Boundary expansion plan formalized by Trail council

A formal motion has been passed to soldier on with its proposed boundary expansion into Area A (Columbia Gardens).

During Monday night’s Trail council meeting, a formal motion was passed to soldier on with its proposed boundary expansion into Area A (Columbia Gardens).

However, before the agreement between Teck Trail Operations and the City of Trail is submitted to the province for ratification, a study update is required and a disposition of concerns will need to be addressed.

“With respect to the existing report it is recognized that it is based on 2011 financial information,” explained David Perehudoff, chief administrative officer.

He confirmed that Urban Systems Ltd., the company who completed the 2012 boundary expansion study,  has been hired to update the information.

In a report to Perehudoff, Urban Systems said that the focus of the work will be financial updates, with the intent to provide current assessment, budget and tax information so that the city can proceed with discussions around service impacts and revenue-sharing options.

Additionally, included in the update will be: current assessment values for the study area properties; 2013 assessment values for existing jurisdictions and service areas; City of Trail and regional district financial plans for 2013; and city and rural area tax rates.

Urban Systems noted in its report that the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development continues to encourage a focus on consideration of the Waneta Dam as a regional asset, with a specific focus on mitigation of impacts to the Beaver Valley Parks and Recreational Trail Services (BVPARKS).

“Beaver Valley is not the approving authority with respect to this matter,” explained Perehudoff.

“The province is, and this matter has been discussed with the province on several occasions,” he said.

“And their direction is that there is no requirement to provide full mitigation.”

Perehudoff explained that what the province has noted is that the city must come up with a reasonable offer within the financial parameters of the extension and implications on the city as well as the regional services impacted.

The 2012 Urban Systems study suggested that the Beaver Valley communities pool the revenue from the dam that the city would provide, but the net loss would be about $374,000.

And that revenue loss would inevitably come at a cost to the taxpayer of the affected communities.

However, Area A director Ali Grieve said that raising taxes to meet the shortfall is not an option.

“We have the support of the Beaver Valley residents who will be making sure that they will not be paying for the gains of Trail and Teck,” she said.

“There is a lot of money coming out of Waneta Dam and more to come in the future once the (dam) expansion is complete.

“The stakeholders will address what a fair cost sharing formula is.”

Fruitvale Mayor Patricia Cecchini met with council on Monday to discuss its bottom line position.

“This will have a huge impact on the Beaver Valley,” said Cecchini.

She explained that tax revenue funds are used to maintain recreational services in all its shared facilities, including the arena and parks.

“We are opposed to any expansion process that is a detriment to the Beaver Valley and its impacts on taxpayers.

“We are prepared to participate in discussions with all stakeholders to come up with a solution that ensures the needs of the Beaver Valley residents are met now and in the future.”

The net impact may improve depending on the updated financial figures derived from the updated Urban Systems report and the final negotiated mitigation figure is realized, said Perehudoff.

“Within the first Urban Systems report, there is currently a proposal that provides a revenue transfer of $220,000 of the $374,000 that the BVPARKS and Recreation Service would lose,” he explained.

“This would mean a $54 increase in property taxes to a $200,000 home in Beaver Valley if the service did not reduce its level of spending, which may not necessarily be unreasonable.

Perehudoff said that it is  noted that when the 2013 report is completed, this number may be reduced further and will then form the starting point for further negotiations as part of the referral process.

“The city must deal fairly with the service but in no way is the city required to provide full compensation for the revenue lost,” he added.

The BVPARTS is a service between Fruitvale, Montrose and Area A that was re-established after regional recreation dissolved in 2009.