Recreation talks between Trail/Rossland break down
Ed. Note: The following is a press release issued by the City of Trail:
Trail City Council reports that, following weeks of negotiations with the City of Rossland to reach a Parks and Recreation Funding Agreement, unfortunately discussions have discontinued at this time.
Mayor Mike Martin, who formed part of the City’s negotiating committee with Councillors Kevin Jolly and Sandy Santori, said, “It became very evident that Trail council would have to significantly compromise the original principles the City advanced when talks began in order to secure an agreement with Rossland.”
Discussions between the two parties were respectful, with each municipality advancing supporting rationale in justification of its respective position. Council was hopeful that, given the developments associated with the obvious improvement in regional relationships, and given the success and positive outcomes in concluding the negotiations on the Pipe/Pedestrian Bridge Project, there would be a higher possibility of reaching a Recreation Agreement between the City of Trail and the City of Rossland. However, Martin indicated, “Rossland cited financial capacity as a limiting factor and there remained a significant gap between what Rossland indicated they could afford to pay and where Trail council was ultimately comfortable.”
In this respect Martin further noted, “As negotiations continued, Council became increasingly concerned with the potentially negative impacts a settlement could have on the funding agreements the City has in place with Warfield and Beaver Valley. The City had to be mindful of this, given what has been accomplished in these two agreements.”
Martin added, “Council also has to consider any agreement in the context of the Trail taxpayer, who subsidizes recreation services through their property taxes, and there needs to be a consistent level of equity when considering the funding agreements and the level of cost sharing relative to the significant expenditure the City directly incurs.”
In this respect, Trail council reflected on the third party mediator’s reports that were completed following the dissolution of the regional service in 2009 and felt the recommended cost-sharing framework remained relevant and that these principles are important to consider in the context of long-term sustainability and fairness.
“While every effort was made to bridge the gap, it became apparent that an immediate agreement is not possible,” Martin said. “In the meantime, the Trail Resident Program (TRP) will therefore remain in effect and Council will continue to consider specific interest groups to try to mitigate community impacts. Council feels that Rossland also has a role to play in this regard and it is hoped that they will be able to direct an appropriate level of financial resources towards interest groups that have come up in order to reduce the impact to their residents as part of gaining access to Trail services and facilities.
“We are certainly disappointed that an agreement with Rossland could not be reached at this time, but we remain hopeful that in the future we can enter into agreements with all local governments in the Lower Columbia Region that are mindful of the significant public good these facilities provide. However, this must include a fair representation of the cost and benefit that each individual jurisdiction receives as a result.”