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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT — Continued
[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 323
Part 1 — Purposes and Principles
1 Recognizing that local government is an independent, responsible and accountable order of government within its jurisdiction, the purposes of this Act are
(a) to provide a legal framework and foundation for the establishment and continuation of local governments to represent the interests and respond to the needs of their communities,
(b) to provide local governments with the powers, duties and functions necessary for fulfilling their purposes, and
(c) to provide local governments with the flexibility to respond to the different needs and changing circumstances of their communities.
2 The purposes of a local government include
(a) providing good government for its community,
(b) providing the services and other things that the local government considers are necessary or desirable for all or part of its community,
(c) providing stewardship of the public assets of its community, and
(d) fostering the current and future economic, social and environmental well-being of its community.
3 (1) The powers conferred on local governments by this Act are to be interpreted broadly in accordance with the purposes of this Act and the purposes of local government, subject to the specific limitations and conditions established by or under this Act.
(2) For certainty, subject to subsection (1), if this Act confers a specific power on local governments in relation to a matter that can be read as coming within a general power also conferred by this Act, the general power is not to be interpreted as being limited by the specific power.
4 The relationship between local governments and the Provincial government in relation to this Act is based on the following principles:
(a) cooperative relations between the Provincial government and local governments are to be fostered in order to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of the citizens of British Columbia;
(b) local governments need the powers that allow them to draw on the resources required to fulfill their responsibilities;
(c) notice and consultation is needed for Provincial government actions that directly affect local government interests;
(d) the Provincial government recognizes that different local governments and their communities have different needs and circumstances and so may require different approaches;
(e) the independence of local government is balanced by the responsibility of the Provincial government to consider the interests of the citizens of British Columbia generally.
Part 1.1 — Definitions and Interpretation
5 In this Act:
"annual property tax bylaw" means a bylaw under section 359;
"approving officer" means an approving officer as defined in the Land Title Act;
"assessed value" means assessed value determined under the Assessment Act;
"assessment commissioner" means the assessment commissioner appointed under the Assessment Authority Act;
"assessment roll" means
(a) in relation to a property value tax, an assessment roll under the Assessment Act,
(b) in relation to a parcel tax, an assessment roll under Division 2 [Parcel Taxes] of Part 10.1 [Taxes, Fees and Charges], and
(c) in relation to a tax under Part 23 [Improvement Districts], an assessment roll under Division 3 [Taxes and Cost Recovery] of that Part;
"assessor" means an assessor appointed under the Assessment Authority Act;
"board", in relation to a regional district, means the board of directors for the regional district;
"building inspector" means a person to whom a local government has assigned the responsibility for administering bylaws enacted under section 694 (1) (a) [building regulation bylaws];
"business licence" means a licence required under Division 2 [Business Licensing] of Part 20 [Business Regulation and Licensing];
"charge", in relation to an estate or interest in land, means a charge under the Land Title Act;
"city" does not include the City of Vancouver;
"collector" means the designated municipal officer assigned responsibility as collector of taxes for the municipality;
"conservation" includes any activity undertaken to protect, preserve or enhance the heritage value or heritage character of heritage property or an area;
"converted value of land and improvements" means the net taxable value of land and improvements multiplied by a percentage prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council;
"council" means the council of a municipality;
"counter petition" means a petition against a proposed bylaw, action or other matter of a local government;
"counter petition opportunity" means an opportunity for electors to petition against a proposed bylaw, action or other matter in accordance with Division 5 of Part 4 [Other Voting — Counter Petition Opportunities];
"designated local government officer" means the designated municipal officer or designated regional district officer, as applicable;
"designated municipal officer" means
(a) the municipal officer assigned responsibility under section 196 [officer positions] in relation to the matter, or
(b) if no assignment referred to in paragraph (a) has been made, the municipal officer assigned responsibility under section 198 [corporate administration];
"designated regional district officer" means
