It appears that in the recent referendum about 27 per cent of Trail’s eligible voters voted in favour of a combined pedestrian/pipe-bridge. It also appears that 64 per cent didn’t bother to vote at all, maybe because they had been told by their Council that it would not cost them anything in additional taxes. So why bother?
But what about the taxpayers in Rossland and Warfield who, so far, have had no say in this issue? My primary concern as a resident of Rossland is how much a pedestrian bridge in Trail will cost Rossland taxpayers.
Trail council based the referendum on an assumption that the RDKB partners in the sewage treatment system (Trail, Rossland and Warfield) will contribute about $7.4 million dollars towards the $12.5 million dollars estimated for the pedestrian/pipe-bridge.
To the best of my knowledge, this has never been agreed to by the Rossland and Warfield representatives to the RDKB sewerage committee.
The Trail Councillor who chairs the committee cancelled the August meeting without consultation thus depriving the Rossland and Warfield representatives of the opportunity to discuss the cost of the various crossing options ahead of the Trail referendum.
According to recently published numbers, the lowest cost estimate for getting sewage across the river is $2.7 million to hang a new sewage pipeline from the Victoria Street Bridge. The estimated cost of the other options is approximately $3.4 million for trench and backfill under the river, $7.4 million for a stand-alone pipe bridge and $12.5 million for a combined pedestrian/pipe-bridge.
It appears to me that the only obligation the taxpayers of Rossland and Warfield have is to pay their fair share of the lowest cost, technically feasible option: the Victoria Street bridge crossing.
The question is, why did Trail City Council assume that Rossland taxpayers would be willing to pay an additional $1.17 million and Warfield taxpayers an additional $572,000 dollars to subsidise a pedestrian bridge for the City of Trail, without discussion?
Perhaps we now need a referendum in Rossland and Warfield on this issue so that citizens of those communities can have their say!