Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study

Community Engagement Events - POSTPONED

In response to the most recent public health order, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) has decided to push the pause button on the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study community engagement process. This decision was taken after canvassing members of the Incorporation Study Advisory Committee. The request was sent to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, and this extension was approved.

Currently, the number of people that can gather indoors in the Interior Health region, without proof of full vaccination, is 50. An upcoming discussion panel and two open house events set for late September and early October were designed for far larger community attendance. 

Any incorporation process is firmly rooted in the need for input, engagement and feedback from affected residents. As a result of these attendance limitations and in the interest of providing a safe environment for the community to discuss this important initiative, the CSRD will be putting the process on hold at this time.

The following in-person public engagement events will now be postponed in hopes of resuming the in-person engagement events in late January, 2022:

  • An Incorporation Discussion Panel set for September 25,
  • An Open House set for September 29,
  • An Open House set for October 5.

New dates will be set for these meetings and will be publicly advertised, as well as promoted through the CSRD’s website and the CSRD’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms.

Electoral Area C residents may still view the most up-to-date information on the study process at the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study page on the CSRD website. This includes a Frequently Asked Questions section with the ability for residents to continue to submit their questions online.

Previous events with recordings

Virtual Open House - Thursday, August 19, 2021 from 6 PM to 8 PM.

Virtual Open House - Monday, August 23, 2021 from 6 PM to 8 PM.

Watch Zoom recording



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A new governance option

In February 2019, the Minister of Municipal Affairs 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 Study was kicked-off later that year. 

The primary purpose of the Incorporation Study is to provide the electors of Sorrento and Blind Bay with the information and understanding they need to make an informed decision on incorporation.

To date, the Incorporation Advisory Committee that is leading the Study has been focused on overseeing a detailed, objective and technical examination of the incorporation option and its implications for residents in the proposed area. Implications associated with the default option, which would divide the existing Electoral Area C into two separate Electoral Areas, have also been examined.

With the results of its analyses in hand the Committee is now ready to present all information to, and to discuss the findings with, local electors.

Community engagement

In October, 2021, the Committee will be asked to make a recommendation to the CSRD — and, through the CSRD, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs — on whether sufficient interest exists in the community to hold a referendum on incorporation. If the Committee recommends that a vote be held, electors in Blind Bay and Sorrento will be asked to choose between the two options in November, 2021.

The Committee is responsible for ensuring that voters have the information they need to assess the options and, if a vote is called, make an informed choice. Over the next three months, the Committee will be providing information to electors, and engaging with the community, in a variety of formats and through a number of different methods.

Click on the "Community Engagement Overview" button below for a listing of the information resources and events. The "Information on the Options" button will take you to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, a listing of the various Service and Issue Sheets created by the Committee, and copies of all other information materials produced for the community.

Community Engagement Overview
Information on the Options

Incorporation Study Boundaries

The boundaries for the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study Area and the default Two Electoral Areas scenario were developed through a Boundary Analysis Study commissioned by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in 2018.  Coming out of the Analysis, and based on a recommendation by the CSRD Board of Directors, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs adopted two optional boundaries that were presented for consideration. These recommended boundaries are shown in the accompanying interactive maps (see below).

Soon after the Incorporation Study began, the Incorporation Study Committee and the Ministry received requests from residents in the Hendrickson Road and Hilltop Road neighbourhoods to be excluded from the Study Area.  Following a careful consideration of these requests, the Committee recommended changes to the Study Area boundary to approve most (but not all) of the requested exemptions. 

In June, 2021, the Minister of Municipal Affairs accepted the Committee's recommendation and endorsed a new Study Area boundary. 

This new boundary, titled Sorrento-Blind Bay, is shown in the interactive maps (see below). The map for the Two Electoral Areas option is also shown.


How did we get to this point?