(a) the regional district officer assigned responsibility under section 196 [officer positions] in relation to the matter, or
(b) if no assignment referred to in paragraph (a) has been made, the regional district officer assigned responsibility under section 198 [corporate administration];
"director", in relation to a regional district, means a member of the board of the regional district, whether as a municipal director under section 784 or as an electoral area director under section 785;
"district" means a township or district municipality;
"elector" means a resident elector or non-resident property elector of a municipality or regional district electoral area;
"electoral area" means an electoral area in a regional district as specified by the letters patent for the regional district;
"establishing bylaw" means an establishing bylaw under section 517.1 [municipal] or 800 [regional district];
"farm land" means land classified as farm land by the assessor;
"financial plan" in relation to a municipality means the current financial plan under section 327 [financial plan];
"first nation" means an aboriginal governing body, however organized and established by aboriginal people in their traditional territory in British Columbia;
"francophone education authority" means a francophone education authority as defined in the School Act;
"general local election" means the elections referred to in section 36 (1) [elections for council members and electoral area directors];
"general tax collection scheme" means the general tax collection scheme under section 366;
"greater board" means the corporate body, incorporated by an Act, with responsibility for the provision of water or sewage and drainage services;
"heritage character" means the overall effect produced by traits or features which give property or an area a distinctive quality or appearance;
"heritage property" means property that
(a) in the opinion of a body or person authorized to exercise a power under this Act in relation to the property, has sufficient heritage value or heritage character to justify its conservation, or
(b) is protected heritage property;
"heritage value" means historical, cultural, aesthetic, scientific or educational worth or usefulness of property or an area;
"highway" includes a street, road, land, bridge, viaduct and any other way open to public use, but does not include a private right of way on private property;
"impose" includes levy;
"improvement district" means an improvement district, including a mountain resort improvement district, incorporated under this or any other Act;
"improvements" means improvements as defined in the Assessment Act;
"inspector" means the inspector of municipalities under section 1019;
"land" includes the surface of water but does not include
(b) mines or minerals belonging to the Crown, or
(c) mines or minerals for which title in fee simple has been registered in the land title office,
except that, for the purposes of assessment and taxation, it means land as defined in the Assessment Act;
"letters patent" includes supplementary letters patent;
"loan authorization bylaw" means a bylaw under section 335 [municipal loan authorization bylaws] or 831 [regional district loan authorization bylaws], as applicable;
"local court of revision" means the local court of revision under Division 2 [Parcel Taxes] of Part 10.1 [Taxes, Fees and Charges];
"local government" means
(a) the council of a municipality, and
(b) the board of a regional district;
"local government offices" means
(a) in relation to a municipality, the municipal hall, and
(b) in relation to a regional district, the offices where the regular office of the regional district officer assigned responsibility under section 198 [corporate administration] is located;
"local improvement" means a work or service undertaken as a local improvement under Division 1 of Part 19;
"local trust committee" means a local trust committee within the meaning of the Islands Trust Act;
"manage", with respect to land, improvements, personal property or other property, includes conserve, use, develop, construct, improve, operate, administer and maintain, as applicable;
"mountain resort improvement district" means a mountain resort improvement district incorporated under section 732;
"mountain resort municipality" means a mountain resort municipality incorporated under section 11;
"municipal tax collection scheme" means a municipal tax collection scheme under section 367;
(a) a municipality incorporated under this or any other Act, or
(b) if the context requires, the geographic boundaries of a municipality referred to in paragraph (a),
but does not include the City of Vancouver, a regional district or an improvement district;
"net taxable value" in relation to land or improvements, or both, means net taxable value of land or improvements, or both, as applicable, for regional hospital district purposes;
"newspaper" means, in relation to a requirement or authorization for publication in a newspaper, a publication or local periodical that contains items of news and advertising;
"non-resident property elector" means, in relation to a municipality or regional district electoral area, a person who at the relevant time meets the qualifications for registration as a non-resident property elector under section 51 in relation to the jurisdiction;
"occupier" means a person
