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Trail City Council: Concerns raised over federal budget

Trail is taking its first kick at the federal budget that was unveiled last month.

Trail is taking its first kick at the federal budget that was unveiled last month.

City council is adding political pressure by writing to Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko in hopes he’ll crack the whip.

“I’m totally perturbed with what’s going on in regards to how they’re enticing individuals to go shop in the United States,” said councillor Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson at Tuesday’s council meeting. “I think it’s personally going to affect our local community – we are a border town – and I think that we’re struggling as it is to make people shop local.”

She is referring to the new rules that kick in June 1, which will allow cross-border shoppers to bring back $200 worth of goods free of duty or taxes, an increase from just $50, and $800 for those who’ve been gone for more than 48 hours.

Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs didn’t have much positive to say, either, besides noting the feds commitment to community infrastructure.

He found it disturbing that “nothing” was set aside for affordable housing, which he found ironic after last week’s presentation from Surrey MLA Jagrup Brar, NDP small business critic, who said affordable housing was the No. 1 issue he faced when he accepted a challenge in January to live on welfare for a month in Surrey and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

“The problem is that the federal government hasn’t even recognized and completely dropped all aspects of affordable housing from their budget and the province isn’t doing much better,” he said.

“It’s a major expensive program and it’s really not in our mandate but in many ways we are forced to do what we can.”

Bogs was also disappointed to see the loss of the Katimavik program, which cost $15 million annually.

The program provided opportunity for young Canadians to participate in an intensive six-month volunteer experience.

Upon their visit to Trail in years’ past, Katimavik volunteers got behind a number of local programs and non-profits including Trail Community in Bloom, Kate’s Kitchen, United Way, Rossland Radio Co-op, Trail SPCA, Rossland Chamber of Commerce, People Loving People, Salvation Army and the Sanctuary.