The Board of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) is recommending a referendum be conducted on incorporating the proposed area of Sorrento and Blind Bay as a new municipality.
The assent vote needs final approval from the Provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs. The CSRD is recommending the referendum take place on Saturday, April 30, 2022; however, this date remains tentative until the Ministry gives the go-ahead.
The process towards a referendum vote began with preliminary studies in 2016 and experienced some delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic limiting in-person gatherings.
“This has been an enormous job under very challenging circumstances,” says Electoral Area C Director Paul Demenok, who was a non-voting, ex officio member of the Incorporation Study Advisory Committee. “The community wants to vote on this, as well they should. It’s time to vote on going forward.”
All eligible voters living inside the proposed new municipal boundaries will be able to go to the polls to determine whether the area should incorporate or not.
Should a majority of voters support the option of incorporation, the proposed areas of Sorrento and Blind Bay would become a municipality with its own local government separate from the CSRD. This new municipality would then appoint one representative to sit on the CSRD Board. The vote on a new municipal mayor and council would likely take place as part of the Local Government General Election scheduled for October 15, 2022.
If the voters decide against incorporation, Electoral Area C will be divided into two smaller areas, each with their own elected Director at the CSRD Board table. Adding an additional Director will create a more equal distribution of elected representation across the region.
All information on the proposed incorporation is available on the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study page of the CSRD website. This includes a review of all current government services and topics such as roads and policing. A draft budget for a new municipality has also been prepared to give voters an idea of the implications to their property taxes.
Additional information about the referendum date and voting options, including mail-in ballots, will be posted once available.