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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT — Continued
[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 323

Part 2 — Incorporation of Municipalities

Incorporation of a new municipality

7 (1) On the recommendation of the minister under subsection (2), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by letters patent, incorporate the residents of an area into a new municipality.

(2) The minister may recommend incorporation of a new municipality to the Lieutenant Governor in Council if,

(a) in the case of an area for which a vote was taken under section 8 (3) (a), more than 50% of the votes counted as valid favour the proposed incorporation, or

(b) in the case of an area for which a vote was taken under section 8 (3) (b),

(i) more than 50% of the votes counted as valid favour a change in local government, and

(ii) more than 50% of the votes counted as valid favour the proposed incorporation if a change in local government were made.

(3) If an existing municipality or improvement district is located inside a new municipality incorporated under subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council must dissolve the existing municipality or improvement district by repealing its letters patent.

Vote required for the incorporation of a new municipality

8 (1) The minister must not recommend the incorporation of a new municipality to the Lieutenant Governor in Council unless a vote of the persons proposed to be incorporated has been taken under this section.

(2) In any of the following circumstances, the minister may direct that a vote be taken of persons in an area specified by the minister respecting the proposed incorporation of those persons into a new municipality:

(a) on the request of the council of a municipality all or part of which is in the area;

(b) on the request of the board of trustees of an improvement district all or part of which is in the area;

(c) on the request of 2 or more residents of any part of the area that is not in a municipality;

(d) on the minister's own initiative, if the minister is of the opinion that those persons should, in the public interest,

(i) be incorporated into a new municipality, or

(ii) either be incorporated into a new municipality or be included in an existing municipality.

(3) A vote under this section must determine the opinion of the eligible voters

(a) as to whether they favour the proposed new incorporation, or

(b) as to

(i) whether they favour a change in local government for the area, either by the proposed new incorporation or by inclusion in a specified existing municipality, and

(ii) if a change in local government were made, whether they would favour the proposed new incorporation or inclusion in a specified existing municipality.

(4) A vote under subsection (3) (b) must be by 2 questions as follows:

(a) the first question must ask whether the voter favours a change in local government for the area, either by the proposed new incorporation or by inclusion in a specified existing municipality;

(b) the second question must ask whether the voter favours, if a change in local government were made, the proposed new incorporation or inclusion in the specified existing municipality.

(5) As an exception to the requirement that the question to be voted on be in a form that a voter may indicate assent or dissent, a question under subsection (4) (b) must be in a form that a voter may indicate a preference.

(6) As a limit on the authority of the minister under this section, a vote under this section must not be held in a local community under section 838 until 5 years after the later of the following:

(a) the date that the local community was established;

(b) the date that the latest vote under this section was taken in the local community.

Procedure and costs for vote on incorporation

9 (1) Part 4 applies to a vote under this Part so far as reasonably possible and, for these purposes, the minister may make orders in relation to any matters dealt with in that Part.

(2) The costs of a vote under this Part must be paid as follows:

(a) if a new municipality is incorporated under section 7 following the vote, the costs of the vote are to be paid by the new municipality;

(b) if a new municipality is not incorporated and the vote was requested under section 8 (2) (a) by an existing municipality, the costs of the vote are to be paid by that municipality;

(c) in other cases, the costs of the vote are to be paid by the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations out of the consolidated revenue fund.

Incorporation of municipality in conjunction with resource development

10 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by letters patent, incorporate the residents of a rural area into a municipality without holding a vote under this Part if the Lieutenant Governor in Council is of the opinion that it is in the public interest to establish the municipality in conjunction with the development of a natural resource.

(2) Letters patent under this section may

(a) include exceptions from statutory provisions,

(b) specify the effective period or time for an exception, and

(c) provide for restriction, modification or cancellation by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of an exception or its effective period.

(3) For a municipality incorporated under this section, on the recommendation of the minister, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by supplementary letters patent, provide for further exceptions and conditions.

