The pause button is being pushed on the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study process due to restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) will be putting the process on hold at this time, pending changes in the Province's COVID-19 health policy which would allow for a robust and interactive public process on the possibility of incorporation.
The purpose of the Incorporation Study is to provide the electors in the area with information on the implications of Sorrento and Blind Bay incorporating into its own municipality, with its own local government. The study is contrasting the incorporation option with the alternative option − dividing the current Electoral Area C into two separate Electoral Areas of the CSRD.
The study is currently in the research phase, where information on how incorporation, or the division into two Electoral Areas, would affect the services currently provided by the CSRD is being gathered and reviewed by the committee. A decision on incorporation would have to get the approval of the electorate through a referendum before any change could be made.
Any incorporation process is firmly rooted in the need for input, engagement and feedback from the affected residents in order to develop the best options for public decision-making.
Due to the fact that gatherings of more than 50 people are restricted and the need for physical distancing measures are essential, conducting public meetings, open house events and other information sessions is extremely difficult.
Incorporation Committee meetings had begun in the area, with the last well-attended meeting taking place in Blind Bay on February 12, 2020. Since then, public meetings have been cancelled due to health orders.
No date has been set for the resumption of the process, as this will be dictated by Provincial health policy. Once this happens, the study process will pick up again where it left off and a new timeline will be developed.
Electoral Area C residents may still view the most up-to-date information on the study process on the CSRD website. This includes a Frequently Asked Questions page with the ability for residents to continue to submit their questions online.
Photo: An image taken from the bluffs with a view of Blind Bay. (CSRD photo)