Trail set to talk recreation

Beaver Valley releases its reimbursement numbers

Word from the Trail mayor is that city council is preparing to meet with Warfield to talk recreation, but not Beaver Valley just yet.

“Given the complexity and unique nature of each participant, it is the city’s intention to deal with this matter on a sequential and priority basis,” says Trail Mayor Mike Martin.

Given that the Warfield agreement is currently active but expires in June, Martin maintains the city’s goal is to settle with the former prior to negotiations with officials from Montrose, Fruitvale or the regional district’s Area A.

“On the conclusion of discussions with Warfield, the city would be more than willing to enter into discussions with BV PARTS (Beaver Valley Parks, Recreation and Trail Service),” he added.

With four new politicians at the table, Trail council is working internally to learn the ropes regarding the historic and present recreation dissent, but there’s still a long road ahead.

“I didn’t realize how complicated this matter was,” said Martin. “And with four new people on council we’ve had to go through a massive education. But we’ve gone through our first review and we do have every intention of speaking to the other potential participants.”

Trail’s stance comes on the heels of Beaver Valley’s one-year exercise to gather information regarding how often residents from that area are using Trail facilities plus other demographics.

“Our reimbursement program was very successful and accomplished exactly what we wanted,” said Ali Grieve, Area A’s director. “Which was to establish the true cost of accessing the service in Trail, actual usage, demographics, how many families are participating and finally, what services are most utilized.”

The statistics were released to the public during a town hall meeting in Fruitvale Tuesday evening.

Last year, $53,000 was paid out in reimbursements to residents in the Beaver Valley through the recreation commission.

That’s a far cry from the previous five-year agreement which had the three communities combined, paying the city $200,000 annually, indexed for inflation.

Additional information shows that of 286 households seeking reimbursement, most (48 per cent) were from Fruitvale; 30 per cent, Montrose; and 22 per cent living in Area A.

Of those users, demographics reflect that the majority of people accessing Trail’s pool and fitness facility are ages 51-60, followed those aged 31-40, then adults ages 21-30.

Children up to 10-years old are the most active pool-only users at the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

The reimbursement program will continue for those residents, said Montrose Mayor Joe Danchuk, at the Monday night meeting, adding that the pay-out turnaround is generally between three and five days.

Beaver Valley chose not to renew an agreement with Trail in December 2014, after the city didn’t provide specifics of costs related to facility usage.

How the city moves forward is yet to be determined, but a cost-sharing formula will probably be the guideline.

“The city will most likely be looking to negotiate on the basis of a set of principles that would support any financial request and this approach could be influenced by any preliminary position that B.V. is willing to advance,” said Martin. “We are anxious to secure long term agreements with our neighbours which will ensure the establishment of sustainable recreation services for the benefit of all residents across our region.”