Trail expansion clears hurdle

Trail reached a milestone this week but still has one more hurdle before continuing down the track to expand city boundaries.

Trail reached a milestone this week but still has one more hurdle before continuing down the track to expand city boundaries.

Property owners in the Columbia Gardens area had until Wednesday to oppose Trail’s intent to expand city limits into what is currently regional district territory (Electoral Area A).

With four direct responses from 23 property owners, three positive and one preferring to remain “status quo,” the city is gearing up for the next step, which is mitigate the economic impact to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB).

Technically, before that level of negotiations can happen, the city has to wait until late Monday, which is the deadline for Trail residents to submit a counter-petition through the Alternative Approval Process.

The city isn’t expecting to receive a counter petition, said David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer (CAO), adding that the next steps include finalization of Supplementary Letters Patent (SLP) and coming to a mitigation agreement with the RDKB.

Both sides met with the provincial minister responsible to oversee the boundary expansion process when she made a visit to the area last week.

Coralee Oakes, Minister for Community, Sport and Cultural Development, toured the impacted Beaver Valley area with Ali Grieve, Area A director, and the mayors of Montrose, Joe Danchuck, and Fruitvale, Patricia Cecchini, before meeting with the City of Trail for lunch and a review of outstanding issues.

The minister saw first hand the areas that generate revenue for the Beaver Valley communities and where our tax dollars are spent, said Grieve.

“The reps restated what they have stated in the past, that we continue to oppose the proposal.”

However, should the boundary expansion proceed, Grieve believes that the abundance of tax dollars in the region, including Teck’s tax revenues, can guarantee a win-win for everyone now and in the future.

“Reps said they will expect nothing less,” she added.

During Oakes’ meeting with Trail, an agreement was reached that, as soon as practical, the city’s lawyer and Teck’s lawyer would meet with the ministry’s legal team to discuss the SLP as part of finalizing the proposal package.

Only after a mitigation settlement is reached with the RDKB, and SLP matters are concluded, can Trail council pass a motion requesting Oakes to approve the boundary extension and refer it to Provincial Cabinet.

“In addition, council would take steps to approve the Partnering Agreement Bylaw as part of finalizing Teck’s consent,” said Perehudoff. “It’s hoped that everything proceeds without any major setbacks.”

The boundary of every municipality is permanent and defined in a document known as Letters Patent.

SLP refers to the amendment of the description to add or delete properties, which can only be changed by Cabinet order.