Electoral Area C - Incorporation Study

Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Advisory Committee

 A group of 12 citizens from Sorrento and Blind Bay has been formed to guide a study looking into the possibility of incorporating the two communities into a separate municipality.

The committee will be active until the conclusion of the Incorporation Study report, which must be submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs by February 28, 2021. The committee’s role is to be an objective fact-finding and oversight body, ensuring all stages of the study, including the community consultation process, are conducted in a neutral and balanced fashion.

The committee members include:

  • Brian Butcher (Blind Bay);
  • Patrick Earley (Blind Bay);
  • Rose Fritz (Blind Bay);
  • Sandra Heschuk (Sorrento);
  • Lorrie Kelsey (Blind Bay);
  • Darlene Lincoln (Blind Bay);
  • Tracy Lundberg-Schimpf (Blind Bay);
  • Rex Porter (Sorrento);
  • Michael Shapcott (Sorrento);
  • John Smith (Blind Bay);
  • Larry Stephenson (Blind Bay);
  • Tim Van Den Heuvel (Blind Bay).

 

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. 

“I hope that all residents in Blind Bay and Sorrento get actively involved in this process and take every opportunity to become thoroughly informed,” says Electoral Area C Director Paul Demenok.

“Assisting us with the process will be the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study Committee, a group of community volunteers who have stepped up to guide the process and help ensure that the appropriate questions are addressed.”

 

 The Incorporation Committee will be supported in all stages of its work by an independent, qualified consultant who will report to the committee, but was 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 Work Plan & Timeline
View Map of Proposed Incorporation Area
View Map of Proposed Two Electoral Areas Option

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

How did we get to this point?

This section provides an overview on the process of investigating new governance options for Electoral Area C.

Background

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

 

 

History - Electoral Area C Governance Study - 2016-2017

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) received Provincial Government funding for a Governance Study in Electoral Area C of the regional district in 2016.  The governance study process took more than a year, involving a CSRD-appointed Committee consisting of representatives from various communities within Electoral 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.  In making this recommendation, the Committee recognized that the exact incorporation study area, and the exact boundaries for two electoral areas, would need to be determined. The Committee understands that these questions would be addressed in the early stages of any new restructure study.

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 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.

Getting to know Electoral Area C

Electoral Area C Governance Study Overview - 2017

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

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. 

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

 

 

 

CSRD Contact

Lynda Shykora
Deputy Manager, Corporate Administrative Services
T: 250.833.5939
E-mail