Thanks to all who have provided letters outlining your interest in the Incorporation Study. In a nutshell, 97.4% of the letters we received are in favour of going ahead with the study. There were many reasons given with the top 3 being local control and planning, lack of development & opportunities, our tax dollars should stay local.
There were a few letters in opposition as well, 2.6%. It looks like the big concern here is concern about tax increases, lack of information, and the concern that those working in favour of the study are just in it for themselves.
We have posted a statistical summary of the letters received, on our website. If you wish to see the letters themselves, please email us.
We can still use more, and whether you’re for or against the study, your input is valuable. Here is a blank letter that you could use.
Back in early February we had a meeting with Greg Kyllo where we discussed our situation, expressed our concerns and provided him with a pile of letters of support for the Incorporation Study. The response we received on March 7 follows:
MLA Kyllo has gathered the following information for you with respect to Community Governance, and has asked me to forward to you and your group.
There are several varieties of study that might be considered by a rural community that is evolving and looking for specific governance and service outcomes. While one of those is an incorporation study, in general this is reserved for communities that have at least 1,000 permanent residents, a diverse property tax base (including a mix of residential, business and industry), and a robust network of local public services (e.g. a single public water system, compact road network, parks and schools, etc.) and have the support of both their electoral area director and the regional district Board. For many rural communities, exploring issues and options within the regional district/electoral area framework may be more timely and less expensive to implement. Given the focus on water and wastewater systems and facilitating development, this may be the case for Scotch Creek.
Here is the link to the document left with you, Managing Changes in Local Government Structure, which outlines the principles of local government restructures in the Province of British Columbia. The guide does a good job of setting context for changes to local government, as it provides insight into the issues and opportunities that may be facing a community as well as describing the governance variations available within the local government system to address different local circumstances.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District Board of Directors have responded to the request from the representatives from Scotch Creek. The Electoral Area Director and staff are willing to meet with community representatives. Ministry staff are here to support that conversation, in particular Ms. Karen Lynch is an experienced senior analyst with the program and has responsibility for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District; she can be reached at 778 698-3229 or via email Karen.Lynch@gov.bc.ca.
Brian Taylor, Sherry Taylor, Craig Spooner and myself met with Greg Kyllo. The main part of the discussion was to do with Scotch Creek Incorporation Study funding. We wanted to talk to him to see if he could help by talking to the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development about funding the study? He did say that he would talk to the minister with our concerns and see if there has ever been an incorporation study funded and an incorporation of a community without the support of a regional district? In this discussion we talked about the need for more local control and ability to apply for grants to have water and sewer installed. That our community is dying without growth. He has since followed up with me on the 16th and the 23rd saying that he has not been able to meet yet. A lot of budget meetings.
We did also bring to his attention the APC dissolution. Some discussion did continue on this topic. He was not aware of this and said he would research it further.
I brought up the issue that Area F was not included in the labor market study with Community Futures and Provincial Government grant. He was also going to look into this.
We will be staying in contact with Greg.
(Update: Since this meeting Greg has kept us informed of his progress and we’re waiting to hear of the results of his conversation with Hon. Peter Fassbender, the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development)