Trail moves ahead with boundary expansion plans

Trail has released details on an agreement that outlines the Silver City’s intent to expand its boundary into Teck-owned land in Area A.

The City of Trail has released details on a mutual agreement that outlines the Silver City’s intent to expand its boundary into Teck-owned land in Area A.

In a meeting on Wednesday with Area A, Fruitvale and Montrose, the City of Trail and Teck Trail Operations unveiled a plan that involves land, cash and tax concessions.

“It involves 66 parcels (of land) in total,” said David Perehudoff, chief administrative officer for the city.

“Including the land from the city’s current boundary, running south through Columbia Gardens to the international border.”

Perehudoff explained that the general land assessments total $76,687,300 and there are eight residents living in the area.

Included in the proposed boundary expansion are Teck’s Waneta Reload Facility and the Waneta Dam.

“Those facilities are very important for Teck and our Trail operations and under this agreement framework, Teck is supportive of those facilities being included within the City of Trail,” said Richard Deane, Teck manager, environment, health and safety, and public affairs.

“Our understanding is that now the City of Trail will be moving forward with the boundary expansion but there is a lot of details to work out especially around revenue sharing amongst Beaver Valley, Fruitvale, Montrose and Area A.”

The Trail Times contacted a representative from the regional district who declined to comment until a formal press release is issued next week.

Mayor Dieter Bogs addressed the concerns relating to Beaver Valley in a press release on Thursday.

“This process will include the City of Trail negotiating a fair agreement with the Beaver Valley Parks and Recreation Service due to the revenue loss that regional service will experience should the area form part of the city,” said Bogs.

The property taxes from these facilities are currently paid to the province of B.C., in the form of rural property taxes because the property in question is an unincorporated area, said Perehudoff.

He said that within this agreement, these taxes will no longer be going to Victoria, but rather stay local, and paid to the City of Trail.

“This is one of the benefits of a municipality extending its boundaries into an area that is not incorporated.”

Further, the agreement includes a long-term tax certainty for Teck Trail Operations from its current 63 per cent municipal tax revenue to be reduced to 55 per cent over time.

“Teck actually pays to the City of Trail 62.25 per cent of the city’s current general tax levy,” explained Perehudoff.

And for 2013, Teck’s portion of the overall city’s taxes was almost $7 million.

“The key thing for Teck Trail operations is long-term sustainability and viability and the tax certainty is a big part of that,” said Deane.

“This agreement will provide that tax certainty which will underpin long-term sustainability.”

Further, within the agreement, Teck will provide a one-time community investment of $1 million to focus on economic development within the city limits; and a 20-year community investment of $225,000, indexed for inflation, to focus on economic development and diversification.

“It is hoped that those significant community investments will see a benefit to the City of Trail,” said Deane.

Bogs said that if the process received final approval from the province and the property owners, the boundary expansion could be completed within the next 18 months.

The Trail mayor, who was instrumental in reaching the agreement, said that the guaranteed revenue for 20 years will mean that the city can reconfigure its currents economic development committee (LCIC) to focus its attention within the city limits.

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