British Columbia Throne Speech 2017
(that never was)
Members of the public and legislature, we begin by acknowledging the foundation of the province – local municipalities comprising 162 villages, towns, cities, electoral areas, districts and regional boards – that make this place special and unique and like no other.
We appreciate municipalities have broad responsibilities to provide vital services to our citizens that include water and sewer, transportation, police, fire, environment, parks, recreation and culture, housing, land use planning and regulation. We also appreciate municipalities provide the environment in which business creates the wealth and standard of living we all enjoy.
Given the enormous role that local government plays in our lives, your government will make it the primary focus of our government agenda for the next four years.
Your government will pursue comprehensive reforms that will:
- Update the Local Government Act and Community Charter, the legal underpinning of local government in the province.
- Create a separate Ministry of Municipal Affairs to act as a stand-alone focus to resolve issues facing municipal government.
- Transfer additional resources to the municipalities more in line with their crucial responsibilities.
- Initiate a fact-based study or studies to determine the advantages and disadvantages of amalgamating one or more jurisdictions in one form or the other in the Capital Regional District.
- Hold separate democratic elections for the chair of regional districts, directly accountable and responsible to the electorate.
- Conduct a thorough governance and mandate review of the CRD. Insist on core competencies and training for elected officials, and a maximum two-term limit.
- Modify the oath of allegiance for the office of directors on regional districts to clearly outline the responsibility of acting for the greater good of the region.
Working together, the strength of our province and federation has always depended on strong local governments that deliver high-quality, critical infrastructure and services – it’s the essential cornerstone of our society.