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Regional Planning


Regional planning addresses strategic or regional issues which cross municipal and regional district boundaries. Inter-jurisdictional collaboration and co-ordination are key to resolving these issues because growth can benefit communities if it is channeled in a way that respects what's important to people. For example:

  • economic development;
  • clean air;
  • affordable housing;
  • clean drinking water;
  • and,
  • protected farmland, wilderness and unique natural areas.

The impacts of growth, whether positive or negative, don't stop at municipal boundaries. Growth follows geographical, not political boundaries, and responses to the impacts of growth requires a collaborative approach.

Coordination amongst municipalities and regional districts is essential to address issues that cross local government boundaries. Cooperation from all levels of government is needed to tackle the real regional issues related to population change.

Managing urban growth is one of the key challenges facing British Columbia. Cooperation amongst municipalities, regional districts and other government agencies is also vital to the creation of regions with a high quality of life, sustainable ecosystems and affordable local government tax rates, which can serve as a foundation for economic development.

The Local Government Act provides a statutory framework for local governments to engage in interactive planning at the regional level through the development of regional growth strategies. There are also a variety of non-statutory mechanisms which local governments use to develop solutions to shared regional problems.

A Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) is a formal tool which has been used successfully in almost all of BC’s highest growth areas. Based on a time horizon of twenty years or longer, an RGS provides a framework for the strategic level cooperation and coordination among regional districts, municipalities and the province. Presently, 76% of all British Columbians live in an area covered by an RGS and 89% of the population in high growth areas are covered by an RGS.

In other situations where there are shared issues which cross regional boundaries but which may not require a full RGS, other non-statutory regional planning tools are available. These include regional issues assessments, co-ordinated community planning, inter-jurisdictional agreements and regional strategies.


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