(4) [Repealed 1999-37-7.]

(5) The council of a municipality incorporated under this section may provide housing for employees of the municipality and may incur liabilities for it, subject to the limit that an obligation incurred for this purpose must not have a term of more than 5 years.

(6) If a municipality is or has been established under this section, the Surveyor General must,

(a) as soon as practicable, establish sufficient coordinate control monuments to enable the area, or a portion of it, to be constituted an integrated survey area under the Land Survey Act, and

(b) on completion of the required survey, constitute the area or portion as an integrated survey area under the Land Survey Act.

(7) After the survey required by subsection (6), the municipality is responsible for the protection and maintenance of the coordinate control monuments.

Incorporation of a mountain resort municipality

11 (1) If a vote under section 8 is in favour of incorporation, the minister may recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council incorporation of a municipality as a mountain resort municipality.

(2) Despite section 8, in the case of an area that is a mountain resort improvement district, the minister may recommend incorporation of a new mountain resort municipality to the Lieutenant Governor in Council, in accordance with the letters patent of the improvement district.

(3) On the recommendation of the minister under subsection (1) or (2), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by letters patent, incorporate the residents of an area into a mountain resort municipality.

(4) If an existing improvement district is located in a municipality incorporated under subsection (3), the Lieutenant Governor in Council must dissolve the existing improvement district by repealing its letters patent.

(5) Section 17 applies with respect to the incorporation of a mountain resort municipality under this section.

Incorporation of island municipality in Islands Trust area

11.1 (1) As an exception to section 17 (1), if the area for a new municipality is entirely within the trust area under the Islands Trust Act, the municipality must be incorporated as an island municipality under the name of the "Island Municipality of ..........." or the "............. Island Municipality".

(2) An island municipality has all the powers and duties of a district municipality, and is subject to all the requirements and limitations of a district municipality, as these are established by or under this or any other Act.

Incorporation of reserve residents as village

12 (1) On the recommendation of the minister, in order to implement an agreement between the Lieutenant Governor in Council and a band council with the approval of the Governor in Council, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by letters patent, incorporate as a village the residents of an area of land inside a reserve as defined in the Indian Act (Canada).

(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council must not issue letters patent under this section until

(a) the agreement of the Governor in Council and the band council is obtained, and

(b) the question of incorporation has been submitted to those members of the Indian band who are entitled to vote at the election of the band council and more than 50% of those entitled to vote have voted and of those voting more than 60% have voted in the affirmative.

(3) Letters patent under this section may

(a) include exceptions from statutory provisions,

(b) specify the effective period or time for an exception, and

(c) provide for restriction, modification or cancellation by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of an exception or its effective period.

(4) The letters patent or agreement referred to in subsection (1) may exempt the municipality or owners or residents from a provision of this or another Act and may include a provision considered desirable whether or not it is consistent with any Act.

(5) Despite subsection (4), an owner, as provided in the letters patent under that subsection, who complies with the requirements under the Home Purchase Assistance Act, is entitled to a grant, but not to a loan, under that Act.

What must and may be included in letters patent

13 (1) Letters patent incorporating a municipality must specify the municipality's name, boundaries, area and class.

(2) Letters patent incorporating a municipality may do one or more of the following:

(a) set the general voting day for the first election or authorize another person to do this;

(b) appoint the chief election officer for the first election or authorize another person or body to do this;

(c) set the terms of office for first council members, if these are to be different from the terms otherwise established by this Act;

(d) provide that the day, time and place of the council's first meeting is to be set by the chief election officer for the first election;

(e) set the sum of money which may be borrowed for the municipality's current expenditure in its first year and, if considered expedient, for the next year;

(f) set dates which may be observed initially, and once only, in place of statutory dates;

(g) provide for the transfer to the municipality of any asset, right, claim, obligation or liability of a municipality dissolved on the incorporation of the new municipality;

(h) provide that the bylaws of a municipality dissolved on the incorporation of the new municipality continue in force in the area that is inside the boundaries of the dissolved municipality until amended or repealed by the council of the new municipality;

