Infighting must end for region to prosper

"Trail has missed countless opportunities due to this infighting and we need to grow up and stop acting like little kids in a sandbox."

It will be an interesting election in the five southern municipalities. Looking back in history, we can expect 12 months from now five mayors, 23 councillors and two regional reps will still bicker, study and hold referendums while our friends to the north reap the benefits.

Trail has missed countless opportunities due to this infighting and we need to grow up and stop acting like little kids in a sandbox.

• TT (Trail Times) spring 1966, $400,000 parking structure proposed for downtown Trail, but protest from Chamber and merchants stopped it.

• TT April 7, 1972, multi-million dollar government building proposed for Shavers Bench.  But lack of a decision, resulted in it moving to Nelson where it opened in 1975.

• Referendum on proposed new civic centre, businesses had a full-page ad in opposition, promising, “Just wait, something better will come.” We are still waiting.

• The public was against a casino for Trail.  Letters in the Trail Times predicted it would kill the city, fill it with crime, unwanted people, businesses would leave.  Well, they got their wish and jobs and taxes went to Castlegar. Did it destroy Castlegar?

• Remember the great programs at Selkirk College downtown?  But  Castlegar and Nelson stripped it clean.  The Operator Engineers program would develop the next generation of workers for Teck. Then it moved to Nelson, which has a lot of heavy industry!  The last people from this program hired by Teck live in Nelson.

Still talking about fixing the ‘old’ bridge?  What engineer in his right mind would approve this after the only person to get sued in the Elliot Lake Mall collapse was the engineer?  Even if we spent millions, we would still have a 102-year structure.  Why fix what our kids and grandkids will have to deal with it in 20 years?  I would be proud to leave something my grandkids could love and use for 100 years.  Eventually someone will have to pay for a transplant if all we use is a Band Aid.

Most believe Teck is the Golden Goose, but besides massive taxes paid into local coffers, we are losing a major part of the wealth.  Demographics are increasing in all areas except Trail.

In 2004, 42 per cent of Teck’s workforce lived in Trail.  Today, it is 40 per cent and of the next 200 retirees, 60 per cent live in Trail. This means we are becoming a retirement community full of snowbirds in winter who stay at Christina Lake all summer. Great for local shopping.

Workers don’t live here. Castlegar already has five Co-op busses for Teck workers. And a traffic study counted 1,300 vehicles into Trail every morning between 5:00-8:30 a.m. Where do these people shop?

Where are the largest contracting companies located?  At work I meet most of them and always ask where they are from or where they stay.  Of 500, I surveyed, 70 per cent were out-of-towners and 90 per cent stayed in Castlegar. Trail hosted the CiB conference this year and letters were sent to most of these out-of-town companies asking for a small donation. Not one even responded.

And all that money from Waneta expansion?

We read glowing economic reports of millions but is it spent in Trail?

We need a reality check. We have an ‘elephant’ in the room, but nobody is seeing it. Einstein said “Problems cannot be solved with the same mindset that created them.” Think about this when you vote.

Dan Rodlie

Trail