Local service district (New Brunswick)

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For NFLD, see Local Service District (Newfoundland and Labrador)

A local service district (LSD) is a unit of local governance in the Canadian province of New Brunswick; LSDs are defined by Regulation 84-168, the Local Service Districts Regulation - Municipalities Act. LSDs are unincorporated (not self-governed) areas making up the bulk of New Brunswick's geographic area, including about a third of the province's citizens. [1]

History[edit]

In the mid-1960s, a new local governance structure was introduced to replace what was thought to be an "out-dated" and dysfunctional system. It was a consequence of the Ed Byrne Commission report recommendations and subsequent Equal Opportunity legislation introduced by Premier Louis Robichaud. County municipal councils were "abolished", coinciding with the incorporation of many additional small municipalities, and, 'un-incorporation' of remnant areas in the former Counties to become known as LSDs. The Province undertook management of local service provision responsibilities in these unincorporated units, which resulted in the growth of the civil service.[2]

Distribution[edit]

As of July 1, 2014, there are 245 LSDs. There have been an additional seventy former LSDs, most of which were incorporated as, or absorbed by, municipalities. The number of existing LSDs peaked at 291 in 1991 and has been declining since 1995.

There are 138 Parish LSDs (plus ten former parish LSDs), which range from entire parishes, such as Cardwell, to areas left over after large numbers of LSDs have been separated, such as Shippegan. The parishes of Gagetown, Grand Manan, Hampstead, and Huskisson have never had parish LSDs.

The remaining 107 LSDs (plus 59 former) vary in nature – three are school districts dating from the original creation of LSDs in 1966, one is an island, one a pair of islands, several are centralised communities like Elgin, most are decentralised communities or groups of communities which can approach the size of parishes, and two resulted from mergers in 1996 (Chaleur) and 1999 (Allardville) that included three parish LSDs.

False LSDs[edit]

The number of LSDs is sometimes misstated, due to the existence of three units that can be confused with official LSDs: areas with increased or decreased services, Taxing Authorities, and Census Designated Places that are called Local Service Districts.

  • Special areas (40 current plus 34 former) have been defined for different services than the parent LSD, usually street lighting. These does not seem to be an official term for such areas.
  • Taxing Authorities (316 in 2013) usually duplicate LSDs and special areas, but can also be subdivisions of LSDs that do not differ in services or groupings of special areas. Names can also vary from the appropriate LSD or special area, with "the parish of" typically dropped from the names of parish LSDs and "Parish" sometimes appended for clarity. The taxing authorities of Calhoun Road, Havelock Inside, and Saint-Grégoire cross LSD boundaries.
  • Census Designated Places (DPL; 167 units in the 2011 census, including 41 parts of 19 divided DPLs) include former LSDs that have been incorporated into municipalities as well as some special areas. The boundaries of DPLs don't always match those in Regulation 84-168, often including unassigned areas or parts of parish LSDs bordering other non-parish LSDs. The most pronounced variation from actual boundaries was with the local service district of the Parish of Saumarez, which consisted of the special area of Canton des Basques and five scattered pieces; the special area was classed as a DPL, and three other parts of the LSD were included in bordering LSDs for population counts and maps.

Operation[edit]

Property owners are taxed a LSD rate arranged by the Province's Local Service District Manager to pay for local services. Services are delivered in association with commissions or by the province itself (i.e. DTI). The particular services provided vary with the particular LSD and within the LSD itself; sometimes one or more areas within a LSD will have additional services, and often contribute tax dollars to adjacent municipal facilities. Private contracts for service provision fall under the responsibility of the LSD manager or Commission.

Participation[edit]

LSDs may elect an advisory committees if a public meeting with sufficient eligible voters is held.[3] The Committees have no legislative or taxing authority, but work with the Local Service District Manager to administer services.

The group, "Concerned Citizens Regarding Local Plans" have identified that less than one third of Local Service Districts have an advisory committee as of June, 2012. Why there is low participation in Advisory Committees is not well understood.

Advisory committee presidents are asked to participate on commission boards and advisory panels. A certain amount of consulting and service contracts are awarded as a result of LSD service activity, which provide economic activities.

Legislative and Policy[edit]

Individual LSDs are not described in the Municipalities Act; instead, they are defined in Regulation 84-168 under the Municipalities Act, the Local Service Districts Regulation - Municipalities Act, which was filed July 16, 1984, and has been amended many times since.

Until it can be substantiated, it is only anecdotal that LSDs are being encouraged by the provincial government to adopt a form of local government known as a rural community under Bruce Fitch's Local Governance Action Plan. Rural Communities have more power than LSDs, but less than other municipalities; several parishes and incorporated villages have been part of these amalgamations. There are currently four Rural Communities: Beaubassin East, Campobello Island, Saint-André, and Upper Miramichi; the Village of Kedgwick and the LSD of Grimmer voted in 2011 to form a new Rural Community, and this list is growing.

Criticisms[edit]

The term 'Democratic deficit' was used by Jean-Guy Finn (Local Governance Task Force, 2010) to describe an "unbalanced local government", as in: many residents without representation at a local level (35% of population and 90% of the provincial territory) and limited competition for elected offices (1/3 of municipal councils with less than 2000 pop acclaimed) [4]

References[edit]

See Also[edit]

External links[edit]