Environmental Development Permits


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

Through the implementation of the Official Community Plan Guidelines NE13 and the designation of a Natural Environment Development Permit Area, the District meets or exceeds the RAPR by avoiding net loss of riparian habitat and providing protection to watercourses and riparian areas.


Proposed work within 15 m of the top of bank of a watercourse will require an Environmental Development Permit (EDP). To obtain an Environmental Development Permit the proposed work must be consistent with the District's OCP Guidelines NE13 (found in OCP Guidelines Schedule II).

There are four main guidelines that 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 meters of the top of a watercourse bank
  3. No development closer to a 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 redeveloped as long as they do not exceed the size of the original footprint).

More information is provided in our Watercourse Protection Brochure.

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.


If you are doing the following work on a property within 15 m of the top of a watercourse bank, you will need an Environmental Development Permit:

  • construction of any structure or building
  • construction of impervious or semi-pervious surfaces
  • landscaping
  • tree removals or pruning of trees more than 10-centimetre diameter at breast height (Note: for tree work only, please refer to the Tree Cutting Permit: Watercourse Protection Area web page for permit requirements.)

You may not need an environmental development permit if your work only includes:

  • interior renovations
  • construction more than 15 metres from the top of bank of a watercourse
  • maintenance of existing landscaping

Your application for an Environmental Development Permit should include the following:

  • Completed Natural Environment and Hazard Development Permit application form
  • If applicable:
    • Site Survey drawn to scale and prepared by a BC Land Surveyor showing the watercourse, top of bank, 5 m setback from top of bank, and 15 m setback from top of bank, as well as site features.
    • an Environmental Assessment prepared by a Qualified Environmental Professional (i.e., Registered Professional Biologist), which describes the proposed development within 15 m of the top of bank of a watercourse, and how the development complies with the District’s OCP Guidelines NE13
    • Riparian Planting Plan showing proposed landscaping within 15 m of top of watercourse bank including native riparian plants
    • Arborist Report applicable for tree work, prepared by an ISA Certified Arborist inventorying the “Protected” trees on the property and meeting the criteria set out in the District’s Tree Bylaw Section 8.2
    • Erosion and Sediment Control Plan

Applicants must submit all necessary documentation as outlined above.

Plans and documents must be in PDF format and submitted to:

Environmental Protection Officer

All fees can be paid online. Directions for online payment will be provided to the applicant following application submission.

Environmental Development Permits can typically be processed in four to six weeks, however, process time varies depending on whether or not there are any other Development Permits required (e.g., wildfire or foreshore protection), the completeness and accuracy of the reports, information received, and the overall complexity of the project (note: if variances to the Zoning Bylaw are requested, processing times will be longer).

Related information


Environmental Protection Officer