|Regional district & Metropolitan area|
|Greater Vancouver Regional District|
|Head office location||Burnaby|
|• Type||Regional district|
|• Chair||Greg Moore|
|• Chief Administrative Officer and Commissioner||Carol Mason|
|• Total||2,877.36 km2 (1,110.95 sq mi)|
|Elevation||0-1,990 m (0-6,519 ft)|
|• Density||856.2/km2 (2,218/sq mi)|
|Canadian CD rank: 2nd|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|Area code(s)||604 / 778 / 236|
Metro Vancouver is the name of a political body and corporate entity designated by provincial legislation as one of the regional districts in British Columbia, Canada. The organization was formerly known as the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), and that name is still the official name and remains in common colloquial use, especially in the abbreviated form. Metro Vancouver is under the direction of 23 local authorities; it delivers regional services, sets policy and acts as a political forum. The region's most populous city is Vancouver, and Metro Vancouver's administrative offices are located in the City of Burnaby.
The term "Metro Vancouver" can also be used to refer to the geographic territory approximately equivalent to the territory under the authority of the organization Metro Vancouver. This term is used increasingly in favour over the colloquial term "Greater Vancouver". Both terms generally imply reference only to the urban and suburban areas of the region - wilderness and outlying rural regions within the regional district are generally excluded. Statistics Canada defines the Vancouver CMA (census metropolitan area) as having perfectly coterminal boundaries with the Metro Vancouver regional district.
Other political geographic regions parallel to the regional district are the Lower Mainland region of the Ministry of Environment, the Chilliwack Forest District, the New Westminster Land District, and the Fraser Health Authority. Schools are not subject to local or regional district governance and are administered via the school districts system.
Members, population and size
This regional district comprises 23 local authorities as members: 21 municipalities, one electoral area and one treaty First Nation. This includes 13 of the province's 30 most populous municipalities. The official land area of the district is 2,877.36 square kilometres (1,111 sq mi), making it the third largest metropolitan area in Canada. It is the most densely populated regional district in British Columbia.
|Bowen Island||Island Municipality||3,402||2011|
|North Vancouver||District Municipality||84,412||2011|
|Tsawwassen First Nation||Treaty First Nation||720||2011|
|West Vancouver||District Municipality||42,694||2011|
|Electoral Area A||Unincorporated Area||13,035||2011|
|Metro Vancouver||Regional District||2,476,145||2011|
Note: Abbotsford is a member for parks purposes only.
Electoral Area A comprises all unincorporated land within the regional district boundaries, which totals about 818 square kilometres. Most of this is in the northernmost part of the district, including residential areas and isolated dwellings on Howe Sound between Lions Bay and Horseshoe Bay, on Indian Arm to the north of Deep Cove and Belcarra/Anmore and on the west side of Pitt Lake to the north of Port Coquitlam. Other areas included are Barnston Island on the Fraser River, Passage Island between Bowen Island and West Vancouver, the urban communities of the University of British Columbia and the University Endowment Lands.
There are also seventeen Indian reserves within the geographical area that are not subject to governance by local authorities or the regional district; they have a combined population of 7,550 (2006).
The cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack and the district of Mission, located to the east, although often linked to Vancouver in promotions and tourism, are part of a separate regional district, the Fraser Valley Regional District. Abbotsford also participates in the Metro Vancouver regional district, but only for parks purposes.
Metro Vancouver is technically composed of four separate corporate entities: the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), the Greater Vancouver Sewerage & Drainage District (GVS&DD), the Greater Vancouver Water District (GVWD) and the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation (MVHC). Each of these is governed by a board of directors. The board of the GVRD has 38 directors coming from the 23 local authorities who are GVRD members. The number of directors coming from each local authority is determined by population, and the number of votes allocated to each director further helps proportionally represent the population distribution of the region. Each board director is an elected official of one of the local authorities, with the exception of the representative for Electoral Area A, which has no elected council.
The GVRD was established on 29 June 1967, following the creation of the GVS&DD in 1914 and the GVWD in 1924. In 2007, the GVRD board unanimously supported a proposal to the provincial government to change its official name to Metro Vancouver. While the new name took effect in September 2007, the Province declined to amend the GVRD's letters patent to change the name to "Metro Vancouver". The formal name of the physical area governed by the organization remains the GVRD.
