Will there still be a provincially-appointed councillor on Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality’s (SPMRM) council? The decision’s up in the air, as the new Minister of Municipal Affairs “considers various options.”
SPMRM has the only municipal council in B.C. not entirely run by elected officials. Darcy Alexander, general manager of Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR), sits as an appointed member of council representing the resort corporation.
The resort has a significant hand in how the community grows due to a Master Development Agreement between SPR and the province, governing the resort’s developments on Crown land.
The appointment of a SPMRM councillor was initially meant to last a short period of time and provide transitional support for the municipality. In May 2021, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs told SPIN a councillor likely wouldn’t be re-appointed in the upcoming 2022 election.
However, as of recently, Nathan Cullen has become the new Minister of Municipal Affairs. The ministry recently told SPIN Cullen will consider various options before making a final decision, including taking the SPMRM council’s perspective into account.
Mayor Al Raine said he thinks the appointed position is beneficial, and would suggest it remain in place for at least one more election period.
“Much of what we do in development here and the whole kind of image of Sun Peaks is really dependent on Sun Peaks Resort LLP,” Raine said. “We’re not a normal community in the true sense of what’s happening in the rest of British Columbia.”
Raine said keeping the position will also benefit council because there will already be significant changes this election year. Raine and two other council members who have each been on council since its inception, Mario Pozza and Ines Popig, are not planning to seek reelection.
“There’s going to be quite a shift,” Raine said. “And [the appointed councillor] can’t bring in something that would only serve their interests because they would need at least two other councillors to vote with them. Having one vote of five is certainly not control or excessive influence.”
The ministry said a final decision will be communicated to council well in advance of the October 2022 election.