The East End regional sewer plant, called the Columbia Pollution Control Centre, provides regional wastewater treatment and disposal for approximately 14,000 people residing in the municipalities of Trail, Rossland and Warfield, as well as the two smaller adjacent communities of Oasis and Rivervale. (Rossland News file photo) Columbia Pollution Control Centre

What referendum means for Trail, Rossland and Warfield voters

Sewer service owned by 3 municipalities; two referendum questions for Rossland, Trail and Warfield

Like any physical property that is collectively owned, all parties have a say when it goes up for sale.

Or “disposition” as is the case here.

That’s the simplest way to explain the upcoming referendum for voters in Rossland, Trail and Warfield – even though the matter is infinitely more complicated because the asset – sewer pipe infrastructure – is regionally “owned.”

For that reason, aside from a ballot to elect city and village leaders, constituents in the three municipalities will be asked the same two referendum questions, even though only one will pertain to the community in which they live.

One question asks whether ownership of the sewer collection system serving (benefiting) only Trail should be transferred from the RDKB (Regional District of Kootenay Boundary) to the City of Trail.

The other question asks whether ownership of the sewer collection system serving only Rossland should be transferred from the RDKB to the City of Rossland.

Again, this means Trail will vote on whether Rossland should own the sewer collection pipes that serve only Rossland, and Rossland will vote on whether Trail should own the sewer collection pipes that serve only Trail.

Warfield will vote on both Rossland’s and Trail’s potential ownership of the assets that serve only Trail and Rossland.

Electors will also be asked to vote on whether each city should own the sewer collection pipes that serve their own communities.

To further clarify, the Trail Times talked with Frances Maika, the regional district’s corporate communications officer.

“These sewer collection systems (sanitary assets) have been owned by the RDKB since 1969,” she began. “The RDKB’s East End Regional Sanitary Service operates and maintains these assets, as well as the Columbia Pollution Control Centre and various sewer pumping (lift) stations.”

Rossland, Warfield and Trail are all members of the regional district and residents in these three RDKB municipalities pay taxes that cover the cost of the East End Regional Sanitary Service.

“B.C. law requires that a referendum take place to determine if the electors in the RDKB service area are in agreement with the transfer of these assets from the RDKB to the municipalities,” Maika explained.

That is why the RDKB will ask the electors in Rossland, Trail and Warfield two separate questions in this referendum.

“In short, they each want to own, operate and maintain the sewage collection pipes that serve each of their communities,” she said.

“Warfield’s sewage collection pipes are shared by Rossland and Warfield, and so will continue to be owned, operated and maintained by the RDKB.”

In a nutshell, because the sewer service is collectively owned, all parties have a say in its potential disposition.

Notably, because the asset is collectively owned, the referendum will be collectively tallied.

Approval will be obtained if a majority of the collective (combined) votes counted, as valid, are in favour of the ballot questions.

The ballots for each question will be counted separately in each municipality with individual municipality totals – for and against – added together for collective results.

“If more than 50 per cent of the total number of ballots counted for each question in the referendum indicate ‘yes’ then the referendum passes for that question,” Maika furthered. “The referendum does not have to pass in each community for the referendum to pass overall.”

A failed referendum question means that the RDKB will continue to own, operate and maintain the relevant asset.

“It is not decided municipality by municipality,” Maika reiterated. “But by a count of the total votes cast across the East End Regional Sanitary Service area within the RDKB, comprised all the electors in the City of Rossland, the City of Trail and the Village of Warfield.”

Just Posted

Keep motorized vehicles off Trans-Canada Trail

Government considers allowing off-road vehicles on Trans Canada Trail

West Kootenay EcoSociety opens new office in downtown Trail

Located on Eldorado Street, the new site opened last week

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Based on a popular news story locally or beyond

Ambitious plan to expand Salmo came to naught

Place Names: Salmo and Slocan neighbourhoods

Updated: Early-morning fire near Trail destroys travel trailer and van

An arson-trained RCMP investigator will examine the scene

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read