Can’t we all just get along?

Is the City of Trail disregarding the existing tax sharing arrangement with the proposed boundary expansion?

On June 18 it was announced that Rodney King was found dead in his swimming pool. The news of his passing received major coverage; most reports featured his famous plea, “Can’t we all just get along?” Rodney’s plea was directed to members of the black community to end the rioting that followed the outrageous US court decision exonerating members of the Los Angeles Police Department charged with delivering a severe beating to Rodney.

On a regional note political events have unfolded to create a situation where perhaps we should step back and ask ourselves, like Rodney King suggested, “Can’t we all just get along?”

The issue I am speaking of is the City of Trail’s recent decision to proceed with boundary expansion to the Waneta border. (City of Trail regular council minutes June 11) The City of Trail feels justified in doing so because a handful of property owners from that location have invited this action; but by taking this position the City of Trail is displaying a total disregard for the existing tax sharing arrangement.

As far back as 1971 the communities of Fruitvale, and Montrose along with Area ‘A’ of the RDKB have had in place an agreement to pool taxes to finance recreation projects and programs in the Beaver Valley. In the early 70’s a Montrose, Fruitvale, Area ‘A’ wide referendum was held to fund major recreation facilities. Taxation revenues from the Columbia Gardens/Waneta area were cited as crucial to the viability of these facilities and related programs.

Fast forward to 2012, little has changed in that regard; the taxation from this area is still very heavily relied upon. In short it can be stated that Trail’s boundary expansion will place into jeopardy the services offered by BV recreation. It may even result in the closure of our arena.

Trail council is well aware of the impact of its actions for at the same council meeting a motion to “contact the provincial government to explore measures to mitigate tax impacts in the residual of Area A” was tabled. (In fact it will affect all three Beaver Valley jurisdictions)

This motion was defeated, receiving the support of only two of councillors. My kudos to those council members for realizing that Trail’s actions are a bad way to treat their neighbors, after all, we should not better our community by tearing down someone else’s.

The move toward boundary expansion will have such a serious impact it is bound to create hard feelings between the communities of the Beaver Valley and Trail. Yet the majority of Trail council does not seem to give a damn.

This area is facing a multitude of serious questions/issues such as school board funding, possible location of a new regional hospital.

The City of Trail will need allies when facing these questions yet it insists on a cavalier pursuit of its own interests, creating hard feelings and putting distance between itself and its neighbors.

I am urging the residents of Trail to have a conversation with their council members and ask them to explain themselves, above all, ask them this question; “Can’t we all just get along?”

Lindsay PartridgeFruitvale