Councils for the City of Trail and the Village of Warfield have been working quietly behind the scenes on what has historically been a sensitive matter and at times, a political hot button.
That being, of course, the financial agreement between the municipalities regarding the city’s provision of recreational services for the same fee as city taxpayers via the Trail Resident Program (TRP).
The good news is the city and village negotiated and approved a new five-year deal for recreation and library services and announced the new TRP agreement on Friday.
Warfield will contribute $727,000 over the full 60-month term.
“Our residents have greatly benefited not only in our existing recreational agreement that we have with the city, but also the great relationship we have with our friends and neighbours. I would like to thank the negotiating teams from both municipalities for working collaboratively together, and for the great dialogue and the mutual respect we have for one another,” said Warfield Mayor Diane Langman.
“This is a great example of how small communities should, and need to, work together for the betterment of the whole.”
The current agreement made just over five years ago between the two municipalities expires on Dec. 31. The new deal takes effect on Jan. 1. The previous agreement from 2015 had Warfield contributing $631,500 over the full term with the city allocating 68 per cent of the funding to Trail recreation and 32 per cent towards library services.
“We are very pleased to have reached this agreement with Warfield,” said Trail Mayor Lisa Pasin. “It establishes long-term stability and access to all facilities for both Warfield and Trail residents. Building positive relationships with our neighbouring communities continues to be a priority for Trail city council; and, in this particular case, we wanted to ensure the agreement included clear, fair, and comprehensive language, as this agreement will extend beyond the terms of the current city and village councils.”
A regional recreation agreement existed among the seven communities in the Lower Columbia (Fruitvale, Montrose, Trail, Warfield, Rossland, Area A and Area B) for a long period of time.
Each community paid a share of the costs for maintaining and operating the regional and local facilities based on the assessed value of the property in each community. With the dissolution of the regional recreation agreement in 2008, Trail instituted the TRP, which established in the absence of an agreement with the city, a two-tier system whereby non-Trail residents pay double that of Trail residents for using Trail facilities.
Rossland has not made an agreement with Trail and currently sets aside $10,000 in subsidies annually to help youth groups access the facilities.
Area B, which includes Genelle, Rivervale, Oasis, Casino, Blackjack, South Belt, Sheep Creek and Patterson, did not renew an agreement with Trail in 2015 and currently refunds its residents on a pay-per-use basis.
In 2016, the city reached a five-year agreement with Beaver Valley Recreation (BV Rec) wherein BV Rec contributes $125,000 annually for residents from Fruitvale, Montrose, and Area A to use city recreational facilities for TRP fees. (At the end of 2013 BV Rec did not renew a TRP agreement and chose to refund users instead. A one-year $125,000 agreement was re-established in 2015 before the four-year deal was inked).
The present BV Rec agreement expires Oct. 31, 2021.
“We are also very keen to work with our other neighbouring municipalities on recreation agreements,” said Pasin. “We have incredible facilities and amenities that can accommodate and serve the population of the region very well.”