New year serves up hectic calendar in Greater Trail and across province

From provincial election to 50th anniversary of Silver City Days.

It wasn’t the end of the world as we knew it, as prognosticated by pundits citing doom at the end of the mesoamerican (Mayan) calendar on Dec. 21.

So most of us are feeling fine now as we look ahead to what 2013 holds for Greater Trail residents.

Like a May B.C. provincial election or the return of the provincial sales tax, both slated for an appearance on the calendar this spring.

It’s no fooling. On April 1 B.C. will change the way its sales taxes are administered, splintering the Harmonized Sales Tax back into two pieces: the Provincial Sales Tax and the Government Sales Tax.

Six weeks later polling, policy and predictions roll into the polls for the B.C. election, with Christy Clark’s Liberals preparing to defend what has been a rocky road and record since she assumed the premier-ship almost two years ago.

Whomever wins, the election coincides with the Chinese Year of the Snake, that begins Feb. 10, four days before the election. Draw any inferences you feel are appropriate.

This year will be an academic one for local school trustees as the board of School District 20 (Kootenay Columbia) will be schooled on possibility of shutting down both Rossland Secondary School and Castlegar Elementary School on Feb. 25.

The board will be well rested to make their decision, however, by taking in the first B.C. Family Day holiday on Monday, Feb. 11—after the premier created the new day of rest last year.

Greater Trail residents will likely say farewell to the Zellers store in the Waneta Mall in March, after the nation-wide chain was sold to Target Canada last year. Unlike many of the locations, Trail will not be receiving a Target store in the old location for 2013. But the chain says additional stores will open in 2014 and Trail could be on that short list.

The year could hold the answer in one of the more bitter disputes in the Greater Trail region over who pays what in the delivery of water and sewer services. The arbitration case is now before the province, pitting the cities of Rossland and Trail against each other.

In February, 2013 Trail will play host to the best in curling from across the province as the senior men’s and women’s provincials descend on the Silver City. The event could be a preview to who will win the national or world championship.

And with the Trail Smoke Eaters in the playoff hunt in the BCHL right now, this year could also put an end to their one-year hiatus from post season play in March.

May marks the 50th anniversary of Silver City Days, the city’s venerable and popular spring festival in the downtown.

On the hill, Teck Trail Operations is expected to complete its $125 million No. 1 Acid Plant this year. This project consists of building a new acid plant to replace two older acid plants, significantly improving the company’s operational reliability and environmental performance.

And if refuting the Mayan predictions was not enough, Kevin Costner’s “Postman”—filmed at nearby Metaline Falls, Wash.,—that saw global society collapses and nuclear war has crippling civilization, was set in 2013. Unless the bombs are en route, this scenario is unlikely to play out soon.

And in closing, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says it’s going to be an expensive New Year for Greater Trail residents, who will face tax hikes on everything from health care to property, along with an increase in hydro rates.

Medical service premiums in the province are expected to rise for the fourth straight year, with the family rate jumping to $133 per month, up $60. B.C. Hydro rates will rise almost four per cent on April 1, and municipal property taxes will jump in most B.C. cities in July by one to three per cent.

In addition, Greater Trail residents, like all other Canadians, will face higher Canada Pension Plan contributions and higher Employment Insurance taxes in the New Year.

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