Electoral Area C - Incorporation Study

CSRD Board moves forward to explore new governance option

In February 2019, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing received and endorsed a request from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) Board of Directors to commission an Incorporation Study for the Sorrento-Blind Bay portion of Electoral Area C.

The primary purpose of the Incorporation Study is to provide the electors of Sorrento and Blind Bay with the information and understanding required to make an informed decision on incorporation. The study will conduct a thorough, objective and technical examination of the incorporation option and its implications for residents in the proposed area. It will also contrast the findings with those associated with the proposed "default option" of dividing the existing Electoral Area C into two separate Electoral Areas. 

The study will be conducted by a Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Committee, which will be established by the CSRD Board of Directors. The Incorporation Committee will be supported in all stages of its work by an independent, qualified consultant who will report to the committee, but be selected by the CSRD. At the September, 19, 2019 Regular Board Meeting, Directors approved awarding the study contract to Neilson Strategies Ltd. for a total cost of $118,500.

View September Board Report
View Work Plan
View Media Release

Neilson Strategies Ltd. will be responsible for undertaking all research and analysis, for facilitating all community engagement, and for preparing a written report on the potential change to the local government structure, as well as the implications of such a change.

The committee, which will include the Electoral Area C Director, will provide oversight and direction on the study process. Once a report is prepared by the consultant, the committee will present the findings to the CSRD Board and then make a recommendation to the Directors on an incorporation referendum or giving further consideration to dividing Electoral Area C into two separate Electoral Areas. This was supported as an alternative option, should an incorporation process not proceed.


A report, commissioned by the CSRD and conducted independently by Neilson Strategies, formed the basis of the Board's decision on February 21, 2019 to unanimously support making a request to the Province to fund a study examining the potential creation of a new municipality, which would include the communities of Blind Bay and Sorrento.

At the same Regular Meeting, Directors also affirmed a desire for change to the future composition of Electoral Area C. The motion informs the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs that if the Sorrento/Blind Bay incorporation process is not deemed feasible, the Board would then support the division of Electoral Area C into two separate Electoral Areas.

View complete report

A number of factors were considered when determining the best option including: geographical boundaries, current government services, population density, future development potential, road networks, property assessments and agricultural land.

The option which best met the criteria for consideration for further study by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs was the formation of one municipality comprised of both Sorrento and Blind Bay. This would remove those areas from Electoral Area C, reducing the population served by one elected Regional District Director.

Currently, Electoral Area C is the most populous region of the CSRD. The report notes that based on Census 2016 data, the estimated population for the potential incorporation area is 4,700, comparable with many municipalities in BC. This would leave Electoral Area C with a population of approximately 3,200.

This Boundary Analysis identifies four separate restructure scenarios for study: 

• incorporation of Sorrento (or portion thereof) as a separate municipality 
• incorporation of Blind Bay (or portion thereof) as a separate municipality 
• incorporation of Blind Bay and Sorrento (or portion thereof) as a combined, single municipality
• division of Electoral Area C into two electoral areas, each with its own Electoral Area Director.

For each of these scenarios, the Boundary Analysis is to recommend a study area — that is, a potential boundary. The recommendations are to be based on an assessment of quantitative and qualitative data, driven by a set of boundary criteria. For each scenario, the report identifies implications that would be explored further under a full restructure study.

With the Board approval of the motion, the CSRD is now looking to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to fund the in-depth study to determine the feasibility of this incorporation option and its potential costs to the taxpayer.

A decision on incorporation would have to get the approval of the electorate through a referendum vote before any change could be made.

History of the process - Area C Governance Study

The Area C Governance Study has now concluded.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) received Provincial Government funding for a Governance Study in Electoral Area C of our regional district in 2016.   The governance study process was over one year in duration, involving a CSRD appointed Committee consisting of representatives from various communities within Area C, along with an extensive public community engagement process.

The purpose of the Governance Study was to:

  • Document and assess the current state of governance and service delivery in the South Shuswap;
  • Understand the concerns and interests of residents with respect to governance and service delivery;
  • Identify future governance and service delivery options for the Electoral Area.

The Area C Governance Committee concluded in June, 2017 with a Final Report and a recommendation to the CSRD Board.  

View Report (PDF)

View Appendices

View Figures

Steve Wills, Chair of the Area C Governance Committee, and Allan Neilson, Neilson-Welch Consulting, presented the findings of the governance study to the Board on August 17, 2017. The CSRD Board fully supported the recommendations of the Committee and has adopted the following resolutions:

THAT: as recommended unanimously by the Area C Governance Committee at its June 29, 2017 meeting, the Board endorse the following recommendation:

Based on its review of the current governance and service delivery frameworks, the South Shuswap Governance Committee recommends to the CSRD Board of Directors that a restructure study for Electoral Area C be undertaken and that the restructure study examine two options:

  • The incorporation of a portion of the electoral area; and
  • The division of the current Electoral Area into two Electoral Areas.

