Urban Containment Boundary

Lions Bay: Are we “general urban” or “rural”(inside or outside the Urban Containment Boundary)?

Issued by Council for the Village of Lions Bay, October 2021.

To read all the information below as a pdf, click here.

Why are we asking this question?

All municipalities in BC belong to a Regional District. Lions Bay is a member municipality of the Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD, or “Metro”), previously known as the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD).

When Metro implemented their new bylaw to restrict and regulate the use of residential wood burning appliances, the fact that Lions Bay is designated as urban and identified as being within Metro’s Urban Containment Boundary (UCB), meant we would be subject to additional requirements and ultimately a ban of non-compliant wood stoves and open fireplaces unless manufactured firelogs were used. Communities outside the UCB are not subject to these additional requirements, including the Villages of Anmore and Belcarra, and Bowen Island.

Lions Bay asked to be exempted from the wood burning bylaw in accordance with the community’s wishes (public consultation throughout the Village occurred in 2019). This request was denied by Metro, although an extension for full compliance was granted until September 2032.

When the bylaw came into effect in May this year, over 200 Lions Bay residents signed a request for Council to move Lions Bay outside the UCB.

Council also heard from residents at council meetings and by email. Staff from Metro Vancouver were invited to address Council to answer questions about the difference between “general urban” and “rural” communities, and what the urban containment boundary means in Metro’s plan for the region.

The request received from residents was discussed by Council at its regular meeting on July 27th, 2021, and Council decided to ask the community the question formally: in terms of how we live and how Metro defines urban and rural communities, is Lions Bay “general urban” or “rural”? With the benefit of additional information, Council is asking you to Have Your Say.

How does Metro define an urban community (inside the UCB)?

How does Metro define a rural community (outside the UCB)?
  • Residential neighbourhoods, shopping, services, institutions, recreation, parks - "urban densities"

  • Level of development does not require urban services from Metro (sewer or transit within the community)

  • Place-making, enriched public realm, transit-oriented communities
  • Protect character of rural communities, landscapes, and environmental qualities
  • Transit, multiple-occupancy vehicles, cycling, and walking are the preferred modes of transportation
  • Uses: low-density residential; small-scale commercial, industrial, and institutional uses; agriculture


  • Not intended for future urban development

The answer to this question also determines whether we fall inside or outside the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB).

Survey Results from the November 2021 Have Your Say regarding the UCB can be viewed here