Does private ownership of roads impact incorporation?

The ISC and the incorporation study consultant are aware that there are instances where sections of roads on Salt Spring may not be owned by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) and details regarding the maintenance responsibility for these specific roads are being investigated.

The consultant will include in the Final Report information that it is aware of at that time, which may be pertinent to making an informed decision on incorporation versus the status quo.

For further information on this topic contact Ryan Evanoff, Operations Manager MOTI, directly, or locally Islands Trustee, George Grams .

Who is eligible to vote in a referendum on the municipal incorporation of Salt Spring Island?

As outlined in the Report, to be eligible to vote in the incorporation referendum, one must be:

• 18 years of age or older; and,
• Canadian citizen; and,
• Resident of British Columbia for at least six months before registering to vote; and,
• Lived or are the registered owner of property within the incorporation area for at least 30 days before registering to vote; and,
• Not disqualified under the Local Government Act, or any other enactment, or by law from voting in a local election.
If there is a referendum there would be a chief election officer. The Capital Regional District would provide the chief election officer and the province would provide the funds. The election would be presided over by very experienced officials.

Whose responsibility is it to recommend whether or not an incorporation vote should be held?
This responsibility clearly falls to the Incorporation Study Committee.  At the outset of this study the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development issued an Incorporation Study Committee Operational Guidelines document to the Committee, outlining its role and responsibilities.  Task #16 states:
Consider whether or not to recommend to the Minister that an incorporation vote be held.
Committee deliberation will consider study content, community feedback, provincial offer of restructuring assistance, the extent to which community interests and issues could be addressed through municipal incorporation, in addition to other pertinent information.
This responsibility has been reinforced by the Ministry, both in feedback they provided to the Preliminary Report, and in a subsequent discussion with the Committee Chair to confirm our understanding.

How can I learn more and/or provide input?
The Incorporation Study Committee mandate is to involve the community as extensively as possible in order to meet two key objectives:
  1. To communicate and explain the results of the analysis prepared by the Consultant that compares the existing rural form of governance with that of municipal incorporation.
  2. To solicit input from community members as to what additional information or clarification is required in the Final Report in order for each individual to make an informed decision, should an incorporation vote be ordered.  
The Committee has designed a public communication and engagement process to address these objectives in a variety of ways:

1.    Communicating and Explaining Analysis

  • This website includes extensive information on all aspects of the Study process and findings.  An individual may subscribe to the website to automatically receive updates.  Key documents are also filed in hard copy at the Public Library.
  • The Incorporation Study has a Facebook page and is using Twitter to communicate updates.
  • Updates are being provided through articles in varied media channels including the Driftwood, Salt Spring Exchange, Islands Tides, Islands Marketplace, and Fishbowl magazine.
  • A series of Fact Sheets are being issued periodically through the website that highlight key pieces of information.
  • Two Open House events were held November 22 and 23, 2015 to present the findings of the Preliminary Report and answer questions.
  • Additional public events will be held in 2016 to provide deep insights into the Road Condition and Assessment Report and the Report.
  • Groups may request a presentation from members of the Committee in order to communicate and explain the Study process and findings.
  • Time is set aside at each Committee meeting to answer questions from the public.  Due to full agendas, this time is limited but can be used to address brief items.

2.    Soliciting Input for the Final Report

Please note that input is to be presented to the entire Committee.

  • Comments, questions and feedback may be submitted through the website “Comments” option or the pop-up Survey.  These will be included in a Committee meeting agenda package to be made part of the public record and to be reviewed by the Committee.
  • At the two Open House events mentioned above, an Exit Survey will be provided on which to record and submit feedback regarding what additional information or clarification is required for the Final Report.  These will be noted for consideration in preparing the Final Report.
  • Members of the public are invited to make a presentation to the Incorporation Study Committee at a regular meeting.  The rules for doing so include submitting a written application to the Secretary at least 7 days in advance, being accepted on to the agenda, and speaking on a subject that falls within the Committee’s jurisdiction and Terms of Reference.  See Operating and Meeting Rules (Section 6) for more details.
  • Written submissions may also be provided at any time to the Secretary for inclusion in the public record and for review by the Committee.

How can I get more involved or informed?

The Incorporation Study Committee’s meetings are open to the public and meeting times are posted to the website (, Facebook and the Salt Spring Exchange.

