Valley business

Okanagan Falls is hoping to make an economic recovery.

Three decades after residents voted down the idea, the prospect of Okanagan Falls incorporating as a stand-alone municipality is back on the table.

The community of 2,500 is governed as part of a larger rural area by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, the board of which last week passed a motion asking the B.C. Ministry of Municipal Affairs to fund a study looking at the costs and benefits of incorporating.

The RDOS had similar requests turned down in 2010 and 2012, prompting former Area D director Tom Siddon in 2013 to seek a broader governance study that eventually recommended splitting the area into two parts, a change that took effect with the 2018 civic election.

Filing a fresh request for an incorporation study is among the recommendations of the 2020 Economic Development & Recovery Plan for Okanagan Falls, which was adopted earlier this year by the RDOS.

Implementation of that plan is being overseen by the Okanagan Falls Community Association.

In a Nov. 3 letter to the RDOS board, the association suggests sending the study request to the Minister of Municipal Affairs now in hopes it would be approved and underway by March 2021 with any changes decided in time for the 2022 civic election.

Siddon told The Herald in 2016 the B.C. Liberal government of the time made clear it didn’t want to reopen what was seen as a controversial issue in Okanagan Falls.

The only time the possibility of incorporation was actually put to a vote was in 1989, when it failed in a referendum.