List of municipalities in British Columbia
British Columbia is the third-most populous province in Canada, with 4,648,055 residents as of 2016, and is the second-largest in land area, at 922,503 km2 (356,180 sq mi). British Columbia's 162 municipalities cover only 11 percent of the province's land mass yet are home to 89 percent of its population. A municipality is a local government incorporated by the province allowing a community to govern itself and to provide and regulate local services. These services typically include, but are not limited to, the provision of drinking water, sewers, roads, fire protection, street lights, garbage/recycling collection, land use planning, building inspection, and parks.
Within their limited jurisdictions, municipalities are autonomous, responsible and accountable to their citizens, to the province and their future residents in the case for the unpopulated Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality. Their powers and responsibilities are regulated through the Local Government Act of British Columbia, the Community Charter, and, in the case of Vancouver, the Vancouver Charter. They have the power of a natural person, the power to expropriate, and the power to establish and enforce bylaws. They are able to raise funds through property taxes and user fees, and borrow a limited amount through the Municipal Finance Authority of British Columbia to pay for capital costs.
Municipalities are governed by a mayor and council who are democratically elected every 4 years on the third Saturday in October or appointed by the province such as the council for Jumbo Glacier. The most recent election took place on October 20, 2018; the next election will take place on October 15, 2022. Each municipality is a member of a regional district to which their councils elect representatives. The board of directors of the regional district is used as a forum to discuss regional issues.
To become a municipality, a community, with the assistance of the provincial Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, defines its borders and holds a referendum on the issue. In the case of Jumbo Glacier, a request to incorporate the unpopulated municipality was submitted by the Regional District of East Kootenay. If successful the Cabinet of British Columbia issues a letters patent incorporating the community. Part 2 of the Local Government Act sets out a classification scheme that gives each new municipality a designation. If the population is fewer than 2,500 people the new municipality is designated a village, if between 2,500 and 5,000 a town, and if greater than 5,000 a city. If the new municipality has an area greater than 800 hectares (2,000 acres) and an average population density of fewer than 5 persons per hectare then is it designated a district municipality. The municipality must request change in designation but is not compelled to do so, despite population growth or loss - Greenwood has retained its city status, for example, rather than relinquishing it as other boomtowns of its era have done. There is no longer any legal difference between the designations.