Regional sewer deal may need arbitration: Trail

Trail is attempting to reach an agreement with its sewer partners but is set to go to arbitration if necessary.

Trail is taking one more stab at coming to an agreement with its regional sewer partners but has already endorsed a recommendation to go to arbitration if all else fails.

The city has received a report by consultant George Paul of Community Solutions Incorporated that looked to give the three partners – Trail, Warfield and Rossland – an unbiased opinion on how to resolve a review on cost apportionment that was completed two years ago.

“What we’re saying is that we don’t really want to go to arbitration, we’d sooner settle a mediated settlement,” explained Trail councillor Robert Cacchioni. “But if in fact a mediated settlement won’t work, then we’ll have to go to arbitration.”

Trail is paying close to 70 per cent of the regional budget following a formula created in the late 1960s, which is based mostly on population and projected growth. Paul calls this formula “flawed,” as it is in no way reflective of the growth that actually occurred.

The report finds that Trail should instead pay about 60 per cent toward the service, which works out to a savings of over $100,000 a year.

“This is costing a lot of money, the mediator is costing a lot of money and Trail is paying a large percentage of it, in fact as we did in terms of the amalgamation study with Warfield,” said Cacchioni. “The review started in 2008 so the way I’m looking at it, we’re about $310,000 in the hole, when somebody else in fact should be paying the costs.”

Recommendations to either move to a new formula based on 50 per cent population and 50 per cent water consumption or just population were made but neither received a green light from Rossland.

“We’re really hoping that Rossland, which at first sort of approved it and then changed their mind, will realize that it’s a fair reasonable deal.”