All key information is likewise available on the website and in hard copy, for viewing or copying, at the library.

Community members can sign up for email updates, via the website.

Two community open houses were offered in November 2015 to review the Preliminary report.

Additional public meetings will be convened in 2016 to review the Road Condition Assessment undertaken by the ISC’s consultant as well as to review a penultimate draft of the Final Report when it is complete.

What’s the timeline of the Incorporation Study process?

The Study was announced in April 2015, the Committee selected in May, and the Study officially kicked off in June.

Immediately following, and as directed by the Ministry, the Committee selected a consultant, Urban Systems, to conduct the research and comparative analysis between the existing (rural) form of governance and an incorporated (municipal) form of governance.

The Committee and consultant are working together to complete the five key steps to the Study process:

  1. Development of a preliminary incorporation study report containing the research and comparative analysis between the two forms of governance. Led by consultant. (Release: Oct 2015)
  2. Execution of a public consultation process focussed on the contents of the preliminary incorporation study report.  Led by Committee. (Oct 2015 – Feb 2016)
  3. Discussion of a service transfer strategy with the Ministry, Committee and consultant.  Led by Committee.  (May 2016 – Aug 2016)
  4. Execution of a Road Condition Assessment by a qualified road engineer (Mar 2016 — June 2016)
  5. Development of a final incorporation study report, providing an executive summary, the details of the service transfer strategy, and a summary of the public engagement process.  Led by consultant.  (Release:  Oct 2016)

In concluding the Study, the Committee may choose to recommend that an incorporation vote be ordered, subject to the results of the public consultation process.  This recommendation would be made in November 2016.

Upon receiving such a recommendation, the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development may choose to order such vote.  The timing of this decision and, if ordered, of an incorporation vote is not yet known.

Who is directing the study?

The study is being directed by the Incorporation Study Committee, which was created from a public invitation for volunteers. The Committee includes 10 members and 3 non-voting, ex-officio members (i.e. elected officials of the Islands Trust and Capital Regional District). The members names and bios can be viewed here.

Who is funding the study?

The Province provided 100% of the funding for the completion of the Incorporation Study.

What is the study area?

The ISC Study Area includes all of Salt Spring Island and any islands in Ganges Harbour that are within an area of water extending 300 metres from the natural high water mark of Salt Spring Island.  This is the same as the SSI Electoral Area.

Who decides about whether Salt Spring Island should become a municipality?

It is your choice! If a referendum is recommended by the committee, and the Minister agrees, a vote would be held in the future to decide the question.

What will the outcome of the study be?

Based on all of the analysis and public feedback, the Incorporation Study Committee will make an assessment of whether the Final Report provides citizens of SSI with the information that they need to make an informed decision on municipal incorporation – and, based on this assessment, make a recommendation to the Minister on whether to proceed to a referendum or not.

Is this study looking at the impact to the Islands Trust?

No. Even if Salt Spring Island incorporates, it will remain a part of the Islands Trust and continue to be subject to the Preserve and Protect mandate and underlying legislation. However, certain administrative functions would transfer from Islands Trust to municipal control. A separate study, an Islands Trust Impact Analysis, was undertaken in 2015 and updated in 2016, which analyzes the impact of such changes on the Islands Trust. Furthermore, a Transition Plan has been prepared by the Islands Trust that outlines the steps that the organization would take to adapt to the shortfall in finances that would result from Salt Spring Island incorporating.


What is the purpose of the Salt Spring Island Incorporation Study?

The purpose of the study is to provide the community with appropriate information to make an informed decision on incorporation of an island municipality. The study should be thorough, objective and technically complete, while explaining the implications of municipal incorporation in comparison to the current, rural governance situation. The final report should also identify, through the public engagement, the motivations that are driving the interest in island incorporation and comment on the extent to which these can be met through such incorporation.

Why is this study being done?

There is community concern in how Salt Spring Island is governed, including how decisions are made and how services are provided and funded. Local elected officials for the Islands Trust and the Capital Regional District supported the completion of a governance study, and in 2013, a concluding survey from that study showed that a majority of respondents wanted more information on the impacts of incorporation. Based on this result, the BC Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development decided to fund the current study.

Is this study the same as the Governance Study?

No. That study was an exploratory process to identify current issues around governance. Conversely, this study will include detailed analysis of the financial impacts of a change in governance. The 2013 Governance Study can be viewed here.