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Archival description
British Columbia. Ministry of Municipal Affairs (1978-1986)
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Minister of Municipal Affairs correspondence

  • GR-0938
  • Series
  • 1978-1979

This series consists of correspondence files of the Minister of Municipal Affairs, from November 1978-1979.

British Columbia. Ministry of Municipal Affairs (1978-1986)

Land use planning and management records

  • GR-3647
  • Series
  • 1950 - 2014

The series consists of records regarding the review and approval by the minister of bylaws concerning land use and planning, amendments to official community plans and their related amending bylaws and changes of zoning. These include case files for individual localities, in particular regional districts. The records were used for legal purposes, research and reference.

The records include a coded subseries, known as the "36 series," which documents planning bylaw review and approval, planning grant review and approval, and ministerial authorizations related to land use planning and management bylaws.

Planning bylaw review and approval involves planning bylaws that require ministerial approval (e.g., regional district, the Islands Trust, and the Resort Municipality of Whistler planning bylaws). Planning staff reviewed those bylaws in order to ensure that they did not conflict with provincial government interests.

Record types include correspondence, forms, briefing notes, bylaws, minutes, studies and reports, official community plans and their supporting documents, records regarding local committee meetings (agendas etc.) public hearings and workshops (public posting of notices, minutes from public hearings), responses from referral agencies (comments on bylaws by government agencies), documents regarding rezoning applications, petitions from the public and news clippings. Intermingled in the predominantly textual records are maps and engineering plans and some photographs. Records also include bylaw submission forms submitted with bylaws requiring approval of the minister.

The creator of the records used a coding system that assigned a code to each local government. For example, the regional district codes consisted of the two-digit alphabetic prefix “RD” for regional district followed by the alphanumeric coding system in use in the ministry responsible for municipal affairs at the time. In many cases the files would be labeled in such a way as to abbreviate the code. While the filing systems initially appear to be aimed at an alphabetical order, by locality, that order is often broken. Local government codes used in this record series can be found in Appendix D of the Administrative Records Classification System 1993 Edition. Some of the codes on files are extended with dashes or decimal numbers which represent subject categories.

The records were created by several ministries which carried out the functions and activities of provincial responsibility for local governments; in addition to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs (the name used at different times), the creators included: the Department of Municipal Affairs; the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing; the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Transit; the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture; and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Housing.

British Columbia. Ministry of Municipal Affairs (1993-1996)

For tomorrow, a planning act

The item consists of a 2 inch video recording originally produced for presentation to the annual conference of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities in September 1980. It was later modified for television broadcast and shown on BCTV November 16, 1980. The video is of Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Vander Zalm discussing a proposed Land Use Planning Act for British Columbia. The legislation discussed was introduced into the Legislature as Bill 9 in December 1981, then revised and reintroduced as Bill 72 (The Land Use Act) in July 1982. Bill 72 died on the order paper.

British Columbia. Ministry of Municipal Affairs (1978-1986)

Improvement district letters patent and bylaw register files

  • GR-3978
  • Series
  • 1922 - 2011

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

Correspondence

  • GR-1300
  • Series
  • 1979-1981

This series contains the Minister of Municipal Affairs's correspondence regarding towns, cities and regional districts.

British Columbia. Ministry of Municipal Affairs (1978-1986)

Local government bylaw advice and approvals

  • GR-3635
  • Series
  • 1914-2010

The series consists of records concerning bylaw advice and approvals (by the Province) for municipalities, villages, improvement districts and dissolved improvement districts. They include minister's orders, statutory approvals, and minister's authorizations of municipal and regional district bylaws and other requests.

These records show how the legal authority of the provincial government over local governments has been exercised over time. The records provide a history of the information, growth, structure, and activities of local government in British Columbia throughout most of the twentieth century, as well as documenting provincial government influence over these matters.

The series includes correspondence of the Inspector of Municipalities and of the Director of Municipal Administration division, regarding matters such as letters patent; election procedures; municipal status; capital loan bylaws; budget and tax rate bylaws; reserve fund bylaws; rates, charges and frontage tax bylaws; borrowing bylaws, and traffic bylaws.

The records include certificates of approval, with attachments such as the related bylaw or correspondence outlining the reasons for the requests for ministerial approval. They also include the minister’s approval register, which provides a summary of and index to ministerial approvals of municipal and regional district bylaws and other requests. The register contains the approval number, date of approval, name of municipality or regional district, and purpose of the bylaw. Records include lot plans, subdivision plans and other cartographic materials, and a small number of photographs.

