It was a cold, clear bluebird day on Jan. 1, 1989 as I headed over the Duffy Lake Road for a winter away from the “Whistler” scene. I had loaded my 1972 Toyota Corolla with all my ski gear and worldly possessions and headed for Tod Mountain. Little did I know, but this barely used, day ski area near Kamloops was about to become my winter home for the next 20 years and the place I would call home permanently for a decade.
Jumping forward to 2009 and Sun Peaks Resort is a whole different place now. While current economic conditions have certainly slowed progress with regards to new developments and expansion of the much touted East Village, growth behind the scenes has been alive and well during the downturn.
Over the last 1,275 days a committee made up of four Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Improvement District trustees, a representative from Sun Peaks Resort Corporation, the Thompson Nicola Regional District Area “P” director and several other local Sun Peaks residents have volunteered their time to sit on the Sun Peaks Resort Incorporation Study Committee.
As it sounds, the study committee was formed to look at the viability of Sun Peaks Resort becoming its own Mountain Resort Municipality. Over three years of meetings with all levels of government, multiple technical reports and a series of public consultations, the committee has completed its work and made a recommendation to the province regarding the possibility of holding a referendum vote on municipal status and after three long years the committee has now disbanded. I’m now finally free of my volunteer civic duties, other than the Improvement District that is.
Interest in local governance models may seem about as much fun as seeing how many dry Premium Plus one can eat in a minute, but as always, each to their own. I think the time is now for the homeowners, business owners and residents of this great resort town to educate themselves on how our town would work if it was to become a Mountain Resort Municipality somewhere down the road.
Services, duties, taxes and responsibilities would shift from the current province, regional district, Improvement District model to a new Mountain Resort Municipality thus making for a stronger local government with a voice but also more services to maintain. While grants, tax rebates and other incentives from the Province can make a municipality an attractive thing to become, there’s always that possibility it might cost more than projected.
When the time comes to make a decision on our future, I hope that everyone who calls Sun Peaks home has spent a mere fraction of the time that the volunteer committee has on this subject, educating yourself about what you’re really voting on. This may seem as fun as the dry cracker trick to some but remember, an educated voter is a smart voter with a voice, and one that votes blindly really has no vision or voice at all.