EDITORIAL: Time to stop climbing the walls over Rossland-Trail issues
April Fool’s Day is probably as good a time as any to put our joke of a dispute with Trail over the recreation issue behind us and move forward under our own steam. A growing rift between the Golden and Silver cities on fronts as diverse as education, sanitation, and recreation shows no sign of improving and, if anything, the trend seems to be toward more acrimony between the two cities. If anything, continued failed efforts to negotiate on all these fronts will only exacerbate ill will on all sides and, likely as not, result in more disputes down the road.
While a recreation deal might be a desirable thing in and of itself (why wouldn’t adjacent communities share these sorts of resources?), it clearly isn’t achievable in the current hostile environment. Some in the region see municipal amalgamation as a part of ‘Greater Trail’s future and at times one wonders if there’s a feeling of Manifest Destiny among certain people at the base of the hill. Similarly, Rosslanders can come across as removed and arrogant on some issues; certainly both sides at times tend to approach these issues in a spirit that annoys the other. It’s a little like a marriage that has devolved into constant bickering.
None of this is new. People in Trail first began suggesting shutting RSS down, for example, back in the 1970s–long before the current funding crisis or district-wide enrollment declines. It’s time to face facts: Rossland and Trail are very distinct communities. For now, at least, Rossland needs to go its own way. A trial separation, if you will.
On the recreation front, this means abandoning any attempts to negotiate a new recreation deal, starting now. We should develop our own recreation programs with the money we’ve historically given Trail. Let’s build our skate park, develop a climbing wall, and improve our other programs and facilities. Let’s develop a strong recreation program that reflects Rossland values. If people want to go down the hill to play softball or swim, they’ll have to do so as ‘foreigners’ and pay the price. Or, as noted elsewhere in this issue, they can start their own league. If Trail residents, however, want to come up here and participate in our expanded and improved programs, we should charge them the same as Rosslanders.
In doing this, we’ll both enhance our own distinctiveness and offer an olive branch for some future time when improved inter-city relations might allow for more cooperation. I’d say the same on the school front: let’s design our own made-in-Rossland solution for our K-12 challenges, one that asks no more than our fair share of the district budget, and present it to the Board. If we’re positive and creative, perhaps there will be aspects that Trail might find useful for its own challenges (and on that note, check out the new VSS website for an indispensable inventory of ideas and resources for Rossland schools).
Positivity and creativity are key here. If we become mired in all these ‘disputes’ we’ll end up with armed barricades downhill of the Grind one day. Far better that we square our shoulders and move forward with open minds and hearts, always ready to invite Trail to join us in any of our ventures, should they so choose. It’s time, more and more people are saying, to stop focussing on the negatives of potentially losing RSS and failing to land a rec deal and move forward into the positive.