Municipal restructure describes the establishment, expansion, consolidation or reclassification of municipal governance in a community. Incremental municipal boundary changes follow a fairly routine procedure, while major boundary restructuring, incorporation or amalgamation are fundamental changes that require a more involved public process.
Incorporation & Classification
Increased local representation, the desire for more or different services, and a strong community vision often motivate unincorporated communities within electoral areas to consider incorporating as a municipality.
Incorporation generally consolidates regional district-provided services, improvement district services (if any), and key B.C. government services and roles related to roads, policing, and tax collection under a new municipality, which then becomes a member of the regional district.
Significant boundary extensions, which add additional lands to the municipality or radically change the composition of the municipal tax base, are considered municipal restructures.
A boundary restructure involves the minister responsible for local government consulting with and examining the impacts to the affected area, and the municipal council seeking approval of its constituents. These restructures involve examining possible impacts to taxation, revenues, infrastructure and overall service provision by the municipality and the potential impacts on the remaining electoral area.
Amalgamation is a form of incorporation involving two or more existing municipalities. While relatively uncommon since the advent of regional districts to facilitate regional and sub-regional service partnerships, neighbouring municipalities have considered amalgamation throughout B.C.'s history.
Under section the Community Charter, two or more municipalities can only amalgamate if more than 50% of the voters in each municipality favour doing so.
As with any other incorporation, the creation of an amalgamated municipality requires following the established restructure process and principles set out below.
A municipality's classification as a city, district, village, or town is set at time of incorporation and becomes part of the common municipal identity. Reclassification can occur when a municipality determines that a different status would better reflects its growth and development. Examples include the City of Maple Ridge (prior to 2014, the District of Maple Ridge) and the City of Delta (prior to 2017, the Corporation of Delta).