Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender has ordered a municipal incorporation vote for Salt Spring Island electors on Sept. 9, 2017.
The decision follows a recommendation for an incorporation vote made by the Salt Spring Island Incorporation Study Committee in its final report, which identified a lack of co-ordination between the agencies providing services to Salt Spring Island and a large number of local services administered from the Victoria area. The report also identified a fiscally complex governance system with heavy demands on a small number of locally elected officials.
Beginning in mid-2015, the nine-member volunteer committee oversaw the incorporation study and public engagement process to provide Salt Spring Island residents with information on incorporation if asked in a referendum vote. The B.C. government supported the committee with funding of $255,000.
Currently, Salt Spring Island is a rural area that is part of the Capital Regional District and also the Islands Trust, established by the B.C. government in 1974 as a federation of local land-use committees serving islands in the Salish Sea. Salt Spring Island residents elect two trustees to the Islands Trust Council and one electoral area director to the Capital Regional District.
- The Capital Regional District will administer the incorporation vote.
- All permanent Salt Spring Island residents of Canadian citizenship and legal voting age are eligible electors, as are B.C. residents of Canadian citizenship and legal voting age who own property on Salt Spring Island.
- If the vote supports incorporation, the B.C. government will provide almost $20 million in transitional and implementation assistance for the proposed Salt Spring Island Municipality.
- This conditional support would include $11.8 million for road maintenance and rehabilitation as well as $2.755 million for police costs, both over five years.
- After incorporation, the new municipality would receive $875,855 in annual grants from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development through a combination of the Small Community Grant Program, the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Program and the Gas Tax Agreement.
- Salt Spring Island is the largest unincorporated community in British Columbia with a population of 10,640.
Salt Spring Island Incorporation Study (final report):