Environmental Regulations

Abbotsford’s natural setting is characterized by a wide diversity and beauty of landscapes and natural features. These ecosystems provide many functions necessary for our community’s health and well-being. The City has committed to protecting and enhancing these ecosystems and the wildlife that depend on them through several mechanisms, including the City’s Streamside Protection Bylaw, the Tree Protection Bylaw, and the Natural Environment Development Permit area.

As Abbotsford continues to grow, development may occur in areas with steep slopes where the potential risk of natural hazards such as landslides, erosion, debris flows, etc. present a danger to people and property. As such, the City established the Steep Slope Development Permit area in order to ensure development activity does not create hazardous conditions.

Erosion and Sediment Control


Contaminated Sites

Floodplain Setbacks

If a property is located in a designated Floodplain Area or within proximity to a watercourse, it must adhere to the floodproofing provisions under the Abbotsford Zoning Bylaw (Section 140.7.7), which prescribe setbacks for buildings and structures from the natural boundary of a watercourse, waterbody or dyke.

Where landfill is used to achieve any elevation required by the Zoning Bylaw, no portion of the landfill slope shall encroach upon the setback areas, and the face of the landfill slope shall be adequately protected against erosion by floodwaters.

Invasive Plants

Invasive plants are non-native plants that were introduced without their natural insect predators and plant pathogens that help to keep them under control in their native habitats. Some invasive plants have been designated as a noxious weed under the Weed Control Regulation and must be controlled as per the City's Good Neighbour Bylaw.

Report Invasive Plants

Agricultural Stream Setbacks

The Streamside Protection Bylaw does not apply to agricultural land uses. However, the City’s Zoning Bylaw Floodproofing Provisions (section 140.7.7) dictate the setback of buildings from a watercourse to ensure there are no impacts to the floodway. The Zoning Bylaw does not dictate what land practices occur between the building and the watercourse; rather, the Fisheries Act and Water Sustainability Act govern the removal of riparian vegetation within agricultural land.

In order to avoid contravention of senior government legislation, the City recommends adherence to either the City’s Streamside Protection Bylaw or the provincial Riparian Area Protection Regulation for any vegetation clearing activities, and adherence with the Agricultural Building Setbacks from Watercourses in Farming Areas guidelines for the construction of farm buildings.