Incorporated in 1968, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) is a local government federation consisting of four municipalities (District of Lillooet, Village of Pemberton, Resort Municipality of Whistler, District of Squamish) and four unincorporated rural Electoral Areas (A, B, C, D).
Regional Districts are a governance structure that is unique to British Columbia, established to provide governance and decision-making for unincorporated (rural) areas, shared local government services and a forum for regional decision-making. Like the other regional district governments in the province, the SLRD derives its authority to govern primarily under the Local Government Act and the Community Charter of British Columbia.
A Primer on Regional Districts in British Columbia contains more detailed information on why regional districts were formed and how they function.
Headquartered in Pemberton, which is the approximate geographic centre of the region, the SLRD is governed by a 11-member Board of Directors, made up of elected municipal and electoral area representatives. The SLRD’s administration is overseen by a Chief Administrative Officer appointed by the Board.
The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District's mission is to enhance the quality of life of constituents through the facilitation of regional and community services for the benefit of present and future generations.
- To govern with courage, integrity and respect in an open, honest and responsible manner, using both common sense and the best available information;
- To respect social, environmental and economic values and limitations while maintaining a high quality of life in all areas of our diverse region.
The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District will lead Regional Governance in the Province of B.C. through cooperation and cohesive participation by its members.
The SLRD delivers a wide variety of services including: land use planning, solid waste management, building inspection, fire protection, emergency preparedness, 911 services, recreation, water and sewer utilities, transit, trails and open spaces as well as financial support for libraries, television rebroadcasting and similar community services. Services can be grouped into three main categories:
- Regional – where all municipalities and electoral areas are served;
- Sub-regional – where two or more jurisdictions are served; or
- Local – where one electoral area, or part of an electoral area, is served.
There are some services that regional districts automatically have, with no bylaw requirement. Some examples of these services include: general administration, electoral area administration, undertaking feasibility studies in relation to proposed services, and administration of the regional hospital district.
The choice of services is determined by the Regional Board, but only with the support of the electors. As a result, the scope of services varies with each regional district, according to local circumstances.
Establishing bylaws are required for most services. These bylaws must be approved by the Inspector of Municipalities and receive participating area approval, either through a referendum, petition, alternate approval process, or consent by a municipal council or an electoral area director. The Local Government Act sets out the rules regarding the various approval processes.
Each service has a defined set of participants, a defined purpose and boundary, method of cost recovery, and sometimes a maximum amount to be requisitioned. Regional districts deliver services on a user-pay basis and only those individuals who benefit from the service pay for the service.