Silver Star dispute heats up

Politicians aren’t making any rash decisions as emotions run high at Silver Star.

About 80 people jammed into a Regional District of North Okanagan committee meeting Wednesday to debate establishment of a resort association, which would charge some properties an annual levy for marketing Silver Star as a destination.

“We want to understand the bylaws and be clear on them,” said director Doug Dirk, as he successfully had a motion passed for the board to have a future meeting to look at the proposal and any legal implications.

The concept of resort association, which has been developed by the Silver Star Marketing Task Force, was blasted by many in the crowd.

“The idea that I owe the resort something because I run a successful business is preposterous,” said Radha Fisher, a massage therapist who also rents out a suite.

“Not one person on the task force represents me.”

Mark Dahlie insisted the contact between the task force and residents like himself has been minimal.

“It’s been railroading of the community by the task force,” he said.

Resident John Radmonske questioned the entire process.

“There are lots of mountains in B.C. that aren’t associations. Why all of a sudden do we need one,” he said.

Task force officials defend their move towards resort association status.

“Our stakeholder engagement process was extensive,” said co-chairperson Tim Dekker, adding that input has shaped the proposed model, including 20 changes to the draft bylaw.

Among the changes is removing the assessment for non-renting properties and a sliding scale for rental property assessments, while hiking the commercial property levy.

Dekker says there is a need to enhance marketing as ski resort competition intensifies.

“Silver Star must ensure it’s heard and can compete in the marketplace.”

For the association to form, support would be needed from 50 per cent plus one of the property owners representing 50 per cent of the assessed value. RDNO and the provincial government would also have to agree.

“The petition process is where the real decision should be made,” said resident Ross Foden.

Resident Denys Lawrence, who used to be on the task force, says a resort association will give the community a voice.

“Many issues fall through the cracks of government,” he said.

Ken Derpak, a task force member and employee of Silver Star Mountain Resort, presented 238 letters in support of the process.

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