In the year leading up to Sun Peaks Resort becoming Canada’s first Mountain Resort Municipality, speculations were rampant. Will council raise property taxes through the roof? What role will Sun Peaks Resort Corp play? Will the politicians that get elected immediately raise their pay like some other local councils have?
Well the ink is now dry; mayor and council have been elected-appointed and sworn in. So what’s next you may ask? Firstly don’t expect huge changes if any in your daily lives now that Sun Peaks is governed by a council of your peers. It will take months of hard work for the new mayor and council to filter through, amend and draft new and existing provincial, regional and local bylaws into our own that will govern such things as building inspections, land use planning, bylaw enforcement, garbage disposal and sub-division approval in this community.
I think most people are aware that our mayor and council all ran on an election platform of fiscal responsibility and to do the “Gordon” after the fact would be certain political hara-kiri with the next municipal election rolling around in November 2011. In fact the new Sun Peaks mayor and council are so fiscally prudent that they have all now donated their annual stipends to local charities, mainly the new Sun Peaks Education Society.
While many in this community see the appointment of the general manager of Sun Peaks Resort Corporation (SPRC) to a municipal council seat (a first in Canada as far as I know) as undemocratic and reeking of political patronage, I beg to differ.
Sun Peaks Resort Corporation is the master resort developer and main service provider in the community as well as the largest employer and taxpayer. While many people complain day to day about this and that to do with SPRC, the reality is, without their clear vision and past 17 year commitment, Sun Peaks Resort and all those that live and work here would simply not exist as it does today. I speak from experience as I was a Tod Mountain employee when the final bankruptcy commenced in 1990-1991. If it wasn’t for the corporation and their parent company Nippon Cable, I might be selling kabobs in Stanley Park instead of spending the last eight years hawking Sun Peaks Independent News (SPIN Newsmagazine).
Any change in governance or community structure can lead to many things good and bad but it’s all how you take it. With increased tourism grants and tax sharing, local accountability and direct links to SPRC, the future of Sun Peaks as a municipality in my eyes looks a whole lot brighter than all those foggy days on the Chief.