All has been quiet on the homefront while Trail’s plan to expand remains in the hands of government.
Local movement on the matter is still months away, provided there are no further roadblocks, says Trail Mayor Mike Martin.
“The province is currently finalizing the Supplementary Letter Patent (SLP) that is required for boundary extension to proceed,” he said. “The SLP is a document that deals with all of the terms and conditions associated with the affected unincorporated area moving into an incorporated jurisdiction.”
Conditions such as property tax limitations and other terms specific to boundary extension are included, he added.
The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development is the arm of government responsible to oversee mitigation between the City of Trail and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary should the boundary expansion proceed to the next step.
First, the province is looking to arrange a meeting for Trail and Teck later this month or in March to review the document as part of seeking general agreement of the boundary proposal.
“Once this process is completed, the province has committed to providing a third party who would assist the city and Area A dealing with mitigation that will effectively address the property tax revenue loss on impacted regional services,” Martin explained.
There are specific policies and guidelines that the province has with respect to this matter, he continued. “And it is hoped that with the province’s assistance an appropriate level of mitigation will be determined.”
If those two outstanding matters can be finalized, the boundary extension would be in a position to be approved by the province and final approval would be dependent on scheduling the associated legislative matters in the legislature.
In May 2013, the city released details about a mutual agreement with Teck Metals Ltd., that outlined Trail’s intent to expand its boundary into Teck-owned land in Area A.
After a visit to the affected properties last summer, Minister Coralee Oakes later announced via letter to the city and regional district that Trail’s proposal laid the groundwork for a potential governance change in the area.
The province required more time to build an understanding of the impact to all parties involved, she noted.
including land owners, city residents and local government.
She wrote that legislative changes are necessary to ensure continuity of tax treatment of the Waneta Dam, “if it were within city limits, given the unique ownership structure of that asset between BC Hydro and Teck.”