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DEPARTMENT OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS REPORT For the Year Ended December 31st 1955 British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1956

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 PROVINCE   OF  BRITISH   COLUMBIA
DEPARTMENT OF
MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
REPORT
For the Year Ended December 31st
1955
VICTORIA, B.C.
Primed by Don McDiarmid, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty
1956  To His Honour Frank Mackenzie Ross, C.M.G., M.C.,
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of British Columbia.
May it please Your Honour:
I have the honour to transmit herewith the Annual Report of the Department of
Municipal Affairs for the year ended December 31st, 1955.
W. D. BLACK,
Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Victoria, B.C.  Report of the Department of Municipal Affairs
Victoria, B.C., January 25th, 1956.
The Honourable W. D. Black,
Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit herewith the Annual Report of this Department
for the year ended December 31st, 1955.
The equalization of assessments throughout the Province and the addition of landlord and tenant machinery and equipment to the assessment rolls, as well as the normal
increases expected from year to year, have added approximately $425,000,000 to the
1955 assessment rolls of cities, districts, and villages within the Province. This represents
an increase of about 25 per cent over the 1954 gross assessment values.
Approximately one-third of the increase in assessed values is attributable to the
addition of the value of landlord and tenant machinery and equipment to the assessment
rolls of city and district municipalities. One-third of the increase is the result of the
equalization of assessments throughout the municipalities. The remaining one-third is
considered to be the normal increase expected over the previous year's assessed values.
This increase in gross assessed values resulted in increases of approximately
$360,000,000 in values taxable and $165,000,000 in values actually taxed for municipal
purposes during 1955. The values taxed for school purposes exceed the values taxed
for municipal purposes by approximately $344,000,000. Figures are shown in the following tables:—
Total Assessed Value of Land and Improvements, 1955
1954 Total
Land
Improvements
Other than Landlord and Tenant
Machinery and
Equipment
Landlord and
Tenant
Machinery and
Equipment
1955 Total
$391,863,512
455,853,772
71,847,732
$93,366,910
122,102,431
2,244,142
$414,853,506
521,345,057
12,757,158
$31,488,919
63,685,491
$539,709,335
Districts _ —
707,132,979
15,001,300
	
Totals	
$919,565,016
706,403,564
$217,713,483
203,469,860
$948,955,721
535,283,762
$95,174,410
51,274,887
$1,261,843,614
Vancouver	
790,028,509
$1,625,968,580
$421,183,343
$1,484,239,483
$146,449,297
$2,051,872,123
Values Taxable
$303,202,479
377,106,007
58,124,451
$73,214,413
107,112,454
2,044,371
$311,717,678
434,594,914
9,841,717
$30,887,536
59,249,095
$415,819,627
Districts   .-.	
600,956,463
11,886 088
Totals	
$738,432,937
583,378,389
$182,371,238
162,767,520
$756,154,309
445,228,837!
$90,136,631
47,784,780
$1,028,662,178
"    655,781,137
Grand totals	
$1,321,811,326
$345,138,758
$1,201,383,146
$137,921,411
$1,684,443,315
1 $489,751,720 gross value taxable for school purposes. AA 6
BRITISH COLUMBIA
Values Actually Taxed, 1955
Municipal Purposes
1954 Total      !           Land
Improvements
1955 Total
Cities 	
$182,543,676    |       $72,902,463
250,507,086    |        107,110,644
37,697,039    j           2,044,371
$156,633,587
277,244,217
5,546,318
$229,536,050
384,354,861
7,590,689
Totals 	
$470,747,801     |     $182,067,478
371.345,529    j        162,767,520
$439,424,122
222,614,418
$621,481,600
385,381,938
$842,093,330     1      Si344 834.998     1      S667.038.540
$1,006,863,538
1
School Purposes
Land
Improvements
1955 Total
$73,203,593
107,413,509
$251,374,772
352,945,106
$324,578,365
460,358,615
$180,617,102
162,767,520
$604,319,878
403,152,375
$784,936,980
565,919,895
$343,384,622
$1,007,472,253
$1,350,856,875
During the year approximately $8,750,000 in new debentures were approved, which
is a decrease of nearly $200,000 compared with 1954. The amount and purpose for
which new debentures were approved are set out below (Vancouver does not require
approval):—
Purpose
Cities
Districts
Villages
Total
Civic projects-
Drainage	
Electric light....