The series also consists of records relating to the registration of village bylaws. From 1920 to August 17, 1998, villages were required to register their bylaws with the inspector of municipalities. This requirement began with the Village Municipalities Act (SBC 1920, c.65) and continued under the Municipal Act (s. 259(2). With the coming into force of Bill 31 in 1998, villages were no longer required to register their bylaws. They are now only required to submit for approval the same type of bylaws as other municipalities (e.g. loan authorization and security issuing bylaws).

Document types include various approved registered bylaws from municipalities, signed by the Minister and Inspector of Municipalities. Included are village bylaws, bylaws for villages that changed their status, and newly incorporated municipalities that were registered from 1920 to 1998, with attachments such as fee schedules or agreements.

Shannon files are boxed and contain at the front of the file a “resume” (index) of ministerial approvals arranged by approval number and date. They include the relevant municipality or regional district, purpose of the approval, and relevant act and section of act. These records are arranged alphabetically by name of municipality then numerically by bylaw number.

The series also consists of records of dissolved improvement districts, also created by various ministries and departments with the municipal affairs function. Within those departments and ministries, a division and office was responsible for local government services, and specifically responsible for overseeing the affairs of improvement districts throughout the province, including those handling waterworks, fire protection, and irrigation and drainage.

Records regarding the improvement districts include but are not limited to: first organization and letters patent, by-laws and their amendment, financial statements and annual returns, and dissolution of the improvement district. Improvement district records are located in accessions 88-0618, 91-0125 and 91-0296.

While some of the records were scheduled according to the Operational Records Classification System for “Local Government Services,” schedule #126379, many were classified by earlier systems.

British Columbia. Ministry of Municipal Affairs (1978-1986)

Regional and local government structure historical policy files

  • GR-3972
  • Series
  • 1912 - 1999

The series consists of records documenting the creation of regional and local government structures and policies, and subsequent amendments to these structures and policies. Many of the records were created during the development of the province’s regional and local government system starting with the Dept. of Municipal Affairs in 1934. Prior to this, municipal matters were administered by a municipal branch of the Dept. of the Attorney-General. The records were the responsibility of the following: Dept. of Municipal Affairs,1934-1976; Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, 1976-1978; Ministry of Municipal Affairs, 1978-1986; Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Transit, 1986; Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation, and Culture, 1988-1991; Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation, and Housing, 1991-1993; Ministry of Municipal Affairs, 1993-1996; Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, 1996-1998; and Ministry of Municipal Affairs, 1998-2001. The records cover the formation of regional districts, the role of regional district boards, and regional district services reviews by the provincial government. They also cover regional planning and other related issues such as land use for park purposes and subdivisions, refuse and sewage disposal, air quality/pollution, public transportation, fire protection, taxation, cost-sharing between different levels of government, property tax, and other financial matters. The records also include bylaw approvals, letters patent, supplementary letters patent, and amendments to electoral areas. The records were created under the Local Services Act (RSBC 1996, c. 276) and the Local Government Act (RSBC 1996, c. 323).

The records are arranged by regional district name and regional district coding system or by topic. They consist of correspondence, minutes and agendas, reports, maps, bylaws, letters patent, news clippings, and contracts. They were initially regional district day to day operational files so were also assigned bylaw advice and approvals ORCS numbers (51030, 51040) from the Local Government Services ORCS, 2006. The function of these records changed when the program area started collecting and using them as regional and local government structure historical policy files. This artificial collection was eventually classified as policy and procedures files (55000-00), reflecting the final purpose of this record series.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Attorney-General

Municipal corporation case files

  • GR-3992
  • Series
  • 1974 - 1996

The series consists of records documenting situations where municipalities establish or join corporations for the purpose of carrying out commercial activities such as community forests or purchasing shares in a company to build infrastructure, such as arenas. Local governments may enter into these arrangements because they want a separation of authority to shield local taxpayers from potential legal or financial risks. The records relate to commercial, industrial or business undertakings, including local government resolutions approving the incorporation of or purchase of shares in a company, the agreement between the local government and the company, and articles of incorporation. The Local Government Act (RSBC 1996, c. 323) provides that a local government may engage in commercial, industrial or business undertaking and incorporate a company or buy shares in a company already involved in the undertaking with the requirement that the local government receive approval from the Inspector of Municipalities. The records were created between 1974 and 1996 by the ministry responsible for municipal affairs.

