The B.C. Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the formation of the Silver Star Resort Association on Oct. 28, 2020. (Contributed)

The B.C. Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the formation of the Silver Star Resort Association on Oct. 28, 2020. (Contributed)

Silver Star association challenge dismissed: B.C. Supreme Court

Property owner claims association was formed unfairly and in violation of legislative requirements

The province’s Supreme Court dismissed a Silver Star resident’s petition to quash the recently established resort association.

The Silver Star Resort Association (SSRA) was a product five years in the making by a group of volunteers made up of business owners, homeowners and SilverStar Mountain Resort management with the sole purpose of promoting the ski resort. They were called the Silver Star Marketing Task Force.

The petitioner, Kenneth J. Byram, however, brought the issue to the courts in hopes to “quash” the order issued by the Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson on Feb. 25, 2020, claiming the order violated legislative requirements and the process was procedurally unfair.

Justice G.P. Weatherill dismissed the claims in an Oct. 28 decision, stating procedures were fair and the association will have little impact on Byram in terms of costs as he doesn’t use his property for business.

Instead, Weatherill found quashing the order would lead to impractical and costly results requiring another person to re-do the petition certification process and a second application to be submitted to the minister to re-establish the association.

The SSRA became the fourth British Columbian mountain resort to form an association March 10, 2020, following in the heels of Whistler, Sun Peaks and Red Mountain.

With association status, the Silver Star Resort Association (SSRA) is able to apply for grants and additional funding while creating a platform to advocate for the resort community within the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) and the province.

The SSRA will help promote, facilitate and encourage the development, maintenance and operation of SilverStar, which in turn, will stimulate the local economy, create local jobs and generate provincial revenue.

In order to be successful in its application, the SSRA required support from at least 50 per cent of the property owners representing at least 50 per cent of the assessed property values.

But Byram claimed the Task Force unfairly sought out property owners who hadn’t signed the petition knowing they weren’t going to meet the threshold by the deadline, then the Task Force extended its own deadline improperly from Oct. 31 to Dec. 14, 2018, to ensure that threshold was met.

Byram also claimed an inaccurate and out-dated database of property owners was used as a reference to verify the petition results which invalidates the prerequisites of the order.

The SSRA argued strong support of 53.2 per cent was demonstrated and Byram’s complaints are dependent on narrow technicalities. In defence of the Housing Minister, the SSRA said Byram’s argument focuses entirely on processes undertaken by the Task Force and not the minister, therefore his criticisms were before the Minister at the time she made her decision.

“She considered and weighed those issues and determined that the petition was sufficient and valid,” the decision reads.

Weatherill dismissed the petition and ordered Byram to cover the SSRA’s court costs. The minister sought no costs.

READ MORE: SilverStar fourth B.C. mountain to form association: province

READ MORE: RDNO approves second step in allowing Silver Star Marketing Task Force to move forward to petition process


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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