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If your property is within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), you may need to apply to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to:
Check the map on the ALC website to see if you are within the ALR. Launch ALR Property and Map Finder.
The application process requires the local government to file a Local Government Report concerning your proposal. The purpose of the report is to provide the Commission with information on local planning such as community plan and zoning designations and to give the local government an opportunity to make comments and recommendations on a proposal.
Yes. All facilities used for the production and distribution of cannabis are required to obtain a building permit prior to construction.
An amendment adopted by the CSRD Board on May 16, 2019, exempts farm buildings with low-occupancy uses such as housing animals or storing farm supplies from requiring a building permit. These farm buildings can not be used for human habitation, office space or other commercial or industrial operations. It also does not exempt cannabis production facilities from requiring a building permit.
Buildings are complex, particularly when they include plumbing, electrical wiring, and connections to drinking water and septic systems. The BC Building Code establishes minimum requirements that are designed to help keep occupants safe and healthy. When followed, the requirements help to ensure that buildings:
All Buildings are required to be constructed to the BC Building Code. Only buildings in area with building inspection, however, are subject to the consistent and high level of oversight required, at key points of the construction process, to ensure that the Code is met and safety standards upheld.
A building inspection must be requested at least 48 hours in advance of the day you would like the inspection to occur by contacting the Building Department at 888-248-2773 or 250-832-8194 or email the Building Department. You may request an inspection in the AM or PM, but this may not be possible to accommodate depending on inspection demand and workload.
Building permit applications are available online at the CSRD website (www.csrd.bc.ca) or can be picked up from the CSRD office in Salmon Arm, 555 Harbourfront Drive NE. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to submit their permit applications in person so that they can be reviewed by staff for completeness. Property owners can contact in the Building Department in advance 888-248-2773 or 250-832-8194, or email the Building Department, to answer any questions, or to book an appointment with a Building Inspector.
A building inspector may request that inspections in remote locations, such as water access only or backcountry construction sites, be completed by a registered professional hired by the property owner. If requested, the building inspectors will rely solely on the provided letters of assurance, field reviews and site photo's that the registered professional submits as long as all aspects of the construction referenced by the those letters of assurance substantially conform to the design, plans and specifications, and the construction complies with the Building Code, Building Bylaw Number 660, CSRD bylaws and other applicable enactments respecting safety.
Anyone who is unsure whether a project is a remote location is encouraged to contact the Building Department at 888-248-2773 or 250-832-8194 or email the Building Department.
The newest area to require BPs and inspections is Electoral Area C (South Shuswap) which began the service on March 4, 2019.
As of March 5, 2018, BPs and inspections are required in Electoral Area B (Rural Revelstoke) and Electoral Area E (Rural Sicamous). Building inspections continue to be required in Electoral Area F (North Shuswap) in the communities of Lee Creek, Scotch Creek, Celista, Magna Bay, Anglemont and St. Ives. A map of the areas where building permits are required, view the Building Inspection Service Area 2018 (PDF).
No building permit is required for new single-family buildings and accessory buildings that are under construction when the service is introduced, provided that concrete footings, built in compliance with the Building Code, are poured prior before the amended service bylaw takes effect. A property owner in this situation needs to submit proof to the CSRD to confirm that the concrete footings were poured prior to the date of service commencement. Proof may include, at a minimum, information such as an email stating the date on which the pour occurred, combined with a time-stamped picture of the pouring, and a copy of the concrete delivery receipt. To be clear, future additions to buildings that exist prior to the introduction of building inspection will require building permits
Building permit fees are used to recover a portion of the cost to provide the service. Service costs are also recovered, in part, using property taxes from each Electoral Area in which the service is provided. Building permit fees consist of an application fee and the building permit fee. The application fee is a flat amount that is paid at the time of submission. The permit fee is based on the value of the construction, and is paid prior to the issuance of the building permit. All fees related to building permits are outlined in Schedule A of the CSRD Building Regulation Bylaw, Number 660, and are the same across all Electoral Areas with building inspection. At present (June, 2018), the fees are as follows:
The application fee is $72 for a single-family dwelling, and $288 for multi-family, commercial, institutional or industrial buildings
The permit fee is calculated as follows:
For a single-family dwelling with a construction value of $300,000, the total fees would be $2,057 ($72 of which may be credited back to the homeowner).
All fees related to BPs can be found in Schedule A of the Building Bylaw Number 660.
Residents can contact the Building Department 888-248-2773 or 250-832-8194. or email the Building Department, to enquire if a building permit may be required for the construction that is occurring. Residents can also submit a complaint to report construction work being carried out without the required permits through the CSRD online complaint form or contact a CSRD Bylaw Officer at 888-248-2773 or 250-832-8194, or email CSRD Bylaw Officer. Complainant information is considered confidential by the CSRD and your identity will not be revealed (it is protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act). Should the matter proceed to court, however, and if required in the legal proceedings, the CSRD may be obligated to disclose the information provided.
Building inspections will be available in each of the four EA areas two days per week. Building Official availability will be adjusted for inspection demand and workload. The building inspection days in EA F will remain Tuesdays and Thursdays. The building inspection days for EA E and EA B will be Tuesday and Thursday to start and will be re-evaluated depending on number of applications.
The required six building inspections are:
The renewed BP will require three inspections.
As of February 1, 2021, all rezoning, development permit and building permit applications are required by the Province of BC to include a completed Provincial Site Disclosure Statement (SDS) completed by the property owner. Your CSRD application will not be processed until the completed SDS is received.
The purpose of the Provincial Contaminated Sites Regulation and Site Disclosure Statement is to bring potentially contaminated sites to the attention of the Province. This is to ensure these sites are investigated and that contaminated areas are remediated before reuse or redevelopment.
Building inspection is a service through which local governments regulate the construction of buildings. A property owner who wishes to construct a building in an area with building inspection is required to obtain, prior to construction beginning, the local government's approval to build. Approval is given in the form of a building permit, for which the property owner must apply. Permits are issued when the local government has confirmed, through its review of the submitted building plans, that the proposed structure complies with the technical standards in the BC Building Code, and the planning regulations in the applicable OCP and zoning bylaw. At various points of the construction process, inspections must be arranged by the property owner with a building Inspector from the local government. At each inspection, the Inspector confirms that the standards of the BC Building Code, and the relevant land use regulations, are indeed being met.
There are five steps in the full process:
Anyone who is unsure about the BP process is encouraged to contact the Building Department at 888-248-2773 or 250-832-8194 or email the Building Department.
Once a building permit is issued construction will need to begin within six months from the date of issuance. Construction cannot be suspended for a period of more than six months, and must be completed within a period of three years. If these conditions are not met, the permit will expire.
For a project on which construction has been ongoing, the property owner may renew a permit, prior to expiry, for an extended period of up to 12 months. Only one renewal is permitted. The completion of additional forms and fees may be required.
The CSRD may require other permits, such as a development permit, depending on the type and location of the construction project. Development permit (DP) areas are identified in the Area B, Area C, and Area F Official Community Plans (OCPs), and the draft Area E OCP (see CSRD website to view OCPs and information about DPs). DP areas are established for land with environmental significance (such as lakefront, foreshore or riparian areas) or hazardous conditions (e.g., steep slopes or flood areas). Other development permit areas are created to ensure that the character of commercial and multi-family developments are developed in accordance with the community vision as expressed in the OCP). Construction within development permit areas must follow guidelines to ensure development is safe for the use intended, that environmental areas are identified and protected and that the character is consistent with the community vision. As part of the building permit review, Building staff will confirm whether any DPs are required. A DP is required to be issued by the CSRD prior to a building permit being issued.
Anyone who is unsure whether a project requires a development permit is encouraged to contact the Building Department at 888-248-2773 or 250-832-8194 or email the building department.
The building inspection service started in Electoral Area C on March 4, 2019.
The building inspection service started in Electoral Areas B and E on March 5, 2018.
The building inspection service started in Electoral Area F in 2001 for the communities Lee Creek, Scotch Creek, Celista, Magna Bay, Anglemont and Street Ives.
A map of the areas where building permits are required, view the Building Inspection Service Area 2018 (PDF).
If a construction project involves no structural changes and no relocation or installation of new plumbing fixtures, then no building permit or plumbing permit is required. In addition, certain types of structures will be exempt, including:
Anyone who is unsure whether a project requires a permit is encouraged to contact the Building Department at 888-248-2773 or 250-832-8194 or email the Building Department.
Any property owner who wishes to undertake construction in Areas B, E,F (five communities), and C on March 4, 2019 will need to apply for and receive a building permit (and, in most cases, a plumbing permit too) before commencing construction. Building permits are required for most construction, demolition and excavation, including:
Anyone who is unsure whether a project requires a BP is encouraged to contact the Building Department at 888-248-2773 or 250-832-8194 or email the Building Department.
Effective Wednesday, August 14, 2019, online versions of the BC Building, Plumbing and Fire Codes are available free of charge.
Access to these BC Code documents are available now at the BC Publications website.
When creating the new building regulation and inspection service, the CSRD considered the existing building inspection service provided in part of EA F, as well as practices in other communities and best practices on implementing the BC Building Code. The CSRD decided on inspections at six stages of construction, as six is considered the minimum number necessary to adequately ensure adherence to the BC Building Code. By comparison, Revelstoke and Salmon Arm require eight inspections (not including for fireplaces); Sicamous requires eight.
If you meet the following requirements, you may be nominated to run for Electoral Area Director:
Who is NOT eligible
You are not eligible to run as Electoral Area Director if you:
Yes. You must fill out the required candidate nomination forms. Nomination papers will be available to download or pick up from the CSRD Office once available.
There is no nomination fee.
The nomination period begins on Tuesday, August 30, 2022 at 9 AM and ends on Friday, September 9, 2022 at 4 PM.
No. There is a specific restriction against both working for, and holding office in, the same local government. However, if you were to take a leave of absence from your job, you could run in the election. If elected, you would have to resign your job.
Yes. In such an instance, if elected, you could be vulnerable to allegations of conflict of interest because of your employment.
Yes. Although it might not be wise. If elected you could be vulnerable to allegations of conflict of interest because of your employment.
It depends on whether you are considered to be an employee of the local government despite your contract. Check with the CSRD Chief Election Officer. You may want to consider whether your contract could expose you to allegations of conflict of interest while serving as an elected representative.
Yes. The only restriction is that you cannot run for, or hold, two offices in the same local government. In other words, you can't run for both mayor and councillor.
Whenever you like. Just make sure you record all your election contributions and expenses for the disclosure statement you must file within 120 days after voting day. The same applies to elector organizations and candidates alike.
All candidates must appoint a financial agent. Some appoint an official agent, scrutineers and volunteers to help with the election campaign. Some candidates may also be endorsed by an elector organization.
For information on campaign financing disclosures requirements, Elections BC has published a guide.
The minimum number of people is two, but it's wise to have more in case it turns out that one of them is not an eligible nominator.
Yes. You may view a candidate’s nomination documents from the time they were submitted to the local government until 30 days following the declaration of results at the CSRD office or on this website.
Yes. You must file a candidate disclosure statement even if you were not elected.
Yes. They will be available on the Elections BC website.
No. There can be no campaign material (signs, buttons, brochures, etc.) within 100 metres of a voting place or advance voting opportunity.
You may withdraw as a candidate until 4 PM on the 29th day before voting day (Friday, September 16, 2022). At the time of filing nomination papers, candidates must sign a declaration that they fully intend to accept the office if elected.
An elector organization promotes a candidate, group of candidates or a point of view during a local election in one or more jurisdictions. Elector organizations are also known as civic political parties. An elector organization must have a membership of 50 or more eligible electors when the endorsement is made. Further information about elector organizations can be found on Elections BC website.
You could be disqualified from office if you do not file a candidate disclosure statement and/or take the oath of office following the general local election. There are also significant penalties for failing to comply with the campaign financing and election advertising rules in the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA, the Act). Including possible fines and/or imprisonment.
