Sorrento-Blind Bay incorporation meeting draws a crowd

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Changes are coming to the way Electoral Area C is governed and curiosity is building among residents of Electoral Area C as to what the proposed options will mean for them.

Approximately 80 people attended the third in a series of Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Advisory Committee meetings held Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at the Cedar Heights Community Centre.

The purpose of the study is to provide the electors in the area with information on the implications of Sorrento and Blind Bay incorporating into its own municipality, with its own local government. The study is contrasting the incorporation option with the alternative option − dividing the current Electoral Area C into two separate Electoral Areas of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).

The study is currently in the research phase, where information on how incorporation, or the division into two Electoral Areas, would affect the services currently provided by the CSRD is being gathered and presented to the committee. A decision on incorporation would have to get the approval of the electorate through a referendum before any change could be made.

At the recent meeting, study consultants Allan Neilson and Sherry Hurst of Neilson Strategies Ltd. presented information on what the potential changes to Library Services, Parks & Recreation, and Planning & Building Services would entail. The committee also reviewed information on the implications of incorporation for parcels of land located in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The detailed information regarding decision-making, service delivery and what it would cost taxpayers is presented in each of the factsheets on the topic. These are available for public review on the CSRD's website as part of the meeting agenda. A website page has been created for all information related to the study at https://www.csrd.bc.ca/areas/electoral-area-c-incorporation-study.

While the committee endorsed the service sheet information related to Planning & Building and  Library Services, they decided further analysis was needed regarding Parks and & Recreation Services in Electoral Area C. This topic will be brought back for further discussion at a future meeting.

The next meeting will be Monday, March 16, 2020 from 6 PM to 8:30 PM at the Sorrento Memorial Hall in Sorrento. There is an opportunity for the public to ask questions during the last 30 minutes of each meeting. Topics for the March meeting will include: Emergency Services, Transportation Services and Solid Waste & Recycling Services. Also discussed will be governance and decision-making for a new municipality.

For those who may not be able to attend the meetings, the most up-to-date information on the study process is publicly available on the CSRD website. This includes a Frequently Asked Questions page with the 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 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.

Photo: A crowd of approximately 80 people attended the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study Meeting on February 12, 2020 at the Cedar Heights Community Centre. (CSRD photo)

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