After re-consideration and a second vote, Trail council stands by its decision to withdraw from the regional economic development service.
Instead, the city is pursuing an individual municipal contract with Lower Columbia Initiatives (LCIC).
“This has been quite a process to undertake,” says Trail Mayor Mike Martin, mentioning the final decision was made approximately six weeks ago. “It came to a vote in a closed session … but with regard to that vote, what council agreed to is that we would remain in an economic development function.”
Trail values the function of the LCIC, and did not want to see it disappear or disband in any way, he explained.
“Having said that, council needed a different reporting relationship with the LCIC other than relying on that reporting to take place through the regional district.”
Trail council did receive backlash in November when the matter came to a head, following a four-to-three vote in favour of withdrawing – with the city no longer contributing, the service’s future was in peril.
Collectively, councillors Robert Cacchioni, Carol Dobie, Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson and Sandy Santori cited financial constraints related to Trail projects such as the Skywalk and Riverfront Centre as well as other critical infrastructure and core service needs. Additionally, they were concerned with insufficient reporting of LCIC activities and outcomes.
While it’s very early in contract talks, Martin did say the city’s agreement would address those stated concerns.
“The prime matters to be discussed with the LCIC through the establishment of a new contract will be issues around reporting, accountability, and making sure there is recognition of the City of Trail’s strategic plan,” he clarified. “Where they are taking the city and making sure there is a very clear matrix for reporting.”
With Trail out of the equation, there is a possibility the service will survive with the six remaining partners, Martin said.
“We just needed an opportunity to sort out how this would actually move forward,” he explained. “So what’s happened on the interim, was some considerable discussion with the LCIC and the remaining partners in the service.
“The City of Trail will engage the LCCDTS/LCIC to establish the terms of a contract and once completed will share those details with the sub-committee of the remaining partners.”
Historically, Trail has contributed the lion’s share, 43 per cent annually or $78,000-plus, through the East End Economic Development Committee. The initiative began seven years ago with partners in Rossland, Warfield, Montrose,Fruitvale, Area A and Area B. The service underwent an organizational change in 2014 and through LCIC auspices, received $50,000 annually over three years from the Trust.
Though the current contract doesn’t expire until December 2017, the agreement mandated a review at the end of last year.
The three-year agreement was signed in late 2014 and outlined participants could withdraw from the service in a subsequent year provided notice was given following the service review and before July 1. The contract between the regional district and the service’s regulating body, the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society (LCCDTS) can also be terminated on notice by either party with 210 days advanced notice.
The LCIC receives flow through funding from the LCCDTS board to do all the legwork of economic development in the area.