The records are arranged by local government classification and then by the name of the municipality or regional district. They include correspondence, copies of local government resolutions, and copies of articles of incorporation. The records are classified as municipal corporation case files (54030-60) under the 2006 version of the Local Government Services ORCS.

British Columbia. Ministry of Municipal Affairs (1993-1996)

Water rights plans

  • CM/S5-7
  • Series
  • 1892-1981

Introduction: Throughout its existence, the Water Rights Branch (WRB) acquired and created a large central set of plans, maps, and engineering drawings which was assigned a single set of sequential water rights plan numbers. Over time, the original plan series was divided into separate sub- series for the use of particular operational units. The topics documented in the series and in each sub- series are discussed in the scope and contents notes below. The plans are listed in plan number and water rights district order in the series list which follows this overview. The structure and contents of this list are explained in the arrangement section below. Scope and Content: The water rights plans series documents a broad range of WRB activities. It includes: plans and engineering drawings submitted to the WRB by individuals, corporations, and municipalities as part of their applications for water licences or for approval of works; survey plans and maps prepared by WRB field engineers and regional engineers in support of licensing activities, irrigation studies, water power investigations and dam inspections; general reference maps used by WRB staff; and a variety of charts, graphs, and other items used for WRB functions such as stream measurement and precipitation monitoring. Taken as a whole, this series constitutes a wealth of often highly detailed cartographic information on regions and communities throughout British Columbia- - information which in many cases is not available elsewhere. Of particular interest are early large- scale maps and plans which provide extensive topographic information and vegetation notes for many areas of B.C. well before those areas were covered by standard topographic maps, including areas which were later flooded due to dam construction. As well, some of the early plans of towns and of agricultural, commercial, and industrial sites include such detailed cultural and cadastral information as the location and identity of buildings and the names of property owners affected by proposed water projects. And of course, the series contains invaluable documentation of specific major hydro- electric, irrigation, and waterworks projects in the form of site plans and engineering (structural) drawings. The series' value is enhanced by the fact that many of the items contain numbers which can be used to link the items with related records such as water records, conditional and final licences; correspondence files, water rights and reference maps, field notes, and a variety of reports. The water rights plans received by BC ARCHIVES consist of three main sub- series that have been separated from the plans held at the Water Management Branch. To a large extent the topics and document types described above are found in all of the sub- series but each sub- series does exhibit certain characteristics which reflect its provenance. Arrangement: Although the Water Rights Plans consist of three distinct sub- series, a single comprehensive list of the items has been compiled for the convenience of researchers. In part one of this series list, the item descriptions are arranged sequentially according to the water rights plan numbers. In part two, the list is sorted geographically, according to the water rights districts in existence at the time the various items were filed. Researchers should note that the BC ARCHIVES series list is based primarily on the original Water Rights Branch plan registers (see BC ARCHIVES reel B1949 for a microfilm copy) rather than on the items themselves. The dates given in the list are the dates of filing and the descriptions presented are close (but not exact) transcriptions of the descriptions in the registers. The registers also often contain information not transcribed into in the BC ARCHIVES list such as the plan origins, creator names, material types, and numbers identifying related records. The creator names, in particular, can sometimes be used to link the plans with other records produced by the same creator such as the early regional engineers' reports published in the annual reports of the WRB. Since the water rights plan numbers were assigned sequentially, part one of the BC ARCHIVES series list is in chronological order. However, a single plan number often covers numerous individual items and the date of the items themselves sometimes does not match the date of filing. Similarly, the descriptions usually refer to the items originally filed under a given plan number. In some cases not all of the items pertaining to a number were transferred to BC ARCHIVES and in a few cases it appears that the original items filed under a given number were replaced by later plans pertaining to the same general topic. Therefore, while the list usually provides researchers with a strong indication of the types of items found under a plan number, it is necessary to consult the items themselves, using the call numbers provided in the list, in order to determine the precise nature of their contents. The items are physically arranged in call number order within each of the sub- series. Separate lists of each sub- series can be made available, but the sub- series origin of any particular item in the main list can be readily determined by consulting the item's call number against the chart at the beginning of the list.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Works