Regional Government

What We Do

Governance

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, like all local governments, is granted its powers by the provincial government and is governed primarily by two provincial pieces of legislation – the Local Government Act and the Community Charter – as well as numerous other supplementary enactments.

The RDOS is governed by a board consisting of two types of directors:

  • Electoral Area Directors are elected directly by rural area voters, and serve four-year terms.
  • Municipal Directors are first elected to a municipal council, and are then appointed by their council to the regional district board for a one-year term.

At present, the RDOS Board is comprised of nineteen Directors. Ten Municipal Directors representing the City of Penticton, the District of Summerland, the Town of Osoyoos, the Town of Oliver, the Town of Princeton and the Village of Keremeos. Nine Electoral Area Directors representing Osoyoos Rural, Cawston, Oliver Rural, Skaha East/Okanagan Falls, Naramata, Okanagan Lake West/West Bench, Keremeos Rural/Hedley, Rural Princeton, and Skaha West/Kaleden/Apex.

The Board selects its own chair and vice-chair annually.

This unique representational scheme provides the necessary cross-communication venue to promote co-ordination between the activities of the individual municipalities and the rural areas of the region. The assumption of powers by individual Regional Districts is based upon continued negotiations and dialogue between the Board and the participating Municipalities and rural Electoral Areas.

Board and Committees

  • Community Services Committee
  • Corporate Services Committee
  • Environment and Infrastructure Committee
  • Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District Board
  • Planning and Development Committee
  • Protective Services Committee
  • Regional District Board

RDOS Board Policies

The RDOS Board has adopted the following policies:
RDOS Policy Index

What Services Does a Regional District Provide?

Regional districts can provide a broad range of services, with the exception of roads, policing, and those for which the Province has not delegated authority. The choice of services is determined by the regional board of directors but only with the approval of the electors. The scope of services therefore varies with each regional district and electoral area

Unlike municipalities, regional districts are required to match the benefits and costs of its services to the people who benefit from the services. Costs are recovered by taxing those who benefit from the services - in other words, residents pay for what they get.

Some services, such as street lighting, may be provided to only part of an electoral area in the form of a local service; to a combination of electoral areas and municipalities as a sub-regional service, such as transit; or to all electoral areas and municipalities as a regional service, such as mapping.

The RDOS provides more than 150 services, including: 

  • 9-1-1 Emergency Call System
  • Animal Control
  • Building Inspection
  • Bylaw Enforcement
  • Cemeteries
  • Community Halls
  • Elections
  • Electoral Area (Rural) Administration
  • Emergency Planning
  • Emergency Support Services
  • Environmental Conservation Service
  • Fire Protection
  • General Government Administration
  • Geographic Information System & Mapping
  • Grant-in-aid Provision
  • Land Use Planning & Subdivision Services
  • Local & Regional Economic Development
  • Local Street Lighting
  • Museums & Heritage Conservation
  • Noxious Weeds & Insect Control Programs
  • Okanagan Basin Water Board
  • Okanagan Regional Library
  • Recreation Areas, Arenas & Facilities
  • Recreation Commissions
  • Regional Growth Strategy
  • Regional Parks and Campgrounds
  • Septage Disposal Service
  • Sterile Insect Release Program
  • South Okanagan Transit System Service
  • Water & Sewer Systems

How Does a New Service Get Established?

Generally, the idea for a new service emerges from regional board directors, citizens, municipal councils, local government staff, or senior levels of government.

A Board member may initiate a new service request by proposing a resolution to the Board. If the Board approves the resolution in principle, the service establishment process begins. A feasibility study may be conducted, or direction may be given to staff to prepare a report and bylaws for the proposed new service.

If appropriate, property owners may be surveyed as to whether or not they wish to participate in the proposed service. If the proposed service is deemed to be feasible, a service establishment bylaw is developed. The bylaw must be given three readings by the Board, and may also be required to receive the assent of the electors.

The bylaw must further receive approval from the province's Inspector of Municipalities, as well as the member municipalities and electoral areas generally through an elector approval process that intend to participate in the proposed service, after receiving the necessary approvals, the service establishment bylaw may be adopted to create the new service.

Funding

Although the primary cost-recovery method is taxation, the regional district does not tax directly. In electoral areas, property taxes are levied and collected by the Province. Within municipal boundaries, property taxes for Regional District services are paid to the municipalities. The Province and municipalities then transfer funds to the Regional District.

Regional Districts also generate revenues from fees and charges, such as recreation programs and landfill fees. Other revenue comes from provincial and federal government grants.

Why Regional Districts?

Rural areas are home to approximately 11 percent of British Columbia's population (2017 BC Stats). Regional Districts are the province's way of ensuring that all residents have access to commonly needed services, no matter where they live.

Regional Districts provide rural residents with an effective form of local government, while also representing municipal residents on regional issues. Regional districts enable municipalities and electoral areas to work together and combine their efforts to provide those services desired by the people of the area, regardless of municipal and/or electoral area boundaries.

RDOS Vision

We envision the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen as a steward of our environment, sustaining a diverse and livable region that offers a high quality of life through good governance.

RDOS Mission

To initiate and implement policies which preserve and enhance the quality of life and serve the broader public interest in an effective, equitable, environmental and fiscally responsible manner.

Please Note

The information contained on this website is for convenience purposes only. As conditions may change, the Regional District does not guarantee the accuracy of this electronic version. If we may provide any further clarification on any item, please contact us. Thank you for visiting our site!

 
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