Last modified: 2005-03-19 by
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There are currently 154 municipalities in BC, plus 28 regional districts. The areas which are not part of an incorporated municipality are included in the RD's except for the Northwest corner of the province: the Stikene region, bordering the Yukon and Alaska, which has no regional government.
The municipalities are classed as follows (number of examples in parentheses):
1. Districts (District Municipalities or Townships) (55)
2. Villages (20)
3. Towns (15)
4. Cities (43)
5. The City of Vancouver (1)
The last distinction is spelled out in the Local Government Act, Definitions: "City" does not include the City of Vancouver. The reason for this is that Vancouver is the only city with a charter and therefore is not under the Local Government Act.
Included under Districts are one Native Indian Government District: Sechelt, one Mountain Resort Municipality: Whistler, and one Island Municipality: Bowen Island. Statistics Canada census information gives the designation "DM" for District Municipality, whether the District officially calls itself "Township of ...", "District of ...", or simply "Corporation of ..."
According to section 17 of the Local Gov't Act:
Classification of municipalities17. (1) A municipality must be incorporated as follows:
(a) as a village, if the population is not greater than 2 500;(2) For the purpose of calculating the average population density, land continually covered by water must not be taken into account.
(b) as a town, if the population is greater than 2 500 but not greater than 5 000;
(c) as a city, if the population is greater than 5 000;
(d) despite paragraphs (a) to (c), as a district if the area to be incorporated is greater than 800 hectares and has an average population density of less than 5 persons per hectare.
(3) Despite subsection (1), if the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers it to be in the public interest to do so, a municipality may be incorporated in another classification provided for in this Act
As indicated in subsection 3, the Provincial Gov't may incorporate a municipality under a different classification if it chooses; also, a "promotion" (or "demotion") from one classification to another is not automatic.
According to the Union of BC Municipalities website there are "cities with populations of 4,000 and even less than 1,000. towns with populations of just over 10,000. District municipalities with higher population densities"
Dean McGee, 28 December 2002