The Province of British Columbia is proud to proclaim Local Government Awareness Week, May 15-21, 2016, Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender said today.
Local governments play a key role providing citizens, businesses and communities with essential services they need to prosper and thrive. Safe drinking water, wastewater management, streets, sidewalks, libraries, land-use planning, fire and police protection, recreation and parks are just some of the important benefits that B.C.’s local governments help support in order to foster strong, successful communities.
Every year, the Government of British Columbia approves grants that help local governments provide public services. In 2016, the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development increased funding for local government grant programs to more than $165 million – a $30 million increase over last year. The increases apply to the Small Community Grants Program and the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Program.
In addition to grants, partnerships are an important part of the on-going collaboration between the Province and B.C.’s local governments. For example, the B.C. government and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) negotiate the terms of the Gas Tax Fund with the federal government. UBCM administers the fund within British Columbia.
The Gas Tax Fund will invest $2.76 billion in British Columbia’s local governments over the next ten years – and the Small Communities Fund under the New Building Canada Fund represents a $327 million investment over the next decade in B.C.’s local community infrastructure.
Every year, Local Government Awareness Week is celebrated simultaneously with National Public Works Week.
Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender –
“In communities throughout B.C., elected municipal and regional representatives make vital decisions on behalf of British Columbians. Local governments impact communities directly, through planning, managing and operating public services and infrastructure that enable communities of all sorts and sizes to flourish. As we observe Local Government Awareness Week, I want to thank all the elected officials and staff in B.C.’s local governments for their dedicated service to their communities.”
Union of BC Municipalities president Al Richmond –
“Local governments are honoured to deliver the basic services British Columbians rely on daily. The infrastructure, facilities and services that local residents count on are the result of generations of planning and implementation. The vibrancy and health that characterizes our communities is a credit to the Province of B.C.’s empowering legislative framework for local government. I am pleased the Province has set aside this week to highlight the contributions of B.C.’s municipalities and regional districts."
- There are 189 local governments in British Columbia, including 162 municipalities and 27 incorporated regional districts. In addition, the Islands Trust and the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality combine features of a municipality and a regional district.
- In British Columbia, elected local officials represent cities, towns, villages, regional districts, parks boards and the Islands Trust.
- The Community Charter (Bill 14, 2003) is the first local government legislation in Canada to establish a full set of principles for municipal-provincial relations.
- Under the Community Charter and the Local Government Act, local governments have broad authority to provide any service that their respective council or board considers necessary or desirable, including water, sewer, garbage disposal, recreation, child care and economic development.
- The Local Government Act provides a legal framework and foundation for local governments. It provides local governments with powers, duties and functions – and with the flexibility to respond to the diverse needs and changing circumstances of their communities.
Read the Local Government Awareness Week Proclamation at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/LGAwarenessWeekproc.pdf
For more on Local Government Awareness Week, visit: http://www.lgaw.bc.ca/
For further information about local government in British Columbia, visit CivicInfo BC at: http://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/
Check out the provincial government’s role in supporting communities, sport, arts and culture through the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development at: http://www.gov.bc.ca/cscd
To learn more about the Community Charter, visit: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/03026_00
To learn more about the Local Government Act: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96323_00