On Dec. 4 the Minister of Community and Rural Development put the future of local governance in Sun Peaks Resort into the hands of eligible voters who live or own property within the resort community. On Jan. 30, 2010 voters will decide on being governed by a locally elected mayor and council or to continue with the current governance model which sees many local services delivered by the province and the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD).
The community of Sun Peaks, which happens to have one of the largest tax bases in the TNRD at $655 million dollars, now must decide whether they want to be autonomous or they’d rather leave decisions in the hands of the folks in Victoria and the 24 directors on the TNRD Board.
For people to understand the current governance model, the TNRD provides more than 110 community functions and services to nearly 125,000 people over an area of 45,279 square kilometres. Taxes from the $655 million dollar Sun Peaks tax base are a large contributor in funding some of these regional functions and services. Currently, the Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Improvement District is mandated to only provide two services to the community, fire protection and street lighting.
While new municipalities must take over some functions and services now provided by the province and the TNRD, there are also tourism grants and provincial funding programs available to municipalities that cannot be accessed by improvement districts.
The question is, do the people who call Sun Peaks home want to govern their own community? This could mean a property tax increase or decrease depending on staffing and service levels set by a local council. As in any democracy, a vote on this subject is your own, but please inform yourself about the impacts and implications of Sun Peaks becoming a municipality or not before marking your “X” on yes or no.
For public meeting dates, financial details, voter eligibility requirements and to view the findings of the Sun Peaks Incorporation Study Committee, visit www.sunpeaksgovernance.com.
Your community’s future is now in your hands.