Over 100 people turned out at the Fruitvale Memorial Hall to hear what Allan Neilson-Welch Consulting had uncovered concerning amalgamation of the communities of Fruitvale

Over 100 people turned out at the Fruitvale Memorial Hall to hear what Allan Neilson-Welch Consulting had uncovered concerning amalgamation of the communities of Fruitvale

Beaver Valley amalgamation study gets unfavourable response

Many people in Fruitvale are against amalgamation — and some are not sure why the matter was even being investigated.

Fifty years ago the village of Montrose Leo Leavitt lived in had dirt roads and empty, bushy lots everywhere that provided no end of enjoyment and adventure for a curious young person.

It was an idyllic childhood, people helping each other and building a sense of community in the process — much like the village of Montrose he still calls home 50 years later.

Although he now works as a millwright at Teck in Trail he never wanted to leave the community his father Andy had served as a fireman, and that he now serves as assistant fire chief.

“We have a very great community … we help each other and that is just the way we work in Montrose,” he said. “I just don’t want to live in a community that doesn’t do that.”

And for Leavitt a community that doesn’t do that was proposed on Thursday night in Fruitvale in a public meeting as the villages of Montrose, Fruitvale and Area A (Beaver Valley) hosted a night to explore what amalgamation might mean.

For Leavitt, and several others at the meeting, amalgamation meant losing the community feeling he loved, the village council he said he could approach “at any time,” and a village works department that was “awesome.”

When he stood up and spoke Thursday at the meeting at the Fruitvale Memorial Hall after the consultant’s report was delivered, he was clear that he had nothing against the other communities in the area, he was just content with his.

“I’m fiercely proud of my community and the last thing I want to lose is the identity of my community,” he said, a comment that drew applause from the 100 people who showed up.

Although the evening was intended as information only on the findings of Allan Neilson-Welch Consulting’s High Level Analysis of Amalgamation report, it was obvious many people were against amalgamation — and some were not sure why the matter was even being investigated.

“I’m asking who actually asked for this, who actually initiated it and what is wrong with staying with the status quo?” one woman asked near the end of the public question period.

“There is nothing wrong with staying with the status quo,” said Fruitvale councilor Larry Gray, part of the steering committee struck between the areas to investigate amalgamation.

He said in 2009 there were a lot of questions in the public realm about amalgamation, fueled through the press, and many local politicians agreed a study needed to be done to dispel some of the myths and resolve the discussion.

Area A director Ali Grieve said they decided to get the information — funded by an RDKB grant-in-lieu fund from the Seven Mile Dam — and share that and decide if it was anything worth pursuing.

“It should be recognized that status quo is still one of the options,” she said.

The report revealed that Fruitvale and Montrose taxes would remain about the same or be slightly lowered if amalgamation occurred. However, all classes of taxpayers in Area A of the RDKB would face significant property tax increases — around $300 — if the Beaver Valley communities were to amalgamate.

However, the increases in Area A would not be accompanied with significant service improvements, even though a new amalgamated local government would likely be more efficient.

“There wasn’t anyone who stood up and said ‘Let’s go for this,’ because there isn’t even a significant tax savings for anyone,” she said. “None of us are here to advocate one position or another, we want to present the facts. And the way the facts are presented right now, I don’t see anything I can sell to Area A.”

Grieve said the committee will be taking the findings to the province to show them this was not the outcome they had hoped for, and if there was something they missed — and if there was some way to make Area A’s impact neutral.

They also need more input from the community. People are asked to submit their opinion on the RDKB website at http://www.rdkb.com/HotTopics/BeaverValleyAmalgamation.aspx.

There is a commitment from the province for them to fund a further study on amalgamation, but the communities themselves have to first decide if this is where they want to go.

Each area would have a separate referendum — the date yet to be determined — and it would have to pass in all areas before moving on to the next phase with the province.

 

Amalgamation by the numbers

• The new boundary of the Beaver Valley District Municipality would include 100 per cent of the village’s population, and 80 per cent of Area A.

• The boundary would include 100 per cent of the two villages’ assessment, and 82 per cent of Area A’s converted assessment.

• The new municipality would take responsibility for all existing municipal services, three existing Beaver Valley services (parks and trails, recreation, arena), local planning, local roads within Area A, as well as animal control, building inspection and the water systems.

• Certain costs were assumed would not change, including Fruitvale and Montrose staffing levels, RDKB service and staffing levels, and inventory of equipment and facilities transferred to the new municipality.

• There would be a reduction of $136,000 in costs — council and administration ($62,300), RDKB administration ($31,200) and other services no longer provided ($42,400).

• Area A would save $114,000 on building inspection, animal control and planning, but lose $272,000 in small communities grants.

• The areas would collectively have to pay an additional $440,800 in local road costs for Area A and lose $50,000 in federal gas tax revenue sharing.

Source: High-level analysis of amalgamation option report

Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

A wildfire near Cottonwood Lake was put out by Nelson firefighters Sunday night. Photo: Submitted
Wildfire extinguished near Cottonwood Lake

Lightning-caused fire was near one of Nelson’s water sources

West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air leaving Castlegar airport in July

The airline says market can’t handle two airlines

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read