Area A director brings concerns about Trail boundary expansion to Rossland

Arlen MacLaine
By Arlen MacLaine
June 21st, 2013

Council was provided more information about the proposed Trail boundary expansion by Ali Grieve, Area ‘A’ Director, at the COW meeting on Monday.  She also had a call to action for the City of Rossland.  “In short, what the Beaver Valley is looking for is support in opposing any boundary expansion that has the potential to negatively impact other communities, and further, to oppose the concentration of so many tax dollars within one community.”

The proposed expansion would see the City of Trail expand its boundary into ‘Electoral Area A’.  Included in the expansion is the Waneta Dam and the Waneta Reload Facility.  Teck and Trail have come to an agreement on the inclusion of the Columbia Gardens Industrial Park into the expansion.

Trail’s proposal is in the name of economic development, but the reality might not be as prosperous as foretold.  “To date, we’ve spent almost 750,000 dollars over the last 3 years, and so far the net is one less business in the industrial park,” said Grieve.  Trail has expanded its boundary into Area A before, when Wal-Mart was brought in.  “Since that expansion, there has been a decline in the downtown core, and we see a decline in the Waneta Plaza as well,” she said..

To make up for lost tax revenues, Trail’s position is that Beaver Valley reduce its services and increase its taxes.  The Beaver Valley also stands to lose small community grants.  Some of the groups that are supported by these grants are the Champion Lakes Cross Country Ski Club, Scouts club, and Camp Tweedsmuir.  “It is a small amount of money for some, but it means a great deal to these community groups,” said Grieve.

City Council echoed these concerns about the boundary expansion.  “What’s difficult for Rossland is that we wanted to have the conversation about a regional municipality,” Councillor Jill Spearn said.  “I see this move by Trail as a move that would never allow us, in the future, to strike a regional municipality, where everyone would benefit from the industrial tax bases that are in our region.”

Councillor Tim Thatcher added, “I think this move could possibly drive the regional partners further apart.  Is there any rough idea of how much tax money will be taken away from Area A?”  

Grieve replied, “Based on the 2011 numbers, it’s somewhere between 160 and 460 thousand dollars.  We need to get the numbers from the 2013 study to get a clearer picture though.”  She reiterated that, to make up for the lost revenue, Trail’s position is that the Beaver Valley cut services and raise taxes.

Rossland City Council has also asked to meet with representatives from Trail and Teck, to gather information and get a clearer picture as to how this proposed expansion will affect the region.

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