Well our local government is back with a new plan to fund the Watershed Council. They are now holding an Alternate Approval Process to raise $180,000 by way of a parcel tax. The cost per parcel will be around $11.
It is interesting that this process is being used rather than a referendum that would test what the electorate as a whole thinks about this. So in essence, 1534 people would need to fill out a form stating they are opposed to the new tax. The usual question is who is eligible to vote. If you are a resident in Areas C, D, E, F, or the District of Sicamous you qualify. If you have owned property in any of the above areas for at least 30 days and have lived somewhere else in BC for at least 6 months you also qualify.
IF YOU LIVE IN THESE AREAS then any person allowed to vote can send in a separate SWC Elector Response Form - Shuswap Watershed Council Service Establishment.
IF YOU ARE A NON-RESIDENT PROPERTY OWNER IN THE ABOVE AREAS and are a BC resident, then only one form is allowed per title. In this case IF THERE ARE MULTIPLE PEOPLE ON TITLE, a majority of the owners must sign the Notice of Consent form to be included with the Response form.
IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF BC, you cannot vote. But you could make your opinion known by emailing
CSRD Chief Administration Officer - Charles Hamilton: chamilton
Shuswap Watershed Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shuswap Watershed Council Chair: Paul Demenok: pdemenok
HERE ARE THE FORMS:
You will also need this Notice of Consent for SWC response form if you are not a Shuswap resident and there are multiple people on your title.
You must drop off or mail this (these) forms to the CSRD and they must be received no later than November 17, 2015. A postmark, fax or email is no good.
Columbia Shuswap Regional District
555 Harbourfront Drive NE
PO Box 978
Salmon Arm, BC V1E 4P1
It is interesting that the Watershed Council did not even meet to initiate this process. The proposed funding mechanism was brought forward by staff and the Chair without any input from the rest of the Council. It is also interesting how this process and the enabling Bylaw 5705 was rushed through 3 readings at the August Board Meeting without a public hearing. The Alternate Approval Process was then approved by the Board at the September Board Meeting. If our local government could issue Development permits this fast, our local economy would be in a lot better shape.
Supporters talk about how it is only $11 but I think the fundamental question really is whether the Watershed Council has earned the right to be supported. I keep using the old name, the Shuswap Lake Integrated Planning Process so people don’t forget past actions like forced dock removal and beach restoration.
If you trust the Council and think they have earned your support, do nothing. If you either don’t trust them, don’t think they’ve earned your support, or you think a full referendum would be a better way to test what people really want, get involved and send a form to our local government no later than November 17th.
(Here is a copy of our letter to the Hon. Peter Fassbender, Min. of Community Sport and Cultural Development regarding SWC funding.
SWC Financing Letter to Minister)