You can get answers to questions about election advertising, third party sponsors and campaign financing by contacting Elections BC.
Animal Control Officers are trained personnel appointed by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) to enforce regulatory bylaws within their jurisdiction.
After January 1, 2022, Electoral Area D residents will notice BC Commissionaires vehicles and Animal Control Officers outfitted with appropriate identification and uniforms in their community.
Whereas Animal Protection Officers (SPCA) act for the safety of animals, Animal Control Officers are charged with the responsibility of protecting people by ensuring compliance with bylaws promoting the security and safety of domestic dogs.
Animal Control Officers do:
Animal Control Officers do not:
Yes. An Animal Control Officer will attempt to contact a property owner prior to entering, by means of knocking on a front door or ringing a doorbell. However, the officer can legally enter private property at all reasonable times to inspect and verify compliance with applicable bylaws.
The authority to enter private property is provided to Animal Control Officers and Bylaw Enforcement Officers under Section 284 of the Local Government Act, Section 16 of the Community Charter and Section 8 of the CSRD Bylaw Enforcement Policy (A-69).
Any dog unlawfully running "At Large" may be impounded by the Animal Control Officer.
Please note that the Animal Control Officer will always make attempts to return a dog to its owner prior to impoundment.
Dogs deemed as Dangerous Dogs under Section 49 of the Community Charter may be seized due to a serious injury or near-miss incident.
If a dog is running at large, it means the dog is not at the place or property of the owner and is not under the immediate control of the owner.
If an impounded dog remains unclaimed for 72 hours and is eligible for adoption, it will be transferred into the custody of the SPCA Shuswap Branch.
Humane euthanasia under Section 49 of the Community Charter will only be considered if a Dangerous Dog has killed or seriously injured a person or domestic livestock, or if an Animal Control Officer had reasonable grounds to believe the dog was likely to kill or seriously injure a person. The destruction of a dog involves a legal process. It can only be accomplished after a Provincial court order has been obtained.
A person cannot have more than four dogs over the age of four months at any one place or property unless the animals are in compliance with a zoning bylaw, such as a Dog Kennel or Veterinary Clinic.
No, there is an exemption for Livestock Guardian Dogs. For the exemption to be valid, the dog must reside on a parcel with livestock, and which is classified as a farm under the BC Assessment Act.
Dog Licences and/or Kennel Licences will not be required. This decision was made based on wanting to keep costs low for residents and dog owners.
No. Voluntary dog licensing has not been included in the Bylaw, so there is no option to purchase a licence for a dog in Electoral Area D at this time.
The Operations Department sets the rates through bylaws, and they are based upon the operational costs of the utility. In most cases, the operational costs of the utility are paid from the user rates.
The current Water Rates and Regulations Bylaw provides for an annual increase for most CSRD-owned systems. For further information please contact the Operations Department by phone at 250-833-5950 or by email.
Expenditure of the funds will be in accordance with the 2014-2024 Agreement between the UBCM and CSRD, dated July 7, 2014. There are specific criteria and only eligible projects can be considered. For further information, please contact Jodi Pierce, Manager Financial Services, at 250-833-5907 or by email Jodi Pierce.
Properties within local water service areas in the CSRD are billed annually for water use. Invoices are mailed by late February and are eligible for a 10 per cent discount if payment is received by the CSRD on or before the discount deadline of April 30.
It is a good idea to contact our office to notify us of the possession date of the new owner to ensure the account information is changed over correctly. You do not need to pay a portion of the bill for the billing period that you occupy the dwelling, as your lawyer or notary as part of the conveyance will cover this on your statement of adjustment.
It is the policy of the Regional District that the utility bill will be sent to the registered owner of the property. In order to redirect the bill to the care of a renter, tenant, property manager, or other, we must have that request in writing from the registered owner. This is because if there is an outstanding balance on the utility bill as of December 31 that amount will be transferred to property taxes. Any unpaid debt is the responsibility of the registered owner.
Most invoices are paid within 30 days. For this to apply, invoices must be emailed to the Finance department or mailed to P.O. Box 978, Salmon Arm, BC V1E 4P1. Invoices sent to any other email address may be significantly delayed in processing.
Our Accounts Payable Department needs 10-15 business days to process an approved invoice. An approved invoice is one that displays an authorized Regional District purchase order number or contract number and is received by one of the above addresses. If there is no purchase order listed on the invoice or if further authorization is required, the process may be delayed.
Vendors who work under a contract with the CSRD are paid according to the Contract Payment Schedule, which is distributed to the contractors at the beginning of each new year, or upon the signing of a new contract. View the 2021 Contractor Payment Schedule (PDF).
To increase the timeliness of your payment, please submit a Direct Deposit Form (PDF) to the Finance department Email.
It is the responsibility of the lawyer or notary handling the transfer of ownership to ensure that a search is done through the CSRD to determine if there are any outstanding utility charges on a property and include those charges on the statement of adjustments. This is required to be sure that there are no outstanding debts or encumbrances attached to the property upon transfer of ownership.
The parcel tax for the Anglemont Water was approved in 2012. After an exhaustive public consultation process which included letters being sent to every registered owner of property within the Anglemont Water Service Area, a referendum was held in the spring of 2012 asking eligible voters if they were in favour of the CSRD taking over the Anglemont Water System and whether they were in favour of incurring debt up to $9.8 million dollars to upgrade the water system to provide steady, consistent, potable water to all 1,300 lots in the service area.
The system had been in a state of disrepair for many years and would not have been "water ready" for many of the vacant lots, as it did not have the capacity to service those properties. The result of this referendum was a resounding number of eligible voters in favor of both propositions. Therefore, the CSRD took over the water system in July of 2012. Following the takeover date, construction started on the upgrade in the fall of 2012.
The parcel tax is applied to all lots, including strata lots, within that service area regardless of whether or not there are homes on the lot to fund construction, related debt and further infrastructure upgrades. The debt is being amortized over 25 years with debt amortization being only one component of the parcel tax.
If there are any outstanding amounts on the utility bill as of December 31, that amount will be transferred to property taxes. Since the CSRD cannot issue the Property Tax notices, we also cannot collect payments for them. For payment information, please go to the Ministry of Provincial Revenue-Taxation Branch website.
The CSRD is not a taxing authority under the Local Government Act and does not generate property tax notices, therefore we cannot provide information on mill rates as we only have data pertinent to CSRD services. For information on mill rates, contact the Surveyor of Taxes.
There are several ways to pay your bills. Please go to Bill Payment to access this information.
Knowledge is power. The intent of the assessment program is to educate residents on their individual property and community risk and provide tools to reduce it. Even minor fixes and changes in the Zone 1 (10 Meters around your home) can make a significant impact on your risk and score. The BC FireSmart and FireSmart Canada website have great resources to help with what can seem to be an overwhelming task, especially if you have a larger property that is densely populated with trees.
Remember, FireSmart is not a one-time project and should be part of your ongoing regular maintenance planned throughout the year. Doing little things now and then continuing to work through higher risk items means, in the long run, you will be taking great steps to reduce your risk. Take action now and don't wait until you are threatened by wildfire. We all have a responsibility to be FireSmart.
Under the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports program, the CSRD can use grant funding to offer a local rebate program to home owners on private land and First Nations land that complete eligible FireSmart activities on their own properties. To be eligible for funding, a rebate program must address the goals of FireSmart and follow the requirements outlined.
The goal of FireSmart is to encourage home owners to conduct FireSmart practices on their property to reduce damages and minimize the hazards associated with wildfire. These practices should aim to:
Approved applicants (CSRD) are required to use the following requirements:
Rebates are limited to 50 per cent of the total cost of the eligible activities and no more than $500 per property.
Areas of higher wildfire risk, such as neighbourhoods adjacent to the forested edge and/or areas that fall in an overall high to extreme category, should be prioritized for rebates. Current CWPPs or other community plans should be used to decide where to offer a FireSmart rebate program.
To qualify for a rebate, the home owner must:
Have a FireSmart Assessment of their property, conducted by a qualified Local FireSmart Representative, that identifies the property in a moderate, high or extreme category.
Please note: The only acceptable FireSmart assessment forms are the FireSmart Canada Community Recognition Program Wildfire Hazard Assessment form and the FireSmart Home Assessment Score Card, both available from the FireSmart Canada website.
Complete activities that are recommended in the assessment and that are eligible under the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports program, limited to:
The approved applicant (CSRD) must assess the FireSmart activities that are conducted by home owners and review costs (e.g. receipts and/or proof of labour) before approving rebates. This can be achieved by the LFR (preferably the same one who carried out the initial assessment) who must verify the work submitted for rebate was completed (ex. by conducting a follow-up site visit).
The LFR completes the CSRD Rebate Application form and submits it to the CSRD FireSmart Coordinator (by email or in person) who will check it over and confirm it is all correct.
The CSRD FireSmart Coordinator sends or drops off the verified Rebate Applications to the CSRD Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) staff along with any necessary receipts or proof of work.
SEP tracks FireSmart grant financials and submits documents for payment to issue a cheque to homeowner.
A lot of positive changes can be done simply by cleaning up debris piles and trimming tree branches. The CSRD offers free drop off at regional waste transfer sites for branches, grass, etc.
Bigger tasks like full tree removal and physical changes such as roofing can be much more expensive and should be considered when that is appropriate for you to replace them. There may be a rebate available for up to $500 for expenses incurred to FireSmart your home.
Splitting costs such as bins and tree trimmers with neighbors is a great way to FireSmart your home in a more cost-effective way. Focus on the 10 metre perimeter that surrounds your home first, then start working your way further out. The biggest changes you can make are often right next to your home. Many of these take time and thought, rather than cash!
Congratulations to you on having a FireSmart property. We encourage you to keep up the good work throughout the year!
That being said, FireSmart diligence is a year-round activity and even a low-risk property can become high risk once leaves or needles drop from trees.
Windstorms and tree shedding can create pockets of debris in corners and areas of your home that can become major hazards in a wildfire event. Embers from large fires can travel great distances and start fires miles away, so even the most prepared people can still be affected by a fire.
Have a truck? Or a saw? You could reduce your own risk by helping your neighbours. Offer to take away branches, leaves and yard debris for a neighbour in need of some help.
For many people this is a reality of life. By doing the small things around your home you can still reduce risk.
Specific to combustible roofing or decking, until it is appropriate to replace that, you may want to consider your own fire suppression system that includes hoses, water tanks, pumps and sprinklers. In the event of a wildfire, setting up sprinklers on your roof or having hoses in high-risk area with access to water can make a considerable difference to your risk. So while you may be at a higher risk, there are definitely things you can still do to reduce it. Having water full water totes and pumps, for example, can give you access to water in the event of a power outage.
Understanding your risk can go a long way to coming up with effective solutions to reduce it without major home changes or pricey renovations.
Taking an active role in your community to assess and mitigate wildfire risk makes you a champ!
We all have a responsibility to remove fuels in high risk areas, help neighbours who need assistance, or organize volunteer days. This is the spirit of FireSmart. Every community needs volunteers and organizers to help others understand risk and take proactive steps to reduce it. Talking with neighbors, sharing information and helping others will make a difference. Volunteer to organize events and maybe even take a lead role in obtaining FireSmart recognition for your community. Ask us how we can help by emailing FireSmart.
Nothing. This information is designed to help you. We don't report specific property information to insurance companies or other agencies. The CSRD's FireSmart initiative is an educational and community support program designed to help you reduce your home and community risk. Helping to make people aware of their risk and providing them with information to reduce it will make us all safer in the long run.
The FireSmart BC and FireSmart Canada websites have libraries of information. The BC wildfire service website has information on prevention, fire bans and active fires. Of course, at the CSRD we have compiled a number of important documents for you. We encourage you to follow one or all of our social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Shuswap Emergency Program also has a Facebook page. The BC Wildfire service can also be followed online.
Stay informed and stay FireSmart.
