Meetings are scheduled, the committee is set and research has begun for the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study.
The purpose of the study is to provide the electors in the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study Area with an understanding of what incorporation would mean to them in terms of local services, governance, and property taxes. Full information on the changes that could be expected will allow electors to make an informed decision on whether or not to create a new municipality. Any decision to incorporate will be a decision, taken by referendum, of the electors in the study area.
In the event that incorporation is not chosen, the current Electoral Area C will be divided into two separate areas. The study will outline any changes that would occur under this "default option," as well.
A Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Advisory Committee has been set up and two meetings have been held to review the history and consider how the 45 services currently delivered by the CSRD within the Blind Bay and Sorrento areas are administered and funded. The study is scheduled to take 15 months to complete.
John Smith, a former Chief Administrative Officer of the Thompson Nicola Regional District, has been elected chair of the committee, along with Patrick Earley as vice-chair.
Upcoming committee meetings will focus on the research phase of the process. Dates for upcoming meetings are:
- Wednesday, February 12, 2020 from 6 PM to 8:30 PM at the Cedar Heights Community Centre in Blind Bay;
- Monday, March 16, 2020 from 6 PM to 8:30 PM at the Sorrento Memorial Hall in Sorrento.
Specific dates for additional meetings in May, June, and July will be announced once determined by the Committee. The public is welcome to attend all of the meetings and there is an opportunity to ask questions during the last 30 minutes of each meeting.
Electoral Area C Director Paul Demenok, who is a non-voting member of the committee, encourages citizens to educate themselves and participate in the process.
“The Area C Incorporation Study will have substantial implications affecting the future of the South Shuswap for generations to come. Unfortunately, there will be many opportunities for misinformation and ‘alternative facts,’ so I would strongly encourage the residents of Area C to attend the meetings and obtain their information from a bona fide source,” he said.
The CSRD website will have the most up-to-date information on the study, including the development of a Frequently Asked Questions page, and an ability for residents to submit their questions online. Print copies of incorporation information will also be available for residents to review at the Okanagan Regional Library branch in Blind Bay and at the Sorrento Centre.
Once the research has been completed, the public will have an opportunity to share their thoughts and ask questions through a public consultation process planned for a two-month period this fall. The community engagement sessions which will include open houses and public meetings to present information, answer questions and, most importantly, get feedback from residents.
A recommendation on whether to further pursue incorporation will be brought forward by the committee to the CSRD Board in February 2021.