Fruitvale annual report an opportunity for reflection

Under Provincial law every municipality is required to write an annual report on the past year.

Under Provincial law every municipality is required to write an annual report on the past year. It gives us an opportunity to reflect, evaluate our progress on the strategic plan and assess issues that have arisen, projects that have been completed and of course, celebrate our accomplishments.

I would like to share with you some of the Village of Fruitvale 2014 Annual Report.

The past 2014 calendar year was another productive one for the Village of Fruitvale. Numerous betterments were completed and some of our key accomplishments were;

•    Pre-design for the Sewage Treatment Plant upgrades

•    A joint project with FortisBC allowed for the installation of more efficient lighting along Columbia Gardens Road

•    A micro-paving pilot project was carried out along Columbia Gardens Road

•    Drainage enhancements to Mackay Lane were completed

•    A partnership with the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure allowed the Village to complete intersection and drainage improvements at Columbia Gardens Road and Highway 3B (Main Street).

We continue to partner with the Beaver Valley Recreation Service to fund the Seniors’ Coordinator for the Age Friendly program, which benefits seniors in Fruitvale and throughout the entire Beaver Valley. Columbia Basin Trust supported the BV Youth Club again in 2014 and the program gained significant momentum with the appointment of a new Youth Coordinator.

The 2014 year was not without its challenges though. The BV Recreation Committee made a decision not to renew the expired recreation agreement with the City of Trail.

The decision created much concern and controversy. Although not perfect, a successful reimbursement program was created to minimize the impact on our community members. We continue to work diligently toward finding the best affordable solution for Beaver Valley taxpayers.

This issue continues to be a major focus for Council along with our Beaver Valley Recreation Service partners in Montrose and RDKB Area A.

The Trail Residency Program (TRP) and several other regional issues appeared to dampen relationships between local governments in 2014. Fortunately, it also resulted in a renewed focus by many area politicians and residents to work toward solutions that benefit all stakeholders. “Regional collaboration” was the major position taken during the 2014 election campaigns throughout our region.

By working together, partners can develop a solution that doesn’t’t require either partner to sacrifice unduly.

A partnership that is one-sided is not a true partnership.

Two very good examples of collaboration were the Beaver Valley Amalgamation Study (Montrose, Fruitvale & RDKB Electoral Area A) and the Liquid Waste Management Plan.

Substantial efforts were put into researching these possibilities and the likely effects, costs, benefits or disadvantages for both villages and for Area A.

Through this collaboration with our local government partners in the Beaver Valley, it was determined that amalgamation would have significant negative financial impacts for Area A, with minor taxation benefits for Fruitvale and Montrose.

Together, we agreed not to pursue this initiative.  With the RDKB Liquid Waste Management Plan, it was determined that moving forward would have negative impacts for the Village of Fruitvale, therefore the collaboration did not lead to a joint outcome.

Fruitvale Council is committed to collaborating and participating in partnering projects when the benefits are evident to our citizens as well as our neighbours.

Regional collaboration must not become the new catchphrase, it must represent meaningful actions.

Collaboration is about shared goals, joint effort and ownership.

The end result is not mine or yours, it is ours!

Patricia Cecchini is the Mayor of Fruitvale.

Community Comment is an opportunity for elected officials from our local municipalities to update citizens in the region on the events, plans and progress in their respective communities. Every Friday, the Trail Times will present, on a rotating basis, a submission from councils, school trustees or regional district directors.