First there must be water before a horse can be led to drink.
The future of the Trail Horseman’s Society is looking dry as the organization grapples with the loss of water service.
The rodeo grounds across the highway from the Trail Regional Airport were left in the dust after a 45-year water service between Montrose and the Trail Horseman’s Society ended two years ago, after the village’s water upgrades were too onerous for the non-profit to invest in.
The 108- member group was again left high and dry after a “Well Access Agreement” between the society and the airport’s previous owner, the regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), fell by the wayside after Trail began negotiations to purchase the airstrip property last summer.
When Trail took ownership of the airport earlier this year, the riding organization approached the city to request running a waterline under the highway to connect to the airport well.
The Horseman’s Society stated in a letter to the city that it is desperate for a water supply and that pumping from the well was the only viable option to keep the facility up and running. After reviewing the city’s engineering report at Monday’s governance committee meeting, Trail council rejected the proposal, citing significant regulatory and technical issues related to the use of untreated well water.
“There are a number of regulatory issues and legal considerations,” said David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer (CAO). “Given the amount of water that the society is looking for, it was a significant concern in terms of the draw on the well and how well the can recover.”
During roundup events, the water draw could have the pump running 16 hours per day to meet the Horseman Society’s demand, and that would result in expedited deterioration of the well, he added.
Additionally, Trail would have to cough up upwards of $110,000 to develop a groundwater management plan to include wellhead protection provisions, a long-term disinfection program of non-potable water, and a contingency plan in the event of an emergency.
“We do understand that the regional district has done some work on the disinfection issue,” explained the CAO. “But when you take it all into consideration and given the costs we are not in a position to provide water at this time.”
See RDKB, Page 3
When contacted by the Trail Times, the society requested time to reflect on its options before making a public statement.
“The RDKB initially indicated to the society that they could provide water in what would appear to be the absence of due diligence,” Perehudoff said. “This has now resulted in an expectation the city cannot reasonably accommodate.”
However, the Horseman Society’s water service should remain in the hands of the regional district because the property is located in Electoral Area A, according to Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs.
“First off all, if you are going to get water it should really have a line from a (water) tower and not directly from a well,” said the mayor. “When the Horseman have an activity they need quite a bit of water and this is not the best well.
“But right now, it’s not really our issue because their property is not in the City of Trail,” continued Bogs. “If that changes in the future then will have to do something about it.”
Perehudoff noted that if the grounds become part of Trail, based on the boundary extension application now before the province, the city would ultimately consider development of an infrastructure improvement plan to this and any other property in the area.