(a) who is qualified to maintain an action for trespass,
(b) who is in possession of Crown land under a homestead entry or preemption record,
(c) who is in possession of
(i) Crown land, or
(ii) land owned by a municipality or regional district
under a lease, licence, agreement for sale, accepted application to purchase, easement or other record from the Crown, municipality or regional district, or
(d) who simply occupies the land;
“official community plan” means an official community plan adopted under section 876 [authority to adopt by bylaw];
"owner" in respect of real property means
(a) the registered owner of an estate in fee simple,
(b) the tenant for life under a registered life estate,
(c) the registered holder of the last registered agreement for sale,
(d) the holder or occupier of land held in the manner referred to in section 356 [taxation of Crown land used by others] or section 357 [taxation of municipal land used by others], and
(e) an Indian who is an owner under the letters patent of a municipality incorporated under section 12 [incorporation of reserve residents as a village];
"parcel" means any lot, block or other area in which land is held or into which it is subdivided, but does not include a highway;
"parcel tax" means a tax imposed on the basis of
(a) a single amount for each parcel,
(b) the taxable area of a parcel, or
(c) the taxable frontage of a parcel;
"partnering agreement" means an agreement between a local government and a person or public authority under which the person or public authority agrees to provide a service on behalf of the local government, other than
(a) a service referred to in section 517 (2) (a) [municipal general administrative services], or
(b) a service referred to in section 797 (1) (a) and (b) [regional district general and electoral area administrative services];
(a) population determined by the last preceding census taken by Canada, or
(b) if a municipality has been incorporated or its area has been adjusted after that census, population determined by a certificate of the minister;
"property class" means a property class under the Assessment Act;
"property value tax" means a tax imposed on the basis of the value of land or improvements or both;
"protected heritage property" means property that is
(a) protected under section 13 (2) of the Heritage Conservation Act,
(b) included under section 970.1 (3) (b) [heritage conservation areas] in a schedule to an official community plan, or
(c) designated as protected under bylaws made under section 967 [heritage designation protection];
"public authority" means any of the following:
(a) the government of Canada, government of British Columbia or government of another province, or an agent of any of them;
(b) a local government, the City of Vancouver or the trust council, a local trust committee or the trust fund board under the Islands Trust Act;
(c) a body in another province or country that provides local government services;
(d) a board as defined in the School Act, a regional health board designated under the Health Authorities Act, a greater board and the trustees of an improvement district;
(e) any other local government body, educational body or health care body, as those terms are defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
(f) a first nation;
(g) any other body prescribed under section 6.6 (3) (a) as a public authority for the purposes of this Act;
"real property" means land, with or without improvements so affixed to the land as to make them in fact and law a part of it;
"regional district" means
(a) a regional district incorporated under this Act, or
(b) if the context requires, the geographic boundaries of a regional district referred to in paragraph (a);
"regional growth strategy" means a regional growth strategy under Part 25;
"registered", in relation to an interest in land less than the fee simple, means registered as a charge;
"registered owner" means the person registered in the land title office as entitled to the fee simple;
"regulating" includes authorizing, controlling, inspecting, limiting and restricting;
"resident elector" means, in relation to a municipality or regional district electoral area, a person who, at the relevant time, meets the qualifications for registration as a resident elector under section 50 in relation to the jurisdiction;
“rural land use bylaw” means a bylaw referred to in section 873.1;
"security issuing bylaw" means a bylaw under section 335.3 [municipal security issuing bylaws] or 833 [regional district security issuing bylaws], as applicable;
"service" in relation to a municipality or regional district means
(a) activities, works or facilities undertaken or provided by or on behalf of the municipality or regional district, and
(b) the exercise of regulatory authority under Part 15 [Municipal Services], section 796.2 [general authorities in relation to services] or section 797 [Part 15 powers equivalent to municipalities];
"subdivision servicing bylaw" means a bylaw under section 938;
"trust council" means the trust council within the meaning of the Islands Trust Act;
"zoning bylaw" means a bylaw under section 903.
6 [Repealed 1999-6-23.]
6.1 Words in an enactment referring to a local government officer, by name of office or otherwise, also apply to
(a) the officer's deputy, and
(b) any person designated by the local government to act in the officer's place.
