The Board of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) voted unanimously at the September 22 Regular Meeting to adopt a bylaw which will add a tax contribution from property owners in Electoral Area F to support the operation of the North Shuswap Health Centre.
The vote follows the conclusion of an Alternative Approval Process (AAP) in Electoral Area F. An AAP requires 10 per cent of eligible voters formally indicate their opposition to the proposal to stop the process or require a referendum.
In this case, the 10 per cent threshold was not achieved, as only 105 elector response forms against the proposal were submitted. The 10 per cent threshold was 284 valid forms.
The adoption of the new financial contribution bylaw means the average home in Electoral Area F with an assessed value of $410,968, could see an additional $25.16 added to their 2023 tax notice to support the North Shuswap Health Centre.
This amount, however, is the maximum amount which could be allocated. The final tax contribution is still subject to the development of a service agreement between the CSRD and the non-profit North Shuswap Health Centre Society. This funding agreement will become part of each year’s CSRD’s budget deliberations.
The Board made its decision following a presentation from North Shuswap citizen Eugene Eklund, who disapproved of both a citizen-led petition presented to the CSRD to initiate discussions and the formal Alternative Approval Process. Eklund was also concerned about local governments taking on this type of taxation when health care is a provincial responsibility.
The Board, however, voted in support of the taxation contribution bylaw, with several Electoral Area Directors saying they wish they had a similar community-owned health clinic in their areas.
“This is about the community needing certain infrastructure – schools, stores, gas stations and doctors’ offices − in order to be vibrant and thriving. This health clinic is one piece of the puzzle we need to protect,” Electoral Area F Director Jay Simpson told the Board. “I approve of this based on the needs of the community on a long-term, ongoing basis.”
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