In the best interest of community safety, the CSRD, like many other regional districts and municipalities in BC, has banned the sale of any fireworks within Electoral Areas C, E, and F of the CSRD.
Before detonating any fireworks within Electoral Areas C, E, and F you require a valid Fireworks Permit. Fireworks may only be used, set-off or discharged with a permit authorized by the CSRD Fire Services Coordinator. Anyone who sets off fireworks without a permit may be fined a minimum of $200 and/or be subject to formal enforcement proceedings for each incident.
Failure to comply with the terms of the Fireworks Permit may also result in a fine and/or formal enforcement proceedings.
View and download the Fireworks Application
Application to detonate low-hazard fireworks can be made at the CSRD Office in Salmon Arm located at 555 Harbourfront Drive NE between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday to Friday or you may view and download the Fireworks Application (PDF).
You must comply with the terms of the permit at least seven working days prior to the date of the event. The fee for a permit is $20. You must be at least 18 years of age to handle fireworks.
Fireworks can be set off:
Permits to set off fireworks will only be issued to recognized organizations or community groups for special public functions or community events.
If there is an immediate, serious threat to safety or property, call 911.
If it is a non-emergency call Bylaw Services at 250-832-8194 or toll-free 888-248-2773.
There are two ways to request information from the Regional District:
Informal request via routine channels:
Since the majority of the Regional District's information is available through routine channels, you should start by making an informal request. To do this, contact the department that you think might have the information you are looking for.
If the information you are seeking is not available through routine channels, then you may make an FOI request for records containing the information.
Unlike routine requests, formal FOI requests must be made in writing. Your request must provide sufficient detail to assist staff in locating and retrieving the records. You must also indicate whether you want to receive copies of the records or to view the records in person.
Using the FOI Application Form (PDF) is highly encouraged because it contains the minimum requirements to process the request.
You may deliver, mail, fax or email your FOI request to:
Information and Privacy Head/Coordinator555 Harbourfront Drive NEP.O. Box 978 Salmon Arm, BC V1E 4P1
Phone: 250-832-8194Fax: 250-832-9774Email Freedom of Information Request
The Act protects personal privacy by restricting the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. Please note that personal privacy rights extend only to private individuals; not businesses, societies, corporations, etc.
When an individual makes an FOI request to the Regional District, their personal information is protected and is not made public.
The Act requires that we respond to your request within 30 business days of our receipt of your request. We will make every effort to make the records available to you sooner, if possible.
If your request is broad in scope, or if a large volume of records respond to your request, we may extend the time limit for responding under Section 10 of the Act for an additional 30 business days. For particularly large and difficult requests, we may apply to the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner for an additional time extension.
The majority of requests are processed within 30 business days of us receiving your request.
When you make an informal request, the department you approach will respond to you as quickly as possible. Depending on the kind of information you are requesting, you may be able to get an answer over the phone.
The Act requires us to respond to your FOI request within 30 business days of receiving it, although we will respond sooner if possible. If your request is especially complicated, we may extend our response time by an additional 30 business days.
The Act allows us to withhold information if release would be an invasion of privacy or cause harm by one of the means listed in the Act, such as harming a law enforcement investigation or threatening anyone's health or safety. If the Regional District withholds any information, we will tell you which section or sections of the Act were used in making this decision.
If we deny you access to any record or part of a record, you have the right to ask for a review by the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner, an officer of the legislature who is independent of the government. A decision of the Commissioner is final, subject to certain limited judicial reviews.
When you make an informal request for information, the department that has the information may charge you a fee to cover its costs in processing your request. Departments charge in accordance with our Freedom of Information Bylaw Number 5651
We may charge you fees to cover the cost of processing your FOI request. We will not charge you fees for access to your own personal information or for the first three hours spent searching for and retrieving the records.
If we are going to charge you any fees, we will send you a fee estimate before processing your request. We may also require you to provide us with a deposit.
Our fees are charged in accordance with our Freedom of Information Bylaw Number 5651 and the Schedule of Maximum Fees as established by British Columbia Regulation 323/93
For example, the following fees apply for non-commercial applicants (i.e. private individuals):
To help reduce fees and to minimize expenses, please narrow the scope of your request as much as possible. Also, you should try to specify a date range, the more precise, the easier it will be to locate the records.
The Act applies to all records (i.e. all recorded information) that are under the custody or control of a public body. The Act defines records as follows:
"record" includes books, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, letters, vouchers, papers, and any other thing on which information is recorded or stored by graphic, electronic, mechanical, or other means, but does not include a computer program or any other mechanism that produces records;
It is important to note that the Act covers access to records, and the information contained therein. It is NOT the intention of the Act that staff undertakes compiled and summarized research in order to answer specific questions. Applicants are expected to conduct their own research from any records received from the Regional District.
Depending on what you ask for, you may not get access to all information contained within the records that respond to your request.
The Act includes several specific exemptions to disclosure, which means that, by law, certain types of records and information is to be protected and not made available to the public. Some exemptions are mandatory while others are exercised at the discretion of the Information and Privacy Coordinator (as defined in our Freedom of Information Bylaw Number 5651) based on the relevant circumstances surrounding the request.
For example, reasons for refusing access to information held by the Regional District are generally related to the protection of:
If you do not get access to all information you requested, you will be advised of the reasons for the refusal and the provision(s) of the Act on which the refusal is based. If you are not satisfied with how the Regional District responds to your FOI request, you have the right to ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia to review the Regional District 's response.
Campers may be disposed of at the nearest landfill (not transfer station). Fridges must be removed prior to disposal, and a bulky rate fee of $160/ton will be charged at the scale.
Old mattresses may be disposed of at refuse disposal facilities at the Salmon Arm Landfill, Revelstoke Landfill, Sicamous Landfill, Golden Landfill, Scotch Creek Transfer Station, Skimikin Transfer Station, and Falkland Transfer Station in the designated area.
Mattresses are collected for recycling and are disassembled. The metal, wood, and foam are recycled, only the fabric cover is disposed of as trash.
Driveway sealer can be disposed of for free at one of the hazardous waste depots located at the Golden, Revelstoke, and Salmon Arm Landfills. All locations are open Saturdays only.
Landscape ties may be disposed of at your nearest refuse disposal facility at the garbage rate of $80/ton. Due to the possibility of large spikes being in the ties, they cannot be placed in the wood bin; they must be disposed of as garbage.
Light ballasts require special handling and are included in the Light Recycle Extended Producer Responsibility Program. Bills Bottle Depot and the Revelstoke Bottle Depot MAY take them, depending on the date of manufacture. If you have older ballasts or large quantities, please arrange collection through the Product Care Association.
Noxious weeds or soil contaminated with noxious weeds must be disposed of in the garbage rather than the organic waste pile, at no charge. The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society webpage has valuable information to assist in the identification of noxious and invasive weed species.
Oil products are only accepted at the hazardous waste drop off depots located at the Golden, Revelstoke, and Salmon Arm Landfills, which are open every Saturday. Oil is part of a Provincial take back program, with depots throughout the Province. To see if there is a depot closer to you, visit the Provincial Take Back Program page.
Books (both hard and soft cover) are not accepted in the residential recycling collection program. The following locations have a separate recycling option for residents looking to recycle books:
The CSRD is working to get book recycling programs in place in Revelstoke and Golden.
Vehicle tires are not permitted at refuse disposal sites. Most tire retailers will accept old tires, or visit Tire Stewardship BC to find the nearest recycling drop off location.
All pesticides may be disposed of at the Golden, Revelstoke or Salmon Arm Landfill at the hazardous waste collection depot. Pesticides with labels that contain the skull and crossbone symbol and a pesticide registration number may also be returned to Bills Bottle Depot in Salmon Arm.
Propane tanks, including disposable cylinders, may be dropped off at your nearest refuse disposal facility for recycling at no cost. Propane tanks are dangerous to equipment operators and should never be placed in the garbage.
Fiberglass insulation is disposed of as garbage, either in your garbage can at the curb or at the landfill.
Layers that are similar (parks-related, labels, etc.) are typically grouped together in the Online Mapping and Property Information tool. You can expand, or compress, these groupings by clicking on the + (expands) or - (compresses) signs that precede the layer names.
When more than just the layers list is being displayed, use the tabs located at the bottom of the left-side panel of your map window to toggle between the results list and the layers list.
When you enter information into the Global Search bar, a list of results is populated in the left-side panel of your map window. Locate the entry for the property you are inquiring about, and click that entry.
There are a few things that you can do with the Search Results list:
OCP is a Local Government Planning acronym that stands for “Official Community Plan”.
The Local Government Act defines an official community plan (OCP) as a general statement of the broad objectives and policies of the local government respecting the form and character of existing and proposed land use and servicing requirements in the area covered by the plan. It must consider anticipated housing needs, schools, service requirements, public facilities, location and requirements for commercial, industrial, agricultural and other land uses, and restrictions on lands that are environmentally sensitive or hazardous.
An OCP is a long-term strategy for land use management, development, and servicing. This document is created by the community in dialogue with locally elected commission and committee members, and is intended to serve as a statement of the objectives and policies of the local government. The goals of an OCP are implemented through its zoning bylaw. See more on the Official Community Plans page.
For information regarding the CSRD’s Official Community Plans (OCP), visit the Official Community Plans page. For information regarding the CSRD’s Zoning & Land Use Bylaws, visit the Zoning Land Use Bylaws page.
There is also a "Go to webpage" link in the Description pane for your selected property, which will bring you directly to the specific OCP or Zoning Bylaw documentation that applies to your selection (where they exist).
A legend is available that defines the symbology for the layers you have turned on. (Off layers will not display in the legend).
To access the legend, click the Panel Actions Menu and choose Show Legend.
The legend will appear, replacing the Layer List
You can toggle between the legend and your selection using the tabs at the bottom of the left-side pane.
To get back to the layers list, you must click again on the Panel Actions Menu and this time choose Show Layer List
The CSRD is currently working on developing a system to display where the machines have been and are currently working. Please keep checking our website for updates on this technology.
No the program operates within treatment timing windows developed with DFO and MOE.
The harvesting schedule has been developed over time with consultation with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Ministry of Environment, First Nations, and local government input.
The program uses a priority list starting with high-use recreation areas such as public swimming areas. Other determining factors include navigation, boating, access, the timing of plant emergence, traveling time, etc.
Not all aquatic plants (weeds) are the same. The CSRD only has approval to remove the invasive species Myriophyllum Spicatum (Milfoil) or Eurasian water Milfoil. It is important that native plants remain as they provide important habitat for fish. The program has equipment to remove Milfoil weed beds when the density is greater than 75% Invasive. Prior to removal each site is assessed to determine if native plant populations are present as for example the site between Sandy Pt. and Syphon Cr. typically is colonized with native species. The species distribution and density of the weed beds are continually changing as a result of environmental factors and invasive plant growth characteristics which requires annual adjustments of the treatment schedules. One analogy for understanding the native plant community is that "Aquatic plants are the forest for the fish".
Harvesting is cosmetic only and does not kill the plant. The harvester can cut up to 1.5 meters deep and load the harvested material on board for disposal. Harvesting is relatively quick at removing nuisance weed beds providing a safer recreation experience.
Rototilling is a much more expensive removal process but is more effective as it kills the plant. There are many limitations to where and when rototilling operations can be undertaken, but in general, the work window is in the autumn and winter when the plants are dormant and plant fragments are not viable.
By utilizing the two treatment techniques the program is able to reduce the nuisance impacts of Milfoil in high-use recreation areas and not have a detrimental impact on fish habitat.
Farmers' fields, large gardens, typically the closest dump site to the operations.
Call the CSRD if interested in having 60,000lbs of rotting plant biomass delivered, it does create quite an odor.
The optimum time to harvest is when the Milfoil is just about to surface, typically mid-July to end of August. Earlier operations are not viable as the plants are not within reach of the cutting table.