Hospitals	
Local improvements  	
Protection to persons and property-
Roads and streets 	
Sewers _.   	
Waterworks —
Miscellaneous..
$75,000
78,000
270,000
258,798
101,000
471,1001
86,000
813,000
273,000
Totals _
!,425,898
$152,000
36,000
209,594
305,000
980,200
924.7002
2,458,6353
51,000
$641,000
575,000
I
$227,000
36,000
78,000
270.000
468,392
406,000
1,451,300
1,651,700
3,846.635
324,000
$5,117,129
$1,216,000
 I
1,759,027
1 $419,100 issued under "Local Improvement Act."
- $595,000 issued under "Local Improvement Act."
3 $219,635 issued under "Local Improvement Act."
The latest figures available for total debenture debt as at December 31st, 1954, are
summarized as follows:—
Total Debenture Debt
Issued, Sold,
and Outstanding
Unissued
and Unsold
Total
Cities _     	
$39,455,679
28,655,636
2,748,919
$519,352
100,590
47,500
$39,975,031
28,756,226
Villages    —	
2,796,419
Totals -	
Vancouver    	
$70,860,234
115,000,447
$667,442
3,866,000
$71,527,676
118,866,447
$185,860,681
$4,533,442
$190,394,123 REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
AA 7
This Department has been advised by the Department of Finance of the Federal
Government that all semi-annual repayments have been made on loans which were
obtained under the provisions of the " Municipalities Improvements Assistance Act,
1938."   The following table shows the outstanding amounts as at January 1st, 1956:—
Loans Made under the Provisions of the " Municipal Improvements Assistance
Act, 1938," Guaranteed by the Province of British Columbia, as at January 1st, 1956.
Municipality
Loan
No.
Amount
Advanced
Balance
Outstanding
1
2
21
22
31
32
33
54
56
57
59
60
67
68
69
81
84
85
89
94
95
$750,000.00
390,000.00
39,224.15
200,000.00
18,750.00
11,000.00
140.192.50
130,000.00
66,000.00
10,000.00
40,000.00
40,000.00
8,400.00
41,000.00
12,500.00
44,000.00
39,200.00
100,000.00
8,000.00
15,000.00
11,491.05
$313,773.46
101,744.44
10,232.93
20,492.77
719.33
61,612.15
City of Trail                                                                        	
30,294.74
City of Port Alberni    ...                           	
17,218.30
22,302.97
641.33
9,554.51
12,691.97
21,856.91
48,109.32
2,087.05
8,363.60
440.85
Totals    	
$2,114,757.70
$682,136.63
1 Changed from district to city status, April 30th, 1948.
2 This liability now assumed by The Corporation of the Village of Warfield.
Amortized payments due December 31st, 1955, and January 1st, 1956, made by all municipalities.
All money by-laws, before being approved for submission to the electors, were carefully examined as to necessity, the estimated cost, the financial ability of the municipality
to repay the loan, and the relation of the life of the works to the maturity date of the
debentures. Care was also taken to see that the debt burden resulting from combining
the existing and proposed debt charges was not unduly excessive for any particular year.
When local improvement debentures were submitted for certification, evidence was
required that proper assessments had been levied and all statutory requirements complied
with.
At the end of 1954, reserve funds amounted to $6,898,758, being an increase over
the previous year of $1,827,188. These funds are available for general or specific capital
expenditures, such as construction, renewal, or purchase of utilities and public works
projects, as well as the purchase of equipment. The practice of setting up reserve funds
appears to be growing, and the municipalities which have adopted this policy are to be
commended.
The Board of Examiners appointed pursuant to the provisions of Part XXIV of the
" Municipal Act " held two meetings during the year. The most significant action was
a resolution to recommend to the Government that, commencing with the year 1965, it
be a condition of employment that all municipal officers be certified by the Board of
Examiners, with the proviso that the Chairman of the Board be authorized to issue temporary certificates in special cases. This proposal was placed before the Union of British
Columbia Municipalities in convention at Prince George in October, 1955, and received
endorsation. AA 8
BRITISH COLUMBIA
The course in municipal administration being offered by the University of British
Columbia under the sponsorship of the Department is now well into its third year. Total
enrolment for the 1955-56 year is made up of: First year, 51; second year, 29; and third
year, 40.
Four-day institutes were held at the University in June 1955, for both of last year's
classes and the results of the examinations were as follows: Completing first year, 33,
and completing second year, 37.
Junior diplomas were granted by the University to all students successfully completing the second year of the course.
The Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Municipal Officers' Association was held
in Victoria on June 14th and 15th, 1955. The greater use of panel discussion proved
very acceptable and helpful. More people had an opportunity to participate, and there
was a wider variety of topics of interest to the membership. The attendance surpassed all
previous records, both as to numbers present and municipalities represented.
The presentation, in broad outline, of proposed changes and innovations in the
projected municipal legislation to the Convention of the Union of British Columbia
Municipalities was a new and unique experience for the members of the Department who
participated. Your policy of setting up a consulting office at the Convention was again
most successful, and many problems were discussed with the elected officials throughout
the holding of the Convention.
The Corporation of the City of Langley was formed on March 15th, 1955, and
comprises the former portion of The Corporation of the Township of Langley known as
Langley Prairie.   The area of the city is 2,516 acres and has a population of 2,022.
On September 15th, 1955, a plebiscite was held to ascertain whether the voters of
the Cranberry Lake, Powell River Townsite, Westview, and Wildwood areas as defined
in the " Powell River Incorporation Act " wished to form a district municipality. The
result was favourable in each of the areas, and on October 15th, 1955, there came into
existence a new district municipality called " The Corporation of the District of Powell
River " having an area of 10,049 acres and a population of 9,077. At the same time
The Corporation of the Village of Cranberry Lake, The Corporation of the Village of
Westview, the Cranberry Waterworks District, the Westview Light, Power, and Waterworks District, and the Wildwood Light, Water, and Sewerage District, whose territorial
limits were included within the new district municipality, were dissolved.
The Corporation of the Village of Lumby was incorporated on December 20th,
1955, with an area of 881 acres and a population of 778.
In 1955, extensions of boundaries were granted to the Villages of Comox, Dawson
Creek, Qualicum Beach, Quesnel, and Squamish. The following table shows the increase
in area as well as population:—
Area (in Acres)
Population
Village
Before
Extension of
Boundaries
Contained
in Area
Added
After
Extension of
Boundaries
Before
Extension of
Boundaries
Contained
in Area
Added
After
Extension of
Boundaries
873
957
1,060
778
425
170
1,649
150
797
230
1,043
2,606
1,210
1,575
655
772
3,825
771
1,608
1,144
105
1,075
18
2,167
877
4,900
Qualicum Beach— ~ 	
789
3,775
1,144
The population is the 1951 census plus additions brought about by extensions of
boundaries since then to December 31st, 1955.
The most significant changes or additions enacted by the 1955 Session of the Legislature which affected municipalities are as follows:— REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS AA 9
"Assessment Equalization Act, 1953."—One of the changes provided that, commencing with the 1955 school budgets, Provincial educational grants and apportionment
of school budgets between municipal corporations and rural areas will be based on current
year assessed values as confirmed by the Court of Revision and by the Assessment Commissioner.   Other changes made were chiefly of a technical nature.
"Public Schools Act."—A number of changes were made to this Act, amongst
which is a new formula resulting in a basic mill rate for school purposes commencing
with the year 1955.
" Taxation Act."—In so far as municipalities are concerned, the principal amendment permits the Minister of Finance, at his discretion, to authorize the use of Provincial
Assessors in carrying out reassessments in municipalities when required and provides for
the payment of the cost by the municipality.
" Local Improvement Act."—One of the principal amendments permits the Council
to lower the rate of interest for the debentures to be issued after the Court of Revision
has confirmed the assessment for local improvement rates. In such an event the tax rates
are reduced accordingly. Councils were also empowered to charge interest on moneys
borrowed from the Local Improvement Fund to pay the owners' share of the cost of the
work. Another amendment gives the Council of a district municipality discretionary
power to assess rates either on land or land and improvements for certain works. Other
amendments were of a minor nature.
"Municipal Assessment Validation Act, 1955."—A number of municipalities experienced difficulty in the meeting the time-limits set out in the " Municipal Act" and the
"Assessment Equalization Act, 1953," for the completion of the 1955 assessment roll and
the sending-out of the assessment notices. There was also some doubt regarding procedures relating to the Courts of Revision. This Act validates the 1955 assessment rolls
and valuations thereon as well as the acts of the Courts of Revision.
" Municipal Act."—Several changes were made regarding assessment and taxation
to bring this Act into conformity with the " Public Schools Act " and the "Assessment
Equalization Act, 1953." Registered charges and judgments are no longer deducted
from the assessed value of property in determining the qualifications for the office of
Mayor and Alderman in cities and Reeve and Councillor in district municipalities. The
fee which may be charged for furnishing copies of by-laws was increased. The maximum
regional library tax which may be charged against property-holders was raised from $2
to $3. Power was given to permit municipalities to purchase and sell any and all types
of gas products. Certain other changes were made, most of which were of a technical
nature.
" Municipalities Aid Act, 1955."—This Act replaces the former " Municipalities Aid
Act" and provides a new formula for grants to municipalities. The new local government grant is on a per capita basis, the per capita amount decreasing with increased
population.
" Village Municipalities Act."—The most important amendment provided that, commencing with and for the year 1956, section 2 and Division (1) of Part VIII of the
" Municipal Act " dealing with assessment and taxation shall apply to village municipalities with certain exceptions. Amongst the exceptions is that the Provincial Assessor of
the assessment district within which the village is situate shall be its assessor and return
the completed and authenticated assessment roll to the Clerk not later than March 15th.
This is done without cost to the village. The fee which may be charged for furnishing
copies of by-laws was increased. Registered charges and judgments are no longer
deducted from assessed value of property in determining qualifications for the office of
Commissioner. Power to enter into agreements for providing fire protection outside the
village limits was granted. The definition of revenue was clarified and conforms with
that in the " Municipal Act." Other amendments of a minor and technical nature were
made. AA 10 BRITISH COLUMBIA
" Village Municipalities Assistance Act."—Provision was made for the guarantee of
the Province to be signed by persons appointed by the Minister of Finance.
"Elderly Citizens' Housing Aid Act."-—For some years the Provincial Government
has assisted municipalities and non-profit corporations in the construction of homes for
elderly persons of low income. It was felt desirable to enact legislation governing such
assistance.
" Township of Chilliwhack Drainage Act."—Among the changes made to this Act
is a proviso that where the estimated cost of the construction of a ditch is in excess of
$5,000, approval of three-fifths of the owners must be obtained prior to undertaking the
work. Another is that appeals are to be heard by a Judge of the County Court instead
of the Council sitting as a Court of Revision.
"City of Greenwood Debt Refunding Act, 1941—42."—One of the restrictions of
this Act is that until the refunding debentures are fully paid, the city may not pay any
salary or remuneration to any member of the Council. This restriction has been eased to
permit payment to each member of the Council remuneration up to a maximum of $300
per year.
"Kitimat Incorporation Act, 1953."—This Act was amended to give The Corporation of the District of Kitimat additional special borrowing power to keep pace with the
demands made upon it caused by the rapid development of the community due to the
further increased industrial expansion in the area.
"Powell River Incorporation Act."—This Act empowered the Lieutenant-Governor
in Council to incorporate as a district municipality those parts of the unorganized area of
Powell River and the improvement districts and villages which vote in favour of being
incorporated into the district. As stated earlier in this Report, all parts voted in favour
of incorporation, and The Corporation of the District of Powell River was incorporated
on October 15th, 1955.
"Richmond Drainage and Dyking Act, 1936."—Power was conferred to enable the
municipality to alter or join all or any of the works undertaken pursuant to this Act.
"Greater Nanaimo Water District Act."—Several minor amendments of a technical
nature were made to this Act. An additional section was added to provide that the
" Public Utilities Act" does not apply to the district except for the distribution of water
in the area outside the district.
"Greater Victoria Water District Act."—The amendment empowers the Board to
locate its head office at the most convenient place, providing it is within 8 miles of the
Victoria City Hall.
Regulations were made pursuant to both clauses (c) and (/) of section 9 of the
" Village Municipalities Act." The " Pool-rooms Act" was made applicable to all village
municipalities. Other regulations provided for certain portions of the " Municipal Act"
to be applicable to all village municipalities. Amongst these latter was the power to assess
and tax the holder or occupier of tax-exempt railway lands, to pay the premiums of
benefit, accident, sickness, or life insurance policies, and to pay the premium of any
contract for medical services provided on an employee group basis for employees and
their dependents. It was also necessary to pass regulations making portions of the
" Municipal Act" applicable to specific village municipalities.
In order to clarify the duties and functions of the members of the staff, to designate
the lines of authority, and to provide for an organization which can be expanded to meet
the growing demands made on the Department, a plan of organization together with a job
classification was presented to and accepted by the Civil Service Commission.
An in-service committee recommended that personnel and Departmental accounting
records be centralized. In accordance with this recommendation, payroll and personnel
records for the Planning Division were taken over and combined with those of the
Municipal Branch. The filing systems have also been brought together. This should
greatly increase the efficiency and output of the Planning Division. REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
AA 11
An Assistant Planner was added to the staff of the Planning Division.
Legislation passed in 1955 transferred the responsibility for the administration of
the estates of the insane from the Inspector of Municipalities to an Official Committee
functioning under the Department of the Attorney-General.
I am happy to report that all members of the staff have worked conscientiously and
energetically throughout the year. Only through their loyal service has the Department
been able to keep up with the volume of work that has been performed during the past
year.
I would like also to record my sincere appreciation for their unfailing courtesy and
assistance, to the municipal officials (both elected and appointed), to the executive and
staff of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, to the departmental heads and staff
of the other departments of Government, and, last but not least, to you, Sir, for your
direction, support, and encouragement.
J. E. BROWN,
Deputy Minister. 39VO-N3 0fc_3c_I REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS A A 13
REPORT OF THE SUPERVISOR OF MUNICIPALITIES
Victoria, B.C., January 24th, 1956.
/. E. Brown, Esq.,
Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Sir,—This is the fourth Report published separately from Municipal Statistics. The
only major change in the latter has been the inclusion of a centre-spread map showing
the approximate location of the various cities, districts, and villages in the Province.
Continued efforts have been made stressing the importance of the early publication of
information relating to our municipalities. However, it is regretted that I must report
that the printing of the 1954 Municipal Statistics v/as materially delayed, as others have
been in the past, because of the lack of co-operation of a very small number of municipal
officials. These latter did not submit returns until a very late date in the year. Consideration might be given toward setting a definite "cut-off" date for compilation of
statistics. If this were done, the previous year's figures could be used for the delinquent
municipalities, as in this way the over-all statistical comparison would be relatively
unaffected. Only by submitting our material to the Queen's Printer by a certain date can
we be assured of the early printing of the statistics.
Further work has been done toward the setting-up of standardized accounting records
for small municipalities. At least one printing firm has seen fit to adopt, print, and stock
those approved by the Department.
We acknowledge with thanks the assistance given by Mr. H. G. Craven, C.A., in the
design of these forms. In addition, the various municipal officials who sent in suggestions
and samples were of great help. Assessment and tax collection accounting forms, for
small municipalities, were to be designed, but due to the various administrative changes
still in process, it is felt advisable to finalize this matter at a later date.
In co-operation with the Department of Finance, it has been found possible to
inaugurate a system of preparing the tax collector's roll and the tax notices for village
municipalities. This is possible only where the village authorities are prepared to tax
improvements on the same basis for municipal purposes as is the statutory requirement
for school purposes. To date, over 90 per cent of the villages have signified their desire
to avail themselves of this service.
With the continued co-operation between the Provincial and municipal authorities,
it is hoped that administrative assistance to the smaller municipalities can be further
improved in the future.
Due to the continued urban growth in the Province and the increasing complexity
of local administration, our staff is finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the demands
made upon the Department. A comparison of the following with corresponding summaries of previous years should prove of interest.
During 1955—
(1) One hundred and eighteen visits were made to municipalities. The number
of municipalities actually visited was ninety-five, since a few received more
than one visit.
(2) Two hundred and twenty-three Orders in Council were prepared and
approved.
(3) Fifty-six certificates of approval for municipal loan by-laws were issued.
(4) Fifty-nine debenture issues were certified by the Inspector of Municipalities, while 8,994 debentures, with coupons attached, were examined,
checked, sealed, and certified.
(5) Six hundred and eighty-three village by-laws were examined and filed.
No account is made of the greatly increased volume of correspondence and work as
a result of the expanded consultive and advisory function of the Department.   In a matter
of approximately two years the number of village by-laws processed by the staff has A A  14 BRITISH COLUMBIA
almost doubled. In 1953 there were 363 such by-laws finalized, whereas, as noted above,
1955 saw 683 certified and filed.
In my opinion the over-all administrative work load of the Department has increased
by 25 per cent in the past eighteen months, and in addition, of course, the field work has
been extended and increased. The above summary does not include staff representation
at conferences, conventions, public meetings, or of special visits relating to audit and
investigations.
I am happy to report that three members of the staff are enrolled in the municipal
administration course.
It is recommended that consideration be given toward a plan for reciprocal temporary placement of personnel between the Department and selected municipalities on an
in-training exchange basis. It is felt that both parties would benefit considerably. Any
scheme must, however, recognize the economic aspects concerning personnel with families.
Legislation may be required to legalize any such proposal.
Previous reports included brief analytical studies relating to municipal administration.
It is proposed to continue these series, focusing our attention in this Report on aspects
pertaining to the tax levy. Time has not permitted the preparation of as much data as
desired for other studies.
Local government has more restricted sources of revenue compared to other governments, the main source being the income from the taxation of real property. It is because
of this that borrowing power is related directly to the assessed value of taxable land and
improvements. Any change, then, in the pattern of tax collection must be carefully
examined. One might say that the revenue represented by the tax levy is the only criterion
to be concerned about, but in considering the payment of debt charges the careful
administrator is concerned with cash on hand.
Chart No. 1 shows the total tax collections related percentagewise to the annual tax
levies of our municipalities from the years 1918 to 1954. It will be noted that there is
a definite and positive relationship to the periods of rise and fall in the economy of our
country. The chart shows quite extreme peaks and valleys which should probably be
levelled out a little when relating it to the economic history. When things get difficult,
people tend to omit a tax payment on the assumption conditions will improve next year.
However, when taxes have gone well into arrears and the economic situation improves for
the individual, he is inclined to concentrate on getting his property taxes paid up as quickly
as possible.
A point worthy of consideration in viewing Chart No. 1 is the extreme differences
in revenue represented over the years. Municipal borrowing power in this Province is
related to the average values of the three preceding assessment rolls. With rising values
of real estate and local assessing practice, this is a good feature. However, the latter
aspect is now relatively unimportant since the passage of the "Assessment Equalization
Act, 1953," as there is now, from a practical view-point, a central control of values.
Using previous years as a basis, borrowing power can, and does, present a danger if
real-property values decline. If, in addition, tax collections take a drop, the problem is
accentuated. On a declining market under the present system, borrowing power is based
on values much higher than subsequent values upon which the rates for debt charges can
be imposed.
It has been observed that the three-year average of assessed values, generally speaking, in municipalities is equal to the second preceding year.
Consideration might be given to revert to the last revised assessment roll as the basis
for contracting debt, now that we have central control of assessing. Another point is
that the addition of the depreciated values of utilities to the assessed values is not necessarily realistic. The potential earning power of a utility, in so far as security of debt is
concerned, would probably be the better basis. REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
AA 15
The following table shows the percentage of the mill rate used for the retirement of
debt in the years 1921, 1931, 1941, and 1951 for cities and districts. Under each year
is shown the numbers of municipalities in the various percentage brackets. For example,
in 1921 six cities out of thirty-four were spending over 50 per cent of the tax levy on debt
charges, whereas in 1951 no city had such a high proportion of the mill rate used for this
purpose. This table, when related to Chart No. 1, indicates that during periods of low
collections, debt charges, being contractual, must affect expenditures Councils would
normally use for other services. One might suggest that such comparison supports the
view that actual municipal revenue is a most important consideration when judging the
real borrowing capacity of a municipality.
Percentage of Tax Levy Used for Debt Charges
Cities
Years
1921
1931
1941
1951
0-10       -.  . .   .
3
6
4
9
6
6
5
4
6
8
6
5
7
4
5
10
4
4
4
11-20   	
21-30       	
31-40                  .             	
9
11
6
41-50     	
Over 50    	
5
Totals        	
34
34
34
35
Districts
0-10  _             	
12
14
17
7
11 20             	
3
5
3
12
21-30     	
5
2
3
6
31-40    	
4
2
1
2
41-50       	
1
3
2
1
Over 50     	
1
1
Totals   _                  	
25
27
27
28
J. D. Baird,
Supervisor of Municipalities. AA  16 BRITISH COLUMBIA
REPORT OF DIRECTOR, REGIONAL PLANNING DIVISION
Victoria, B.C., January 25th, 1956.
/. E. Brown, Esq.,
Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Sir,—The activities of the Regional Planning Division may be divided broadly into
two main phases—(1) Planning and (2) Regulated Areas.
1. PLANNING
Under this heading comes the assistance given to local communities and includes
(a) general planning advice ranging from a complete and detailed report with accompanying drawings to advising by mail on particular planning problems; (b) consultation
with municipal authorities on the preparation of their zoning by-laws and the drafting of
zoning by-laws for the consideration of municipal authorities requesting this service; and
(c) the preparing of physical development controls, which includes building, subdivision,
bill-board, town planning commission, and other by-laws establishing future street-width
lines, commonly known as building-line by-laws. These controls are originally directed
to a particular application, but the occasional one is found suitable to be made into model
by-law form to be available to any municipality on request to this Department. This
phase of the work also involves, in some cases, visits for inspection and consultation,
correspondence with the National Research Council, the preparation of drafts for discussion and their final amendment for adoption. In other cases the preparation of a short,
easily administered draft by-law is all that is required.
Plans and draft by-laws as explained above were undertaken and provided to six
cities, seven municipal districts, and twelve villages in 1955. To do this it was often
necessary to make a complete planning survey, as in Creston and North Cowichan, to
name only two, where a detailed study is made on the ground as well as research into
records, such as the Canadian Census, and vital statistics. More than half the incorporated
municipalities have now requested and obtained this service.
The Division is concerned in the promotion of planning orderly developments, and
it is a pleasure to report that the Lower Mainland Planning Board covers an area including twenty-six municipalities which can look to it for good planning assistance. The
Capital Region Planning Board likewise includes five municipalities with similar assistance.
Vancouver, West Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and Burnaby have planning staffs in their municipal organization, and others have this arrangement under consideration, while still others engage private planning consultants. It is the small municipalities over and above these that the Division assists, and it has recently increased its
staff to meet demands for this assistance.
A gratifying and recent development is that nine municipalities, having received
major planning assistance in the past, continue to look to the Division for help in dealing
with any planning questions that arise from time to time, and in fact regard it as a permanent planning consultant.
Requests for information and planning assistance from an increasing number of
departments and department branches, as well as the Public Utilities Commission and
the Pacific Great Eastern Railway, were answered during the year. These requests
included research into population and population trends, the preparation of subdivision
designs, and reports on townsites.
Direct planning of land use was carried out in connection with regulated areas and
is dealt with under that heading.
It should be pointed out in connection with the planning services mentioned that in
no case are plans or recommendations forced on to a municipality.   Nothing in the nature REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
AA 17
of a plan or by-law is recommended to a municipality except by request, and then it is
left to the municipality to adopt or not, as it sees fit.
General
Among other matters dealt with have been the designing of master plans for three
communities whereby proper integration of future unrelated subdivisions could be secured.
Various proposals prepared by the Lower Mainland Planning Board and the Capital
Region Planning Board were forwarded to this Division for review and comments before
being transmitted to the pertinent authorities. Co-operative action has been and continues
to be taken with the Capital Region Planning Board and the Department of Highways in
the matter of controlling developments along the Island Highway out of Victoria.
It should also be mentioned that as a result of the revision of the Municipal Acts
now proceeding, the Regional Planning Division has been required to review all planning
legislation to determine which should be incorporated into the new code and which should
be made the subject of separate legislation.
Along the same lines, various studies and proposals made by the National Research
Council connected with the National Building Code are referred to this office for comment
and suggestions.
The work of the Division has been integrated much more closely into the Department
in that it is consulted on boundaries, boundary extensions, and by-laws submitted by villages which deal with building, zoning, and other physical developments.
2. REGULATED AREAS
There is further evidence of the upsurge in settlement and development in the Province in the building statistics of the regulated areas, as shown in the following table:—
Regulated Area
Year
Established
Value of
Construction,
1955
Number of
Residence
Permits
Kelowna ——•. 	
Vernon  	
Connaught Heights 	
View Royal 	
North Saanich	
Prince George District	
Nanaimo District  _
Kamloops District 	
Golden District... 	
Quesnel District 	
Alberni 	
Woodhaven District	
Dawson Creek District	
Campbell River  —
Nakusp   	
Thetis _  	
Totals for year 1955..
1947
1947
1948
1948
1948
1949
1949
1950
1952
1952
1953
1954
1954
1955
1955
1955
$565,959
140,590
33,451
236,250
309,350
231,200
1,814,922
1,146,700
183,825
271,955
7,000
4,675
1,560,027
8,000
24,170
50
13
3
16
31
27
105
87
10
20
1
1
120
1
3
$6,538,074
(Note.—Nakusp Regulated Area was established in 1955 but was not found satisfactory, and the regulations were rescinded. The two other areas of Thetis and Campbell
River were established as shown, while the Dawson Creek District Regulated Area was
reduced by the extension of village boundaries. The actual land area taken was only about
one-third of the total, but it comprised almost all the area of building activity. Quesnel
District Regulated Area was similarly decreased by having the area of most active development taken into the village. These two instances, Dawson Creek and Quesnel, demonstrated the value of having regulated areas surrounding organized urban areas. When the
time came to extend the boundaries of the villages concerned, the area taken in conformed
to a planned over-all scheme of proper land use.)
L AA 18 BRITISH COLUMBIA
The 488 permits for residences covered the construction of 535 dwelling units, bringing the total of units constructed to date to 3,143.
The total value of construction to date done under permit and inspection is
$29,060,196, of which over $6,000,000 is for 1955; that is, the building done in 1955
was almost twice the yearly average of the values of the preceding years.
This growth, as might be expected, has brought about changed needs for residential,
commercial, and industrial accommodation. Therefore, requests for rezoning of various
parts of the regulated areas are being received constantly. The Boards of Appeal in the
respective areas review such applications, refusing some and passing others on for attention. Each one is then individually investigated, particularly with respect to its being
compatible with the other developments that are taking place or with existing conditions.
For example, the establishment of an outdoor theatre requires consideration of, and provision for, particular traffic demands. A race-track development involves a study of the
provisions needed for drainage demands as well as normal and abnormal traffic movement
and routing.
Also, comprehensive rezoning is needed to bring the land-use pattern up to to-day's
needs, and this has been undertaken, with particular attention being given to industrial
potentialities in Nanaimo and Vernon and to residential requirements in North Saanich,
Kelowna, and Kamloops Regulated Areas.
The Provincial approving officer requires that all subdivision plans in regulated
areas be checked and passed by our inspector before being submitted to him for approval.
The ordinary routine kind require no more than a visit and personal inspection that can
be made in the course of making building inspections. However, an occasional one
demands a more careful scrutiny which sometimes results in the head office being asked
for instructions before it can be returned to the approving officer's agent.
J. H. Doughty-Davies,
Director, Regional Planning Division.
victoria, B.C.
Printed by Don McDiarmid, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty
1956
960-156-8957  

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