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Electoral Area Annexation Impact Study

The Regional District of North Okanagan Electoral Areas Annexation Impact Study has examined the financial, social and land use impacts of cumulative municipal annexations in key electoral area boundary regions. The study has provided a series of recommendations to be considered for Phase III of the project, as well as a series of  tools that can be used to evaluate municipal annexation applications.

The key recommendation of Phase II was the creation of a fair, transparent, equitable and collaborative annexation policy framework that will provide criteria that reflects the interests of all parties involved.

The purpose of this study is to impartially evaluate current annexation practices and identify the impacts that are felt within the affected unincorporated communities.

The goal of the Regional District of North Okanagan Electoral Areas Annexation Impact Study is to explore the costs, benefits and social, economic and land use impacts of current annexation policy within the North Okanagan, specifically focusing on the Greater Vernon area.

Scope

The Electoral Area Advisory Committee (EAAC) has agreed to the following scope of the Study to be undertaken:

I.  The study will explore the cumulative social, environmental, economic and land use impacts and issues associated with past and current annexation activity within the Electoral Areas.

II. The study will focus on identified high priority Electoral Area/municipal boundary areas, which include:

  • Electoral Area “C” and City of Vernon;
  • City of Vernon and Electoral Area ‘B’, specifically within the Commonage;
  • Electoral Area “D” and northwest Village of Lumby boundary; and
  • Electoral Area “F” and western border of the City of Enderby.

III. Unincorporated community identity and fabric will be explored within the context of municipal annexation policy and activity.

IV. An analysis of the social, fiscal and land use outcomes and impacts of the City of Vernon annexation of Electoral Area ‘A’ (Okanagan Landing) in 1993.

V. The product of the study will be a full cost accounting of annexation activity and policy on the fiscal, social, environmental and land use stability and viability of the Electoral Areas. The key areas of focus will be the cumulative impacts of annexations on:

  • unincorporated community service provision and fiscal sustainability;
  • preserved rural lifestyle and community identity; and
  • the land use composition of the Electoral Areas.

VI. The final report will provide recommendations for annexation regulatory changes, a more transparent and equitable review of annexation applications by all affected parties and collaborative and cooperative annexation processes that take into consideration the impacts experienced by all jurisdictions.

PHASE I: Review Existing Situation (Complete February 2012)

Phase I of the Electoral Area Annexation Impact Study is under development by Urban Systems and is anticipated to be completed by December 2011. Phase I will undertake the following tasks:

a) Document the current situation within the study area(s) with respect to the following:

  • North Okanagan municipal annexation policies and provincial legislation, as well as annexation policies from throughout North America;
  • Services provided by the Regional District of North Okanagan to Electoral Areas;
  • Services provided by other agencies;
  • Property taxes and other fees, with a full accounting of service provision costs per household;
  • Local political representation; and
  • General description of land use planning and regulation.

b) The current situation information will represent the ‘base case’ for analysis of financial, land use and service delivery implication of cumulative unincorporated area annexations.

The consultant will create an Issues and Services Matrix, which will be used as the “base case” template, by which future scenarios can be measured against. Especially important will be the baseline financial situation for each individual electoral area service, as some of these may not be financially viable post-annexation. The outcome of Phase I will identify the issues to be explored in Phase II, as well as the scope, tasks and approach taken in Phase II and Phase III. A preliminary scope of work has been included within this Terms of Reference for Phase II and III of this project, although it should be acknowledged that the scope and tasks will be revisited based upon the outcomes of Phase I.

PHASE II: Cumulative Effects of Unincorporated Annexations (Complete February 2014)

a) Provide an evaluation of the financial, land use, service delivery and social impacts and outcomes of the 1993 annexation of Electoral Area ‘A’ into the City of Vernon;

b) Present an overall financial accounting of cumulative annexation applications over the last 10 years for affected Electoral Areas, focusing on the key priority boundary areas;

c) Identify the cumulative effects of annexation on Electoral Area priority boundary areas, including:

  • Economic and taxation impacts;
  • Land use impacts;
  • Service levels and infrastructure cost;
  • Social and community fabric and identity;
  • Agricultural Land Reserve loss; and
  • Governance.

d) Identify any significant thresholds, in relation to population, tax base and service delivery, which may compromise the financial sustainability of the Electoral Areas;

e) Prepare a written summary of the implications of cumulative annexation on the identified key priority border areas, informed by the perspective of current Electoral Area residents, in a form suitable for wide circulation;

f) In conjunction with the analysis of cumulative effects of unincorporated annexations, develop and undertake a public engagement program to:

  • Develop a profile of unincorporated community identify and fabric;
  • Obtain the perspective of Electoral Area residents on:
    • Current annexation policy and activity;
    • Identify key issues and concerns of the community;
    • Understand the preserved impacts on community identity; and
    • What suggestions that the communities have to address concerns.
  • Present the outcomes of Study, including recommendations, for public information and respond to any questions from Electoral Area residents.

g) Provide an overview of the review and analysis of cumulative annexation impacts on the long-term sustainability of Electoral Areas, with a focus on priority border regions;

h) Present Electoral Area governance options that may assist in mitigating the identified issues;

i) Develop recommendations on broad, strategic policies on the identified issues that reflect the realities of long-term sustainability of unincorporated rural areas; and,

j) Provide recommendations for annexation regulatory changes to ensure a more transparent and equitable review of annexation applications based upon the impacts experienced by all affected jurisdictions

PHASE III (Preliminary): Boundary Adjustment Protocol Agreement

The development of a series of analysis and decision support tools are under consideration as part of Phase III, which may include:

a) Fringe Area Planning – A policy and process to improve land use coordination between neighbouring jurisdictions by referring Official Community Plan amendments, re-zonings, and development permits on the municipal/electoral area boundary to the neighbouring jurisdiction.

b) Regional Growth Strategy Implementation Agreement – An inter-jurisdictional or intergovernment agency commitment to Regional Growth Strategy implementation.

c) Annexation Protocol/Memorandum of Understanding – An agreement between the Regional District and participating municipalities to improve the annexation process by defining roles, process, and information exchange and communication between all signatories.

d) Vulnerability Index – a potential implementation tool designed to assess the resiliency and sustainability of Electoral Area and Local Area services delivered by the Regional District during the review of annexation application. It could be used to evaluate the cumulative level of impact a service may face in regards to future annexations

e) Annexation Decision Support Tool – A decision support tool can be used by the Regional District to assess annexation application referrals.
 

Stay Tuned for Phase III.

 


Please direct inquiries to:
Phone: 250-550-3700
Fax: 250-550-3701
E-mail: [email protected]