The series consists of improvement district letters patent and bylaw register files, 1922-2011. These records document the creation and dissolution of improvement districts, the approval and registration of their bylaws, and provincial government advice and support. Letters patent are the legal instruments for incorporating improvement districts in BC. They establish the name, boundary, services, voting procedures, and other fundamental aspects of each improvement district. Supplementary letters patent cover changes to improvement district boundaries, services, or the number of trustees. Improvement districts were initially created under the Water Act (SBC 1914, c. 81) to provide water and irrigation services to their residents. From 1914 to 1979, administrative responsibility for most improvement districts resided with the Office of the Comptroller of Water Rights (Water Rights Branch). In 1956, responsibility for improvement districts that provided fire protection came under the Dept. of Municipal Affairs, 1934-1976. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs (1978-1986) assumed administrative responsibility for all improvement districts in 1979 with the enactment of the Municipal Act (RSBC 1979, c. 290). This administrative responsibility continues under the Local Government Act (RSBC 2015, c. 1) with the following ministries: Municipal Affairs and Transit, 1986; Municipal Affairs, 1986-1988; Municipal Affairs, Recreation, and Culture, 1988-1991; Municipal Affairs, Recreation, and Housing, 1991-1993; Municipal Affairs, 1993-1996; Municipal Affairs and Housing,1996-1998; Municipal Affairs, 1998-2001; Community, Aboriginal, and Women’s Services, 2001-2005; Community Services, 2005-2008; and Community Development, 2008-2009. Regional districts, introduced in 1965, provide many of the services once provided by improvement districts so new improvement districts will not likely be created. All improvement district bylaws are filed with the ministry and some require registration with the Inspector of Municipalities before taking effect. Others do not require registration, taking effect upon adoption by the trustees of the improvement district.
The records include correspondence, indexes, letters patent and supplementary letters patent, orders in council, approval certificates, and maps. They are arranged alphabetically by improvement district name; some of the records also contain an improvement district number and code. The records were classified under 52000-40 (improvement district letters patent files) of the Local Government Services ORCS, 2006 (schedule 126379).
British Columbia. Water Rights Branch