The UEL is part of Metro Vancouver’s Electoral Area A. The Electoral Area is represented on the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors by an elected Director, currently Maria Harris. The Electoral Area Director is also a member of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, a body that, generally speaking, has oversight responsibility for TransLink. The Mayors’ Council is independent of Metro Vancouver.
Metro Vancouver (Greater Vancouver Regional District or GVRD) is a partnership of 21 municipalities, Electoral Area A, and the Tsawwassen First Nation. Metro Vancouver, as the regional government for 2.4 million people, has three major roles: providing core services/infrastructure to the region, such as drinking water, sewerage, and solid waste management; planning and policy, including regional growth management, utilities, air quality, regional parks, and emergency management; and a political forum for discussion of significant community issues at the regional level.
Electoral Area A
Electoral Area A consists of all those parts of the Metro Vancouver region that is not in a municipality—the areas marked in red on the above map. It includes the UEL and the UBC campus (academic and residential housing), as well as Barnston Island and a few small communities. The Electoral Area’s population in the 2011 census was 13,035, over 98% of whom were living in the UEL/UBC area. This does not include the approximately 8,000 students who are in UBC housing for the academic year only,
Metro Vancouver’s role with respect to the UEL/UBC area is similar to its role with respect to its municipal members. It provides services on a regional level but generally does not get involved in the local delivery of services. For example, Metro Vancouver supplies drinking water to the UEL at Blanca Street, and the UEL then conveys the water to UEL residents and UBC. An important local service provided by Metro Vancouver is that it owns and maintains Pacific Spirit Park.
Electoral Area Director
The Electoral Area is represented on the Metro Vancouver Board by a Director who is elected to the position. All other Directors are appointed to the Board by their councils. The current Electoral Area Director is Maria Harris, who has served in this position since 2008 and was re-elected on November 15, 2014 to serve for a third term. The next election will be in October 2018.
Maria maintains a website with lots of information and provides monthly updates to the community (link to her monthly report here). For links, please see below.
Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation
The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation consists of the 21 Metro Vancouver Mayors, the Director of Electoral Area A and the Chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation. It is not part of Metro Vancouver, but rather is an independent body. However, all or virtually all Mayors’ Council members are also Metro Vancouver Directors.
The Mayors’ Council has oversight responsibility for TransLink. It makes decisions and approves specific measures, some of which are political in nature. These include decisions that affect the pocketbooks of residents, such as increasing taxes to fund TransLink.
Among the Mayors’ Council responsibilities are:
- Approving TransLink’s strategies and plans, which include such matters as service levels, major capital projects, the rates for regional revenue sources such as gas and property taxes, and borrowing limits;
- Appointing the majority of Translink’s Board of Directors; and
- Providing regulatory oversight of short-term fares, the sale of major assets, and Director/Executive compensation.
As of the end of 2014, the taxes and fees that may be levied by TransLink are, with the exception of property taxes, at the maximum rates permitted by legislation. Increases to the rates, or any new taxes or fees to fund TransLink, require the approval of the province and the enactment of legislation.
The Mayors’ Council does not have control over TransLink’s annual operating budget, which is the responsibility of TransLink’s Board of Directors; nor does it oversee the day-to-day operation of TransLink.