Following almost four years of review, two technical reports and a series of public meetings, the Sun Peaks Incorporation Study Committee has unanimously agreed to request that the Ministry of Community and Rural Development hold a referendum vote in Sun Peaks on the question of Municipal Incorporation.
If a referendum supports municipal incorporation, the Province could create the new Municipality. Sun Peaks would then become the first start-up Mountain Resort Municipality formed since the Province introduced the Mountain Resort Associations Act in 1996.
The volunteer Study Committee, which held its inaugural meeting in June of 2006, met regularly over the past three and a half years to study and review the ramifications of municipal incorporation. The Committee was co-chaired by Ines Popig, the Chairperson of the Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Improvement District and Darcy Alexander, General Manager and Vice President of Sun Peaks Resort Corporation, the resort’s principal development company. The committee included 3 volunteer trustees from the Improvement District, four representatives at large and the Thompson Nicola Regional District representative for area “P”.
Following the most recent public meetings on November 27 and 28, 2009, with approximately 114 residents and property owners in attendance, the committee noted that there was strong local support for holding a referendum. Over 95% of those attending the meetings indicated support for a referendum to let Sun Peaks’ electors decide the question of municipal status. In addition, an on-line survey of residents and property owners in 2007 illustrated strong support with 92% supporting the referendum request.
Following the Committee’s vote to request an incorporation referendum, the Incorporation Study Committee voted to disband and a small Referendum Committee was formed to manage the referendum process. The Referendum Committee is made up of Darcy Alexander, Colleen Hannigan and Al Raine.
Ines Popig, who co-chaired the entire process, indicated that she is pleased to have finally reached the end of the review. “This has taken considerable effort from our volunteer committee and I am pleased that we are able to make this recommendation to Minister Bennett. We were pleased to have the assistance of Ministry staff and very thankful for the analysis work completed by Mr. Tom Reid of Sussex Consultants who advised the Committee of the potential economic impacts of incorporation.”
Darcy Alexander noted that if the Province supports the incorporation vote, a referendum could be held early in 2010. He added, “We have recommended that the letters patent of the new Municipality contain requirements for special consultation through an advisory committee for non-resident property owners, many of whom might not be able to vote. In addition, we have recommended similar advisory committees for regional First Nations representation and for Tourism Sun Peaks including the business community.”