Proposed legislative amendments respond to local government requests, give communities new tools to help deliver housing and dissolve the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality.
If passed by the legislature, the Municipal Affairs Statutes Amendments Act (No. 2), 2021, will:
Require local governments to consider developing or updating codes of conduct
Local elected officials have a responsibility to act in the best interests of their communities and be accountable to the residents of those communities for their choices. Proposed amendments to the Local Government Act, Community Charter and Vancouver Charter will add a new requirement for all municipal councils and regional district boards to publicly consider developing codes of conduct for their council or board members. The change provides a tool to strengthen local government responsible conduct by creating a regular process for elected officials to engage in conversations about shared expectations for conduct as they carry out their responsibilities and govern together. This is another step in ongoing work that the Province, the Union of BC Municipalities and the Local Government Management Association have committed to doing together, and the approach was supported by a special resolution endorsed at the Union of BC Municipalities Convention in September 2021.
Authorize the dissolution of the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality
The Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality was incorporated in 2013 with no residents, to facilitate the development of a ski resort proposed in the Jumbo Valley. As that ski resort proposal is not proceeding and Jumbo does not have residents to request dissolution as required under existing legislation, the proposed amendments are required to disincorporate the municipality. The proposed changes to the Local Government Act and Municipalities Enabling and Validating Act will create a specific regulatory authority to allow the Province to dissolve Jumbo by revoking its letters patent and providing additional powers to address any administrative matters that may arise. The amendments will also withdraw the authority to incorporate a mountain resort municipality without residents in the future. The disincorporation of Jumbo is an integral step to support the proposal to create an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area in the Jumbo Valley.
Streamline local government development approvals processes
The proposed changes will remove the default requirement for local governments to hold public hearings for zoning bylaw amendments that are consistent with the official community plan. The amendments will also enable municipalities and regional districts to delegate decisions on minor development variance permits to local government staff, which will help decrease the amount of time it takes for approval. Together, these proposed changes will provide the authority for local governments to improve their processes and help get homes built faster throughout the province. To learn more, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/25595
Modernize local government public notice requirements
Local governments have requested more flexibility for providing statutory public notices, as is the case in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec. Proposed amendments to the Local Government Act, Community Charter, Islands Trust Act, Municipal Replotting Act, University Endowment Land Act and Vancouver Charter will enable local governments to determine and specify, by bylaw, the methods they will use to provide public notice that will reach the greatest number of people in their communities. Local governments that choose to adopt a public notice bylaw will have to first consider principles of effective public notice.
Respond to the Islands Trust request to remove administrative barriers and meet its unique mandate more effectively
The Islands Trust is responsible for protecting the unique nature and amenities in the trust area, which spans the major Gulf Islands and many other smaller islands. The proposed amendments to the Islands Trust Act address specific requests made by the Islands Trust’s board of directors to deal with some barriers. The changes include:
- amending the Islands Trust Act to include a specific reference to First Nations in the trust’s objective statement to recognize its ongoing relationship and reconciliation efforts with First Nations;
- enabling the Islands Trust to give financial support to community groups for activities that provide education about or preserve the environment and unique amenities of the Trust Area; and
- streamlining the Islands Trust development approvals processes by enabling local trust committees to adopt and amend Development Approval Information bylaws. Moving this decision to local trust committees is consistent with other authorities in the trust and will create efficiencies in approval processes.
Facilitate economic development opportunities for the City of Powell River by removing historic regulatory restrictions on city-owned land in the mill site area
In 1955, Powell River was incorporated under specific legislation, the Powell River Incorporation Act, which limits municipal regulation of the mill and the mill site area of the city. At the time, these provisions protected the operations of the pulp mill. However, due to the transfer of former mill land to the city, these restrictions now limit their development potential. The proposed amendment to the act will support Powell River’s economic development objectives by removing the city-owned lots from the mill site area to allow for further development. This amendment is supported by the Tla’amin Nation and the current mill owner, Paper Excellence (Catalyst).