No. The CSRD currently administers three mosquito control programs for the reduction of the nuisance effect of mosquitos in:
Not at this time. To conduct mosquito nuisance control in provincial parks, authorization is required from the Ministry of Environment. In a July 8, 2019 decision, the ministry denied the CSRD's application for a park use permit for mosquito control in Shuswap Lake Park and Tsutswecw Park. View Ministry of Environment Decision (PDF).
No the program uses the larvicide Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis) is a biological or a naturally occurring bacterium found in soils,
The larvicides used such as Aquabac, Vectobac, and VectoLex are species-specific, affecting only aquatic members of the Order Diptera, which includes mosquitoes, black flies and midges, and do not impact non-pest and beneficial insects such as pollinators and predators.
The programs are based on the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), in that the most environmentally sensitive methods of control are considered first. Prevention and reduction of mosquito larval development sites are the first objective of the CSRD.
The vast majority of the CSRD mosquito control campaigns is focused on controlling mosquitoes while they are in their larval stages, (as opposed to their adult stage) for two primary reasons. Larval control is much more efficient than adult control - it is possible to treat larval mosquitoes in very high concentrations in larval development ponds, while adult mosquitoes tend to disperse soon after emerging over a much wider area.
When habitat monitoring determines that treatment is required, pellets of larvicide are applied by hand or by helicopter during the mosquito larva 3rd or 4th instar phase of development. View the Pest Management Plan (PDF).
The program is in place to reduce the mosquito annoyance only, complete elimination would be extremely expensive and likely not possible.
In general, the weather and available mosquito larval development sites affect the amount of mosquitoes in an area.
When we have a lot of standing water available there is typically more mosquito larva produced.
Cycles of wet weather to hot weather to wet weather again tend to produce more mosquito hatches and result in a bad year. Conversely, if we have a cool, wet spring followed by a hot and dry summer there are fewer mosquitoes and it is considered a good year.
OptionPay is a payment card system the CSRD uses for its online credit card transactions. You can find out more information about OptionPay by visiting their website.
Yes. All transactions carried out through OptionPay follow a tiered fee schedule, starting at a minimum fee of $2. To see the full fee schedule for using this payment option, please visit their fee schedule.
The fees are administered through the OptionPay program for the use of their service and not through the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
OptionPay provides information on their security measures. Please note that the Columbia Shuswap Regional District takes no responsibility for, and accepts no liability, in the event of security breaches, technical difficulties, or other issues that may arise from your use of OptionPay. All users accept responsibility for their use of this service and do so at their own risk.
Photo paper is heavily treated with chemicals and therefore isn't accepted in the recycling program. Photos can be disposed of in your household garbage.
Lights are part of a Provincial Take back program. Please check the Provincial Take-Back Program page to find the depot nearest you. If there is no depot, hang onto your lights until the next recycling round up event in your community.
If these items are ready for recycling, they can be taken to an Encorp electronics recycling depot. This recycling program includes items such as CD's, DVD's, floppy disks, flash drives, VHS tapes, and vinyl records. Cases for these items are included in the recycling program as well, provided that the cases are brought with the storage media items themselves.
Virtually all items that plug in are part of a return to depot program administered by the provincial government. Please see the Provincial Take-Back Program page to select the item you wish to recycle and locate the nearest depot.
Paint containers with lids and labels, both full or empty, are part of a Provincial Take Back program, and cannot be disposed of as garbage.
The hazardous waste depots at the Golden, and Revelstoke Landfills accept paint products, free of charge, on Saturdays only. At the Salmon Arm Landfill, the hazardous waste depot is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. To locate a depot closer to your community, visit the Product Care website.
Place plastic bags in the FILM PLASTIC receptacle at your nearest recycling depot - they are not to be placed in your curbside collection container or bag. Place flexible plastic packaging in the flexible plastic packaging receptacle at your nearest recycling depot. Do not place in your curbside collection container or bag. Chip bags, waxed cereal liners and shrink wrap for meat and cheese are accepted for recycling as flexible plastic packaging.
Ziploc (or similar) brand sandwich/freezer bags, garbage bags, and recycling bags are not accepted because, under the definition of Packaging and Printed Paper, these items were not purchased at the store with items INSIDE them and therefore are not a package.
Styrofoam packaging is accepted at CSRD recycling depots as of January 2015. Colored and white styrofoam must be separated into separate bins at the depots. An example of a colored styrofoam item is a colored meat tray. Squishy foam and foam wrap is not accepted as recycling and should be disposed of as refuse.
That answer comes from Recycle BC, the provincial stewardship agency responsible for residential packaging and paper recycling. They also collect material in accordance with the Province of BC's Recycling Regulation.
Recycle BC offers this easy way to determine if material (that is recyclable) can be included in their system. If it's recyclable and its packaging or paper it's included. If it's a product, meaning it was the item you purchased (not the packaging around the item you purchased) it's not recyclable as part to their program. Find out more detail from Recycle BC.
The CSRD has partnered with Recycle BC, a Stewardship agency appointed by the Province of BC to collect all packaging and printed paper in BC. Recycle BC requires the material to be sorted at the source, reducing the amount of contamination of products at the processor.
No. If the electors of Sorrento and Blind Bay chose for whatever reason to remain unincorporated, Electoral Area C would be split into two separate electoral areas (i.e., Area C1 and Area C2). The default, "Two Electoral Areas" option was identified by the Electoral Area C Governance Committee at the end of the 2017 South Shuswap Governance Study. This 2017 Committee, comprised of 12 residents from communities throughout Electoral Area C, recommended that Area C be divided into two separate areas in the event that incorporation did not proceed. The recommendation was based on the view that the existing Electoral Area C is too large to be served effectively by only one Electoral Area Director. The CSRD Board and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs endorsed the recommendation.
The Service Sheets that are being developed by the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study Committee for the current Incorporation Study identify the service, governance, and tax impacts that would apply to residents in Areas C1 and C2, in the event that incorporation did not proceed.
As its name suggests, the Incorporation Study is focused primarily on the implications of incorporation for the residents of Sorrento and Blind Bay. In all of the Service Sheets being developed for the study, however, the service, governance, and tax impacts associated with the Two Electoral Areas option are also identified.
It is important to remember that the Two Electoral Areas option — that is, the division of Electoral Area C into two Areas C1 and C2 — is the default option that will occur only if the electors of Sorrento and Blind Bay choose to remain unincorporated.
Every parcel of property in British Columbia is placed by BC Assessment into one property tax class. Residential properties are placed into Class 1; business properties are placed into Class 6. All Class 6 business properties, in electoral areas and municipalities, pay the property tax that is assigned to that class.
A key difference between the business property taxes in electoral areas and municipalities, however, concerns the tax rate. In electoral areas, business pay the Class 6 property tax rate that is identified by the regional district. In every regional district, the Class 6 rate must at a ratio of 2.45 to the Class 1 (residential) rate. Each regional district will determine, for each local service, the Class 1 rate to charge. The business rate is then set automatically using a multiplier of 2.45 on the Class 1 rate. This multiplier, along with multipliers for other classes of non-residential property, is mandated by the province under the Regional District Tax Regulation.
Municipalities have the authority to set not only their own Class 1 (residential) rate, but also all other rates for other classes of property, including Class 6 (business).This authority allows municipal councils to use property taxes as policy tools to pursue different goals. Within the CSRD, different municipalities use different Class 6 multipliers. Sicamous, for example, uses a multiplier of 2.15, whereas Salmon Arm uses a multiplier of 2.82. Revelstoke applies a Class 6 multiplier of 4.93, whereas Golden uses 2.16. A new municipal council for Sorrento-Blind Bay would have the authority to set its own Class 6 property tax rate.
In most municipalities, businesses are required to pay a business license fee in addition to their property tax. Fee levels typically vary based on type of business or other factors — a typical fee is around $100 per year. It has been assumed in the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study that the new municipality would have a business license function. The CSRD does not have such a service for Electoral Area C.
The Incorporation Study Committee is responsible for:
The Study Committee is very much expected to remain neutral with respect to the governance options. The Committee is not in place to advocate for any particular outcome of the analysis.
The Study Committee does need to make assumptions regarding staffing and other costs that would be incurred to enable a new municipality to provide the same range and level services that are provided to Sorrento and Blind Bay today. In all cases, assumptions are suggested by the Committee's consultants based on practices in place in other municipalities, and research on the specific services in question.
In general, the Committee should not make assumptions related to significant changes in the range or levels of service provided, the establishment of major new services or facilities, the withdrawal of the future municipality from inter-governmental cost-sharing arrangements (in cases where such arrangements would not be automatically be rendered unnecessary by a service of the municipality), or major changes to existing land use patterns and development policies. Decisions in these types of instances would be made by, and should be left to, the new municipal council.
All infrastructure costs will be identified in the individual service sheets where relevant. The sheet on Parks and Recreation, for example, contains information on capital reserves that would be used to help fund improvements (e.g., playgrounds) in parks. Future sheets on local roads will include information on road infrastructure improvements that can be anticipated. A future sheet on administration services will address the question of a municipal hall. Sheets do not generally comment on the potential need or desire for new infrastructure projects that are not planned today, or that would result in significant changes to existing service levels. Decisions on these improvements would be decisions for the new council (see the previous question and answer above).
Salary costs for staff who would be involved in the operation of services are included in service costs identified in each of the service sheets. Costs for managers and staff who are needed to administer the municipality (e.g., Chief Administrative Officer, Director of Finance, Receptionist) will be addressed in the sheet on administration. A separate sheet on governance will include salary costs for the mayor and council.
No. All costs incurred to operate and upgrade the Sorrento water system would be paid entirely by property owners connected to that system. Similarly, all costs associated with the Cedar Heights system would be paid entirely by property owners connected to that system. SLE water ratepayers would not contribute to any costs for these other systems.
Further postponement of the process would be difficult at this point for a number of reasons, including the Committee's need to have the Study completed in advance of the April 30, 2022, referendum date. The referendum would need to be held by the end of April in order to provide sufficient time to establish a new municipality — if incorporation were chosen — prior to the October 2022, general municipal election.
To ensure that all residents have an opportunity to get fully informed on the options prior to a vote, the Committee is direct-mailing to all households a comprehensive, 11-page overview document titled Understanding the Options (PDF) (an electronic copy is also available for viewing at the Mailouts & Presentations page). The hard-copy mail-out will, it is hoped, be of particular value to residents who find it difficult to participate online.
Voting options will be determined by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. The Committee understands that, at the present time, the Ministry intends to enable electors to vote in person and by mail.
The $400,000 typical residential property was chosen, as a round number, to represent the 2019 average residential assessment in Area C of $402,388. This figure was readily available to the consultants from BC Assessment and CSRD tax reporting.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs publishes a range of municipal taxation data sheets each year. One sheet presents "Taxes and Charges on a Representative House" for each municipality. The data, unfortunately, are not presented for electoral areas. Representative house values for nearby and CSRD municipalities in 2019 were as follows:
During the engagement phase of the study, public materials will show tax implications for a range of properties and property values.
In the event of incorporation, any costs that are incurred, over and above current cost levels, to provide local services to residents in Sorrento-Blind Bay would be paid solely by taxpayers within the new municipality. Please note: that the province would provide a certain amount of financial assistance to the new municipality to defer cost impacts associated with certain services (e.g., local roads).
Electoral Area C residents who live outside of the Incorporation Study Area would not pay for these costs.
On a related point, the vote to proceed with incorporation would only include residents within the Incorporation Study Area. Residents outside of the Study Area would not be given a vote.
As part of the study, the Committee is identifying service cost implications for residents of Electoral Area C who are outside of the Study Area. The cost of certain services for these residents may be lower without Sorrento-Blind Bay in the service area; alternatively, the cost of other services could be higher. Once all services have been assessed and total cost implications for Area C residents have been identified, the Committee (and community) will be able to gauge any net-cost impact on taxpayers outside of the Study Area. The province is ultimately responsible for ensuring that there are no significant adverse cost impacts on taxpayers outside of the Study Area.