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


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

The recommendation from the CSRD Board to undertake an incorporation study did not identify a specific incorporation area.  To address this need, the Ministry commissioned a Boundary Analysis in 2018.  The Analysis created four separate restructure scenarios for consideration: 

  • 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 recommended a preferred boundary.  The recommendations were based on an assessment of quantitative and qualitative data, driven by a set of factors which included the geographic extent of current service areas, population density in the area, OCP designations and settlement areas, road networks, property assessment values, farmland and lands in the Agricultural Land Reserve, and others.

The assessment of the options pointed to the potential incorporation of a new municipality comprised of both Sorrento and Blind Bay as the preferred incorporation scenario.  The incorporation of a Sorrento-Blind Bay Municipality would remove the combined population of these communities (4,700) from Electoral Area C, which would, in turn, reduce the population served by one CSRD electoral area director from 7,900 to 3,200 residents.

The Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study Area map developed through the Boundary Analysis is identified in the accompanying link.  This map was endorsed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs as the Study Area for the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study. Soon after the Incorporation Study began, however, the Incorporation Study Committee and the Ministry received requests from residents in the Hendrickson Road and Hilltop Road neighbourhoods to be excluded from the Study Area.  Following a careful consideration of these requests, the Committee recommended changes to the Study Area boundary to approve most (but not all) of the requested exemptions. In June, 2021, the Minister of Municipal Affairs accepted the Committee's recommendation and endorsed a new Study Area boundary. This new boundary, titled Sorrento-Blind Bay (Amended June, 2021), is also shown. 

If incorporation is not chosen by the electors within the new Sorrento-Blind Bay Study Area, Electoral Area C will automatically be divided into two separate electoral areas.  The new map for this Two Electoral Areas default scenario can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

View Map of Proposed Incorporation Area
View Map of Proposed Two Electoral Areas Option




History - Electoral Area C Governance Study

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.

History of Incorporation Process 1990 - 2015

The question of governance in the Sorrento community has been important to area residents dating back to 1990. 

Between 1990 and 2004, there was communication between the CSRD and the Ministry of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development on the topic of an incorporation feasibility study for the Sorrento community. A chronology of this timeframe is available here

At that point, CSRD records indicate that no activity took place on this file from 2004 until 2010. The concept of incorporation was then advanced again in 2010 through the efforts of the Sorrento and Community Association (SACA). They approached the BC Ministry of Sport and Cultural Development with a request for funding to examine the feasibility of incorporation for the community of Sorrento.

Additional background on the efforts involving the potential incorporation of Sorrento between 2010 and 2015 are available through a report from Charles Hamilton, Chief Administrative Officer, which can be viewed here.

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. 




Advisory Committee members

A group of nine 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’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 will be active until the conclusion of the Incorporation Study report. Originally the study was to be submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs by February 28, 2021, however, due to the COVID-19-related delay, it is now expected to be complete by the end of 2021. 

The committee members include:

  • Brian Butcher (Blind Bay);
  • Rose Fritz (Blind Bay);
  • Sandra Heschuk (Sorrento);
  • Lorrie Kelsey (Blind Bay);
  • Darlene Lincoln (Blind Bay);
  • Tracy Lundberg-Schimpf (Blind Bay);
  • Michael Shapcott (Sorrento);
  • John Smith (Blind Bay);
  • Larry Stephenson (Blind Bay).
  • Electoral Area C Director, Paul Demenok, is a non-voting, ex officio member of the Committee.

The communities of Sorrento and Blind Bay are within the unceded territory of the Secwépemc Nation, specifically the caretaker area of the Little Shuswap Lake Band, Neskonlith Indian Band, and Adams Lake Indian Band. The province is currently working with these Indigenous communities  to develop a framework for government to government engagement to better understand impacts resulting from the potential municipal incorporation. The Indigenous communities and the province are also jointly exploring opportunities for strengthening cooperation and collaboration between local governments and Indigenous communities.

CSRD Contact

Jennifer Sham
Deputy Manager, Corporate Administration
T: 250.833.5922