LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT HISTORY

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  Biographies and Stories


Hugh Curtis (1975 - 1978)

Hugh CurtisHugh Curtis took over the Municipal Affairs portfolio when the Social Credit Party returned to office in 1975. He became the eighth minister and held the position for three years (1975-1978). Curtis had lengthy municipal experience and this background framed his cordial relations with local governments. His tenure as minister, however, was not without controversy. In particular, legislation which gave the Province an emergency override of local land-use decisions resulted in a debate he likened to “a fierce electrical storm on a hot August night”. The bill also eliminated land-use contracts and introduced development permits and development cost-charges. The Province legislated other changes that had been long-sought by municipal governments, such as expanding revenue sharing and tying local funding to provincial revenues. The recently created Islands Trust also underwent a major revision as land-use regulation and planning bylaws were transferred to the Trust from surrounding regional districts.

Curtis served as a councillor and mayor of Saanich before being elected to the legislature in 1972. He also chaired the Capital Regional District and was President of the UBCM. He sat in the legislature until 1983, and led the ministries of Finance, Government Services, and Municipal Affairs and Housing.

In 2002 he was awarded the Freedom of Saanich distinction.
 

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Sources

 
Bancroft, Wendy, et al. Union of British Columbia Municipalities: The First Century. Vancouver, B.C.: Granville Island Publishing, 2006.
 
Gibson, Jim. “Ball Cap Replaces Bank Garb for Former Finance Minister”. Times-Colonist. [Victoria, B.C.] 24 Mar. 2002: B1.
 
Hume, J. “The Green Mayor: How Hugh Curtis Changed the Face of Saanich”. Times-Colonist. [Victoria: B.C.] 24 Sep. 2006: D5.
 
Jones, David Keith. British Columbia’s Islands Trust on the Local Government Continuum: Administrative Agency or Local Self-Government? Diss. Simon Fraser University, 1994.
 
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.  Annual Report 1977.    Victoria: Province of British Columbia, 1978.