Municipalities meet with minister over boundary expansion

Trail council and reps from Beaver Valley met with Minister Coralee Oakes at the municipal convention in Vancouver.

  • Sep. 29, 2013 2:00 p.m.

Trail is stepping carefully up the pathway that could lead to a new neighbourhood in the city.

It’s been four months since Trail council passed a motion to proceed with the process to expand city boundaries to include 66 parcels of land in Area A, that run south through Columbia Gardens to the international border.

All stakeholders and impacted parties have until Monday to submit their concerns to the city for the first step of the process, which includes proposal development and referrals.

“That being said, if a letter comes in a day or two late, it would still be considered,” said David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer. “We want to ensure that everyone is heard and all comments are considered as part of this very important part of the process.”

Once Trail reviews those concerns and consults with affected property owners, the regional district and other potentially impacted agencies, the next step is for the city to identify the issues. Trail must attempt to resolve those concerns before submitting the proposal to the Ministry of Community Sport, and Cultural Development for further review.

Although the city has not submitted a formal request to date, Trail council and representatives from the Beaver Valley communities met with Minister Coralee Oakes in separate talks at the municipal convention in Vancouver Sept. 16, confirmed Alison Giles, public officer for the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

“The Minister (Coralee Oakes) was encouraged to hear that the referral process was well underway and that Trail was fully prepared to address any issues than may be advance as part of this process,” said Mayor Dieter Bogs. “And she was very receptive to hear Trail’s intention to address the negative financial impact to the current service and ratepayers in Beaver Valley.”

Trail council described how the newly incorporated area would look and feel and the opportunities that would be presented with the city and Teck working in collaboration in an innovative approach to further economic development for the greater region, added Bogs. “As well as to deal with the major industrial property tax issue.”

Fruitvale, Montrose and Area A combined forces to meet with Minister Oakes to express their concerns about the negative impact on their communities if Trail expands into the electoral land which includes the Waneta Dam.

“We jointly presented our continued opposition to the proposed expansion,” said Area A director Ali Grieve, adding, “which will concentrate a majority of the tax dollars from the lower Columbia communities within a municipality that has not been able to demonstrate willingness or ability to work will with others.”

The boundary expansion proposal must be modified to reflect the resolution of concerns before being submitted for provincial review.

The ministry then reviews the impact on provincial interests and services, such as implications for maintenance of roads, and reviews the process and outcomes of municipal consultations and outstanding issues. At that point, Trail council will have to confirm its intent to proceed and seek the assent of its electors before the minister considers to recommend the boundary change to cabinet.