Rossland hungry to host conference

Rossland will throw its hat into the ring in an effort to host the 2014 Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments annual general meeting.

While councillor Kathy Moore wondered what the costs and responsibilities of staff and council would be, administrator Victor Kumar assured council the event would be beneficial.

“I’ve been part of hosting two or three of them, and while there is costs, there is ameliorating costs through sponsors . . . The host committee is responsible for the putting on of the events and the agenda to the approval of the executive of AKBLG,” said Kumar.

He further explained that the largest turnout for the conference was in Nelson in 1996 where about 400 attended.

“It depends on the size, if you have a good-sized program and able to plan, then it does benefit the community,” he said.

While councillor Jill Spearn also questioned the city’s readiness, councillor Hanne Smith agreed with staff that Rossland should be prepared by 2014.

“I think it’s a good idea and I like putting us up for 2014.”

———

While taxes remain unchanged, fees for services will go up in the Golden City this year.

Spring and fall cleanup service for yard and garden waste will shoot up to $29.25 from $16.50 per household and will be tacked onto the basic waste collection fee, which remains at $55 per household.

Water rates will increase for those without metres to $387 from $357 per household in 2011. However, if a meter is installed, the fee may be reduced to $201.

Councillor Hanne Smith was pleased with the water conservation initiative, commending staff in taking positive steps toward implementing incentives.

“I think that’s a large improvement . . . it gets at some of the principles covered in the water smart conference last week and it is, I believe, an appropriate last year transition before we get into the full metering program next year.”

Residents are required to install meters by Dec. 31, and while most of the city’s politicians support the program, councillor Laurie Charlton took issue with cost apportionment in multi-unit buildings asking what the point of having water meters in each household is if each is charged a fixed rate.

“I’m really concerned with the way this whole system of the water rates is evolving and think we’ve lost track of what we’re trying to do here and we don’t really have a good explanation of why we’re trying to impose meters in town,” said Charlton.

Councillors Smith and Kathy Moore explained that it will take a few years to determine accurately where the water is going but the data accumulated over that time will result in significant savings and conservation.

The first three readings passed with Charlton opposed.