District of Fort St. James Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where is the municipal office located, and when is it open?
A: The District office is located at 477 Stuart Drive West (across from Overwaitea). It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (closed statutory holidays).

Q: Where are the municipal boundaries of Fort St. James?
A: The southern boundary is Kwah Road. The western boundary is at the end of the golf course on Stones Bay Road. The industrial areas north and east of town (Apollo and Pope & Talbot) are within municipal boundaries; however there is an area along Highway 27 north which is out of town (Robin Road, Sandhu Road, etc.). See the maps for further details.

Q: When was Fort St. James incorporated?
A: Fort St. James was incorporated as “The Corporation of the Village of Fort St. James” in 1952. It was reincorporated as “District of Fort St. James” in 1995.

Q: Is there 9-1-1 emergency service?
A: No. Unfortunately, 9-1-1 service is not available in Fort St. James. Emergency numbers are printed on the first page of the phone directory. Magnets with the fire, police, and ambulance numbers are available at the District office and the fire hall.
Emergency numbers:

  • Fire Emergency: 250-996-8211
  • Ambulance: 1-800-461-9911
  • Police: 250-996-8269

Garbage and Recycling
Q: Where is the waste transfer station?
A: The transfer station, operated by the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako, is about one km east of Highway 27, on Necoslie Road, just south of town.

Q: When is the transfer station open?
A: The transfer station is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays (closed on statutory holidays). Call the transfer station at (250) 996-2166 for further information.

Q: When does residential garbage collection occur in Fort St. James?
A: Residential collection is on Tuesdays north of Nahounli Creek, and Wednesdays south of Nahounli Creek.

Q: Can I leave my garbage in bags at the curb?
A: No. All garbage and other waste material left at the curb for collection must be placed in waterproof containers no larger than 77 litres in capacity and covered with a lid. Containers including contents must weigh less than 20 kg each. Flattened and bundled cardboard may be left outside of containers. Garbage not meeting requirements may not be picked up.

Q: Can I recycle in Fort St. James?
A: Yes. There is no curbside collection, but there are a number of recycling options available. Please see the Recycling Brochure.
Also, the GUFers (Greening Up the Fort) group has excellent guides on reducing, reusing and recycling here.

Water and Sewer
Q: Where does our water come from?
A: Fort St. James’s water comes from an aquifer (or artesian well) which is an underground lake. The water is pumped at the well head located at the foot of David Hoy field. From there, it is pumped to a reservoir, above the hospital, and gravity fed into the water mains. The water is not chlorinated or filtered, but is analyzed weekly for contaminants. The water is completely safe to drink, though it has a high level of mineral content which may cause an unpleasant taste or odour.

Q: Where does our sewage go?
A: Waste water from your drains goes into the sanitary sewer system, and is piped to a series of lift stations, where it is pumped to a lagoon and treatment facility on Necoslie Road. The treated sewage goes into Necoslie River.

Licences & Permits
Q: Do I need to get my dog licenced?
A: Yes. The District’s animal regulation bylaw requires that all dogs kept within municipal boundaries be licenced. Annual dog licences can be purchased at the District office for a nominal fee.

Q: I want to do business in Fort St. James. Do I need a business licence?
A: Yes. Every company or individual wishing to do business in Fort St. James requires a business licence. Business Licence Applications are available through the District Office, or through One Stop online business registry.

Q: Do I need a building permit?
A: All new construction within the District of Fort St. James requires a building permit. Please check with our office if you are planning any construction on your property. Failure to obtain a building permit could result in work being stopped on your project and more cost to you if the work needs to be redone to conform to the BC Building Code and municipal bylaws. When you sell your property in the future you may be asked for proof that your buildings conform to the BC Building Code. If you are unable to produce a building or occupancy permit it may be cause for the purchaser to invalidate the sale. If you have a fire your insurance company may ask for proof of building permits. Failure to produce a building permit may be cause for your insurance to be cancelled. For a small fee the District provides you with quality advice on meeting the BC Building Code.

Q: I’d like to build a fence around my home in Fort St. James. Do I need a building permit?
A: No. However, you should consult the District’s zoning bylaw to ensure your fence does not exceed maximum allowable height.