Public boat launches in the South Shuswap are currently maintained and improved by the CSRD Community Services Department as part of the Electoral Area C Community Parks Service. The current level of service provided to all parks, including the boat launches, is determined by the CSRD Board of Directors based on a variety of factors, including input from the seven-member Electoral Area C Parks Advisory Committee, the Area C Director, the community, and CSRD staff. If voters in Blind Bay and Sorrento decided to incorporate, decisions on service level would be made by the new seven-member municipal council, with input from staff and the community. The council could choose, as well, to establish an advisory committee of residents. Decisions to increase the level of maintenance for boat launches and/or to improve the facilities would be determined by the council based on input received.
A decision to incorporate would result in the election of a six Councillors and one Mayor in place of one Electoral Area Director. The decision would also result in the establishment of a municipal administration with close to 15 staff members across all services. All of these positions are outlined in the various Service Sheets, including the one on Administration Services. The new municipality would be responsible for paying all of the costs associated with the Council and administration. Many of these costs and the positions they represent, however, would replace rather than duplicate existing efforts. Governance and service delivery responsibilities that would be taken on by the new municipality are responsibilities that, by and large, rest today with the CSRD Board and staff. The responsibilities and the costs that go with them would be transferred to the new municipality from the CSRD at the time of incorporation. Taxpayers of Sorrento-Blind Bay would begin to pay the municipality for the services transferred to the municipality. At the same, taxpayers would stop paying the CSRD for the services. The transfer of services to a new municipality would prompt the CSRD to reduce the resources it uses for service delivery in order to ensure that remaining electoral area taxpayers did not face tax increases.
The Committee is a neutral body and will not identify any preferred option. The Electoral Area C Director is a non-voting, ex officio member of the Committee. The Committee’s role is, first, to ensure that the consultants’ analysis of the implications associated with incorporation is conducted properly and fully. With the analysis completed, the Committee’s role shifts to focus on community engagement to ensure that the residents of Sorrento-Blind Bay understand what incorporation would mean in terms of service provision, service governance and finance/taxation. At the end of the engagement process, the Committee will make a recommendation to the CSRD Board with respect to a referendum. If a referendum on incorporation is recommended, the Minister will order a referendum and ask electors to decide one of two options:
Public boat launches in the South Shuswap are currently maintained and improved by the CSRD Community Services Department as part of the Electoral Area C Community Parks Service. The current level of service provided to all parks, including the boat launches, is determined by the CSRD Board of Directors based on a variety of factors, including input from the seven-member Electoral Area C Parks Advisory Committee, the Area C Director, the community, and CSRD staff.
If voters in Blind Bay and Sorrento decided to incorporate, decisions on service level would be made by the new seven-member municipal council, with input from staff and the community. Council could choose, as well, to establish an advisory committee of residents.
Decisions to increase the level of maintenance for boat launches and/or to improve the facilities would be determined by the council based on input received.
There are hundreds of acres of land in the Sorrento Village Centre that could conceivably be developed for commercial uses, depending on the wishes of any future municipal council. There are also tracts of land in Blind Bay and in other parts of the Study Area that are not in the ALR and could be proposed for future development or re-development to other uses.
The transition team in the event of incorporation would consist of a consultant who would serve as an interim Corporate Officer to put in place the basic legislative, financial, taxation, administrative and governance frameworks required. The interim staff member may be assisted by an Administrative Assistant.
The interim Corporate Officer would work closely with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the CSRD to establish the basic frameworks prior to the inaugural Council being elected. The Provincial Offer of Assistance includes a grant that is specifically dedicated to paying the transition team cost.
Examples for figures requested in this question included:
The mailout that was delivered to households in July 2021, was an introductory document designed to provide a high-level overview of the two governance options and an outline of the community engagement opportunities planned through October 2021. The mailout was not intended to provide detailed cost data or comparisons to enable residents to choose between incorporation and the two electoral areas option.
Detailed data and comparisons will be presented, however, in the coming weeks as part of the engagement phase of the Incorporation Study. Indeed, many of the data and comparisons are available already to review in the various Service Sheets produced by the Committee as part of its comprehensive analysis on the options. Each sheet features a particular type of local government service (e.g., local roads, police, planning & building, parks & recreation, administration), and presents estimates of staffing, facility, and equipment costs that would be incurred by a new municipality to provide the service. All of the costs are brought together into the Multi-Year Budget for a new municipality, including the costs associated with six Councillors and one Mayor, and the costs to have a municipal hall.
View Service Sheets along with other information from the analysis. At upcoming Open Houses, and in the comprehensive Overview mailout to be distributed in early October, cost information will be summarized for residents to review.
A decision to incorporate would result in the election of a six Councillors and one Mayor in place of an Electoral Area Director. The decision would also result in the establishment of a municipal administration with close to 15 staff members across all services. All of these positions are outlined in the various Service Sheets, including the one on Administration Services.
The new municipality would be responsible for paying all of the costs associated with the Council and administration. These costs and the positions they represent, however, would be replacing rather than duplicating existing efforts. Governance and service delivery responsibilities that would be taken on by the new municipality are responsibilities that today rest with the CSRD Board and staff. The responsibilities and the costs that go with them would be transferred to the new municipality from the CSRD at the time of incorporation. Taxpayers of Sorrento-Blind Bay would begin to pay the municipality for the services transferred to the municipality. At the same, taxpayers would stop paying the CSRD for the services.
The transfer of services to a new municipality would prompt the CSRD to reduce the resources it uses for service delivery in order to ensure that remaining electoral area taxpayers did not face tax increases. Efforts taken by the CSRD, post-incorporation, to adjust its own costs would be a matter for the CSRD Board to decide. Such efforts, however, would help to ensure that cost additions to one jurisdiction (i.e., the new municipality) were offset to a large degree by cost reductions in the other jurisdiction (i.e., the CSRD).
The costs that would be associated with a municipal council and a municipal administration are fully included in the costs to provide the municipal services set out in the various Service Sheets. The taxes that would be paid by residents for the services are set out in the Sample Tax Notices.
In British Columbia, all regular municipal employees (i.e., full-time staff and regular part-time staff with a minimum number of hours) belong to the Municipal Pension Plan and receive pensions for their service. Local government politicians are not members of the Municipal Pension Plan or any other province-wide plan. There are ten municipalities in British Columbia that have chosen to establish limited pension-like plans for their own elected officials that meet certain requirements. All ten of these municipalities are located in Metro Vancouver. The remaining 152 municipalities do not offer any pension programs for elected officials.
There are no known examples in British Columbia of communities that have disincorporated after having chosen to incorporate — certainly none from the past several decades. There are a few examples of municipalities that have chosen to amalgamate with other municipalities to create larger cities. In the early 1990s, for example, the municipalities of Abbotsford and Matsqui in the Fraser Valley amalgamated to form a larger City of Abbotsford.
Property taxes are a function of many factors, the most significant of which is the range and level of local government services provided to the community. High-tax municipalities of all sizes are those that provide a broad range and high level of local services to their residents, based on residents' demands and willingness to pay for services. Many municipalities, in response to the demands and expectations of residents, provide a limited variety of services at basic levels. These municipalities would be considered low-tax jurisdictions.
Residents' demands and expectations related to services are important points to consider. Communities that expect and demand additional services and higher levels of service can expect to pay more in local taxes than communities with more modest service demands.
Incorporation is one factor that influences property taxes but is not the major factor. A decision by local electors to incorporate Blind Bay and Sorrento would result in some property tax increase, at the current range and levels of service. This increase would be caused primarily by the required shift in responsibility for local roads from the province to the new municipality.
The Current State Report, presented to the Incorporation Advisory Committee in February 2020, provides an overview of the Study Area and the two Electoral Areas that would exist in the event that incorporation was rejected. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs' reduction to the Study Area boundary in June 2021, slightly affected the population and other measures attributed specifically to the Area in the Report; the changes, however, were minor.
Figure 2.2 in the Current State Report identifies a Study Area population of 4,701. With the reduction to the boundary made in June 2021, the population is believed to be closer to 4,575. Information from Statistics Canada (2016 Census) shows that the median age in Blind Bay and Sorrento, at approximately 60 years old, is significantly higher than the median age of 43 for the province as a whole.
Full Question "This area has a very large retirement community. It would seem you have not taken this into consideration when establishing dates of mid-October for open houses and a possible referendum in late November"The in-person Open Houses will have the live-stream capability to allow residents who happen to be out of the community in October 2021, to watch the presentations and to ask questions. If a referendum is recommended by the Committee and ordered by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, electors will be able to vote up to one month in advance at an early ballot in person, or any time in advance by mail.
It will be important to hold a referendum before the end of 2021 in order to minimize the time between the community engagement efforts and the vote and to give the Ministry the time it would need to implement a "yes" outcome (if such an outcome occurred) prior to the October 2022 general local election.
The Sorrento-Blind Bay Municipality boundary is considerably smaller than the boundary for C1 for a number of reasons, three of which are particularly important:
Roads — The provincial Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure (MOTI) is responsible for all local roads in electoral areas throughout British Columbia, including in any future Area C1. When an unincorporated area chooses to incorporate, responsibility for roads shifts from MOTI to the new municipal government. This transfer of responsibility gives municipalities control over decisions related to roads; however, it also imposes considerable costs onto local taxpayers. The area for a Sorrento-Blind Bay Municipality was sized to minimize the total number of local road kilometres that municipal taxpayers would be expected to maintain and fund. The same consideration was not a factor in setting the boundary for Area C1.
Agricultural Land Reserve — An effort was made to minimize the amount of ALR land in within the Incorporation Study Area. Such land is protected from urban and semi-urban development that is more likely to occur in a municipality than in an electoral area.
Class 9 (Farm) — Properties classified by BC Assessment as Class 9 (Farm) enjoy a greater range of tax exemptions in unincorporated areas than within municipalities. Accordingly, an effort was made to minimize the number of such properties in the Incorporation Study Area.
Yes, additional information and greater detail will be provided so that electors are able to assess the two options fully.
Only the Minister of Municipal Affairs can order a referendum on the matter of incorporation. The Minister will be looking to the CSRD — which, in turn, will rely on the Committee — to make a recommendation to hold or not hold a referendum. The recommendation will be based on the community's level of interest in incorporation, as judged by the Committee.
If the Minister orders a referendum electors will have the option to vote by mail.
The Committee is not associated with and has not sanctioned this event.
Full question "Is there anything that the CSRD, members of the advisory committee or the consultants can do to address misinformation or even 'scare tactics' that somhttps://bc-csrd.civicplus.com/273/Sorrento-Blind-Bae may use to encourage the public to vote one way?"The Committee discussed the issue of misinformation that may be put forward in different forums (particularly online forums) by persons with strong views on the topic of incorporation. The Committee decided that it would not engage in debates or efforts aimed at addressing the misinformation, but would instead continue to promote the Study website as the official and sole source of all Committee-sanctioned information on the Study.
The Committee's Administration Services sheet identifies all of the administration services that the municipality would be expected to provide. The same sheet outlines the costs of the services, the taxes required to pay for the services, and the number of staff required to deliver the services. As noted in the sheet, it is expected that the municipality would require a total of 7.0 full-time Administrative staff to provide all of these services.
Within the contingent of 7.0 full-time Administration staff, there would be portions of specific positions dedicated to developing Council meeting agendas, taking minutes of Council meetings, managing the Mayor's schedule of events and duties, undertaking legislative tasks (e.g., development of bylaws), answering Council correspondence, and attending to other tasks required to enable the governing body to function. In a small municipality such as Sorrento-Blind Bay, the total staff time required to support Council would not be expected to exceed 1.0 full-time equivalent.
The Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study Committee has postponed the previously-scheduled in-person community engagement events. The Committee's consultants, however, continue to receive and address FAQs, continue to post information to social media and the Study website and continue to make themselves available to small groups that wish to have online presentations made to group members. The Committee is planning to hold the in-person events in January 2022. Exact dates will be provided closer to that time.