(i) provide that, for the purpose of preparing, completing, returning, confirming and authenticating the assessment roll of land and improvements in the municipality, the land and improvements are deemed, for a specified period before or following incorporation, or both, to be included in or excluded from the municipality;

(j) deal with other matters and conditions, including the appointment of an interim council, considered necessary or advisable by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

(3) In addition to the matters referred to in subsections (1) and (2), letters patent incorporating a mountain resort municipality may do one or more of the following:

(a) provide that sections 334 (2) to (5) [limit on borrowing], 335.1 [counter petition opportunity required for borrowing] and 646 (7) [services for specified areas] do not apply, but that the inspector may direct that the assent of the electors be obtained or that the electors be provided with a counter petition opportunity in relation to the proposed bylaw;

(b) provide that other works and services may be the subject of a charge under section 933 (1) and (2) in addition to the facilities and land referred to in that section;

(c) provide

(i) that an official community plan for the municipality may include objectives and guidelines in addition to those established under section 919.1 (1) (f) [form and character of commercial, industrial and multi-family residential development], and

(ii) that section 920 (9) [restriction as to general character of development] does not apply with respect to that plan.

(3.1) In addition to the matters referred to in subsections (1) and (2), the letters patent incorporating an island municipality may do one or more of the following:

(a) vary the term of office for a municipal trustee on the trust council from that established by section 7 of the Islands Trust Act;

(b) establish the process that the council of an island municipality must follow in selecting and appointing municipal trustees to the trust council under section 7 of the Islands Trust Act;

(c) establish the process that the council of an island municipality must follow in submitting bylaws for approval under section 38 of the Islands Trust Act;

(d) provide for the transfer to the island municipality of any asset, right, claim, obligation or liability of the local trust committee or trust council in relation to the area being incorporated as the new municipality.

(4) Any of the provisions referred to in subsection (3) may, by supplementary letters patent, be made applicable to a mountain resort area in an existing municipality if

(a) the council of the municipality has requested the inclusion of the provision, and

(b) the municipality has obtained the assent of the electors to the inclusion of the provision in the letters patent.

(5) When issuing letters patent, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may vary the boundaries of the municipality or proposed municipality from those set out in the request, or from those designated by the minister, to make them regular or conform with the boundaries of neighbouring municipalities, or to exclude or include an area.

(6) Letters patent incorporating a district, or supplementary letters patent extending a city or district, may define an area in the municipality and designate the work and service deemed to be of special benefit to that area.

(7) If letters patent include a provision under subsection (6), Division 2 of Part 19 applies as if the area had been established as a specified area under section 646.

(8) Letters patent may provide that tax revenue from designated real property must be shared by the municipality with another municipality on the basis set out.

Exceptions for industrial plants

14 (1) If the minister believes that an industrial plant in an existing or proposed municipality does or will not, because of size or location, receive benefit from a work or service, the letters patent may describe the land where the plant is located and the work or service.

(2) If letters patent include a provision under subsection (1),

(a) from the date specified, the full cost of the work or service is to be charged against the remaining area of the municipality as if it were a specified area under Division 2 of Part 19, and

(b) the owner of the plant must provide the work or service, if required for the owner's use, at the owner's own expense.

(3) If subsections (1) and (2) apply to a municipality, the letters patent may provide for a reduction in the maximum rate permitted under this Act for any municipal tax.

(4) A provision made in letters patent under subsections (1) or (3) may be limited to a period of time.

(5) In the case of an industrial plant referred to in subsection (1), the letters patent may provide that no bylaw or other regulation of the council operates to restrict the construction, maintenance or operation of the industrial plant on the land described.

Publication of letters patent

15 (1) On the issue of letters patent under this Act by the Lieutenant Governor in Council,

(a) the minister must publish a notice in the Gazette in the form prescribed under subsection (2), and

(b) the municipal council, regional district board or improvement district trustees, as applicable, must publish in a newspaper

(i) a copy of the letters patent, or

(ii) a synopsis that states where the letters patent may be examined and, if a boundary description is set out in the synopsis, where a map of the boundary description may be viewed.

