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In This Volume

8 (1) A municipality has the capacity, rights, powers and privileges of a natural person of full capacity.

  • (2) A municipality may provide any service that the council considers necessary or desirable, and may do this directly or through another public authority or another person or organization.
  • (3) A council may, by bylaw, regulate, prohibit and impose requirements in relation to the following:
  • (a) municipal services;
  • (b) public places;
  • (c) trees;
  • (d) firecrackers, fireworks and explosives;
  • (e) bows and arrows, knives and other weapons not referred to in subsection (4.1);
  • (f) cemeteries, crematoriums, columbariums and mausoleums and the interment or other disposition of the dead;
  • (g) the health, safety or protection of persons or property in relation to matters referred to in section 63;
  • (h) the protection and enhancement of the well-being of its community in relation to the matters referred to in section 64;
  • (i) public health;
  • (j) protection of the natural environment;
  • (k) animals;
  • (l) buildings and other structures;
  • (m) the removal of soil and the deposit of soil or other material.
  • (4) A council may, by bylaw, regulate and impose requirements in relation to matters referred to in section 65.
  • (5) A council may, by bylaw, regulate and prohibit in relation to the discharge of firearms.
  • (6) A council may, by bylaw, regulate in relation to business.
  • (7) The powers under subsections (3) to (5) to regulate, prohibit and impose requirements, as applicable, in relation to a matter
  • (a) are separate powers that may be exercised independently of one another,
  • (b) include the power to regulate, prohibit and impose requirements, as applicable, respecting persons, property, things and activities in relation to the matter, and
  • (c) may not be used to do anything that a council is specifically authorized to do under Part 14 or Part 15 of the Local Government Act.
  • (8) As examples, the powers to regulate, prohibit and impose requirements under this section include the following powers:
  • (a) to provide that persons may engage in a regulated activity only in accordance with the rules established by bylaw;
  • (b) to prohibit persons from doing things with their property;
  • (c) to require persons to do things with their property, to do things at their expense and to provide security for fulfilling a requirement.
  • (9) A municipality must make available to the public, on request, a statement respecting the council’s reasons for adopting a bylaw under subsection (3), (4), (5) or (6).
  • (10) Powers provided to municipalities under this section
  • (a) are subject to any specific conditions and restrictions established under this or another Act, and
  • (b) must be exercised in accordance with this Act unless otherwise provided.
  • (11) For certainty,
  • (a) the authority under subsection (2) does not include the authority to regulate, prohibit or impose requirements, and
  • (b) for the purposes of subsection (3)(a), a service does not include an activity that is merely the exercise of authority to regulate, prohibit or impose requirements and related enforcement.

2003-26-8, effective January 1, 2004 (B.C. Reg. 423/2003); 2007-14-201, effective December 1, 2007 (B.C. Reg. 354/2007); RS 2015-1-RevSch.


Tree Protection Bylaw Inapplicable to Non-ALR Land Zoned Agricultural

McHattie v. Central Saanich (District), 2023 BCSC 175, was a judicial review of the respondent district’s refusal of a tree-cutting permit. The court was required to decide on the applicability of the district’s tree protection bylaw to the non-ALR portion of the petitioners’ agricultural land.

The respondent district enacted a bylaw prohibiting persons from cutting down any “protected tree” without a permit. It imposed a requirement to replace trees cut down without a permit and a $1,000 fine for each tree felled. The petitioners owned land, half of which was designated as being within the Agricultural Land Reserve. The petitioners, believing they did not need a permit, cleared trees on the non-ALR portion of their land (zoned Agriculture A-1) in order to expand their farm operations. The district issued a stop-work order and then refused the petitioners’ subsequent application for a tree-cutting permit.

Held, on judicial review, the court set aside the district’s decision as unreasonable and dismissed its action under the enforcement/penalty provisions of the tree protection bylaw. The court said the tree protection bylaw was inapplicable, since the effect of prohibition on the removal of trees and the tree replacement requirement prevented the “development” of the petitioners’ property to the “density” permitted for agriculture under the zoning bylaw—namely, that which would increase the planting area and yield of the petitioners’ crop. Although the respondent argued that the word “development” should be limited to construction activity, the court found on the authorities (at para. 33) that in this zoning designation, “‘density’ includes yield, and ‘development’ includes an increase of that yield”.