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Improvement District Restructure


Restructure is a term that has two different meanings for improvement districts. The first meaning is a large boundary extension that substantially increases the number of parcels of land within the improvement district. As part of the boundary extension, the improvement district may also be assuming responsibility for a private water utility and its customers.

The second meaning for restructure can be restated as dis-incorporation, or dissolving the improvement district and transferring responsibility for its services to a local government. This process is also known as a “conversion”.

Boundary Extension

A boundary extension that substantially increases the number of parcels within an improvement district has several elements that separate it from the usual boundary extension process that is outlined in Section B of the Improvement District Manual. For example, it is usually impractical to obtain a signed petition from each of the property owners within the area that is being proposed for inclusion that evidences the owners support for having their property included in the boundary.

An alternative to obtaining petitions is to either advertise the proposed boundary extension in a newspaper, or to deliver a notice to each of the property owners in the area proposed for extension, explaining the proposal. A reasonable time is then allowed for the property owners to indicate whether they oppose the inclusion of their property within the improvement district. If more than 50% of the property owners representing 50% of the properties are opposed, then the improvement district must hold a referendum (link to page 37 of Section B of the Improvement District Manual).

Instead of holding the alternative approval process, improvement districts can proceed directly to a referendum to determine whether a majority of the property owners in the area of extension are in favour of it.

If an improvement district is taking over responsibility for a private water utility as part of a restructure process, additional steps in the process will be required. For example, the trustees will need to negotiate the terms and conditions for transferring the water system from the private owner to the improvement district. In addition, the office of the Comptroller of Water Rights will need to be contacted to determine whether the Comptroller will agree to transfer the water utility to the improvement district.

There is no requirement for a boundary extension to be approved by the property owners in the improvement district that are not located in the area proposed for extension. However, it is good practice to keep all property owners within the improvement district informed of the proposal.



The dis-incorporation of an improvement district is also generally known as a restructure even though the boundary of the improvement district is not affected. Instead, the governance of the improvement district’s services is “restructured” or replaced with a new one.

Another way to explain this is that the Letters Patent that incorporated the improvement district are revoked by Cabinet order. Provision is made in the order for all of the assets, liabilities and bylaws of the improvement district to be transferred to a municipality or a regional district. The mayor and council, or the regional board, then become responsible for making decisions about the services although they can delegate some aspects of the operations of the services to a local committee or commission.

The Local Government Department has developed the Improvement District Conversion Guide (235 KB) to provide comprehensive information about the process and its implications.


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