Regional districts of British Columbia
LocationBritish Columbia
Number28
Populations674 (Stikine Region) – 2,558,029 (Metro Vancouver)
Areas1,701 km2 (657 sq mi) (Comox Valley) – 118,663 km2 (45,816 sq mi) (Stikine Region)
GovernmentMunicipal government
SubdivisionsMunicipalities, Cities, District municipalities, Indian government districts, Island municipalities, Mountain resort municipalities, Regional municipalities, Resort municipalities, Towns, Villages, Indian reserves

In the province of British Columbia in Canada, a regional district is an administrative subdivision of the province that consists of a geographic region with specific boundaries and governmental authority. As of January 2020, there were 28 regional districts in the province.[1]

Regional districts came into being as an order of government in 1965 with the enactment of amendments to the Municipal Act.[2] Until the creation of regional districts, the only local form of government in British Columbia was incorporated municipalities, and services in areas outside municipal boundaries had to be sought from the province or through improvement districts.[3]

Similar to counties in other parts of Canada, regional districts serve only to provide municipal services as the local government in areas not incorporated into a municipality, and in certain regional affairs of shared concern between residents of unincorporated areas and those in the municipalities such as a stakeholder role in regional planning. In those predominantly rural areas, regional districts provide services such as land use planning, building inspection, solid-waste management, and some responsibility for community fire protection.

Regional districts have no powers like other arms of government, whose powers are much more sweeping, including jurisdiction over forests, the environment, health, schools, and provincial courts. Most land within a regional district is under control of other arms of the provincial government, or in the case of national parks and offshore waters, of the federal government. Indian reserves located within the boundaries of regional districts are likewise excluded from their jurisdiction and infrastructure, and there are varying levels of collaboration between First Nations governments and regional district boards.

Regional districts are governed by boards of directly and indirectly elected directors. Municipalities appoint directors to represent their populations (usually the mayors), while residents of unincorporated areas (which are grouped into electoral areas) elect directors directly. The votes of directors from municipalities generally count more than the votes of directors from electoral areas, and larger municipalities have more votes than smaller ones. For example, both North Saanich and Metchosin appoint one director to the Capital Regional District board of directors, but the vote of North Saanich's director counts three times as much as the vote of Metchosin's appointee.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Municipal and sub-provincial areas population, 2011 to 2019". Government of British Columbia. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  2. ^ "Regional Districts in B.C." Regional Districts in B.C. Province of British Columbia. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  3. ^ Bish, Robert L.; Clemens, Eric G. (2008). Local Government in British Columbia (PDF). Richmond: Union of British Columbia Municipalities. p. 45.
  4. ^ British Columbia Ministry of Community Services, "Primer on Regional Districts in British Columbia," 2006. Archived 2007-07-03 at the Wayback Machine