(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing the form of notice under subsection (1) (a).

Section Repealed

16 [Repealed 1998-34-5.]

Classification of municipalities

17 (1) A municipality must be incorporated as follows:

(a) as a village, if the population is not greater than 2 500;

(b) as a town, if the population is greater than 2 500 but not greater than 5 000;

(c) as a city, if the population is greater than 5 000;

(d) despite paragraphs (a) to (c), as a district if the area to be incorporated is greater than 800 hectares and has an average population density of less than 5 persons per hectare.

(2) For the purpose of calculating the average population density, land continually covered by water must not be taken into account.

(3) Despite subsection (1), if the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers it to be in the public interest to do so, a municipality may be incorporated in another classification provided for in this Act.

Change of municipal classification

18 (1) On request of the council, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may repeal the letters patent of a municipality and issue others in their place reincorporating the municipality as a city, town, district or village in accordance with section 17 (1) [classification of municipalities].

(2) A council may make a request under subsection (1) only after it has provided a counter petition opportunity in relation to the proposed change in classification.

(3) Letters patent reincorporating a municipality may include directions on any of the matters referred to in section 13 [what must and may be included in letters patent] and section 14 [exceptions for industrial plants] and on any other matters the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers appropriate.

(4) If the minister is satisfied that, since the last census, the population of a municipality has changed sufficiently to allow a change of classification, the minister may determine what the population of the municipality is deemed to be for the purposes of determining its classification for reincorporation.

Size of council

19 If it appears that letters patent provide for a greater or smaller number of council members than is in accordance with the law for the time being in force, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may issue supplementary letters patent to correct the number.

Extension of boundaries

20 (1) On the recommendation of the minister, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by supplementary letters patent, extend the area of a municipality to include land not in a municipality.

(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may specify in the supplementary letters patent that, for the purpose of preparing, completing, returning, confirming and authenticating the assessment roll of land and improvements in the extended municipality, the land and improvements included by the extension are deemed, for a specified period before or after the extension, or both, to be included in or excluded from the municipality.

(3) Before making a recommendation referred to in subsection (1), the minister must

(a) notify the council of the proposed recommendation, or

(b) have received from the council a request for the extension.

(4) In either case referred to in subsection (3), the council must give public notice of the extension in at least 2 consecutive issues of a newspaper and once in the Gazette.

(5) A council

(a) may submit the question of the proposed extension to the electors of the municipality for assent, and

(b) must submit the question of the proposed extension to the electors of the municipality for assent if at least 10% of those electors request this within 30 days of the last publication of the notice under subsection (4).

(6) The minister may direct that a vote on the question of including an area in a municipality under this section be taken in that area in the form specified by the minister and, for these purposes, section 9 applies.

Redefinition of boundaries

21 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by supplementary letters patent, redefine or alter the boundaries of a municipality if it appears to the satisfaction of the Lieutenant Governor in Council that any of the following circumstances apply:

(a) the boundaries are uncertain;

(b) the boundaries do not follow legal property boundaries;

(c) the boundaries do not conform to those of an adjacent municipality;

(d) the whole or part of a highway on or adjacent to the boundary should be included or excluded;

(e) the whole or part of adjoining foreshore and any area below low water mark should be included or excluded;

(f) the whole or part of the adjoining foreshore along a river, stream or lake, or the foreshore and land covered by water, should be included or excluded;

(g) land adjacent to and owned by the municipality should be included.

(2) Before exercising the powers of subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may direct that a notice of intention to redefine or alter the boundaries of a municipality be given at municipal expense once in the Gazette and once in a newspaper.

