The Peace River Liard Regional District (PRLRD) and Peace River Liard Hospital District (PRLHD) were established in 1967. The area of land within the PRLRD jurisdiction included all of the land that lies east of the Rocky Mountains within the British Columbia borders.
In 1987 the Peace River Liard Districts were split into two regions, the Fort Nelson-Liard Regional District and the Peace River Regional Districts and Hospital Districts. Electoral Area ‘A’ was absorbed into the Fort Nelson-Liard Regional District. All lands formerly within the PRLRD boundaries north of the 58th parallel became part of the new Fort Nelson jurisdiction, which is now known as the “Northern Rockies Regional Municipality” and all lands south of the 58th parallel and east of the Rockies to the Alberta border became the jurisdiction of the new Peace River Regional District (PRRD) and Peace River Regional Hospital District (PRRHD).
Regional districts were formed to provide services to areas outside municipalities and to ensure that municipalities and rural electoral areas work together to provide cooperative services. There are twenty-seven regional districts in BC, of which the Peace River Regional District is the largest at 119,000 square kilometers. According to the 2006 census figures, 58,264 people live in the region’s seven municipalities and four electoral areas, known as areas ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘E’.
The Peace River Regional District Today
The Peace River Regional District and Hospital District boundaries encompass approximately twelve million hectares (46,000 square miles). The population resides the four rural electoral areas B, C, D and E, and the following seven municipalities:
- District of Chetwynd
- City of Dawson Creek
- City of Fort St. John
- District of Hudson’s Hope
- Village of Pouce Coupe
- District of Taylor
- District of Tumbler Ridge
The topography of the area varies from Rocky Mountains in the west to the Interior Plains in the eastern sections. Most of the land is drained by the Peace River or its tributaries. The northern portion of the PRRD is drained by tributaries of the Fort Nelson River.
Working cooperatively, the electoral areas and member municipalities of the PRRD provide a wide range of services throughout the region including:
- management and development of noxious weed control
- regional and community recreation
- fire protection
- regional solid waste management
- rural water
- sewage collection and disposal
- building inspection
- television rebroadcasting
The economy of the PRRD is varied and comprised of:
- petroleum exploration and development
- hydro-electric power generation
New economic developments in the Peace River area include an increase in tourism, vast coal resources in the Rocky Mountain foothills, increased utilization of aspen in pulp and wood products, diversification in the agricultural sector and an increase in natural gas and petroleum exploration, development and processing as well as the mining sector.
For more information on local government in BC and how regional districts operate check these publications:
- Introduction to Regional Districts
- Local Government in BC – A Community Effort
- Local Government in BC – 4th Edition