Warfield ready to discuss recreation deal with Trail

Warfield council has done an about-face and has requested to hammer out a new rec and cultural services deal with Trail.

Good news for Trail is that Warfield council did an about-face on Friday and requested to meet with the city and hammer out a new recreation and cultural services deal between the two municipalities.

The city received a letter on April 25 from John Crozier, Warfield’s acting mayor, that said village council would like to revisit negotiations, confirmed Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs at Monday night council.

“Our focus is that we want to reach an agreement so this is good news.”

The bad news, according to the Trail mayor, is the wording Warfield council chose when relaying its decision to village residents.

According to the village’s Monday newsletter, Warfield council had one discussion with Trail’s (recreational) negotiating committee last fall, but since that time the city never returned to the table, which left Warfield no alternative but to take “the path chosen.”

Additionally, the village’s position is that Bogs presented Trail’s proposal at the November meeting and requested strict confidentiality with all negotiations.

“The good news is that they want to open up discussion,” said Bogs. “But when I see the press release claiming that they had only one discussion with us, that is very unfortunate.”

Besides the Trail mayor, Coun. Kevin Jolly and Coun. Robert Cacchioni attended the first gathering with Warfield council, which was an open meeting, according to the Trail councillors.

“We were dealing in good faith,” said Jolly at the city governance meeting, earlier that day. “The first meeting I asked if it was closed meeting and they very specifically said ‘No, this is not a closed meeting,’” he continued.

“But they didn’t want any administrators in the room, for whatever reason.”

In light of the “he said he said” situation, any future meetings with Warfield council will be on record, followed up with an official email or letter and made available to the public.

“To completely ignore the discussions where we were actually talking about options and opportunities that we might be able to address is disappointing,” said Bogs. “Their press release tells me future discussions with any member of Warfield council will definitely be recorded.”

Calls to Warfield Mayor Bert Crockett were not returned by press time, but in a Trail Times interview, (Village reviewing its role in recreation deal, Trail Times Dec. 11) he noted the one meeting and that information was being communicated between the two.

“I really don’t know the direction we will go but at the end of the day the talks were positive and will continue that way, “ he said.

Another condition added to the next round of talks is a time limit.

Trail council members agreed to give Warfield effectively one month (May 31 deadline) to renegotiate an agreement with the city.

“We invited them to negotiate, this is not their initiative but is their reply to us,” said Vince Morelli, Warfield’s chief administrative officer (CAO). “Basically council will have to decide if this is going to happen by May 31, so I can’t really comment on it.”

“Given the way the previous negotiations were conducted there has to be a mandate in terms of timing,” explained David Perehudoff, Trail’s CAO, during the Monday governance meeting. “Last time I sort of feel we were strung along and surprised when they decided not to renew.”

Finally, Trail council kiboshed the village’s offer to only fund the Trail and District Public Library and voted to negotiate recreation and culture (library) as a combined service.

“It appears they are now asking to discuss both,” said Perehudoff referencing Crozier’s letter. “And the city’s preference is to have the two services together.”

The decision to no longer cost share with the city under the Trail Resident Program (TRP) was made during an in-camera council meeting in March, leaving the city on the hook to cover the loss of Warfield’s $74,500 contribution towards recreation and $32,500 annual payment toward library services.