The Provincial Offer of Restructure Assistance was addressed, initially, in a March 25, 2021, letter (PDF) from The Honourable Josie Osbourne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. The Minister outlines a total offer of $5,352,030 in both cash and in-kind assistance that would be provided to assist a new Sorrento-Blind Bay Municipality. Included in this total was $700,000 in road rehabilitation work that would be undertaken by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) during the post-incorporation five-year transition period.
A subsequent email from MOTI provided an update (PDF) to the road rehabilitation portion of the Provincial Offer. In this update, MOTI increased the number of kilometers of roads that would be rehabilitated. The value of the rehabilitation work increased from $700,000 to $1,500,000 — a total increase of $800,000.
This change to the value of the road rehabilitation work produces a new Provincial Offer total of $6,152,030 in cash and in-kind assistance.
The Administration Service Sheet (PDF) presents the total costs required to administer a new municipality. Embedded in those totals are specific assumptions related to Council member remuneration. Specifically, based on current salaries paid to Council members in other small municipalities in the Interior of British Columbia, the administration cost figures include:
In addition to these salary figures, the administration cost figures include a total of $20,000 for Council expenses, $35,000 for participation in the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), and $15,000 for participation in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). These figures are for all members of the Council (i.e., Mayor and six Councillors) combined.
Based on the approach taken in most British Columbia local governments, it is assumed that a new municipality would not provide benefits on top of these salaries to the Mayor and Councillors. The municipality may choose to make benefits programs available for purchase by Council members; however, the cost of buying into any benefits program would be the responsibility of the individual members of Council, not municipal taxpayers.
It is also assumed that the Mayor and Councillors would not receive municipal pensions. The issue of pensions was addressed in an earlier FAQ as follows:
Local government politicians are not members of the Municipal Pension Plan or any other province-wide plan. There are ten municipalities in British Columbia that have chosen to establish limited pension-like plans for their own elected officials that meet certain requirements. All ten of these municipalities are located in Metro Vancouver. The remaining 152 municipalities do not offer any pension programs for elected officials.
By way of comparison, the additional Electoral Area Director under the default Two Electoral Areas option would be paid $15,000 in salary. Expenses are budged at $9,000, with $5,000 additional for UBCM, $2,500 for FCM.
The bylaws of the Regional District that are in effect today would transfer to the new municipality upon incorporation. The new Council would assume full authority to apply and enforce the bylaws. The new Council would also have the authority to amend or repeal the bylaws. It is anticipated that the new Council would leave the bylaws in place initially but begin the processes of reviewing the bylaws and, where desired, creating new ones to better reflect the specific needs, issues, and interests of Blind Bay and Sorrento. Some provincial restructure assistance funds, outlined in the Offer of Restructure Assistance, would be made available to support these processes. Other funds would also be available through provincial planning grant programs.
The Committee has made the consultants available to any local association that would like to have a presentation for its members on the incorporation study findings. Each small-group presentation is organized by the requesting association and is designed to address some of the specific interests and concerns of the association. The decision to advertise the presentation to the broader community is a decision for the association to take. The Committee's own presentations - past and future - are designed for the broader community, and are advertised to all.
It is assumed that most of the planning and building services currently provided by the CSRD would become municipal services, provided directly by the new municipality. Building permits and building inspection services, specifically, would be transferred to the jurisdiction of the new municipality. Building permit processing times are a factor of the number of building officials working for the permit-issuing authority, and the volume of permit applications. Staffing challenges and increased application numbers are affecting almost all local governments in British Columbia at present, including the CSRD. At the staffing levels that have been assumed for a new municipality, it is unlikely that building permit applicants in Blind Bay and Sorrento would experience significantly faster service than at present. Lower processing times could be achieved with staffing level increases; however, such increases would result in higher service costs.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs provides a range of tax, expense, revenue, population, and other statistics every year for local government jurisdictions across British Columbia. One spreadsheet provided each year shows the local government taxes that are charged on a "representative" house. The representative house value in each jurisdiction considers the assessed values of properties (land and buildings) as determined by BC Assessment, not the appraised value or sale price for houses that may appear in real estate listings. The BC Assessment values are also used, it should be noted, to determine how much property tax must be paid by each homeowner each year.
The $400,000 value selected for the study was based on the 2020 representative house values provided by the Ministry for municipalities in the Shuswap. (The Ministry's data are for municipalities only, not electoral areas.) In considering the appropriateness of this value, it may be useful to note the following points:
The key document to address this question is the Capital Reserves Schedule (PDF). This schedule shows that at the beginning of 2023, a Sorrento-Blind Bay Municipality would receive financial reserve transfers from the CSRD valued at $5,070,928. $3,994,352 of this amount are funds in place for local Fire, Water, and Parks services that are currently under the responsibility of the CSRD, but would become the responsibility of the municipality. The remaining $1,076,576 would be the Sorrento-Blind Bay portion of the existing Electoral Area C Community Works Fund reserve.
The Capital Reserves schedule also shows that new funds, raised through municipal taxes, would be added to the reserves each year, or used to create new reserves, beginning in 2023. Specifically:
At the beginning of 2029, after all, scheduled additions to and withdrawals from the reserves have been made, and a modest amount of investment income has been added (calculated at 1.4% interest), the total reserve fund balance for all of the funds combined would be $14.9 million.
All of the additions to the reserve funds are identified in the individual Service and Issue Sheets for the relevant services. As well, it is important to note that the annual taxes that would be charged by the new municipality, and that are profiled under Budgets and Property Taxes, all take into account the need to raise sufficient funds to make the annual transfers to reserves.
Yes. The provincial government offers Home Owner Grants to qualifying homeowners in electoral areas and municipalities throughout all of British Columbia. To qualify, a homeowner must:
In Sorrento and Blind Bay, a regular Home Owner Grant of $770 is provided to each homeowner whose residence is assessed at $1,625,000 or less. Seniors over the age of 65 receive an additional $275 (for a total Home Owner Grant of $1,045) on residences assessed at $1,625,000 or less. All Home Owner Grants are presented on homeowners' property tax bills and serve to reduce the total property taxes owing.
It is important to understand that Home Owner Grants paid to homeowners in electoral areas are exactly the same as Grants paid to homeowners in municipalities. It should also be noted that the sample residential property tax notices available online do not show the Home Owner Grants. The total taxes owned on the tax notices for both the Incorporation and Area C1 options, therefore, would be reduced by $770 (or $1,045 in the case of seniors 65 years and older) in all cases.
Section 15(q) of the Local Government Act states that in electoral areas, properties (lands and improvements) owned and used exclusively by a local non-profit organization for "activities that are of demonstrable benefit to all members of the community" are exempt from taxation. In municipalities, which are subject to the terms of the Community Charter, these properties are not automatically exempt from taxation. Under section 224(2)(a) of the Charter, however, Municipal councils may provide permissive tax exemptions each year to non-profit organizations that use their properties for purposes that are directly related to the organizations' purposes. The same properties would be exempted from taxes levied for regional district services that are provided to the properties.
It is important to note that tax exemptions for non-profit groups, while not automatic in municipalities, are provided each year as permissive exemptions by all municipal councils, including the Councils of Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Revelstoke, and Golden. It is reasonable to assume that local non-profit groups in Blind Bay and Sorrento that are exempted from property taxes today would be provided permissive tax exemptions in a future municipality.
Non-profit organizations benefit in electoral areas and municipalities from local government grants. In the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study, the budget projections for the incorporation option assume that a new municipality would provide the same amount of local government grants-in-aid as are provided now under the Electoral Area C Grants-in-Aid service.
Caution needs to be exercised when answering this question because each community is different. Each community has a different assessment base, a different number of road kilometers, a different amount of non-residential assessment, some unique services and ways of delivering services, a different population, and different service needs. Local taxes in each jurisdiction will vary based on all of these differences.
Local taxes will also vary based on residents' expectations for services, demands for different service levels, ability to pay for services, and willingness to pay. Locally-elected municipal councils make decisions and are held accountable for those decisions, based on all of these factors.
Local conditions and differences among communities notwithstanding, it can be useful to consider what homeowners in other small municipalities are paying in local property taxes. The accompanying table presents a range of places in the BC Interior and shows the total local property taxes paid by the owner of a representative home in each. All figures are from 2020 and include all property taxes paid for municipal services, regional district services, and provincial/other services (including police and school). The figures do not include the Home Owner Grant (which would reduce the total amount owing in all cases), and do not include parcel taxes or user fees.
The table shows the total projected property for a representative home ($400,000) in Sorrento-Blind Bay under both the incorporation and the Area C1 option. These figures are also shown for Blind Bay without the Home Owner Grant, parcel taxes or user fees. The figures assume a population of 4,550, which is below the 5,000 population-level after which a Sorrento-Blind Bay Municipality would become responsible for local policing.
Note: the Sorrento home is slightly higher in both scenarios than the Blind Bay home because of some small differences in street lighting services.
The Local Roads Service Sheet (PDF) begins by presenting and explaining the costs incurred by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) to provide maintain the local road network in Sorrento and Blind Bay today. It was shown in the service sheet that MOTI spends approximately $7,500 per road kilometre to maintain the network. It was explained that this figure, which translates into an annual tax impact on a $400,000 home of $188.00, is considered quite low on account of the significant economies of scale that are available to MOTI, and the considerable purchasing power MOTI has to negotiate competitive maintenance contract rates.
It was noted in the service sheet that the same economies of scale and purchasing power would not be available to a new municipality in Blind Bay and Sorrento. It was estimated that the cost to a new municipality to achieve the current maintenance standards, provided by MOTI, would also certainly be higher — a range of $8,000 to $10,000 per kilometre of the paved road was estimated. The mid-point of this range — $9,000 per road km — is presented in Figure 5 as one scenario. The rate translates into an annual tax impact of $178.35 for a $400,000 home.
The service sheet went on to explain that, while a per km rate of $9,000 might be possible, experiences of other small municipalities suggest that it would be unlikely. Figure 4 in the service sheet showed the costs per road kilometre paid by seven small municipalities in the Interior — costs that ranged in 2020 from $11,295 to $23,250 per road km. In recognition of these higher actual costs incurred today in small municipalities, the consultants created a second scenario that envisions a per-kilometre road maintenance cost of $13,500, and that adds a further $200,000 per year to assist with road capital works. This second scenario, which would translate into an annual tax of $319.67, was accepted by the Committee.
Would the community receive a higher level or broader range of road maintenance services for the higher amount? The municipality would provide the same range of services (e.g., surface treatments, drainage maintenance, snow removal, roadside maintenance, traffic signage and markings) as MOTI. Based on the experiences of small municipalities, however, the services would be provided at a higher level than that which the community is receiving today. The change in level would be attributable, in part, to having local staff or locally-accountable contractors involved in delivering the services. These staff/contractors would, based on experiences elsewhere, be able and expected to respond more quickly than at present. Maintenance and service standards are also higher in the small municipalities surveyed than those in place today in Sorrento and Blind Bay.
It may be important to note, as well, that infrastructure and transportation planning would be undertaken by the municipality upon incorporation, rather than centrally by the Ministry. This localization of the road planning function is perceived by many as important and may result in a higher level of service.
As shown in the Administration Services Sheet, an estimated 7.0 FTE (full-time equivalent) administration positions would be required by the new municipality. These positions would likely include:
Salaries for these positions would be set to be comparable to other small municipalities and similar positions at the CSRD. By way of example, the published 2020 salary for the CAO position in Sicamous is $141,000; for the CFO is $119,000; for the Deputy, Treasurer is $88,000. Support staff salaries would be substantially lower.
It is estimated that the municipality would require a total of 15.0 FTE overall, for Administration and all other functions.
The $400,000 estimate is a 2020 figure that was chosen to reflect 2020 residential assessment values in the Study Area, as well as the value of "representative home values", as determined by the Province, in a variety of nearby communities, including Salmon Arm.
