Trail council nails down four-year plan

Priorities include rec agreements, Trail airport expansion, the Riverfront Centre and determining funding for a skate park.

The wish list was lengthy but after two days of talks, Trail council landed a game plan to follow during the next four years of governance.

While council reached a consensus with six major initiatives, the direction can be modified pending unknowns and variables that may enter the picture at any time, clarified Coun. Sandy Santori during the Monday night meeting. “This is the path we’ve set based on what we know today but again it is a flexible strategic plan and subject to change as required.”

The priorities, which aren’t sequential, include marketing the Esplanade properties, reaching recreation agreements, expanding the Trail airport, design and construction of the Riverfront Centre, a final funding determination for a Trail skate park, and completion of the boundary expansion proposal.

The strategy is ambitious and workload-heavy for both council and city staff.

However, it reflects campaign pledges made by Trail Mayor Mike Martin and current council during the Nov. 15 civic election.

Martin ran on vitality and growth, such as encouraging economic development in the business district and improving livability in downtown Trail and throughout the region.

That’s where the river front properties come into the picture and Trail council’s mandate to

collaborate with the realtor and cinch a developer for the lots, which are now used for parking.

“Although there is no direct financial commitment on the part of the city,” Martin told the Trail Times. “There is a strong interest and work being undertaken to secure a developer to work with us to develop that area into something that is very attractive from the point of view of housing stock.”

Santori reiterated the ideal during the meeting, saying as part of the ongoing implementation of the downtown plan, Trail council will develop a strategy to market and sell Esplanade land.

“And build a case on why that can be a good private sector project moving forward,” he added.

Another vital action for the officials concerns the operation and maintenance of city facilities such as the Trail Memorial Centre and aquatic centre.

“Regional recreation agreements are paramount to council in terms of arriving at a fair agreement with all our neighbours,” said Santori. “Being successful in that is in the best interest of all residents in the community and our relationships moving forward.”

Another key strategy factors in the crucial role of small airports in connecting rural B.C. The Trail Regional Airport remains at the forefront of council’s to-do list, in terms of expanding the runway and building a new terminal.

“We’ll be reviewing future extending of the airport, and establish a process in terms of timelines and scope of that project moving forward,” noted Santori.

With funding in place for the new library/museum, giving council a clear mandate to move forward, Santori said design of the project is ready to commence.

“So we can expedite this project as quickly as possible,” he noted. “Having said that, in order to provide the best benefit and best project possible, we have to exercise due diligence. And, sometimes that takes time.”

Though there is no promise that a skate park will be constructed in the next four years, Trail council included the project as a strategic directive.

“We will set a process to help us deal with making a final funding determination with respect to the all- wheel park,” Santori explained.

Growing city limits, the sixth iniative, presently lies in the hands of the province.

“We will continue to work towards the completion of the boundary extension project,” Santori said. “The speed at which this proceeds will largely be based on our response and how they expedite the process moving forward.”

During the strategic planning sessions, Trail council had a list of over 70 initiatives to narrow down, Martin said.

“We believe this package is manageable in the near term,” he added. “We have a vision for the next four years but we are moving forward on these items right now.”