As of 2012, the organization had about 1,300 employees. The current organizational structure shows eight departments reporting to the Chief Administrative Officer: Communications & External Outreach; Human Resources; Corporate Services; Finance & Housing; Liquid Waste Services; Planning, Policy & Environment; Solid Waste Services; and Water Services.
The principal function of Metro Vancouver is to administer resources and services which are common across the metropolitan area. The organization categorizes its work into eight action areas, as described in the following subsections. However, 84% of the organization's budget is spent in three of those areas - the three utilities (water, liquid waste, solid waste). Metro Vancouver's commitments and its members' commitments to each action area are outlined in eight board-approved management plans as referenced below.
Metro Vancouver's water utility is committed to the goals and strategies in the Drinking Water Management Plan, as approved by the board. The three goals are:
- "Provide clean, safe drinking water"
- "Ensure the sustainable use of water resources"
- "Ensure the efficient supply of water"
As noted, there are four legal entities that operate under the name Metro Vancouver: the GVWD, the GVS&DD, the GVRD and MVHC. The GVWD provides tap water to a land area covering more than 2,600 km² with all of the water coming from three sources: the Capilano reservoir, the Seymour reservoir and the Coquitlam reservoir. Metro Vancouver controls the Cleveland Dam on the Capilano reservoir, which supplies 40 percent of the district's water.
Metro Vancouver operates and maintains the liquid waste facility, which includes managing "the network of trunk sewers, pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants that connect with municipal sewer systems". Throughout operations, the organization is committed to protecting public health and the environment, and recovering as much resources (energy, nutrients, etc.) as possible out of the waste stream.
The liquid waste utility is committed to the goals and strategies in the Integrated Liquid Waste and Resource Management plan, as approved by the board. The three goals are:
- "Protect public health and the environment"
- "Use liquid waste as a resource"
- "Effective, affordable and collaborative management"
Metro Vancouver's solid waste utility is committed to the goals and strategies in the Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management plan, as approved by the board. The four goals are:
- "Minimize waste generation"
- "Maximize reuse, recycling and material recovery"
- "Recover energy from the waste stream after material recycling"
- "Dispose of all waste in landfill after material recycling and energy recovery"
One initiative of the organization was the Ashcroft Manor Ranch Mega-Landfill Proposal in Ashcroft, British Columbia, in the Thompson Country of the British Columbia Interior, as there is no more room in the Lower Mainland for Metro Vancouver's garbage. A similar project nearby adjacent to the town of Cache Creek, British Columbia has almost reached capacity. Environmental concerns about the area's sensitive shrub-steppe climate and ecology are strong, while Highland Valley Copper, near Logan Lake, has offered the use of its mine-pit instead. Other GVRD landfill locations serving the regional district in the past have been in the Fraser Mills area, between the Trans-Canada Highway and the Fraser, and at Port Mann, beneath the south foot of the Port Mann Bridge.
Metro Vancouver owns and manages housing complexes throughout the region via the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation (MVHC); it also forms policy on homelessness and affordable housing for the region. The MVHC's board-approved goals, as outlined in the Affordable Housing Strategy, are:
- "Increase the supply and diversity of modest cost housing"
- "Eliminate homelessness across the region"
- "Meet the needs of low income renters"
The MVHC's sole shareholder is the GVRD. The number of directors of the housing corporation is 13.
