Annual UBCM does little to quell concerns

Trail and Rossland pick up community awards

  • Oct. 3, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Trail and Rossland both took home awards as well as unsolved provincial issues after last week’s Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference in Vancouver.

The UBCM brings mayors and council members from all communities in British Columbia to discuss ideas and present community issues.

One controversial issue that was heavily discussed was B.C. Hydro’s “smart meters.”

Fifty-five per cent of delegates voted for a moratorium on the program.

However, Energy Minister Rich Coleman said the government is moving ahead with the plan despite the objections.

“The smart meter is a huge issue,” said Rossland Mayor Greg Granstrom. “But I think it may be a done deal.”

Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs was unavailable for comment, however, Trail Councilor Gord DeRosa agreed with Granstrom.

“I don think we have an option they’re coming through whether we like them or not.”

DeRosa also expressed concern over the health issues surrounding the new meter but added the province had every right to install the new meters.

“To be blunt I think it’s a bit irrelevant because they’ve already said there not going to take any notice on what we say,” said Fruitvale Mayor Libby Nelson.

Local citizens took note when Premier Christy Clark announced a $30-million fund for recreation facilities.

But don’t expect the cash to end the long-standing recreational dispute between Trail and Rossland.

“I can’t answer that,” said Granstrom.

De Rosa was not optimistic that the funds would help resolve the dispute.

“I don’t think so, I don’t think it will at all. It’s very unfortunate that our recreational services have come to this point. I think it’s a no-win situation. I rather see it resolved in everybody’s best interest. We have the best facilities in the world down here in Trail and we need activity in those buildings.”

Cash or lack thereof was a constant refrain over the weeklong meetings, said Montrose Mayor Griff Welsh.

“It was an interesting conference with a lot on the line. But the bottom line is there isn’t any money.”

Trail found that out when it came to discussing the future of the old bridge.

Representatives from Trail had meetings with the Ministry of Highways and Transportation regarding the fate of the now-closed bridge.

“We pressed heavily for help in demolishing of the bridge,” said DeRosa. “The Ministry of Highways and Transportation used it for 60 years and then handed it over to Trail for a dollar and we used it for 40 years. So in my mind a 60/40 split on demolition costs is fair.”

However, the presentation was denied because of lack of money.

“ We expect something,” said DeRosa. “We’ll keep pressing and that bridge needs to come down but we need help with it.”

Amid the constant discussions were award presentations

Trail received a UBCM Community Excellence Award in the Partnership Category, which recognizes two or more partners who collaborated on a joint venture or initiative.

Trail’s was presented with the Accessibility and Inclusion Award.

“Our contaminated sites here in Trail had to be dealt with, it was done in such a manner that the world is taking note of our methodology,” said De Rosa.

“The partnership we have with the industry and ministries haven’t been done anywhere else and they actually look to us as the model,” commented De Rosa

Rossland was among six cities receiving B.C.’s Most Small Business Friendly Community Award.

The award recognizes a community’s efforts in reducing regulatory barriers, enhancing competitiveness, recognizing small business’s contribution to the community and climate action initiatives that support small business.

“It shows that a very positive atmosphere is here in Rossland for small business and we are very honored to receive that award,” said Granstrom.