Incorporation Study Update – March 21

By Dave Cunliffe, Chamber of Commerce President
(this is an excerpt from his Kicker article for April ’17)

As I wrote last month, I am personally a member of the incorporation committee.  The Chamber resolved to take a neutral position on the issue but did agree to help with getting out information to the community.  As a result, our web page has been used to post information and all North Shuswap residents are encouraged to view it.

A meeting was held on March 16th between the incorporation committee and our local government represented by Director Morgan, the chief administrative officer, the managers of development services, financial services, and operations.

It was made clear that there is no support for an incorporation study.  The reasons given were that incorporation isn’t financially feasible, there has been mounting opposition from the public, staff is too busy, and that the senior managers are willing to work with the group to address how concerns can be addressed within the current regional district model.

There was no recognition that the 240 letters in favour of a study were a legitimate expression of support.  There were comments that only 80 of the letters were from Scotch Creek and that the opinions of other residents of the North Shuswap shouldn’t have any bearing.  It was pointed out that Scotch Creek was identified as the primary settlement area in our official community plan and the health of Scotch Creek is vital to the overall health of the entire North Shuswap.

So, what did the meeting accomplish?

First, our regional government is willing to move forward with developing a grant application for the start of a community water system in Scotch Creek.  The incorporation group has prepared a conceptual plan to bring water service to the west side of Scotch Creek and given it to operations management.  The next round of grants from the provincial and federal government is in March 2018 so we have a timeline to work with.

The manager of development services is willing to meet with representatives of the group to look at the issue of how regulations can be streamlined to speed up approvals for things like building and development permits.  The meeting is scheduled for April 6th.

The chief administrative officer also suggested that we bring a delegation to the board to talk about our concerns for the future of Scotch Creek and how we think the board can be more responsive to our needs.

Our local government representatives have heard what our concerns are and have made commitments to try to address them.  The group will work with local government to see if positive change can be affected and we appreciate the opportunity.  After all, the motivation to examine incorporation is being driven by a desire to see Scotch Creek prosper.

And the next question, is the move to have an incorporation study carried out dead in the water?  I don’t think so.

I believe we still need to have the study done so residents can make an informed choice as to whether incorporation makes any sense.  The chief administrative officer suggested we look at the recently completed Salt Spring Island incorporation study.  It can be found at .

It was a good suggestion and I’ve included an outline of the report.

Section 1   provides an introduction to the Report, including a description of What Prompted this Study, its purpose, the geographical boundary of the area included, the Study Committee and process, and key considerations used in the financial analysis.

Section 2   provides a profile of Salt Spring Island, including basic information on population, housing, property assessment, economy and labour force, agriculture, environmental protection and green space, publicly owned assets, and sense of community.

Section 3   provides an overview of the current governance system.

Section 4   presents the potential changes to representation and decision-making if Salt Spring Island were to incorporate.

Section 5   provides a detailed review of potential changes to service delivery and cost impacts if Salt Spring Island were to incorporate.  Risks and opportunities are identified for each service under each form of governance.  For each of 23 services, the information is presented in a summary format (which also attached to the Executive Summary) followed by a detailed explanation of key elements.

Section 6   reviews potential changes to government revenue if Salt Spring Island were to incorporate.

Section 7   identifies the consolidated financial impacts of municipal incorporation.

Section 8   identifies potential changes to property taxation if Salt Spring Island were to incorporate and provides the projected tax impacts of municipal incorporation.

Section 9   examines the risks, opportunities and uncertainties (or variable factors) associated with both the current governance system and the incorporation option.

Section 10   reviews the process of creating a new municipality, should Salt Spring Island choose to incorporate.

These are the same questions that most people have about what the incorporation of Scotch Creek might mean.  I think it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that the request to local government was only to support a study, not to incorporate Scotch Creek.

Tell us what you think at

Or comment below…



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 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

Meeting with MLA Greg Kyllo

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)