Metro Vancouver works in collaboration with its members to achieve a shared vision of livability across the generations, as laid out in the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS), which was approved by the board in 2011, replacing the Livable Region Strategic Plan (LRSP). Th RGS requires each member local authority to provide a Regional Context Statement to "demonstrate to the Metro Vancouver Board how its Official Community Plan Supports the RGS." The five goals of the RGS are:
- "Create a compact urban area"
- "Support a sustainable economy"
- "Protect the environment and respond to climate change impacts"
- "Develop complete communities"
- "Support sustainable transportation choices"
Regional planning also includes planning and policy-making in agriculture and the food industry. The organization is committed to the goals and strategies in the Regional Food System Strategy, as approved by the board. The goals are:
- "Increased capacity to produce food close to home"
- "Improve the financial viability of the food sector"
- "People make healthy and sustainable food choices"
- "Everyone has access to healthy, culturally diverse and affordable food"
- "A food system consistent with ecological health"
The organization's board also adopted the Ecological Health Action Plan which details actions to take advantage of opportunities "for Metro Vancouver to further contribute to the ecological health of the region." The opportunities identified are:
- "Advancing the regional green infrastructure network"
- "Supporting salmon in the cities"
- "Supplementing ecosystem services"
- "Reducing toxics"
The organization runs programs and set policy to protect public health and the environment with respect to air quality, improve visual air quality and minimize the region's contribution to climate change. The organization is committed to the goals and strategies in the Integrated Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Management Plan, as approved by the board. The three goals are:
- "Protect public health and the environment"
- "Improve visual air quality"
- "Minimize the region's contribution to global climate change"
The parks department of Metro Vancouver oversees the development and maintenance of 22 regional parks, as well as various nature reserves and greenways. The organization is committed to the goals and strategies in the Regional Parks Plan, as approved by the board. The four goals are:
- "Promote ecological health"
- "Promote outdoor recreation for human health and wellness"
- "Support community stewardship, education and stewardships"
- "Promote philanthropy and economic opportunities"
Metro Vancouver undertakes support functions that underpin the rest of its service areas. In these areas, the organization commits to "contribute to the effective and efficient performance of our regional roles through leadership and collaboration with our members and other stakeholders." Actions in this area are aimed at achieving seven goals:
- "Ensure the longterm financial sustainability of the Metro Vancouver Districts"
- "Ensure alignment of regional and municipal priorities"
- "Increase public awareness and understanding of Metro Vancouver services and policies"
- "Enhance communication, engagement and collaboration with Metro Vancouver members"
- "More effectively engage other levels of government and their agencies in support of regional priorities"
- "Ensure the 9-1-1 Emergency Service is capable of meeting regional needs"
- "Effectively and efficiently manage the region’s Electoral Area"
The organization's board has also adopted the Corporate Climate Action Plan, the purpose of which is to, "set out strategies and actions to achieve Metro Vancouver’s commitment to corporate carbon neutrality and to adapt [its] corporate infrastructure and activities to the anticipated consequences of climate change." The strategies of the plan are:
- "Reduce energy consumption"
- "Switch to renewable energy"
- "Maximize energy recovery"
- "Sequester and remove carbon"
- "Adapt existing infrastructure and operations"
- "Plan and build resilient new infrastructure and facilities"
- Metro Vancouver. "Boards and committees". Retrieved 4 July 2007.
- "(Code 5915) Census Profile". 2011 census. Statistics Canada. 2012.
- Population of census metropolitan areas. Statcan.gc.ca (6 February 2013). Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
- Metro Vancouver (January 2013). "2013 Action Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- "Goodbye GVRD, hello Metro Vancouver". Vancouver Sun. 2 August 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
- Statistics Canada – BC municipalities – Population
- Metro Vancouver. "Board Members". Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- Western Economic Diversification Canada. "The Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD)". Retrieved 3 April 2009.[dead link]
- Skeleton, Chad (3 August 2007). "Goodbye GVRD, hello Metro Vancouver". Vancouver Sun (Canada). Retrieved 3 August 2007.
- Vancouver Sun blogs. Web.archive.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
- "Metro Vancouver Context Statement" (PDF). Metro Vancouver. 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- "Metro Vancouver Organizational Structure" (PDF). 6 February 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- "Compendium of Regional Management Plans".
- Metro Vancouver (January 2011). "Metro Vancouver Drinking Water Management Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Metro Vancouver Water Sources & Supply
- Wastewater Collection & Treatment. Metrovancouver.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
- Metro Vancouver (May 2010). "Integrated Liquid Waste and Resource Management" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Metro Vancouver (July 2010). "Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Metro Vancouver (30 November 2007). "Metro Vancouver Affordable Housing Strategy" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Metro Vancouver (19 February 2013). "Greater Vancouver Regional District Regular Board Meeting Friday, February 22, 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- Metro Vancouver (29 July 2011). "Regional Growth Strategy" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Greater Vancouver Regional District (December 1999). "Livable Region Strategic Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Metro Vancouver (February 2010). "Regional Food System Strategy" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Metro Vancouver (October 2011). "Ecological Health Action Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Metro Vancouver (October 2011). "Integrated Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Management Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "Regional Parks". Metro Vancouver. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- Metro Vancouver (28 October 2011). "Regional Parks Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Metro Vancouver (16 June 2010). "Corporate Climate Action Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 15 February 2013.