Fonds - City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds

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City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds

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  • 1886-2001, predominant 1886-1991 (Creation)
    Vancouver (B.C.). City Council

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Physical description

ca. 320 m of textual records;ca. 4,000 photographs;13 videocassettes

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The basis for the authority of the City of Vancouver's City Council is the first Vancouver Act of Incorporation of April 6, 1886 enacted by the Government of the Province of British Columbia. The Act set out the powers, functions, and some procedures relating to the government of the City of Vancouver, and required election of a City Council, the governing body of the local government. Although the City of Vancouver funds the Library, the schools, and the parks, each of these have their own governing boards. The Act of Incorporation (more recently called the Vancouver Charter) has been amended frequently, and is periodically revised and consolidated. The Act has defined the increasing land parameters of Vancouver. In 1886 Vancouver extended from the West End and Alma Road in the west, to Nanaimo Street in the east, and 16th Avenue to the south. In 1911, District Lot 301 and the Townsite of Hastings were annexed (so that Vancouver then extended east to Boundary Road, and south to 25th and 29th Avenues in some areas of the eastern half of the city). Then in 1929, the municipalities of South Vancouver and Point Grey were amalgamated with Vancouver (to result in present-day boundaries to the south and west). City Council's powers may be exercised by by-law or resolution, according to the provisions of the Charter. Powers have included: creation and maintenance of "public works" (now often referred to as "the infrastructure"); land and building regulation; provision of police and fire protection; maintaining health standards; provision of cultural and recreation services; and tax collection through property taxes, business licenses, and other fees. Local government is responsible to the provincial government, according to the Municipal Act of British Columbia. Some of the relationships with provincial and federal government are intricate, as program requirements are legislated from above, and some program funding is provided by senior governments. The Mayor is the president of Council according to British parliamentary traditions. In order to carry out its functions Council has the authority to determine the internal organization of the governance and bureaucracy. Until 1956 Council was formally involved in all aspects of the operations of the City through the "Council Committee" system. The system was seen as increasingly cumbersome and ineffective, so the Board of Administration was created to take care of managing operations, all the bureaucracy's administrative and service functions except governance (as of 1974 the Board was replaced by the City Manager). Standing committees, as subdivisions of the major aspects of the business of Council, have always existed. The responsibilities of the City Clerk were established with the Act of Incorporation in 1886, which declared the City Clerk to be the Returning Officer of the City (the official responsible for voters' lists and elections). Additional duties included purchasing supplies and were somewhat undefined. With the clarifications of the 1900 Act of Incorporation, formalized responsibilities included recording Council minutes, keeping custody of the by-laws, and maintaining financial records. The Clerk also received all mail directed to the City. A 1912 by-law assigned responsibility for facilitating communication between the citizens, the Mayor, Council, and Council's committees to the City Clerk. In a 1953 Act of Incorporation amendment, the Clerk was named as custodian of the City seal. With the exception of financial functions, which long ago passed to financial officers, the Clerk's responsibilities have remained remarkably consistent. The primary functions over time have been: taking minutes for the meetings of City Council and related bodies; keeping the records of the City of Vancouver as required by the Vancouver Charter; carrying out correspondence on behalf of Council; keeping all records related to City Council decision making (including large volumes of supporting documents); assembling voters' lists and carrying out elections (for Council, the Park Board, the School Board, and on plebiscites); providing communication, information, and public relations services, including responsibility for civic ceremonies; and, since 1970, responsibility for the Archives. From 1886 to 1974, the City Clerk reported directly to Council; from 1974 the position has been reporting to the City Manager's Office. Although the formal organization of the City Clerk's Department has in recent years consisted of a number of divisions - the Council secretariat, the Voters' List Division, periodically a small Public Relations / Communications Division, and the Archives and Records Division (since 1970) - in practice, the Office of the City Clerk has included all divisional sections except the Archives. During some periods the Office of the City Clerk was more commonly referred to as the City Clerk's Office, though the former has prevailed. The following individuals have served as City Clerk: Thomas Francis McGuigan, 1886-1905; Arthur McEvoy, 1905-1907; William McQueen, 1907-1931; Charles Jones, 1931-1935; W. L. Woodford, 1935; Fred Howlett, 1935-1945 (acting 1935-1937); Ronald Thompson, 1945-1973; Douglas Haig Little, 1973-1978; Robert Henry, 1978-1987; Maria Kinsella, 1987-1997; Ulli Watkiss, 1998-2001; Syd Baxter, 2001- . For more historical information on the above bodies see the inventory for the City Council and the Office of the City Clerk fonds. Administrative histories for other creators in this fonds (e.g. Airport Board) are given at the series level.

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Fonds includes the records of City Council of the City of Vancouver, of the Office of the City Clerk (Council's secretariat), of elections and public relations divisions (both very small, and the elections division in operation only during election periods), and of the numerous committees, boards, and commissions whose records were/are the responsibility of the City Clerk. The fonds does not include the records of the Archives because it operates like a research institution (see the City of Vancouver Archives fonds). The series below are listed alphabetically by the creating office. The City's primary governing records are created by Council, under "Vancouver (B.C.). City Council" (by-laws, Council minutes, etc.), while the supporting documents to City Council records are within the series of the Clerk's, under "Vancouver (B.C.). Office of the City Clerk". The official records of the various boards are considered to be created by those boards (e.g. Airport Board). Please note that the minutes of standing committees of Council are appended to Council minutes as of 1951. Vancouver (B.C.). Airport Board - Correspondence, 1955-1962, series 522; Ledgers, 1954-1962, series 524; Minutes, 1949-1962, series 47; Operational subject files, 1935-1962, series 523. Vancouver (B.C.). Athletic Commission - Minutes, license agreements and other records, 1945-1996, series 631; Vancouver (B.C.). City Council - Annual reports, 1893-1998, series 620; By-laws, 1896-1999, series 36; Council "in camera" minutes, 1938-1992, series 35; Council minutes, 1886-June 2001, series 31; Investigation transcripts, exhibits, and reports, 1902-1939, series 53; Publications in City Publications Collection, 1892-1987, series 619; Special committee minutes, 1890-1996, series 34; Standing committee minutes, 1886-1948, series 33. Vancouver (B.C.). Civic Museums and Planetarium Board - Correspondence, minutes, reports and subject files, 1959-1971, series 46. Vancouver (B.C.). Civic Theatres Board - Minutes, 1956-1985, series 537; Subject files, 1954-1985, series 43. Vancouver (B.C.). Governmental Review Commission - Audio tapes of proceedings, 1979, series 537; General files, 1977-1979, series 528; Hearing exhibits, 1979, series 529; Transcripts of proceedings, 1979, series 530. Vancouver (B.C.). Heritage Advisory Committee - Heritage inventory of Vancouver schools, 1982, series 49; Heritage inventory research files and building photographs, 1977-1979, series 50; Heritage survey reports and photographs, 1978, series 535. Vancouver (B.C.). Interim Advisory Museum Board - Working files, 1966-1968, series 521. Vancouver (B.C.). Market Commissioner - Administrative files, 1926-1952, series 540. Vancouver (B.C.). Office of the City Clerk - Agreements, 1886-1904, series 539; Agreements log, 1962-1986, series 626; Authorization minutes of the City Manager, 1968-1996, series 55; By-law miscellany, 1886-1970, series 568; City submissions to senior governments, 1965-1974, series 28; Civic award files, 1936-1994, series 174; Communications Division videotapes, 1998-2002, series 637; Correspondence registers, 1935-1972, series 22; Council "in camera" supporting documents, 1959-1992, series 56; Council meeting audiotapes, 1977-1999, series 515; Council minutes indexes, 1906-1980, series 32; Court of Revision supporting documents, 1950-1995, series 41; Elections - alphabetical indexes of voters, 1976-1996, series 633; Elections - nomination papers, 1888-1974, series 38; Elections - oaths of office, 1906-1973, series 531; Elections - polling station record, 1939-1982, series 39; Elections - record of elections, 1886-1999, series 37; Elections - voters' lists, 1886-1992, series 59; Elections - warrants to fill vacancies, 1888-1964, series 533; Expenditures passed by standing committees, 1931-1949, series 24; Housekeeping files, 1961-1997, series 60; Miscellaneous records, 1907-1990, series 61; Operational subject files - including Council supporting documents, 1960-1996, series 62; Outward correspondence, 1886-1975, series 29; Photographs, 1936-2001, series 532; Public hearings - Council zoning supporting documents, 1960-1994, series 42; Publications in City Publications Collection, 1909-1998, series 618; Report files, 1893-1982, series 40; Special committee supporting documents, 1933-1975, series 27; Subject files - including Council supporting documents, 1886-1976, series 20. Vancouver (B.C.). Official Traffic Commission - Minutes, 1929-1948, series 538; Subject files, 1967-1975, series 44; Vancouver (B.C.). Property Endowment Fund Board - Minutes and correspondence, 1975-1992, series 51; Vancouver (B.C.). Rental Accommodation Grievance Board - Appeal files, 1969-1975, series 520; Master files (correspondence), 1969-1975, series 519; Minutes, 1969-1975, series 45; Operational subject files, 1969-1975, series 518; Vancouver (B.C.). Vehicles for Hire Board - Chair's correspondence and reference files, 1969-1974, series 52.

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Series descriptions and file lists available. Online Finding Aid

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BCAUL control number: CVAN-603

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