Rossland, Trail fail to reach rec agreement

City of Trail reports "significant gap" between what Rossland is willing to pay and Trail's expectations.

Efforts to reach a recreation agreement between the cities of Rossland and Trail have come to a standstill.

Representatives from both communities announced on Thursday that after four months of trying to hammer out a deal they’ve reached an impasse.

It came down to finances and Rossland simply couldn’t afford to meet Trail’s request.

In a press release, the City of Rossland cited that its budget is “under pressure from a number of fronts.”

It highlighted the sewage plant upgrades, aging facilities and major infrastructure repairs including next year’s Washington Street renewal project.

“While we understand there is a tangible and important value to regional cooperation, our first priority must be to the residents of Rossland and making sure our spending decisions are prudent,” said the release.

The City of Trail issued its own press release explaining its negotiating committee faced a tough decision.

“It became very evident that Trail council would have to significantly compromise the original principles the city advanced when talks began in order to secure an agreement with Rossland.”

Trail Mayor Mike Martin said the gap between the two communities was just too much to overcome.

“Rossland cited financial capacity as a limiting factor and there remained a significant gap between what Rossland indicated they could afford to pay and where Trail council was ultimately comfortable.

“As negotiations continued, council became increasingly concerned with the potentially negative impacts a settlement could have on the funding agreement the city has in place with Warfield and Beaver Valley. The city had to be mindful of this given what has been accomplished in these two agreements.”

Trail reached a 66-month deal with Warfield (worth $631,500 over the life of the agreement) in May and a one-year deal with Beaver Valley (worth $125,000) in August.

According to the City of Rossland press release, Trail offered Rossland a two-year deal for $90,000 per year while Rossland countered with an offer of $50,000 per year with a cost of living percentage increase for three years.

Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore said the cost proved too prohibitive.

“In the end we just couldn’t afford what Trail was requesting. Rossland already spends 15 per cent of our annual budget on our own recreational facilities and programs. We have other basic critical needs that must be addressed.”

Despite not reaching an agreement, Moore said both sides negotiated in a friendly and open manner.

“Unfortunately our two councils were unable to come to an agreement for recreation but the negotiations were friendly to the end. Both sides are still eager to work together on other shared challenges. Hopefully in the future all of the local governments in our area can find a lasting solution to the recreation issue.”

The Rossland press release said its council decided that the original offer to Trail could be used to fund a reimbursement program to residents for access to Trail’s facilities. Details of the program will be announced in the near future.

In the meantime, the Trail Resident Program will remain in effect with Trail council stating in its press release that it will “continue to consider specific interest groups to try and mitigate community impact.”