Divisions are strong as Silver Star residents and businesses debate the merits of enhanced marketing.
On Wednesday, the Regional District of North Okanagan will hold a public hearing to consider establishment of a resort association, which would charge some properties an annual levy for marketing Silver Star as a destination.
“Resort associations are not new. They have been in place for more than 20 years and are used by Red Mountain, Sun Peaks and Whistler, some of the most successful resorts in the province,” said Ken Derpak, a member of the Silver Star Marketing Task Force, which has led the process.
“The task force believes this is an important community initiative and the community should have the opportunity to decide if it would like to have a resort association.”
But not everyone is pleased with the concept.
“The once closely knit community has been split into opposing factions by this proposition,” said resident Martin George.
“A resort association will, if put into place, force unwilling property owners to become part of a resort area, overseen by a board controlled by commercial interests. This would not only have the effect of improving the profitability of Silver Star Mountain at property owners’ expense, it could also affect property values, as previously experienced at Sun Peaks.”
Derpak, who is also managing director at SilverStar Mountain Resort, says some details need to be clarified.
“Not all property owners will have to pay a levy if the proposed association is created. Only property owners that are offering their property for rent or deriving other commercial benefit will be subject to an assessment. If a property is not being offered for rent there is no assessment,” he said.
“The task force has conducted an extensive stakeholder engagement program over the last year. This has included three open houses, numerous presentations, a stakeholder survey, nine newsletters, workshops, one-on-on discussions, information backgrounders and a presentation to an RDNO committee of the whole meeting last February.”
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 regional district meeting will begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the RDNO office.