If a property is within 50m of a stream or contains a sensitive ecosystem, it may require a Natural Environment Development Permit (Note: this information can be found on Webmap). No site clearing, regrading or other land disturbance is permitted until a Natural Environment Development Permit is issued. Several different types of reports and plans may be required as part of the Natural Environment Development Permit application. Information on each of these reports/plans can be found below.
If the property owner is able to demonstrate that the proposed development will not impact environmental values on the property, they may qualify for an exemption from the Natural Environment Development Permit.
If the subject parcel contains habitat that may sustain species at risk or have general wildlife habitat value, the City may require that the property owner retain a Qualified Environmental Professional to undertake a Wildlife Habitat Assessment Report, in accordance with the the City’s Wildlife Assessment Report Guidelines.
The presence of species at risk (including their habitats) may require site specific mitigation measures (e.g. buffers, salvages, etc.) to be undertaken. This may impact development potential and/or timelines. As such, the applicant should investigate these issues early in the development process to ensure it is making land use decisions that meet the expectations of the City and senior government environmental regulatory agencies.
All residential, commercial and industrial development must occur outside of the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Areas, which is established by the City’s Streamside Protection Bylaw. Streamside Protection and Enhancement Areas are no disturbance areas that range in width from 5m to 30m for streams and 2-10m for ditches, measured from the top-of-bank. The width is dependent on fish presence, stream permanence, and vegetation category.
Please contact an Environmental Coordinator to determine the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area for your watercourse. If the watercourse classification is unknown, the property owner can default to the most conservative classification or retain a Qualified Environmental Professional to undertake a Fish Habitat Assessment Report.
All areas of human disturbance (including buildings, structures, paved parking areas, landscaped areas, etc.) that existed prior to the Streamside Protection Bylaw being adopted are grand-parented and can continue to be used as long as the type of disturbance doesn’t change and the area of disturbance is not extended/expanded. However, if new development is proposed, the new development will need to adhere to the setbacks as described above.
If the proposed development cannot avoid impacts to the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area, a Development Permit or Development Variance Permit application will be required. A Development Permit or Development Variance Permit will require retaining one or more Qualified Professional to prepare reports to support the application (e.g. Fish Habitat Assessment Report, Arborist Report, Wildlife Habitat Assessment Report, etc.).
Staff support Development Permits or Development Variance Permits where the applicant demonstrates use of the mitigation hierarchy (1st avoid 2nd mitigate 3rd compensate) and where the NEDP Guidelines are followed.
The SPB does not apply to agricultural land use and farming activities; however, senior government legislation and the Zoning Bylaw Floodproofing Provisions do apply.
An Arborist Report, prepared by a Certified Arborist, may be required to support a Development Permit application or a Development Permit exemption request. The Arborist Report must include a tree survey, tree condition assessment, and a tree removal/replacement plan. The report must assess all trees that are greater than 20cm diameter at breast height located on the subject parcel or on adjacent parcels in areas that may be impacted by development.
If it is suspected that invasive plants listed under the Weed Control Regulation exist on the property, a Qualified Environmental Professional will need to conduct a site survey for invasive plants. If any exist on the property, the Qualified Environmental Professional shall develop a strategy for their eradication and submit this strategy to the City for review.
A Construction Environmental Management Plan may be required prior to issuance of the Natural Environment Development Permit. The Construction Environmental Management Plan must be developed by the applicant’s Qualified Environmental Professional to advise the developer and contractors on how to proceed in compliance with relevant streamside and wildlife legislation, guidelines, Best Management Practices, etc. The Construction Environmental Management Plan shall address topics such as pre-construction meetings, tree clearing timing, procedures for species salvages, environmental monitoring requirements, spills, emergency contact numbers, and authorities of the environmental monitor.