Up to 300 people walk through the doors of the Trail and District Public Library every day, showing the downtown hub remains a bustling place for all ages to access to in-person programming (98), virtual programming (4) or simply to take out a book or log onto the internet.
These statistics came up during the Trail council meeting Monday night which began with library director Samantha Murphy, and library board member Jeff Jones, presenting council with a rundown on management and operations in the Riverfront Centre athenaeum as well as details on the 2022 budget to date.
Though it’s very early in budget talks for next year, Murphy ended her comprehensive review with the proposal of a four per cent budget increase for 2023, citing inflationary realities.
Council filed her report for information and the 2023 budget request was received as circulated.
Next up was Tyler Baker and Nanette Drobot from BC Housing, who joined the meeting via Zoom.
As this was a first meeting with the newly elected council, the presentation was mostly informational, and included a general overview of the housing spectrum and funding streams that BC Housing administers to address a range of housing needs.
Baker confirmed BC Housing is regularly meeting with municipal staff regarding the search for a new location to house the Trail shelter.
The existing shelter is currently operating under a one-year extension with a temporary use permit. Baker said BC Housing is working on satisfying conditions of that extension while they look for an alternation location outside of downtown.
What’s needed is permanent supportive housing, which is a long term solution, Baker said, clarifying that supportive housing provides the individual with accommodation as well as daily supportive services such as meals, counselling, and job supports.
Key to building supportive housing units is partnerships with the respective city — and local stakeholders — to help the housing corporation best meet the needs of the community and importantly, Baker said, to help in the search to identify and secure suitable land.
“That really is the main hurdle,” he explained. “We have looked at a number of sites in Trail that haven’t panned out … we continue to look and brainstorm … we are confident that in time we will find something in Trail.”
Mayor Colleen Jones asked the pair if they could provide insight on the new standalone housing ministry Premier David Eby will be presenting next week.
“All I have is what’s available,” Baker replied. “ … we don’t expect this to change the structure of BC Housing as a Crown corporation. But we see this as great news; that housing will have a greater profile in cabinet, and as a signal of how important housing is to the government and probably the next budget that’s coming up.”
(The minister of housing will be named when Eby announces his cabinet on Dec. 7.)
Council thanked the delegation then moved from housing to housekeeping duties. In particular, it’s that time of year for elected officials to approve next year’s council meeting calendar, acting mayor schedule and finally, 2023 council committee appointments.
Coun. Nick Cashol was appointed to the statutory council seat on the library board before the roster was passed.
Some of the more visible committee appointments include: Coun. Bev Benson and Coun. Thea Hanson appointed to the Ambassador Program; Coun. Benson and Coun. Cashol on the Silver City Days Committee; Coun. Paul Butler and Coun. Hansen appointed to the Downtown Trail Improvement Committee; Coun. Butler to the LCCDTS (business/economic development), Protective Services and Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty; Coun. Cashol to the Seniors Citizens Committee, Communities in Bloom and Greater Trail Home of Champions; Coun. Doug Wilson to the Chamber of Commerce and Columbia River Treaty; and Coun. Terry Martin appointed to the Trail Historical Society and (voted) to the director seat on the regional district board.
As is tradition with the Trail mayoral role, Jones will chair the Trail Health and Environment Committee. (Coun. Hanson alternate). Jones is also the alternate director for the regional district and chair of the Major Industrial Property Taxation Committee, with Coun. Butler and Coun. Wilson appointed members.