Regional Districts are a type of government unique to British Columbia. The closest equivalent in other provinces would be a county. They deliver certain key regional services, such as supplying drinking water and managing garbage. They also provide basic government for rural areas that are not incorporated as municipalities.
The Sunshine Coast Regional District contains three municipalities (the District of Sechelt, the Town of Gibsons, and the Sechelt Indian Government District). The rest of the district is divided into five “Rural Areas”. People who live in a municipality vote for a Mayor or Chief and Councillors. People who live in the rural areas vote only for their Rural Director, who is their sole local government representative.
Area E, or Elphinstone, is the smallest of the SCRD’s areas in size (21 sq. kilometres) but the largest in terms of population (3,664 as of the 2016 census). See Maps of Area E. Although we sit at the SCRD board with the Sechelt Nation, Elphinstone lies within the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation.
Unlike municipalities, regional districts do not have authority over roads, so all roads in Area E are the responsibility of BC’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). MOTI in turn contracts out road maintenance to a private company, Capilano Highways, which is responsible for filling potholes, painting lines, sweeping, mowing shoulders, and clearing snow.
What Does the SCRD Do?
Here are some of the local services that are funded and/or provided by the SCRD with examples from this area:
- Regional Water Service
- Recycling (via Gibsons Recycling)
- Garbage collection and Sechelt landfill
- Green Waste drop off on Henry Road
- Sunshine Coast Transit
- Recreation Facilities (Gibsons Pool and Gibsons Recreation Centre)
- Parks (including Secret Beach, Whispering Firs)
- Playing fields (Mary Anne West)
- Playgrounds (Cedar Meadows, Grandview Heights, Sunnyside)
- Trails, bike paths and beach accesses (it is SCRD policy not to publish their locations)
- Planning (e.g. issuing building permits)
- Fire service funding (Frank West Fire hall)
- Community Halls (Chaster House, Frank West Hall)
- Cemeteries (Elphinstone Pioneer Cemetery, Seaview Cemetery)
- Bylaw Enforcement
- Dog control
- Regional Economic Development funding
- Emergency program for disaster response