THAT: the Board submit a funding request to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, for a structure Study that would examine two options:

  • an incorporation study area; and
  • a determination of the exact boundaries for two Electoral Areas in Electoral Area C.

THAT: staff be directed to request a meeting with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing at the 2017 UBCM Convention to provide an update on the Governance Study initiative and to request funding support to undertake a formal restructure study.

CSRD Contact

Lynda Shykora
Deputy Manager, Corporate Administrative Services
T: 250.833.5939

For those that are interested, the information below pertains to the Area C Governance Study process that has now concluded.
Do you live or own property in Sunnybrae, Tappen, White Lake, Blind Bay, Sorrento, Eagle Bay, Notch Hill or another Area C community? Have you ever wondered what services the regional district provides, how service decisions are made, or how you can express your views as decisions are made?
The Area C Governance Study will answer these questions and offer opportunities for residents and owners throughout Area C to share their perspectives. What’s working? What’s not? What should be done differently?

How do you feel about the current model for Area C?

The study will explore the current structure of regional district governance and will reach out to Area C communities to understand their interests and concerns. The study will assess the need for change and will identify future options to improve the way Area C is governed and the way local services are delivered.

The Final Area C Governance Study Report, including the outcomes of the study’s public involvement process, is expected to be presented to the CSRD Board of Directors in the fall of 2017.

Electoral Area 'C' Map 

The first step in the process is to provide opportunities for Area C residents and property owners to learn more about their community and their current system of local government.

Electoral Area C Governance Study Overview – Getting to Know Area C 

The Electoral Area C Governance Study Overview – Getting to Know Area C, highlights important aspects of the local government system in British Columbia, and more specifically, local governance and service provision in Area C. 

Electoral Area C (South Shuswap) Governance Study Interim Report

The Electoral Area C (South Shuswap) Governance Study Interim Report provides a comprehensive view of the overview content. 

Check the Document Centre below for other informative documents.


We Want to Hear From You!

There are many opportunities throughout the spring of 2017 to learn more and to share your views. Sign-up for email updates, attend an open house or a presentations in your community, or complete a study survey.

To Complete a Survey! - Click Here.

Mark Your Calendar – Find an Open House Near You

Time: 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm – Drop In
Discussion Groups: 6:00 pm Start – open to everyone

Monday, May 15 – Sorrento Memorial Hall – 1150 Passchendaele Road, Sorrento

Tuesday, May 16 – Sunnybrae Community Hall – 3595 Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road, Tappen

Thursday, June 8 – White Lake Community Hall – 3617 Parri Road, Sorrento

Friday, June 9 – Eagle Bay Community Hall – 4326 Eagle Bay Road, Eagle Bay

Tuesday, June 13 – Notch Hill Town Hall – 1639 Notch Hill Road, Sorrento

Wednesday, June 14 - Shuswap Lake Estates Community Centre (Lodge) - 2905 Centennial Drive, Blind Bay


Committee Meeting, Agendas, Minutes

Note: All Governance Study Committee Meetings are open to the public. The Governance study is led by the Governance Study Committee, together with a local government consultant engaged by the Regional District. Twelve Area C residents, representing a broad range of local communities and interests, have been appointed to the Committee by the Regional District Board of Directors. The Electoral Area C Director is an ex-officio member of the Committee. The work of the Study Committee and the consultant will be shared openly with the public and informed thorough community engagement processes. (Committee Terms of Reference)

Committee Meeting Dates & Locations

Thursday, October 13, 2016, 6:00 PM, Cedar Heights Community Centre

Thursday, February 16, 2017, 6:00 PM, Carlin Hall 

Thursday, June 15, 2017, 6:00 PM, Blind Bay Community Hall

Thursday, June 29, 2017, 6:00 PM, Sorrento Memorial Hall

Committee Agendas & Minutes

Thursday, October 13, 2016, 6:00 pm, Cedar Heights Community Centre

Thursday, February 16, 2017, 6:00 pm, Carlin Hall 

Thursday, June 15, 2017, 6:00 pm, Blind Bay Community Hall

Thursday, June 29, 2017, 6:00 PM, Sorrento Memorial Hall

News Releases

Background Documents

Regional District Governance & Services (October 2016)

Area C Governance & Services: Overview (October 2016)

Study Brochure (May 2017)

Governance Study Interim Report

Public Engagement Findings - June 26, 2017

Area C Governance Final Report

Area C Governance Appendices to Report

Chapter 6 Figures to Final Report


Project Contacts

CSRD Contact

Lynda Shykora
Deputy Manager, Corporate Administrative Services
T: 250.833.5939