The 28 Regional Districts were created by the Province in the late 1960s. They cover the entire province, but vary widely in size, population density and political complexity. For example, the Stikine Regional District covers 130,000 square kilometres and contains no municipalities and just 1,300 people. The Greater Vancouver Regional District covers just one fifth of that area, but contains 21 municipalities and over 2,180,000 people. Regional District powers are largely derived from the Local Government Act.
Regional districts exist to provide:
- local governance in rural areas outside of existing municipalities.
- an opportunity for municipalities to work together to provide regional services including parks, transit and waste management.
Regional district powers:
- include most, but not all, of those held by municipalities.
- do not include the ability to enact some bylaws, including those regulating Pesticide Use, Invasive Species, and Watercourse Protection. Municipalities are granted powers to regulate in these areas by the Province in its Community Charter (section 9), which does not apply to regional districts.