Column: South Shuswap incorporation study to get underway

Column: South Shuswap incorporation study to get underway

Director’s Notes by Electoral Area C director Paul Demenok

The first meeting of the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Advisory Committee takes place month, beginning the 15-month process of an incorporation study.

The CSRD has received approval and funding from the B.C. government to support the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study. We have selected consultant, Neilsen Strategies, to lead the study – the same consultant who successfully completed the Area C Governance Review Study. We have also selected the Incorporation Study Committee, a group of residents who have volunteered to serve their community as an objective fact-finding and oversight body, to ensure that all stages of the study are conducted in a neutral and balanced fashion. I would like to thank everyone who submitted an expression of interest form.

The primary purpose of this study is to provide the voters in Blind Bay and Sorrento with the information and understanding required to make an informed decision on incorporation. As outlined in the terms of reference, “…the study will undertake a thorough, objective and technical examination of the incorporation option and its implications for governance and service delivery,” and “…will present these implications against the governance and service delivery situations associated with the division of the existing Electoral Area C into two electoral areas.”

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The study will be conducted in a number of stages as follows:

• A background research stage outlining current governance, service delivery and funding as compared to that projected for two separate electoral areas;

• A comparative analysis which will describe service governance, financial, property tax and other implications associated with incorporation as compared to the default option;

• An implementation process which would include an overview of the restructure assistance provided by the Province, and in particular the Province’s funding commitment regarding local roads

• Multi-year operating budgets;

• Property tax implications for incorporation as compared to two electoral areas;

• A preliminary report which will be circulated for review and comment by the CSRD and the Ministry;

• A community engagement program aimed at ensuring that electors have opportunities to review, understand and question the implications of incorporation as compared to the default option;

• A final report which will include the above plus a synopsis of public engagement proceedings and Ministry and CSRD comments.

Based on this report a recommendation will be made to the CSRD Board.

The Incorporation Study must be completed and delivered to the CSRD and Ministry by February 2021. A number of committee meetings will be conducted and the public will be invited to attend all meetings, and four open houses are also planned. The first of these meetings is scheduled for Nov. 13, 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cedar Heights Community Centre.

Web-based and hard copies of information will be generated, including a series of information fact sheets to highlight specific issues and implications.

This Incorporation Study will be a pivotal process that will have a number of significant implications for the future of the South Shuswap. I would encourage everyone to get involved to seek the facts and to make a fully informed decision.

-Paul Demenok is the Area C Director for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District


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