THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – The City of Trail is quietly attracting significant dollars from senior levels of government and private sector investors, setting the stage for another boom for this West Kootenay mining and smelting town.
There are perhaps lessons that many communities across Northwestern Ontario could benefit.
“Teck Resources (formerly Cominco) has been the mainstay of our economic life for many decades,” said City of Trail Mayor, Mike Martin. “As the company continues to invest in its Trail operations, provide great jobs and contribute generously to community life, other investors are joining in.”
Trail City Council has adopted inclusive Tax Exemption and Incentive Programs for the benefit of property owners in the downtown core and for eligible privately-owned Class 6 (Business) properties located outside of the downtown core.
Trail City Council has identified the need to develop key issues and future initiatives in the interest of maintaining an active, vibrant and sustainable downtown core.
The Trail Downtown Plan endorsed in May 2012 considers and incorporates a number of key issues, such as parking and traffic flows, infrastructure assessment and recommended upgrades, streetscape improvements and design guidelines. In addition, it identifies potential redevelopment areas and will serve as a guiding document as part of the City’s efforts to rejuvenate the downtown.
Trail is being innovative, and working to engage with citizens on all level.s
Community Consultation Via Text Message a First in Western Canada
Trail area residents are breaking new ground using mobile technology in the Trail Area Health & Environment Program’s community consultation. The community is the first in Western Canada to use text messaging to get public feedback from residents.
Last year FortisBC, Columbia Power and Columbia Basin Trust completed the expansion of Waneta Dam south of Trail. In addition to injecting more than $300 million into the local economy, it created jobs for over 1,400 people, including 194 apprentices from 13 trades.
In June of this year the provincial government announced $1.18 million in BC Air Access funding to support construction of a new terminal building at the Trail Regional Airport. “It will be the centrepiece of several improvements to the airport to take advantage of increased activity,” stated Martin. “We anticipate more business and holiday travelers will come to the area.”
Downtown Trail is in the midst of a makeover as an array of investments in existing buildings are creating new businesses, services and opportunities. Renovations are underway for a new microbrewery and a new boutique hotel/conference centre. In October, the City broke ground on the Riverfront Centre, a new integrated library and museum.
This facility kicked off with a public private partnership.
Teck will provide an initial donation of $500,000 in 2016, with the balance borrowed by the City of Trail and repayment supported by Teck donations over a multi-year term. The total cost of the Riverfront Centre is approximately $8.3 million. The other major funding partner is Columbia Basin Trust.
“Trail City Council is very pleased that Teck Trail Operations, who have generously supported many of the City’s civic facilities in the past, is making a significant financial contribution to a facility that takes design inspiration from Trail’s Heritage and industrial roots,” said Mike Martin, City of Trail Mayor. “Through this generous contribution, Teck Trail Operations has engaged the community in a meaningful way. We are absolutely delighted, that with this support, we are able to provide the citizens of Trail and surrounding communities with a modern and vibrant facility offering engaging museum exhibits and contemporary educational resources. The new amenity will strengthen community spirit and civic pride while creating a welcoming and safe gathering hub in Trail’s downtown core.”
The 15,000 sq.ft. facility, with funding assistance from Teck, Columbia Basin Trust and other donors, will offer innovative educational tools and provide a showcase for Trail’s unique history and culture. In addition to creating more energy downtown, the City is bringing more people downtown. In December the City will be opening the Columbia River Skywalk, a 1000 ft. pedestrian/pipeline bridge funded by the City, the provincial government and the Regional District, which will be the first of its kind in Canada.
The City is also working closely with the Interior Health Authority and the provincial government to fund $40 million in much-needed improvements to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail. “With all of these investments being made, jobs being created and people coming to Trail we need to ensure our health care facilities are kept in top shape to meet ever-rising demand,” continued Martin.
The City is benefitting from investments in sport and recreation, too. The iconic Trail Smoke Eaters, which has played hockey in the City for nearly 100 years, has just attracted a new owner who will be making significant improvements to the local arena. In nearby Rossland only 15 minutes away, Red Mountain Resort continues to grow and is now the 8th largest ski area in Canada.
“Trail and its residents have always worked hard and contributed to their community,” concluded Martin. “More investors, senior governments and employers are recognizing the advantages of being here and Trail is benefiting as a result.”
About Trail, BC
Trail is a major employer of individuals working in the engineering field. Teck, Fortis, Columbia Power, Austin Engineering, TRUE Consulting, Amec Foster Wheeler and other companies employ over 100 Professional Engineers, Engineering Technicians and Field Engineers. In a city of 8,000 people, this shows there’s more infrastructure, more building and more business coming its way.
Trail is at the geographic centre of four major mountain ranges — the Purcells, Selkirks, Monashees and Rockies. Combined with the location on the banks of the Columbia River the outdoor recreation opportunities in Trail are limitless.