British Columbia-based resort Sun Peaks has announced plans to become the first “mountain resort” municipality under new provincial law.
Fittingly enough, the town will be led by Al Raine as its first mayor. Raine, a former Canadian National Ski Team coach and husband of Senator (and Olympian) Nancy Greene Raine, has played a crucial role in the development of the British Columbian ski industry since the mid 70s, and was also on the Whistler municipal council in the early 80s.
“To be a great resort,” says Raine, who is also the former Chair of Tourism Sun Peaks, “you need to be a great community. With Sun Peaks’ new status as a municipality we will be in a better position to lobby for essential community services like a school and healthcare. Of course, there are also financial advantages, in addition to municipal tax revenues, Sun Peaks will be eligible for a Provincial grant for small communities and as a mountain resort municipality, the local government will receive a portion of the hotel HST levied in the resort.”
Plans for the establishment of the new municipality launched four years ago. After years of due dilligence, a referendum was held where seventy-three percent of the community voted to become a municipality.
On June 12th, two mayoral candidates and six council candidates ran for seats in the municipality’s first election. The council will be comprised of a mayor and four councilors. Three of the councilors are elected, but under the provincial mountain resort municipality legislation one councilor is named to represent the ongoing interests of Sun Peaks Resort Corporation.
After finalizing voter tallies, Raine was elected as mayor and he is to be joined by elected councilors Mike Forster, Ines Popig and Mario Pozza. The appointed councilor is Darcy Alexander, Vice President and General Manager of Sun Peaks Resort Corporation.
Raine, who has made Sun Peaks his home since 1994, says he couldn’t resist the opportunity to develop Sun Peaks into a vibrant, thriving community.
“We want to make Sun Peaks a great place to live,” says Raine. “We have some similar issues to those faced in Whistler. We need to look at providing affordable housing and employee housing. We also want to develop more community facilities and services. Eventually, we would like to see an eastern access road to the resort, so that visitors traveling the Trans Canada to and from Banff, will have better access to the resort.”