6.2 In those municipalities and regional districts in which Mountain Standard Time or Mountain Daylight Time is customarily used, section 25 (7) of the Interpretation Act [calculation of time] does not apply and instead a reference to a specified time of the day is a reference to Mountain Standard Time or Mountain Daylight Time, as applicable.
6.3 [Repealed 2000-7-3.]
6.4 (1) If notice is required by this Act to be given by publication in a newspaper, the notice must be published in accordance with this section.
(2) If the same matter is subject to 2 or more requirements for publication in a newspaper, the notices required to be published may be combined as long as the requirements of all applicable sections are met.
(3) The notice must be published in a newspaper that is distributed at least weekly
(a) in the area affected by the subject matter of the notice, and
(b) in the municipality or regional district for which the notice is to be given, if the affected area is not in that municipality or regional district.
(4) The obligation under subsection (3) may be met by publication of the notice in more than one newspaper, if this is in accordance with that subsection when the publications are considered together.
(5) If publication under subsection (3) or (4) is not practicable, the notice may be given in the areas referred to in subsection (3) by alternative means as long as the notice
(a) is given within the same time period as required for publication,
(b) is given with the same frequency as required for publication, and
(c) provides notice that, in the view of the body required to give the notice, is reasonably equivalent to that which would be provided by publication if it were practicable.
(6) As an exception, subsection (5) (b) does not apply in relation to an area if the alternative means is by individual distribution to the persons resident in the area.
6.5 If an enactment requires or permits
(a) notice to be given to a local government, municipality or regional district,
(b) a document to be served on a local government, municipality or regional district,
(c) a document to be filed with a local government, municipality or regional district, or
(d) a document to be delivered, sent, submitted or otherwise provided to a local government, municipality or regional district,
the notice, service, filing or provision is effected if the notice or document is, as applicable, given, served on, filed with or provided to the local government officer assigned responsibility under section 198 [corporate administration].
6.6 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act [powers to make regulations].
(2) A regulation under this section may be made to apply to one, some or all municipalities, regional districts or other bodies governed by this Act, any combination of them, or any part or parts of them.
(3) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:
(a) prescribing a body as a public authority for the purposes of this Act;
(b) establishing an oath of office for local government officers for the purposes of section 201 [oath of office for officers];
(b.1) prescribing percentages for the purpose of determining the converted value of land and improvements, which may be different percentages for different classes of property under the Assessment Act;
(c) respecting any other matter for which regulations of the Lieutenant Governor in Council are contemplated by this Act.
6.7 (1) Without limiting section 6.6 and despite any other provision of this Act or any other Act, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:
(a) respecting any matter that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers is not provided for, or is not sufficiently provided for, in a local government Act;
(b) making provisions the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable for the purpose of more effectively bringing into operation amendments made to or by a local government Act;
(c) making provisions the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable for the purpose of preventing, minimizing or otherwise addressing any transitional difficulties encountered in bringing into operation amendments made to or by a local government Act, including regulations providing an exception to or a modification of a provision in a local government Act;
(d) resolving any errors, inconsistencies or ambiguities in a local government Act resulting from an amendment made to or by a local government Act.
(2) A regulation under subsection (1) may be made to apply to one, some, or all municipalities, regional districts or other bodies governed by a local government Act, any combination of them, or any part or parts of them.
(3) A regulation under subsection (1) may be made retroactive to a date not earlier than the date this section comes into force.
(4) To the extent of any conflict between a regulation under subsection (1) and another enactment, the regulation prevails.
(5) A regulation under subsection (1) ceases to have effect after the last day of the next session of the Legislative Assembly after the regulation is made.
(5.1) In this section, "local government Act" means any of the following:
(a) this Act;
(b) the Greater Nanaimo Water District Act;
(c) the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District Act;
(d) the Greater Vancouver Water District Act;
(e) the Islands Trust Act;
(f) the Municipal Finance Authority Act;
(g) the Vancouver Charter;
(h) an Act amending another local government Act.
(6) This section is repealed on January 1, 2002.
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Copyright (c) 2001: Queen’s Printer, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada