What is the Role of Local Government?

Local governments include municipalities (and their councils) and regional districts (and their boards). They are  governed by the Community Charter and the Local Government Act.

Local Governments and Economic Development Strategy

Local governments are key in leading or supporting the creation of an economic development strategy. The strategy's success will have a direct effect on a community's tax base. The goal is to provide revenue to maintain, grow and improve local infrastructure and community services. 

Local governments can initiate a community's economic planning efforts, to build on their official community plan and role of shaping community growth and determining land use. 

Local government functions that influence economic development and planning include:

  • Planning and zoning bylaws
  • Taxation
  • Local business support
  • Collaborating between communities and in the larger region 
  • Accessing and using programs offered by provincial and federal governments 
  • Advocating for community economic development priorities with governments and industry

The benefits of local government activities that support economic development include: 

  • Helping create and keep stable, well-paying jobs in the community
  • Improving the quality of life by providing:
    • Improved services
    • Environmental and recreational areas
    • Cultural and social activities

Promoting Economic Development

Local governments can promote economic development by:

  • Keeping your community members informed and include them whenever possible in the decision making and marketing of the community
  • Promoting the growth of all economic sectors in the region
  • Encouraging sustainable business practices
  • Creating an official community plan and a strategic plan
  • Developing, using and promoting business retention strategies
  • Identify and market the community's assets 
  • Creating projects that support economic development
  • Acting as point of contact for possible investors; providing accurate information, encouragement and support
  • Championing current economic development plans; reviewing and updating as needed
  • Identifying key members for boards and assignments
  • Working with and supporting economic development officers
  • Building a shared understanding with the community that economic development is a long-term process and success must be measured over time

How is the Role of Regional Districts Different?

The governing authority is different for regional districts. Regional districts do not have “natural person powers” under the Community Charter. They also don't have exemption from elector approval for agreements with capital liabilities, unlike municipalities. 

The Provincial Government's Role

The B.C. Government works with local governments by providing information, resources and services that support economic development.