RDKB director says boundary expansion not a done deal

Mayors of Fruitvale and Montrose have also voiced their concerns regarding Trail's proposed boundary expansion.

Coming out of the gates, Teck and Trail already have a lead, according to the Area A director.

Director Ali Grieve was referring to the details about a mutual agreement sherbetween Teck Trail Operations and the City of Trail, released last week, which outline the city’s intent to expand its boundary into Teck-owned land in Area A (Columbia Gardens).

However, the tentative deal between Teck and the city is far, far away from being a done deal, said Grieve.

She added that both the city and Teck already stand to gain quite a bit “coming out of the gates.”

“It is a win-win agreed to amongst themselves.

“But in order for the province to allow the proposal to move forward, they will have to see that the stakeholders issues have been addressed.”

And the issue is money.

In particular, how to fairly distribute tax dollars that are generated from the area within the proposed boundary extension, which includes the Waneta Dam and Teck’s Waneta Reload facility.

“It comes down to money, tax dollars and there should be no losers here,” said Grieve.

She said that potential negative impacts and how they can be fixed will be addressed and then tax-sharing formulas for the Waneta Dam will be worked out between the Beaver Valley and Trail.

“The province has already said that Trail cannot have the Waneta Dam tax dollars to itself.

“It will become a subregional asset to be shared with the Beaver Valley and Trail.”

“We need money for a healthy, happy and sustainable community,” said Grieve.

“That means you don’t just get to keep what you have, you have money for future development and growth as well.”

In a press release issued on Monday, the mayors of Fruitvale and Montrose shared their concerns.

“The concentration of assessment is not in the interest of our greater community,” said Fruitvale Mayor Patricia Cecchini.

“We need to be moving away from a situation where assessment and the benefits thereof, are concentrated in one community.”

Montrose Mayor Joe Danchuk called for better cooperation between communities.

“We need to be working together not building barriers to meaningful and mutually beneficial cooperation.

“I am afraid this boundary expansion proposal builds another barrier.”

John MacLean, chief administrative officer for the regional district, said that a formalized procedure on boundary expansion will be used by the province, but the next step will be for the City of Trail present its interests to the province.

“This is a matter of process,” he said.

“Once the city formalizes the boundary expansion with the province, the regional district will be asked to outline the impact that expansion will have on regional services to the area,” explained MacLean.

“We will go through a process of identifying the financial impact it will have on our services.

“From the regional district’s perspective, our responsibility is to respond and protect the interest of our taxpayers within the service area and ensure that we can continue to offer services.”

Grieve said that Beaver Valley residents are questioning, “why I sold the farm and they didn’t get a chance to vote.

“It is important for people to understand the process and that this is just a preliminary study,” she explained.

Grieve said that since the majority property owner (Teck) and the City of Trail have reached their own agreement, an official study will now follow.

“When we met with Minister Bill Bennett last fall he assured us that the Beaver Valley will remain whole or this deal wouldn’t move forward,” she said.

“That was a commitment we needed to hear because ultimately the province makes the final decision.”