To understand the tax impact on a higher home value it is important to understand, first, how taxes paid by the residential properties are determined. To that end, note the following points:
Because the same Class 1 property tax rate is applied to all residential properties, owners of homes that are assessed at a higher value will pay more tax than owners of homes assessed at a lower value. If one home is assessed at $800,000 and another at $400,000, the owner of the $800,000 home will, at the same tax rate, pay twice the amount of the owner of the $400,000 home for services that are funded using parcel value taxes. The total tax bill for the owner will not be exactly two times the size of the bill for the lower-value place because some services, as noted earlier, are funded using parcel taxes that do not change based on assessed value. But the total will be close to twice the amount since most services are funded using property value taxes.
The consultants have not created a sample residential tax notice for a home assessed at $800,000; they have, however, created a sample tax notice for a residential property valued at $600,000, which is 50% higher than the typical $400,000 value. The notice shows that the total tax owing (without the Home Owner Grant applied), would be 47% higher than the total tax owing on the same property assessed at $400,000. The comparison suggests that a residence valued at $800,000 — or, twice the $400,000 value — would pay close to two times the property tax.
On a related point, it is important to note that an increase in the value of all residential properties would not translate into a tax hike for everyone. If all properties increased in value, the property value tax rate would be adjusted downward to enable the municipality to raise the same amount of tax revenue (not more).
British Columbia does not allow corporate or business votes in local elections. If the property owned inside the Study Area is owned by and registered to a business, then the answer to the question is no.
It is important to clarify that the province does allow non-resident property electors to vote. Specifically, if a person lives in one jurisdiction and owns the property, registered in their own name, in another jurisdiction, they may vote once in the other jurisdiction, provided they:
This voter eligibility provision for "non-resident property electors" would apply to any Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Referendum. Therefore, if the property owned within the Study Area is owned by a person and registered in the person's name, the person would be able to vote in a referendum.
Yes. The consultants are working with staff from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General to understand the specific salary increases and their implications for a new municipality. The consultants are also working with the Ministry to identify changes to the Police Tax that would apply under the Two Electoral Areas option, and to a new municipality with fewer than 5,000 people.
Please stay tuned.
The incorporation study is being undertaken to understand what a decision by electors in Sorrento and Blind Bay to incorporate a new Sorrento-Blind Bay municipality would mean for residents in terms of:
The question of governance in the Sorrento community has been important to area residents dating back to 1990. Between 1990 and 2004, there was communication between the CSRD and the Ministry of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development on the topic of an incorporation feasibility study for the Sorrento community. View a chronology of this timeframe (PDF).
At that point, CSRD records indicate that no activity took place on this file from 2004 until 2010. The concept of incorporation was then advanced again in 2010 through the efforts of the Sorrento and Community Association (SACA). They approached the BC Ministry of Sport and Cultural Development with a request for funding to examine the feasibility of incorporation for the community of Sorrento.
Additional background on the efforts involving the potential incorporation of Sorrento between 2010 and 2015 is available through a report from Charles Hamilton, Chief Administrative Officer. View the Chief Administrative Officer's Board Report (PDF).
The decision to do the most recent incorporation study can be traced back to 2015. In that year, the CSRD Board of Directors approached the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to review local governance and service provision in Electoral Area C, the largest (by population) electoral area in the Regional District. The Board sought to understand the views of Area C residents on local service provision and local governance. Were residents happy with the local services provided by the Regional District, as well as with the process for making local decisions? Should changes be considered?
In early 2016, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs provided funding for a South Shuswap Governance Study to explore these questions. A 12-member Area C Governance Committee conducted the year-long study, which included extensive engagement throughout Area C. The Committee concluded that while residents in many parts of Area C — including, for example, in White Lake, Sunnybrae, Notch Hill, Eagle Bay, and Tappen — were content under the current regional district form of local government, there was considerable interest on the part of residents in Sorrento and Blind Bay to learn more about incorporation. The desire for local decisions to be made locally, rather than at the CSRD, was an important factor for these residents.
The Governance Committee recommended to the CSRD Board that a restructure (incorporation) study for Electoral Area C be undertaken and that the study examine two options:
The CSRD Board accepted the Committee's recommendation and requested funding from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for a restructuring exercise. The Ministry responded by commissioning, first, a boundary analysis to recommend a boundary for a potential new municipality. This analysis was completed in early 2019 with the identification of the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study Area. In late 2019, the Ministry then provided funding for the incorporation study that is now underway.
The choice of boundaries in any incorporation study is a difficult undertaking that involves the consideration of a number of factors. In the case of Sorrento-Blind Bay, boundaries were developed through a separate boundary analysis exercise commissioned by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. The analysis examined four restructure scenarios:
A boundary for each restructure scenario was developed based on a consideration of 10 factors, including:
The factors, taken together, were used to draft potential boundaries. The potential boundaries were then assessed using a range of criteria associated with the different factors. A recommended boundary for each restructure scenario was produced from the assessments. As a final step, the boundary analysis presented a high-level overview of service finance, governance, and property tax implications associated with each recommended boundary.
The results of the boundary analysis were presented to the CSRD Board of Directors for review. Based on this review, the Board recommended the Sorrento-Blind Bay scenario, with its associated boundary, for further study through a Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study. The Board also recommended that, in the event incorporation were not chosen, Electoral Area C be divided into two electoral areas using the boundary recommended for the Two Electoral Areas scenario. The Ministry accepted these recommendations.
The presence of ALR and farm properties was one of the factors considered in the development of the study area boundary. Evaluation criteria attached to the factor called for:
The assessment of the study area boundary in the boundary analysis concluded that the boundary, "partly meets" the ALR and farm criteria. The analysis noted that some agricultural properties have been included, "to avoid creating 'property peninsulas,' to align the recommended boundary with the local service area boundaries, to capture outlying commercial properties, and to accommodate potential future infrastructure."
Exclusion of all ALR and Class 9 properties is not possible.
It is important to emphasize that the choice of the study area boundary took into account a range of factors, not only the presence of ALR and Class 9 farm land. Efforts were made to ensure that the selected boundary at least "partly meets" all of the evaluation criteria associated with the different factors. The boundary does not "fully meet" all criteria.
The analysis is undertaken by the Committee's consultants will determine what a decision to incorporate would mean for ALR and Class 9 farm properties in terms of property taxes and services.
The current Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study Area boundary was developed as part of the boundary analysis exercise commissioned by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in 2018. Based on the recommendation of the CSRD Board, the boundary was confirmed by the Ministry, then assigned to the Incorporation Study Committee. Any change to the boundary must be agreed to, and ultimately implemented, by the Ministry.
In response to a recommendation by the Committee, the Ministry may be willing to consider a change to the boundary. Any such recommendation, however, should be supported by a strong rationale, should highlight a special circumstance, and should be informed by the results of the service and taxation impact analysis now underway.
Changes to the study area boundary that are made to exclude certain properties will not be considered until the impact analysis has been completed. At that time, property owners may make their views known to the Committee.
The Committee will need to consider all requests carefully in view of the results of the analysis and will need to determine if special circumstances exist. If the Committee supports an opt-out request, the Committee must recommend a boundary change to the Ministry. The Ministry makes all decisions related to boundaries.
The decision to create a new municipality is made by Cabinet on the recommendation of the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Under the terms of British Columbia's Local Government Act, however, the Minister may only recommend the incorporation of a new municipality if eligible voters within the study area vote in favour of incorporation. Voters within the study area, therefore, will determine through referendum if a new municipality should be created.
Only voters within the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study Area will participate in any referendum that occurs on incorporation. Electors outside of the study area will not be responsible for the costs or decisions of a new municipality, and therefore will not have a vote. The rules that govern voting are set by the province in the Local Government Act.
Eligible voters include electors who have lived inside the study area for at least 30 days prior to the time of voting, and who have lived in British Columbia for at least six months prior to voting. In the Local Government Act, these voters are referred to as "resident electors."
"Non-resident property electors" are also identified in the Act. These voters are those who meet the BC-residency requirement (six months), and who have owned property within the study area for at least 30 days prior to voting. Only one person qualifies as the non-resident property elector in cases where a property is owned by more than one person.
The Incorporation Study Committee is an objective, fact-finding, and oversight body that is responsible for:
The Committee is comprised of 12 residents of Sorrento and Blind Bay, each of whom was appointed by the CSRD Board of Directors based on an application for membership. John Smith (Blind Bay) was elected by the Committee members to serve as Committee Chair; Patrick Earley (Blind Bay) was elected to serve as Vice-Chair. Electoral Area C Director, Paul Demenok, sits on the Committee in an ex-officio capacity (and, thus, does not have a vote). The consulting team, led by Neilson Strategies Inc., reports to the Committee. CSRD staff, represented by Lynda Shykora (Deputy Manager, Corporate Administration Services) provides support to the Committee.
A key purpose of the incorporation study is to understand and document the expected cost impact on local taxpayers of a decision to create a new Sorrento-Blind Bay municipality.
Costs associated with individual services will be determined and publicized over the course of the analysis phase of the study, which will stretch from January to August 2020. The full expected cost impact will be known at the end of the analysis and will be presented to the public during the community engagement phase in the fall of 2020.
A key role of the Incorporation Study Committee is to ensure that the community - residents, community groups, and stakeholders - receives the information and understanding it needs to make an informed decision on incorporation. Opportunities for the community to receive, review and question information include the following:
If local electors within the study area chose to incorporate, residents outside of the new municipality would continue to exist within Electoral Area C of the CSRD. Residents would continue to be represented by the Electoral Area C Director and would continue to look to the CSRD as their local government. Electoral Area C would be smaller than it is today and would have a smaller assessment base (along with lower costs). The full service, governance, financial, and taxation implications for the smaller Electoral Area C, outside of the Study Area, will be determined as part of the Incorporation Study.
The CSRD, similar to every Regional District, is a federation of electoral areas and municipalities. A new Sorrento-Blind Bay municipality would automatically become part of the CSRD federation and would be represented on the CSRD Board of Directors by one Municipal Director who would be appointed by the new Municipal Council. The new municipality would participate in CSRD "mandatory" services (e.g., Administration, Solid Waste Planning) that all member municipalities and electoral areas are required to join. In addition to these mandatory services, the new municipality could choose to participate in sub-regional services that the CSRD currently provides in the South Shuswap (e.g., Emergency Planning). The new municipality would pay towards and help to govern all services in which it chose to participate. The service sheets that are being developed by the Committee's consultants make assumptions with respect to the CSRD services that the new municipality would join. All assumptions will be confirmed or amended by the Committee.
British Columbia's Local Government Act sets out the structure and rules of the regional district and municipal governance. The Act is clear in stating that each electoral area is represented by one, and only one, Electoral Area Director. An electoral area that seeks a greater level of political representation has the option, subject to provincial approval, to pursue local government restructuring through:
On one occasion in the past, the province did appoint three Electoral Area Directors to represent the Okanagan West Electoral Area when it had a population of close to 30,000. This decision was taken, however, as a special transition measure in anticipation of the ultimate incorporation of the City of West Kelowna.
It is assumed that the fire department and many other local services would become services of the new municipality. Assumptions regarding service provision are made in each of the service sheets that will be presented to the Committee. Anticipated service, governance, financial, and tax impacts for each service are also outlined in the individual sheets.
No decision has been made regarding the name of any potential municipality. Any decision on naming would be made following the decision by electors to incorporate and would involve the community.
It is assumed that local services such as fire department, garbage collection, etc. would become services of the new municipality. That said, it would be up to the new municipal council to determine if it will provide a mandatory garbage collection service or not. If they decide to do so, then the rules of the municipality would apply. However, some municipalities do not have a mandatory garbage collection service, rather leaving it to a private contractor to offer a garbage collection service to the municipality’s residents.
