2017 was the 50th anniversary since the Regional District of Central Okanagan was incorporated by Letters Patent issued by the Provincial Government on August 24th, 1967.
Letters Patent are the basic rules approved by the Provincial Government, incorporating the Regional District and electoral areas by name and defined boundaries. They also set out the voting units, number of directors and the administrative and political framework for the delivery of services within the boundary. More about our Letters Patent
Regional Districts are a unique form of local government in the Province of British Columbia. They provide governance and the delivery of services on a region-wide and sub-regional basis; a political and administrative framework for participatory services and the ability to recover costs from areas receiving those services. They are the 'local' government for residents and property owners in unincorporated rural areas.
(Provincial Government Primer on Regional Districts)
Taxation for Regional District residents is slightly different than for municipalities. In accordance with the Local Government Act, the law that governs the activities of local governments, Regional District’s do not have the authority to collect taxes directly from residents or businesses. Instead, taxes for Regional District purposes are collected by the Province and by the member municipalities. In addition to taxation, local services received by some residents such as water and garbage are funded through utility billings.
Tax revenues are used to fund a wide range of regional services that benefit everyone within the boundaries of the region, such as dog control, regional parks, 9-1-1 and recycling. Tax revenues are also used to provide local services such as fire protection, and community parks, to residents and businesses within the electoral areas of the Regional District. Regional District’s must keep all services and reserves separate and cannot combine or inter-mingle any funds, surpluses or deficits between any services. Currently, there are 83 individual budgets.
The Incorporation Letters Patent outlined that an Interim Board would guide initial direction for the Regional District with a first meeting set for September 13, 1967. It also named the interim Directors for the Electoral Areas and required the member municipal Councils of the City of Kelowna and District of Peachland to appoint Directors.
Electoral Area A – J. McCoubrey
Electoral Area B – W. C. Bennett
Electoral Area C – M. Marshall
Electoral Area D – J. H. Stuart
Electoral Area E – J. L. Pidocke
Electoral Area F – W. H. Raikes
Electoral Area G – F. J. Menu
Electoral Area H – E. Hill
The first election for Electoral Area Directors was held on December 9th, 1967 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.
The Interim Board was limited by the Letters Patent to borrowing $10,000 to meet expenditures of the Regional District, until a first budget was adopted for 1968 in February 1968.
The first bylaw adopted by the Regional District Board in September 1968 established a fire protection service area and authorized the borrowing of funds for a fire hall and equipment to serve Electoral Area E and a portion of Electoral Area F from approximately West Avenue to Okanagan Lake, Mission Creek and KLO Road.
The first Chief Administrative Officer Al Harrison prepared 'A Look Into The Past - A Historical Review 1967 - 2006' for the RDCO’s 40th anniversary. It outlines the development and growth of the Regional District during its first four decades.
‘2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Regional District of Central Okanagan and it’s with great humbleness that I lead the Board as we embark on our next 50 years. Our region and the Regional District have come a long way from its early days during Canada’s Centennial year. Our Board is now made up of an elected Director representing the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas, along with appointed members from the cities of Kelowna and West Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country and a non-voting representative from the Westbank First Nation. We look forward to celebrating another half century of providing the most cost effective and efficient services possible.’ Gail Given, RDCO Chair