City Abandons Boundary Extension Initiative
Following several years of discussions and negotiations, Trail City Council is abandoning the boundary extension initiative that would have seen the City of Trail’s southern boundary extended into Electoral Area ‘A’, including land from the city’s existing southern boundary through to the Columbia Gardens Industrial Park and south to the U.S. border.
The city was initially approached by property owners in the area who asked the city to explore the opportunity and to quantify the impacts associated with proceeding. The city undertook several studies and a consultation process with the impacted property owners; the results indicated there was strong support to proceed.
As part of the consultation process, the city entered into discussions with Teck Metals Ltd., the majority landowner in the area.
“As the majority property owner, it was imperative that Teck was fully on board and supportive of the initiative,” said mayor Mike Martin. “The city and Teck were able to successfully negotiate a Partnering Agreement that was the underpinning needed from the perspective of the company in order to move the process forward.”
The second phase of the process dealt with the terms and conditions of the boundary extension. This involved the province, which would author and approve, by Order in Cabinet, the Supplementary Letters Patent (SLP).
“Teck worked directly with the province and the city as part of establishing property tax and regulatory limitations where they were comfortable with the lands falling under the City of Trail’s jurisdiction,” Martin said. “After several years of talks, the province indicated they could not specifically address many of the limitations advanced by Teck within the SLP and would only write the SLP based on a conventional approach used in other similar initiatives throughout the province. After review, Teck unfortunately indicated they were not in a position to proceed; hence, council made the decision to abandon the process.
“Considerable resources were expended on the initiative. council believed there were several benefits that would have been realized had the boundary extension occurred. Besides the redirection of property tax revenue to the city that currently is retained by the province, it was felt that if the lands fell under the jurisdiction of a municipal government there would be more opportunity to promote and facilitate development. As an example, the past boundary extension into the Waneta Junction area, through investment of several million dollars on necessary core infrastructure, resulted in the Walmart and Canadian Tire developments. In addition, it is most disappointing not to have the opportunity to work with the property owners in Columbia Gardens to more practically address their concerns.
“Council is greatly disappointed in the outcome and made every effort to try to keep the initiative on track. A successful outcome could well have been of major benefit to the entire region. With this decision made, the city now needs to focus its resources on areas where there is greater control and more certainty associated with the end result.”