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Provincial approval needed for referendum on creation of new South Shuswap municipality

Those who live within proposed new municipal boundaries eligible to vote
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District board is recommending that a referendum take place on incorporating the proposed area of Sorrento and Blind Bay as a new municipality. (CSRD map)

April 30th is the tentative date for a referendum on the incorporation of a new South Shuswap municipality.

In response to the March 2 recommendation from the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study Advisory Committee, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) board is recommending a referendum be held on incorporating the proposed area of Sorrento and Blind Bay as a new municipality.

The CSRD favours Saturday, April 30, 2022, as the referendum date. Before it can proceed, however, the referendum must first be approved by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, which would also approve the date.

The process towards a referendum vote began with preliminary studies in 2016, and experienced some delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic limiting in-person gatherings, reads a March 18 media release from the CSRD.

“This has been an enormous job under very challenging circumstances,” said Electoral Area C Director Paul Demenok, who was a non-voting member of the advisory committee. “The community wants to vote on this, as well they should. It’s time to vote on going forward.”

If the referendum is approved to proceed, eligible voters who reside within the proposed new municipal boundaries will be able to vote. If a majority votes in favour of incorporation, the new Sorrento-Blind Bay municipality would be served by its own local government separate from the CSRD. Voting for the municipality’s mayor and council would likely take place during the local government elections this October. The municipality would also appoint one representative to sit on the CSRD board.

“If the voters decide against incorporation, Electoral Area C will be divided into two smaller areas, each with their own elected director at the CSRD Board table,” reads the release. “Adding an additional director will create a more equal distribution of elected representation across the region.”

Information on the proposed incorporation is available on the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study page of the CSRD website. This includes a review of all current government services and topics such as roads and policing.

A draft budget for a new municipality has also been prepared to give voters an idea of the implications to their property taxes. Additional information about the referendum date and voting options, including mail-in ballots, will be posted once available.

Read more: Regional district to vote on holding referendum on Sorrento-Blind Bay incorporation

Read more: OPINION: Respectful discussions around South Shuswap incorporation encouraged
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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