Regional District Restructure
Regional district restructure is the process for considering and implementing significant changes to the governance and service delivery for regions and rural communities in B.C.
Regional districts comprise municipalities, electoral areas (non-municipal or rural areas) and in some cases Treaty First Nations. The name, membership, regional district boundary (the outer perimeter and each electoral area within the boundary), and voting strength for the directors are established by letters patent.
In addition to being affected by municipal restructuring, regional districts may be restructured. Regional district restructuring can take many forms, including:
- Changes to regional district boundaries, including adjustment of regional district boundaries and changes to the number and boundaries of electoral areas
- Creation of new regional districts, or amalgamation of of two or more regional districts
- A need to rebalance the distribution, or "weight" of votes on the regional district board due to population changes
Regional districts may also wish to restructure the services they provide. Typically, they have flexibility to provide services to a wide variety of geographic service areas involving a range of participants as they choose. However, if changing service delivery requires changing service governance, restructuring may be needed. This can include:
- Evaluation and implementation of changes to regional or sub-regional service partnerships, such as transferring the responsibility for all or part of a regional district service to a municipality
- Transfer (or conversion) of an independent improvement district to a regional district service
- Service delivery reviews for rural communities.
Restructure of regional districts involves legislated and policy rules. For example, the Local Government Actallows the B.C. government to undertake such restructures on its own. However, as regional district restructures can be complex due to their geography, populations and nature as federations, the B.C government generally considers changes when there is consensus among the component municipalities and electoral areas that the alternative structure would be beneficial.