Trail Mayor Mike Martin prefers face-to-face talks over long distance calls or emails, so this week he travelled to B.C.’s Parliament Buildings and met with provincial officials.
This is Martin’s first trip to Victoria since taking office last fall, for meetings slated with the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development regarding Trail’s boundary expansion proposal; the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) to discuss the Old Bridge; and the Ministry of Health for updates about Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) projects.
“The city recently held its Strategic Planning Session to set out the city’s goal and objectives for the next four years,” said Martin in a Wednesday news release.
“Now that we’ve set our priorities, it’s important to keep the momentum going so we can see these projects come to fruition. The meeting with ministry officials will provide clarity and direction so we can continue to move forward.”
The Trail boundary extension is currently in the hands of the province at the proposal review stage, which means the ministry has acknowledged receipt and is preparing feedback that could include referrals to other provincial ministries.
Martin and officials from Teck Trail Operations were scheduled to meet with the ministry and focus on the Supplementary Letters Patent (SLP) issues associated with local government authorities, according to the city’s news release. If the SLP matters are resolved, mitigation talks can begin with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) over impacted regional services.
“The province has committed to provide an individual to assist in the mitigation,” said Martin, who was accompanied by David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer. “If we can sort out the SLP issues and come to an agreement with all parties involved, it is hoped we will have ministry approval for the expansion sometime this year.”
Communications officer Alison Giles, said the ministry is still working with the City of Trail to confirm details and to fully understand the implications of the proposal before determining if the boundary extension will be brought forward for electoral approval.
“If the boundary extension is brought forward and affirmed by the municipal electorate, an Order in Council (OIC) would then be drafted for the consideration of government,” she added.
With the pedestrian/pipe bridge construction nearing, Trail continues to seek provincial funds from the MOTI for demolition of the Old Trail Bridge.
Tear down costs for the 103-year old landmark are estimated to exceed $5 million.
“The city believes the ministry should be financially involved in this project as the province owned and maintained the Old Bridge for half it’s life use,” explained Martin. “It’s imperative the RDKB sewer interceptor line be moved off the bridge before developing a necessary demolition plan and finalizing a budget.”
With the city seeking funds to build a $2 million secondary road to KBRH, Martin seized the opportunity to discuss the project and other hospital plans with the Ministry of Health.
“We want to ensure the province is familiar with the IHA’s expansion plans and council’s commitment to the construction of a secondary access road,” said Martin. “We will also take this opportunity to request ministry endorsement for the city’s current gas tax application.”