Over the years there have been many in the community who have asked “Is it possible to incorporate the North Shuswap?” or “Can we incorporate Scotch Creek?”, or Lee Creek, or Celista… The answer is “Um, we’d love, to but how do we get enough valid information from the various government sources, to make a decision?” Over at least 20 or 30 years various people have tried to come up with an answer. And it’s always been unclear.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) has not encouraged this information gathering, and reports that come from them to the general public do not put a fine enough detail on them to provide clear answers. So how might the answer be found? Hire experts.
Most incorporation studies like ours are initiated by the local Area Director, going to the CSRD and asking that a request for a study be addressed to the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. Who do a bit of magic to see if your area has a reasonable opportunity to become incorporated. If so, there are grants available to, at least, partially fund the formal incorporation study, and public consultation process. Follow these links to find out more information about Municipalities and Municipal Incorporation.
Unfortunately in the case of the North Shuswap, we have not been able to convince the CSRD to send that letter of support for an incorporation study. A number of businesses and individuals in the area sat down one day and decided to put some money together and get a private study done, just to see if incorporation of one area, or more, is feasible. In order to keep costs reasonable it was decided that Scotch Creek, as the Primary Settlement Area in the Area F Official Community Plan, would be the ‘test’ case. See what it looks like and then possibly branch out to other areas.
The first meeting with the consultants, TRUE Consulting out of Kamloops, was held June 27th to define the scope of the work and determine timelines. This study will be a ‘preliminary’ study just to see if we might fit within reasonable revenue/expense models and how we might compare with other similarly sized communities who have incorporated. Also, how are those communities doing? What roadblocks, difficulties have they had? Are they successful? If we get generally positive results from this study, we can then go back to the CSRD and/or directly to the Ministry to request a formal Incorporation Study be initiated.
The rest is, or will be, history…