Regional District Participating Area Approval

Almost all regional district service establishing bylaws and most loan authorization bylaws require some form of participating area approval before they may be adopted.

'Participating area' refers to the municipality, electoral area, or Treaty First Nation (if applicable) that is the participant in a regional district service. Participating area approval may be obtained in one of four ways, depending on the type of participant (e.g. municipality, electoral area, or Treaty First Nation) and the nature of the service:

  • Assent voting
  • Alternative approval process
  • Municipal and Treaty First Nation consent
  • Electoral area consent

In addition to approval from the Inspector of Municipalities, participating area approval is required in most situations before a regional district board may adopt a service establishing bylaw. Participating area approval is also required for most regional district loan authorization bylaws.

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Waste Management Plan Exception

Under the Environmental Management Act, if a municipality or regional district has been directed by the minister responsible for the Act to prepare a waste management plan for approval, or already has a waste management plan approved by the minister, then a bylaw adopted for the purpose of preparing the plan or implementing an approved plan does not require a petition, the assent of the electors or the approval of the electors.

Forms of Participating Area Approval

There are four forms of regional district participating area approval. Elector assent through assent voting may be used in any situation, and the other forms of participating area approval may only be used in specific circumstances. For municipal and Treaty First Nation participants, participating area approval is most commonly obtained through consent. For electoral area participants, participating area approval is most commonly obtained through approval of the electors.

Unless authorized by the regional district board, participating area approval must be obtained separately for each participating area. If approval is obtained through assent voting or the alternative approval process, the board may authorize through a resolution adopted by two-thirds of the votes cast that participating area approval be obtained for the entire proposed service area together.

Assent Voting

Assent voting (referendum) is a form of elector approval that allows electors to vote on whether a local government proposal moves forward or not. Assent of the electors is obtained if a majority of the votes counted are in favour of the bylaw or question posed by the local government. Assent voting may be used in any case for participating area approval. For Treaty First Nations, individuals who may vote in assent voting are those who are qualified and registered to vote under a law of the Treaty First Nation.

Alternative Approval Process

The alternative approval process allows electors to indicate whether they are against a local government proposal moving forward. If 10 percent or more of the eligible electors in the area to which the process relates submit response forms, the local government may not proceed with the action or proposal unless it obtains the assent of the electors.

The alternative approval process may be used in any case for participating area approval of loan authorization bylaws, and may only be used for service establishing bylaws if one of the following conditions apply:

  • The maximum amount that may be requisitioned is equivalent to $0.50 for each $1,000 of net taxable value of land and improvements included in the service area
  • The bylaw relates to a service for sewage, water, solid waste or recyclable material.

Learn more about the alternative approval process.

Municipal & Treaty First Nation Consent

Municipalities and Treaty First Nations may provide consent on behalf of their electors as participating area approval for a regional district service or loan authorization bylaw. Consent is obtained if the municipal council or Treaty First Nation governing body passes a resolution to adopt the proposed bylaw, and notifies the regional district board of its consent.

Municipal or Treaty First Nation consent may only be used if the entire municipality or Treaty First Nation is in the service area (for example, it is not a service for a portion of the municipality or the Treaty First Nation).

Electoral Area Consent

Regional district electoral area directors may provide consent on behalf of their electors as participating area approval for a regional district service or loan authorization bylaw only in specified circumstances. To consent, the electoral area director must provide written consent to adoption of the proposed bylaw.

Electoral area consent may be used if the regional district board receives a sufficient petition from property owners for a service or loan authorization bylaw. It may also be used if the service is one of the exceptions listed in Local Government Act section 339, and the participating area includes all of the electoral area and the service can be established without borrowing.