Environmental Development Permits

Waterfall in a creek

The Provincial Housing Supply Act mandates that the District collects and reports housing information for proposed new residential dwelling units. The Natural Environment and Hazard Development Application Form has been updated to include these additional housing details. Please ensure the most current Form is completed when submitting an application on or after April 1, 2024. For questions regarding housing forms, please contact the Planning Department via email: [email protected]


The Riparian Area Protection Regulation (RAPR) directs local governments to protect the riparian areas of watercourses from development, using their authority outlined in Part 14 of the Local Government Act.

Through the District’s bylaws (e.g. Watercourse Protection Bylaw, Creeks Bylaw) the implementation of Official Community Plan Guidelines NE13 in Existing Neighbourhoods and the designation of Development Permit Areas in Future Neighbourhoods, the District protects watercourses and riparian areas at a level that meets or exceeds the RAPR. 

Future Neighbourhoods in the District, as defined and illustrated by the Upper Lands Development Permit Area and Development Approval Information Area Map UL 8 (generally lands north of Highway 1), are subject to a 30 m setback from the top of a watercourse bank or edge of wetland that must be kept free of development. 

The Development Permit Area designation NE13 (adopted June 27, 2005) applies to lands in the Existing Neighbourhoods as shown in Figure 1.    

Existing Neighbourhoods



In Existing Neighbourhoods, any proposed development within 15 m of the top of bank of a watercourse will require an Environmental Development Permit (EDP). 

Top of Bank is the point closest to the boundary of the active floodplain of a stream where a break the slope of the land occurs such that the grade beyond the break is flatter 3:1 at any point for a minimum distance of 15 m measured perpendicularly from the break (Figure 2).  

Top of Bank


“Development” means any of the following: 

(i) Removal, alteration, disruption or destruction of vegetation; 
(ii) Disturbance of soils; 
(iii) Construction or erection of buildings and structures; 
(iv) Creation of non-structural impervious or semi-impervious surfaces; 
(v) Flood protection works; 
(vi) Construction of roads, trails, docks, wharves and bridges; 
(vii) Provision and maintenance of sewer and water services; 
(viii) Development of drainage systems; and 
(ix) Development of utility corridors. 

Development includes the topping, limbing or removal of hazard trees. If you are only proposing hazard tree work, please refer to the Tree Cutting Permit: Watercourse Protection Area web page for permit requirements.

An Environmental Development Permit is not required for maintenance of the existing landscape conditions if the area is not extended and the type of disturbance is not changed (e.g., routine yard work). 

To obtain an Environmental Development Permit the proposed development must be consistent with the District’s OCP Guidelines NE13 (found in OCP Guidelines Schedule II). 

There are five main guidelines that the proposed development must comply with, including: 

  1. Locate development on portions of the site that are least environmentally sensitive. 
  2. No new development within 5 metres of the top of watercourse bank. 
  3. No development closer to the watercourse than existing development. 
  4. No net loss of riparian habitat within the 15 m setback of the top of watercourse bank (i.e., there can be no additional loss of habitat, but structures could potentially be removed and redevelopment as long as they do not exceed the size of the original footprint and the other provisions of the guidelines are met). 
  5. Enhance, and where feasible, restore watercourses in already developed areas to improve watercourse quality from uplands to inlets. 

You can view watercourses within the District under the Utilities Storm layer in Westmap

An Environmental Development Permit needs to be approved prior to applying for a building permit.