Voters in Sorrento and Blind Bay, B.C., vote against incorporation

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Paul Demenok, director of electoral area C of Columbia Shuswap Regional District, stands next to a sign for the Sorrento/Blind Bay Community Park. A vote to merge the two towns into one municipality failed on Saturday. (Doug Herbert/CBC - image credit)
Paul Demenok, director of electoral area C of Columbia Shuswap Regional District, stands next to a sign for the Sorrento/Blind Bay Community Park. A vote to merge the two towns into one municipality failed on Saturday. (Doug Herbert/CBC - image credit)

A significant majority of eligible voters in the southern Interior towns of Sorrento and Blind Bay, B.C. voted against forming a new municipality incorporating both towns on the south shore of Shuswap Lake.

Preliminary results of a Saturday referendum, organized by the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District, showed only 272 votes in favour of incorporation, with 2,027 against.

Nearly 3,000 voters in Blind Bay and Sorrento, both about 86 kilometres northeast of Kamloops, were eligible to vote in the referendum.

If the proposal had been successful, the towns would have formed B.C.'s 162nd municipality, the District of Sorrento-Blind Bay.

Last month, the district board of directors had unanimously approved the decision to hold a referendum, after reviewing the incorporation study report it had commissioned with endorsement from B.C.'s Ministry of Municipal Affairs in February 2019.

The district's study report estimated most Blind Bay and Sorrento homeowners would be paying somewhere between $300 and $600 more each year if incorporated.

That was due to not only increased services and higher policing costs, but also the need to lease space for a municipal hall and create a long-term reserve fund for capital works projects.

B.C. has not created a new municipality in more than a decade, when the mountain resort of Sun Peaks was incorporated.

Official results of the Sorrento-Blind Bay vote will be announced before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, and final results will be posted to the regional district's website.

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