Collection of taxes

22 (1) If land is included in a municipality under section 13 (5), 20 or 21, all unpaid taxes previously imposed by the Provincial government or by another municipality on that land are taxes of the municipality in which the land is included, and that municipality may exercise all remedies under this Act for the collection of those taxes.

(2) The municipality in which the land referred to in subsection (1) is included,

(a) for unpaid taxes previously imposed by the Provincial government, must pay the amount of those taxes to the Surveyor of Taxes by January 1 in the year following the year in which the land is included in the municipality, and

(b) for unpaid taxes previously imposed by another municipality,

(i) may pay the amount of those taxes to the other municipality before they are collected, or

(ii) if the amount of those taxes is not paid under subparagraph (i), must pay that amount to the other municipality as they are collected.

(3) If land shown on the records of a land title office as a single parcel of land lies partly inside and partly outside a municipality and is, under section 13 (5), 20 or 21, wholly included in a municipality, the taxes then unpaid on any part of the land are a charge as unpaid taxes on the whole land.

Transfer of Provincial tax money if rural land included in municipality

23 (1) If land subject to assessment and taxation under the Taxation (Rural Area) Act is included in a municipality, either by incorporation of the municipality or by the extension or redefinition of its boundaries, the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations may pay from the consolidated revenue fund to the municipality an amount equal to

(a) the current year's taxes levied under Part 2 of the Taxation (Rural Area) Act, if the date of the letters patent defining or redefining the municipal boundaries is effective before July 1, or

(b) one half of that amount, if that date is after June 30 in any year.

(2) The amount may include taxes levied on the land and improvements under any Act and due to the Provincial government.

(3) The taxes when collected by the municipality are municipal revenue.

(4) An amount to be paid under this section must be paid in January following the year in which the taxes are levied or at another time considered appropriate by the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations.

Bylaws extend to additional area

24 (1) The bylaws and resolutions of the municipality to which an addition is made extend to the additional area, and continue in force until altered or repealed by the council.

(2) Despite subsection (1) but subject to section 782 (4.1), if a municipality is incorporated or the area of a municipality is extended, a provision of a bylaw adopted by a regional district or a local trust committee under the Islands Trust Act that applies to the area continues in force as if it were a bylaw of the municipality until it is amended or repealed by the council.

Phased farm property tax exemption

25 For a newly incorporated municipality or an area newly included in a municipality, real property that before the incorporation is exempt from taxation because of section 15 (1) (f) of the Taxation (Rural Area) Act but after the incorporation is not exempt from taxation under this Act is exempted from taxation as follows:

(a) in the first year after incorporation, to the extent of 100% of the exemption that would have applied to the property had the incorporation not taken place;

(b) in the second year after incorporation, to the extent of 80% of the exemption that would have applied to the property had the incorporation not taken place;

(c) in the third year after incorporation, to the extent of 60% of the exemption that would have applied to the property had the incorporation not taken place;

(d) in the fourth year after incorporation, to the extent of 40% of the exemption that would have applied to the property had the incorporation not taken place;

(e) in the fifth year after incorporation, to the extent of 20% of the exemption that would have applied to the property had the incorporation not taken place.

Reduction of municipal area

26 (1) On the request of the council made in accordance with this section, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by supplementary letters patent, reduce the area of a municipality.

(2) Before making a request for reduction, a council must

(a) give public notice of its proposed request in at least 2 consecutive issues of a newspaper and once in the Gazette,

(b) obtain the consent in writing of at least 60% of the electors of the area proposed to be excluded, and

(c) receive the assent of the electors, unless this requirement is waived under subsection (4).

