in place and that there have been significant improvements in how the city is being managed. There is a real sense of teamwork, trust, competence and cooperation now that is a joy to see. Council gets regular and accurate financial updates and very comprehensive reports, which are essential for us to make good decisions.
- I’m proud of the fact that all of council and all of our employees understand that we are a customer service organization: the public is our boss!
- I am very proud of all of our employees inside City Hall and outside at public works. They are a very dedicated group of individuals who are working extremely well together.
- I am very pleased and proud of how well the Washington St. project was handled. It was completed on time and on budget. Council was regularly and accurately updated on progress. Darrin Albo did a super job in the capacity of “owner’s rep” for the city.
- I’m proud of the ongoing efforts we have made to engage and inform the public about city business and issues. From newsletters to focus groups and online engagement through Thoughtexchange, this council has done more to reach out to the public than ever before.
- I am very proud of this council. While it’s a very diverse group, each with their own point of view and strongly held opinions, we always have lively discussions while remaining respectful and congenial. Every one of these guys is a pleasure to work with!
RN: What was the biggest challenge in 2016?
- Getting permanent senior staffing in place and up to speed (but we had such terrific interim managers that it was about as painless as it could be). Still it took time.
- Trying to figure out funding for big projects like the Miners’ Hall.
- Hoping the winter conditions would hold off long enough to get Washington complete (and the MoTi [Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure] retaining wall finished too!).
RN: Were there any hopes you had for 2016 that didn’t work out?
KM: I had hoped that the Miners’ Hall project would be 100 per cent finished in 2016 but we just didn’t have our funding fully confirmed until the very end of the year. So, while the exterior of the building was completed, and looks great, the additional space on the fourth floor still won’t be done for a number of months. Having this key community building out of commission for so long has really been a challenge, not just for the city but for dedicated community groups like the Gold Fever Follies, the Rossland Mountain Market, the Arts Council, the Film Fest and the Blizzard Fest, just to name a few.
RN: What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
- I am very excited about the new Asset Management Plan that is in the works. To be a viable community we really need to have a complete inventory and know the condition of everything we own from sewer and water pipes to roads, equipment and facilities. We must have a plan to properly manage all of our assets and to be able to tie renovations, repairs and replacements to a financial plan that is affordable for our community. We’ve done as best we could over the years on an ad hoc basis but we can, and will, do better with a solid asset management and financial plan. Infrastructure renewal remains a huge challenge for us because of the age of our town, especially its pipes, and the paltry investment in these essential elements in the past.
- I am really looking forward to making some solid progress on a plan for the Emcon lot. Not just seeing the skatepark become a reality, but also seeing some viable plans for the rest of the lot come to life. I look forward to the space generating some additional tax revenue for the city in the near future.
- I am also very excited about two new task forces that will take shape soon. One will look at ways we can make the arena more viable into the future. This effort will rely on some of the super energy we’ve already seen from citizens who love the arena as well as city staff and council members. The other is to organize members of the business community to work with the city to make Rossland an even better place to do business. There are a lot of really great ideas out there.
- I am looking forward to a regional project to address the social needs, primarily, of seniors in the Lower Columbia area. This project is inspired by the terrific age friendly organization that has been serving seniors in the Beaver Valley for the last six years. Columbia Basin Trust is providing the initial funding, but it’s a collaboration between the local governments of Rossland, Warfield, Trail and Electoral Area B.
- Seeing the Miners’ Hall complete and occupied again with community events and programs will be exciting. It will also be great to see the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre complete their Phase 1 renewal work that will give new energy to that facility.
- My fingers are crossed that we will get some additional infrastructure funding for a large renewal project that we are calling the Spokane Street Improvement Project (even though it will impact several other streets like First and LeRoi too).
RN: What are your hopes for Rossland in 2017?
- My hope for Rossland in 2017 is that we continue to be the vibrant, resilient alpine city that we envisioned in our Strategic Sustainability Plan back in 2008. Over the last few years we have grown in that direction and I hope we continue the journey. I hope we have a stellar ski season and lots of visitors come to share our little piece of paradise and help make our business community thrive.
- Just like last year, I want us to continually work towards implementing council’s mission statement: “To provide cost efficient and effective municipal services to residents, visitors and businesses in a collaborative and cooperative fashion to ensure a well managed, well governed, viable community.” That statement still works for me, as does council’s vision of Rossland to be a more sustainable, smart, fun and livable small city.
To see what Moore had to say at this time last year, see the 2016 Q&A.