While the bottom line of a Trail expansion study may paint a different picture for Trail’s surrounding area, Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs said including Columbia Gardens industrial park into city boundaries would actually benefit the greater good.
A draft report by Urban Systems Ltd. notes the potential loss of $395,000 in revenue to the Beaver Valley Parks and Recreation Function as one of the most significant issues should Area A property owners – including the Trail Airport, the Columbia Gardens Industrial Park, the Waneta Dam and the adjacent lands extending from the current city boundary to the Waneta border – decide to move into city limits.
While this has some Beaver Valley politicians on edge, Bogs calls it a small issue compared to the sustainability of the entire region at stake.
“This expansion, from my perspective, is necessary for the long-term sustainability of Greater Trail and hopefully at some point and time we will have amalgamation of Greater Trail,” he said. “The city has the capacity, from a financial and from a human resources perspective, to actually do something with the area that will then enhance the sustainability of the entire Greater Trail region.”
But regardless of how he feels, the decision is up to the 13 light industrial or commercial owners who initiated the study this fall. Depending on the strength of the vote, the province would then have a final say.
“At this moment and time it does look somewhat favourable and they now have to decide whether to go to the next stage,” said Bogs, noting that total property taxes would go down by about $800 for a property assessed at $255,000. “We want to make sure that they are committed to continuing because we don’t want to spend any money that we don’t need to spend, if they have second thoughts about it.”
Trail previously looked at expanding its boundaries in a 2004 study that pointed to a municipal revenue surplus forecasted at about $280,000. But at the time, Teck sought conditions that the city’s lawyer advised Trail didn’t have authority over. The city is now projected to gain nearly $77 million in assessment base should a deal go through.
Teck is a significant landowner with some of its facilities including the Waneta Dam, owned two-thirds by Teck, and the Waneta Reload Facilities situated in this rural area.
While further discussion and work is required to understand the likely effects on the various stakeholders, Teck stands behind supporting all players involved.
“With any amalgamation or boundary expansion, Teck would expect to see efficiencies that translate into benefits for all affected parties including the municipal and regional authorities and all taxpayers including Teck,” said Richard Deane, manager of energy and public affairs.
The study presented in a draft report to date looks into the finance, governance and service delivery impacts associated with including portions of Area A into city limits.
Work has halted for the time being while representatives from the Waneta Industrial Property Owners Association decide whether they’d like to see it through.
Toxco’s Kathy Bruce, president of this association, said she could not provide comment at this time due to the sensitive nature of the study.
The city could consider developing a proposal to mitigate the impact on the Beaver Valley function should property owners be interested in moving forward.