The CVRD is governed by a 16 member board comprised of appointed directors from four municipalities, the Town of Lake Cowichan, the Town of Ladysmith, the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan (North Cowichan has four appointees based upon population) and an elected director from each of the nine electoral areas. The CVRD Board elects a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson annually. The Chairperson is responsible for establishing the committee structure of the Board.
The regional district provides a broad range of services to its residents. While a small number of these services are mandated by the Province (solid waste, emergency planning, land use planning), the majority of services provided by the CVRD are determined by the Board. However, services can only be provided with the approval of the electors who will receive them.
The services provided can be regional, sub-regional or local. They include the following examples:
– solid waste management, 9-1-1, emergency planning, administration, economic development, environmental services, regional parks, capital financing for hospitals;
– land use planning, bylaw enforcement, building inspection, recreation centres, parks, transit; and
– fire protection, water and wastewater systems, community parks, community centres, and street lights.
Funds required to operate the various regional district services are generated through property taxes, fees and charges. Unlike municipalities, regional districts are required to match the costs and benefits of its services to the residents that benefit from them; this means residents pay for the services they receive.