Parks and recreation in the Beaver Valley could suffer should Trail expand its boundaries to include the Columbia Gardens industrial park area, a draft report indicates.
After completing most of its study for the City of Trail into the finance, governance and service delivery impacts associated with including portions of Area A into city limits, Urban Systems Ltd. has found that property taxes would go down for these property owners but a large portion of funding to Area A would be lost.
The most significant issue identified is the potential loss of $395,000 in revenue to the Beaver Valley Parks and Recreation Function, a service between Fruitvale, Montrose and Area A that was re-established after regional recreation dissolved in 2009.
Trail administrator David Perehudoff said the city could consider developing a proposal to mitigate the impact on the regional service should property owners be interested in moving forward.
Trail would benefit from nearly $77 million of assessment base from the Trail Airport, the Columbia Gardens Industrial Park, the Waneta Dam and the adjacent lands extending from the current city boundary to the Waneta border, the report indicates.
Area A director Ali Grieve said the loss to the recreational function would be akin to the loss of Teck’s tax base to Trail.
While it’s up to the province in the end, Grieve said she is committed to appealing to every sense of fairness until then.
“It’s important to stress this is still a study but the lost tax base would have a negative impact in a few areas, primarily Beaver Valley rec services,” said Grieve. “Even though the boundary expansion is between Trail and Area A, Montrose and Fruitvale residents would feel negative impacts as well.”
In addition to lost revenue to fund the service that has successfully completed upgrades to
See CONSULTANT, Page 3
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facilities like the Beaver Valley Arena, the shortfall would also impact non-profit groups like the Beaver Valley blooming society and ski club that bank funds from a grant-in-aid contribution from Area A. The approximate $30,000 annual contribution to such groups would greatly diminish because it too is based on tax base.
“Like I said in the very beginning, I understand why the businesses would want to see where they’d be better off,” said Grieve. “But at the same time, as a resident of the Beaver Valley, I’m not willing to be negatively impacted by that and I can’t imagine anybody in the Beaver Valley saying, ‘That’s fine.’”
A meeting was held on Dec. 15, where the committee made up of community representatives and some of the 13 light industrial or commercial owners, who initiated the study this fall, reviewed the financial impacts and other key issues.
“It’s a somewhat speculative situation that we’re in, there is a potential for reduced funding for sure and so that’s something that needs lots of exploration still,” said Fruitvale councillor Larry Gray.
The three communities work well together on many levels, he said, and have benefited greatly from tackling recreational upgrades and providing the best opportunities to its residents by pooling its funds.
“We’ve found over the last three years that we’ve been able to do some capital upgrades to our arena that are possible because we can focus our monies,” he said. “When it was part of the regional district, all the funding went into a big pool, often we couldn’t focus the funding for specific projects in the Beaver Valley and often there was a feeling that the money was going into the more centralized facilities in Trail.”
The consultant will now go back and compile information based on feedback on whether or not there is interest in moving forward before further work is done.
A call to Kathy Bruce, president of the Waneta Industrial Property Owners Association, and Teck, which is one of the larger stakeholders, was not returned by press time Sunday.