A dual application process is in effect within the CSRD. This process is designed to speed up the CSRD commentary function by permitting application detail to be submitted directly to the Development Services Department. CSRD application forms, duly completed with three copies of the proposed subdivision plan and fees, are submitted directly to the CSRD office. Please check with CSRD staff to ensure that all support information is attached.
A separate application form and support information process is required by the Approving Officer with the Ministry of Transportation. Please check with your local Transportation office for details.
The CSRD has adopted zoning and rural land use bylaws which may apply to your land. These bylaws establish parcel sizes, exceptions, configuration, amenity and service requirements which must be adhered to when designing a subdivision. The CSRD has also adopted the Subdivision Servicing Bylaw Number 680, which provides details of construction standards for community water systems as well as onsite water provision requirements.
In the initial stages of planning a subdivision, it is wise to contact the CSRD Development Services Department for bylaw information. The Ministry of Transportation office should also be contacted for regulations pursuant to the Local Services Act which will establish parcel and servicing requirements for areas outside of local bylaw application. The Ministry of Transportation also provides detailed information on road grades and alignments and may be able to advise you with respect to the need and nature of geological or hazard assessment. The Interior Health Authority will also be involved in the subdivision process, as your proposed parcels will be subject to sanitary sewage disposal regulations. In the case of a community collection system, the Ministry of Environment may also be involved.
If your land is within the Agricultural Land Reserve as established by the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission (PALC), you cannot subdivide unless you have received prior approval from the PALC, or if the proposed subdivision meets the requirements as set out in Section 5. Permitted Subdivisions, of B.C. Reg. 171/2002 of the Agricultural Land Commission Act.
An "Applicant Information Package" for Agricultural Land Reserve applications is available from the CSRD Development Services Department, which outlines the approval process. The average approval may take from three to six months to finalize and may vary according to the complexities of the specific proposal. Local government offices must be contacted for information and approval processes regarding a subdivision proposal within individual jurisdiction areas.
Subdivision Servicing Bylaw 680 details the information required in support of a subdivision application.
Prior to submitting a subdivision application, you may wish to contact the Water Management Branch of the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations for surface water supply potential. You may wish to obtain a copy of the certificate of title for the property from the Land Title Office to check for easements, legal notations or Restrictive Covenant details.
This information is intended as a guideline only. While we have done our best to ensure the accuracy of the list of government agencies and land use matters covered in this section, we cannot assume liability arising from reliance on information contained herein.
The CSRD Subdivision Servicing Bylaw 680 determines the level and standard of construction of such services as the provision of water. The Development Services staff will provide assistance in determining servicing requirements of a local nature.
Local municipalities may have different standards that must be met when piped water and sewer systems are being built. Your local municipality can provide information for proposals within municipal boundaries.
One requirement that may be placed on subdivision is the dedication of land for parks. Section 941 of the Local Government Act determines when park dedication is required, local plans are used to pre-locate land to be dedicated and Board policy provides attribute detail. Another requirement of subdivision may be the payment of development cost charges towards a water system that may service your lots now or in the future. Development cost charge information is available from the CSRD or the applicable water works supplier.
The Ministry of Transportation establishes the requirements for road widths, grade, ditching, pavement and other similar services and will be instrumental in the early stages of planning and costing a subdivision proposal.
General Voting Day for local government elections will be Saturday, October 15, 2022.
The CSRD uses same-day registration. You can register to vote at a polling station at an Advanced Voting Opportunity or on General Voting Day. A list of polling stations in your area can be found at the Voter Information page. Mail-in ballots are also available by completing an application to vote by mail.
You must have two (2) pieces of identification that prove who you are and where you live. The ID must show your residential address and one of them must have your signature. If your ID does not show your residential address, you can make what is called a “solemn declaration” as to your residence. The voting clerk will have the form you need to use to make that declaration. Examples are: a Driver’s Licence, Care Card, Credit Card or a utility bill or tax notice.
Please note that a combined Driver’s Licence/Care Card is considered to be only one (1) piece of identification.
Yes, there will be Advance Polling opportunities on Wednesday, October 5, 2022. Voters can cast ballots for Electoral Areas C, D, E, and F at the CSRD Office - 555 Harbourfront Drive Ne, Salmon Arm between 8 AM and 8 PM.
Mail ballot voting is available for resident electors and non-resident property electors in the CSRD. Voters need to sign up to receive a mail ballot using this online form.
Mail Ballot Request Forms must be received by the CSRD before 12 PM (noon) on Monday, October 3, 2022. These forms will be checked to ensure the citizen is eligible to vote. If so, a mail ballot package will be mailed out or will be available for pick up from the CSRD Office once the ballots have been finalized.
To be counted, your mail ballot must be received by the Chief Election Officer at the CSRD Office no later than 8 PM (local time) on Saturday, October 15, 2022.
Please note: once you request a mail ballot, you will not be issued another ballot.
The Chief Election Officer is responsible for conducting the general local election in accordance with the Local Government Act and local election bylaws. If you have questions about the election process, contact the CSRD’s Chief Election Officer by phoning 250-832-8194 or emailing Elections@csrd.bc.ca.
The Chief Election Officer does not investigate alleged election offences or administer penalties. The police and the courts enforce general election offences.
You can get answers to questions about election advertising, third party sponsors and campaign financing by contacting Elections BC. Elections BC and the courts enforce election campaign financing and advertising offences.
No. The CSRD uses Same Day Registration. You can register to vote at a voting place prior to voting. Just remember to take two pieces of identification with you if you are a resident voter. ID must show your residential address and one of them must have your signature.
If you are registering as a non-resident property elector, you must also provide the address or legal description and the title (or other proof of ownership) of the property you are registering to vote in relation to. If you own the property with other people, you will need their written consent to vote on behalf of them.
Yes. You must have two (2) pieces of identification (ID) that prove who you are and where you live. The ID must show your residential address and one of them must have your signature. If your ID doesn't show your residential address, you can make what is called a "solemn declaration" as to your residence. The voting clerk will have the form you need to use to make that declaration.
If you are registering as a non-resident property elector, you must also provide the address or legal description and the title (or other proof of ownership) of the property you own. If you are one of two or more owners, you must also demonstrate - in writing - that you have the consent of the majority of all owners to vote on behalf of them in the election.
To register as a resident elector, you need two pieces of identification that prove who you are and where you live – one piece must include your signature. If the identification provided does not establish where you live, you will also need to make a solemn declaration as to your residency.
To register as a non-resident property elector, you need two pieces of identification that prove who you are and where you live – one piece must include your signature. You must also bring the following documentation:
Acceptable identification includes:
Please note: The combined BC Driver's Licence and Services Card is considered one piece of ID.
Yes. Eligible Members and non-members of a First Nation that reside on a reserve that meet the requirements of a resident elector, can vote. Where you vote depends on whether the reserve is located within a municipality or a regional district electoral area. Check with your nearest local government office to determine within which boundary your reserve is located.
Yes. If you have been a resident of BC for more than six months before voting day (prior to April 14, 2022).
You must be a Canadian citizen to be eligible to vote.
Yes. Mail ballot voting is available for resident electors and non-resident property electors in the CSRD. Voters need to sign up to receive a mail ballot using this online form.
No. The legislation does not currently allow for voting through the Internet or telephone.
No. There is no corporate or business vote in local government elections. Voting rights are granted to citizens on the basis of residency or property ownership. This means that you cannot vote on behalf of a corporation, or as a non-resident property elector, based on a property owned wholly or in part by a corporation.
If you are a resident of British Columbia, own property in the electoral area and are otherwise qualified, you may be able to vote as a non-resident property elector. If you own the property with other non-resident electors, only one of you can vote. You must have the written consent of the other owners to cast the ballot. Voters can use the Non-Resident Property Elector Consent Form to collect the applicable signatures before arriving at the polls.
If you own property along with a corporation, then none of the owners of the property are eligible to vote. If you own more than one piece of property in the proposed electoral area, you may only vote in relation to one.
Out-of-province property owners are not eligible to vote in BC elections.
Yes. If you need assistance, an election official may assist you to vote. If you are caring for someone (e.g. a child or elderly relative) at the time you cast your ballot, the presiding election official may allow you to have that person in the booth with you.
Anyone providing assistance to another elector is required to sign a solemn declaration before providing any assistance. Speak to the presiding election official at the voting place for further information.
The results will be posted on the CSRD website, the Civic Info website and will also be published in local newspapers.
Germs generally cannot be detected by the naked eye, taste, or smell. Even very good tasting stream water can contain germs. Chemicals are a somewhat different matter. Although chemicals can't be seen in water, many do impart tastes or odours. Potable water should be clear, nearly taste-free and odour-free. Any changes in your water could signal a problem. If you do encounter an issue with your water changing, please contact the CSRD's operations department at 250-833-5950.
If you are infected with HIV, have AIDS, are a cancer patient, are taking immunosuppressive drugs after a transplant or were born with a weakened immune system, you need to discuss this matter with your doctor. If you have been advised to boil your water, bring it to a rolling boil for one minute (three minutes at higher altitudes). This includes water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, washing food and so on. Any water you might swallow should be boiled.
The CSRD encourages water users to be mindful of their water use. For more information about water conservation at the CSRD view the Sprinkling Restrictions page.
We've also got a few tips you can incorporate into your daily life to help conserver water including:
No. The water meters only transmit when downloading a reading, which is requested by the mobile drive-by VXU device. The only water meter system in active use is the Cedar Heights System.
No. They only transmit the signal to the drive-by VXU reading unit when requested.
Currently water meters are only active in the Cedar Heights system. The water meters are read quarterly by a drive-by reading device.
Turning off your water system can have the potential to cause damage if done incorrectly. We recommend residents contact the CSRD Operations Department at 250-833-5950 or email the Operations department for information.
If there is an after-hours water emergency that requires a water shut off, please contact the After-Hours Emergencies line at: 877-996-3344 or 250-832-2424.
There can be a cost to the consumer for water service shut off or to reconnect.
CSRD water utility customers can pay their water utility bill online through most financial institutions in Canada.
To use the online banking feature, you will need to add the Columbia Shuswap Regional District as a payee and have your account number available. This is the 13-digit numeric code on the upper left hand portion of your bill.
Water utility customers can still pay in person at the CSRD office at 555 Harbourfront Drive NE, Monday through Friday between 9 am and 4 pm, using cash, cheque or debit card. Cheques or money orders can also be mailed to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, P.O. Box 978, Salmon Arm, BC V1E 4P1.
Please note post-marks are NOT accepted as the date of payment so be sure to mail your payment in plenty of time before the April 30 deadline.
For more information on payments, please contact Sheena Haines, Deputy Treasurer at 250-833-5908.
Although swimmers and boats pollute, this pollution is diluted by the volume of water that is in the lake or reservoir. Tap water is also thoroughly treated before it arrives to you, meaning any contamination will have been removed. Fires, litter and stormwater runoff can cause far more trouble than pollution resulting from boat traffic or swimmers.
The SCADA system that is currently used by CSRD and our contractors is internet-based and can be accessed through a laptop computer at any location. This system helps staff monitor and control our water systems and allows for better coverage and a higher level of service while simultaneously reducing costs. Operators at any location can not only monitor, but can actually change the set points for flow, chlorine dose, pump run times etc. They can also react to alarming conditions, such as loss of flow, reservoir levels, power outage or high/low temperatures.
Trends in parameters such as reservoir levels, chlorine residual and turbidity can be graphed over a day, week or months, which enables CSRD staff to prevent any possible issues.This provides for a proactive rather than reactive approach, thereby reducing callouts.
Example of a typical SCADA screen (Cedar Heights):
Water is considered safe to drink if it meets or exceeds all of the provincial standards that are legally enforceable. Water is called potable when it is safe to drink.
There are two types of water meters used in the CSRD: the Sensus SR II water meters or the iPerl meter.
No. A standard garden hose has substances in it to keep the hose flexible. These chemicals mix with the water as it goes through the hose. They are not good for you, animals or pets. Filling water bowls with the hose, therefore, is not a good idea.