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Political briefs: Sun Peaks seeks incorporation


Residents and property owners at Sun Peaks may be going to the polls in the new year to vote on incorporating as a Mountain Resort Municipality.

Following almost four years of review, two technical reports and a series of public meetings, the Sun Peaks Incorporation Study Committee unanimously agreed to request that the Ministry of Community and Rural Development hold a referendum vote in Sun Peaks on the question of municipal incorporation.

If the referendum finds a majority support municipal incorporation, the provincial government could create the new municipality under the Mountain Resort Associations Act. Sun Peaks would be the first town incorporated under the act since it was introduced in 1996.

Following the most recent public meetings on Nov. 27 and 28, with approximately 114 residents and property owners in attendance, the volunteer Incorporation Study Committee noted that there was strong local support for holding a referendum. More than 95 per cent of those attending the meetings indicated support for a referendum to let Sun Peaks' electors decide the question of municipal status. In addition, an on-line survey of residents and property owners in 2007 illustrated strong support with 92 per cent in favour of the referendum request.

A new Referendum Committee has been formed to manage the referendum process. The committee is made up of Darcy Alexander, general manager and vice president of Sun Peaks Resort Corporation, Colleen Hannigan and Al Raine.

Elections task force underway

The local government electoral process is being reviewed with the aim of improving fairness, accountability and transparency in local elections.

The task force doing the review is co-chaired by Bill Bennett, Minister of Community and Rural Development, and Harry Nyce, president of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

Other task force members are:

• Surrey Councillor Barbara Steele, first vice-president, UBCM

• Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom, third vice-president, UBCM

• Donna Barnett, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA

• Douglas Horne, Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MLA

The task force, which met Dec. 3, will review specific issues related to various local government elections topics, including campaign financing, enforcement, the role of B.C.'s chief electoral officer, the election cycle, the corporate vote, candidate eligibility and other items to be mutually agreed upon.

The task force will be seeking input from stakeholders, including local governments.

Recommendations are to be presented to the provincial government no later than May 30, 2010, in time for approved legislative changes to be implemented for the 2011 local government elections.