Commissions will be required to provide the following services:
- Regional Planning
The Regional Service Commissions will be responsible for the development of a Regional Plan, the aim of which would be to better coordinate and manage development and land use within each of the 12 regions. More specifically, the Regional Plans will focus on strategies that foster sustainable development practices, that encourage coordinated development between communities, that influence and guide the location of significant infrastructure (e.g., major roadways, facilities, trails), and that enhance coordination of commercial / industrial development. Regional Plans will also serve as an important tool in better managing, protecting and harmonizing urban and rural landscapes and resources.
- Local Planning in Local Service Districts
The Regional Service Commissions will provide land use planning services to all Local Service Districts. This function includes the development of rural plans, the administration and enforcement of the plans, the issuance of building permits, conducting building inspections, and the approval of subdivisions, etc. The Commissions will encourage Local Service Districts to develop common integrated plans, where possible and appropriate.
All Municipalities and Rural Communities will be able to obtain their local planning services from the Commissions.
- Solid Waste Management
The Regional Service Commissions will provide solid waste disposal services to the Municipalities, Rural Communities and Local Service Districts within their respective regions, a role currently performed by the Solid Waste Commissions. This includes the operation of the landfills and transfer stations, as well the coordination of various recycling programs, the handling of hazardous waste and the promotion of composting.
The Regional Service Commissions may also become involved in handling the collection of solid waste and in the generation of electricity, as is presently the case in some regions. |
- Regional Policing Collaboration
The Regional Service Commissions will serve as a forum through which the effectiveness and efficiency of policing services is reviewed and evaluated on a regional basis. In addition, the Commissions will identify issues of common concern within their regions and provide direction on priorities for policing services. The Regional Service Commissions will also identify ways in which police forces within regions can work together to share costs, reduce duplication and generally build stronger linkages with one another. Given the wide variety of policing arrangements currently in place from region to region, the role of the Commissions will not be entirely the same across the Province.
- Regional Emergency Measures Planning
The Regional Service Commissions will serve as the vehicle through which Municipalities, Rural Communities and Local Service Districts will plan, coordinate and pool resources on a regional basis in order to enable more effective responses to emergency situations. This will involve the development of regional emergency protocols (specifying mutual assistance agreements between communities), providing assistance in developing and maintaining local emergency measures plans, and facilitating training initiatives for regional and inter-regional emergency responses.
- Regional Sport, Recreational, and Cultural Infrastructure Planning and Cost-Sharing
The Regional Service Commissions will be responsible for facilitating the planning and cost-sharing of major sport, recreational and cultural facilities within each of their respective regions.
The Commissions will be the entity through which Municipalities, Rural Communities and Local Service Districts come together to identify and reach consensus on the need, the scope and the financing required for such new facilities (could include the expansion / renovation of existing facilities). Such agreements could be developed by the Commissions on a fully regional or on a sub-regional basis and would cover both initial capital and ongoing operational costs. In order to secure provincial funding, the project proponents will be required to obtain support from those communities expected to benefit from the facilities.
Commissions will be required to meet any provincial or other established standards associated with the services being delivered.
Regional Service Commissions will also be able to provide other services as agreed to by their member communities on either a regional (all commission members) or sub-regional basis (one or more interested members, depending on the service). These services could include local planning services or corporate services, such as bulk purchasing, or purchasing equipment, for interested Municipalities and Rural Communities. Commissions will also continue to provide various land use planning services to individuals, such as issuing building permits.
Based on the direction of each Commission’s Board, the new Commissions will have the authority to facilitate and oversee arrangements and agreements between communities for cost-sharing on services and infrastructure. For example, there may be a need to build a new, renovate, or repair an existing, sports facility in an area within a given region. The community which is building, renovating or repairing this facility may be interested in having neighbouring communities which use the facility help pay for this facility. In these circumstances, the Commission could facilitate the dialogue between communities to determine interest, would develop any agreements which result from that exercise, and manage those agreements on behalf of, and under the direction of, those affected communities.
Collaboration on regional issues
One of the most important roles of the new Regional Service Commissions will be to collaborate on regional issues and service decisions. This could include:
- Making regional planning decisions on the location of community-based infrastructure or land use which affects more than one community.
- Accessing or applying for provincial and federal funding, where applicable, to benefit region-wide service delivery.
- Working together to seek new investments within a region, including those with economic benefits.
Services to First Nations Communities
The regional services model will enable service provision to those First Nations Communities which choose to purchase services. These arrangements will be developed in consultation with First Nations Communities and the provincial Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat.