What does that mean? What we are working towards right now is a study to determine if there is an opportunity for some area, any area, of the North Shuswap to incorporate as an independent municipality (a village). What we need is a provincially funded study that will look at determine what is truly possible, what services and activities an incorporated area would handle. The study will also tell us and what if any costs will be involved. A private study has already been done which shows that Scotch Creek, as the Primary Settlement Area of the North Shuswap, could be a viable incorporated municipality based on the current tax rates.
Incorporation… What is it? Incorporation means that a defined area, say Scotch Creek, becomes it’s own municipality. It then has the ability to plan for the future with decisions made locally by a group of people elected from the community. These people would come from our area, know our area, know the people of the area, and answer to the people of the area every day.
If we say we’re in favour of this, will we become incorporated? No. This is a study only. What we need right now is your support to lobby the province to fund the study of Scotch Creek. Without the information the study will provide, we’ll never know if we can do it ourselves. If the provincial study finds that Scotch Creek could become a village, then there will be a referendum of all those involved to vote YAY or NAY to incorporation.
Can other areas of the North Shuswap become incorporated? That is possible and we will be discussing this with the Ministry. They may not be included in this first study as Scotch Creek is the Primary Settlement Area as designated in our Official Community Plan, but truly, we are interested in looking at all areas of the NS.
What are the benefits of incorporation? The two main benefits are local planning and control, and increased access to provincial and federal grants for infrastructure.
What kind of plans and decisions would we be able to make? Virtually anything. From what changes we want in the parks, to where to put water and sewer pipes. Typically what happens is that we would inherit the bylaws from the regional district and then adapt some, remove some, add what we wanted, and move on from there. Services like solid waste removal (Scotch Creek dump) would likely be contracted to the CSRD as they currently manage that service. Other things like road maintenance and snow clearing would be looked at individually and decisions would be made as to what is in our best interests. The study identifies the costs and benefits for all the local services. There is a transition period between the Regional District running things, to when we would take things over.
What kinds of grants would we be eligible for? Infrastructure is the main area where the North Shuswap needs help. Scotch Creek currently has two waste water treatment plants that drain into the lake. There is no significant industry, no development, no growth, concerns about septic fields and drinking water. So the first goals would be to get some liquid waste treatment online, and a community water system in place.
So if this study happens, will we then be incorporated? No. The study is just the study. It will tell us what is possible. IF the study suggests we’re viable then ultimately the question of whether to incorporate will be put to the people in those areas with a referendum. The people get to choose whether to move ahead with incorporation or not.
How do we get this study done? The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development decides whether to fund the study. They take their cues from the CSRD. Our initial request to the CSRD for support for the study was turned down. We will be meeting with them shortly to further discuss their support. We are also in direct talks with the Ministry, our provincial MLA Greg Kyllo, and our federal MP Mel Arnold.
How can I help? You can write a note of support. It doesn’t have to be long, just a quick note to say you are in favour of the Incorporation Study for Scotch Creek. Even if you’re not in favour, send along a note. Give a couple of reasons and finish the note with your name and contact information. You can send it via email to Info@ScotchCreekBC.ca or drop it in the Kicker boxes in Ross Creek Store, Sunnyside Supermarket, SuperValu, Peoples Drugs or Century 21.
Where can I get more information or get involved? Our new website should be up by the time you read this. Check www.ScotchCreekBC.ca