Q: I want to build on a property in the rural area near Fort St. James. How do I obtain a building permit?
A: Application forms for Regional District building permits are available at the Fort St. James municipal office. Contact the Regional District for further information: 1-800-320-3339.

Q: Where is the municipal cemetery?
A: The cemetery is located on Highway 27 North, just north of the junction with Stones Bay Road.

Q: Can I reserve a plot at the cemetery?
A: Yes. Please contact the municipal office for information.

Q: What type of memorials can be placed in the municipal cemetery?
A: The District’s cemetery bylaw states that a memorial must be of the tablet variety, made of granite or bronze, or material of equal permanency. For more details, check our cemetery bylaw.

Zoning and Subdivision
Q: How can I obtain zoning and official community plan information?
A: The Zoning and Official Community Plan bylaws are available in PDF format at the links here, or contact the municipal office for assistance.

Q: I would like to rezone my property located in Fort St. James. How do I do that?
A: Individuals wishing to rezone their property (or another property with the consent of the owner) can apply to council. Rezoning Applications are available at the District office. Most rezoning requires a public hearing. The approval of a rezoning can take several months.

Q: I would like to build something that does not conform to the zoning bylaw. Can I get a variance?
A: You can apply for a Development Variance Permit at the municipal office. Council is bound by certain guidelines for variances, and may exercise their discretion.

Q: I want to subdivide my property in Fort St. James. What do I have to do?
A: Please contact the Subdivision Approving Officer at the District Office for information on subdivisions.

Q: My neighbour’s yard is a mess. Is there anything that can be done about it?
A: Yes. Under the District’s unsightly premises bylaw, property owners must keep their lands free of refuse, derelict vehicles, and other unsightly mess. Contact the District office for more information.

Q: Do I need a burning permit?
A: Yes. You may not burn anything without a burning permit. It is prohibited to burn grass, garbage, demolition waste, noxious material (tires, plastic, animal waste, etc.). With a valid burning permit you may incinerate gardening waste in an approved enclosure, have a campfire burning only cured wood, or burn land clearing waste. The fire chief may refuse to issue a burning permit. Property owners are responsible for any outdoor fires on their land.

Taxes and Utilities
Q: When are utility bills (water, sewer, garbage collection) payable?
A: Utility bills are issued twice a year in March and September. Payments are due by 4:30 p.m. on the last day of regular office hours in April and October. You may claim a 10% discount if paid by the due date. Seniors (65 and up) may claim a 50% discount for their residence, if paid by the due date.

Q: When are tax bills payable?
A: District of Fort St. James property tax notices are issued in late May, and are due on July 2nd, or the first day of regular office hours following that date.

Q: Who is eligible to claim the provincial Home Owners’ Grant?
A: If you own the home in which you reside, you can reduce your annual municipal tax bill by claiming the provincial Home Owners’ Grant. You may claim the grant each year by submitting the application attached to your tax notice to the municipal office.

Q: How can I pay my taxes or utilities?
A: You can pay by mail, in person at the District office, or via internet banking (Royal Bank, CIBC, BC Credit Unions and Scotiabank allow internet payments to the District of Fort St. James). We accept cash, cheques, Interac or direct payment through your bank’s online bill payment service. We cannot process credit card payments. For further information, see our Payment of Accounts policy.

Q: Who can vote in municipal elections?
A: Anyone who is 18 years of age or older, a Canadian citizen, a resident of BC for at least six months, and a resident of the municipality for at least 30 days may vote in municipal elections. A person who owns property in the municipality, but lives outside it and meets all the above criteria is also eligible to vote.

Q: When are Council meetings held?
A: Generally, the District of Fort St. James Council holds regular meetings on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, at 7:00 p.m. For a full list, please see the Council Schedule.

Q: I’d like to make a presentation to council. How do I go about it?
A: Council welcomes delegations to its regular meetings. Anyone wishing to speak before Council must contact the CAO or the Deputy Administrator to arrange a suitable date. We ask that delegations submit written material to be included in the meeting agenda by the Friday preceding the meeting.

Q: How do I apply for a Grant In Aid?
A: Council accepts applications for grants in aid pursuant to the Grant In Aid Policy and Application Form, which you can access here.

Q: When will the next local elections be?
A: Local elections are every three years. The next scheduled elections will be in November 2011.

Website by REDI and Spark Design