(3) A request for reduction must include the following:

(a) a description of the area proposed to be excluded;

(b) a description of the municipality's new boundaries;

(c) a reasonable estimate of the number of electors in the area to be excluded;

(d) a statement indicating that the required public notice has been given and an affidavit of the designated municipal officer attesting to that publication;

(e) the name, address, signature of consent and date of signature of at least 60% of the electors of the area proposed to be excluded;

(f) an affidavit of the designated municipal officer attesting to the number of electors entitled to sign under paragraph (e);

(g) an affidavit of one or more persons attesting to the authenticity of the electors' signatures under paragraph (e);

(h) the result of the vote required by subsection (2) (c), unless this requirement is waived under subsection (4);

(i) the assessed value for municipal purposes of the taxable land and improvements in the proposed reduced municipality;

(j) evidence satisfactory to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that all creditors of the municipality consent to the proposed reduction or that provision has been made to discharge the debt owing to the creditors whose consent is not obtained;

(k) a statement under oath by the mayor, jointly with the municipal officers assigned responsibilities under section 198 [corporate administration] and section 199 [financial administration], showing the existing liabilities of the municipality and any other information the Lieutenant Governor in Council may require;

(l) other matters that the Lieutenant Governor in Council may prescribe by regulation.

(4) The minister may waive the requirements of subsections (2) (c) and (3) (h).

(5) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by supplementary letters patent, reduce the area of a municipality without a request from the council if the area excluded is included in a municipality incorporated under section 12.

(6) When an area is excluded from a municipality under this section, the excluded area becomes a rural area.

Redefinition of adjoining municipalities

27 (1) After receiving a request from the council of each of 2 adjoining municipalities, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by supplementary letters patent, reduce the area of one municipality and extend the area of the other by the area withdrawn.

(2) Section 20 applies to the municipality whose area is extended and section 26 applies to the municipality whose area is reduced.

Conditions on extension or reduction

28 If the area of a municipality is extended or reduced, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by the letters patent extending or reducing the area, impose on the municipality conditions that may be considered proper.

Disincorporation of a municipality

29 (1) On receiving a request signed by a majority of the electors of the municipality, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by order published in the Gazette, set aside the letters patent incorporating the municipality and disincorporate the municipality.

(2) A municipality must not be disincorporated until the Lieutenant Governor in Council is satisfied that payment and discharge of all debts and obligations of the municipality is provided for.

(3) On disincorporation of a municipality, all its property vests in the Provincial government, and all taxes imposed by the municipality remaining unpaid are taxes imposed under the Taxation (Rural Area) Act as of the date of the imposition.

(4) In the case of a municipality that is disincorporated at a date before taxes are imposed for the calendar year in which the disincorporation takes effect, all property inside the boundaries of the disincorporated municipality is liable to assessment, taxation, levy and collection of taxes for all purposes in that year under the Taxation (Rural Area) Act and the School Act, as if the property were liable to assessment in the preceding year.

Dissolution of improvement district

30 The Lieutenant Governor in Council may

(a) dissolve an improvement district wholly or partly in a municipality,

(b) transfer to the municipality any or all of the assets, rights, claims and obligations of the district on conditions that may be considered advisable, and

(c) specify that the bylaws of the improvement district continue in force in the part of the improvement district that is inside the municipality until amended or repealed by the council.

Rights and liabilities not affected by surrender or revocation of letters patent

31 If letters patent are surrendered or revoked and others issued under this Act,

(a) the surrender, revocation or issue does not bar or discharge a right, claim or demand of or against the municipality, or a pending action or proceeding, and the municipality remains as liable and has the same rights and interest as if the letters patent surrendered or revoked were valid and not surrendered or revoked,

(b) the municipality is deemed to have been a corporation from the date of the letters patent originally incorporating it, and

(c) a registration in a land title office in the name of the municipality is a registration in the name of the municipality under the new letters patent or supplementary letters patent.

Existing licences preserved

32 (1) A Provincial or municipal licence that

(a) was issued in any locality that has been

(i) incorporated as a municipality or disincorporated,

(ii) added to or severed from an existing municipality, or

(iii) united with another municipality in a new municipality, and

(b) was in force immediately before the change

is valid until its expiration, subject to the provisions of any Act or a bylaw or regulation of the municipality affected.

(2) On expiration, the reissue or renewal of a licence is governed by the statutory provisions or the appropriate municipal bylaw and regulation.


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