Waneta and Seven Mile Dams Hydro-Grants-in-Lieu reserve will help fund Beaver Valley Parks and East Transit Service projects. Photo: Jim Bailey

Greater Trail communities access Dam reserves for major projects

RDKB okays $350,000 in Dam funding for Beaver Valley Parks and East Transit Service projects

The Hydro-Grants-In-Lieu (HGIL) reserves will provide funding for East End projects.

Also known as the “Dam reserve,” the Regional District Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) board will transfer $150,000 from the reserve into the East Transit Service project every year until completion, and $200,000 in funding annually to the Beaver Valley Parks and Trails Service.

“This $150,000 is to be transferred into the transit service in 2021 and beyond until such time that all the costs associated with the upgrades, purchases and installations of all of the new bus stations are complete; furthermore to continue until the new transit exchange is completed in downtown Trail,” said RDKB board director Robert Cacchioni.

The East Transit Service serves the Greater Trail area and Electoral Area A. The Trail transit exchange, which includes a washroom facility, is estimated to cost about $2M, so the East End would normally be on the hook for 20 per cent or roughly $400,000.

To renew, purchase and install all East End bus shelters was estimated at an additional $300,000 or more, so the total savings on the two projects will be in the neighbourhood of $280,000 to $300,000.

A healthy savings for tax payers.

“The East End voted unanimously to get these motions passed and I was very pleased to see this because it shows that the East End is united in protecting its citizens from unreasonable tax increases,” said Cacchioni.

Beaver Valley Parks and Trails service director and Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette says the funds will help with upgrades to the Beaver Valley Arena and development of a proposed historical attraction in Fruitvale that will include construction of a train station/museum.

The attraction will also house important local artifacts, and see the relocation of the historic Park Siding School to the same site.

The funds will also go to upgrading the Beaver Valley Arena.

“The arena is technically beyond its service life as it is 47 years old, but it has been well maintained and all mechanical and electrical systems have been upgraded so it is worth saving and updating,” said Morissette.

The RDKB receives dam revenue annually in-lieu of property taxes from BC Hydro due to impacts in Electoral Area A from the Seven Mile Dam and from Columbia Power Corporation as well as the Waneta Expansion under the authority of the Hydro and Power Authority Act.

Area A and the communities of Beaver Valley, Fruitvale and Montrose, due to their close proximity, have been impacted most by the Seven Mile and Waneta Dams and looked to their East End partners for support.

“Our valley receives the greatest negative impact from the Waneta and Seven-Mile Dams – power lines crisscrossing the valley, a giant substation built on a beautiful wetland, and the environmental impact of the dams themselves – we should receive ongoing annual compensation from the Dam revenues,” said Morissette.

The communities lobbied their East End partners and received unanimous support. Beaver Valley Parks and Trails will receive $200,000 as an annual compensatory payment from the Dam revenues, which is about 10 per cent of the total revenues from the two dams.

“With that extra funding coming in, we can say if we’re going to spend $2 million on it (the arena), we can borrow the funds, and there’s our payment,” added Morissette.

In 2020, the RDKB received $1,525,629 from BC Hydro and $364,021 from Columbia Power Corporation.

For 2020, $500,000 of this payment was allocated to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire and Rescue service and the remainder was allocated to General Government/Legislative and Administrative Services.

Read: Trail receives funds for airport upgrades

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