Development Regulations

The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority administers Ontario Regulation 180/06 as amended by Ontario Regulation 63/13 Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses under the Conservation Authorities Act within its Area of Jurisdiction.

Development within the Approximate Regulated Area may require a Permit from the Authority to confirm that the control of flooding, erosion, dynamic beaches, pollution or the conservation of land are not affected. The straightening, changing, diverting or interfering in any way with the existing channel of a river, creek, stream, watercourse or changing or interfering in any way with a wetland will also require a Permit.

Why is the Regulation Necessary?

For centuries we have developed our cities and villages in floodplains adjacent to watercourses. Rivers are attractive areas for development because they are a means of transportation, may be harnessed for energy and are a source of food.

Unrestricted development within a floodplain can result in flood damage to buildings and threaten public safety. Development can also affect neighbouring properties both upstream and downstream by changing the physical characteristics of the floodplain and the watercourse. Fill placed on a valley slope can aggravate existing erosion problems or create new ones. In addition, interference with wetlands can impact the hydrological function of the wetland, impacting the ability of the wetland to control flooding, store excess water, improve water quality and recharge groundwater sources.

The regulation protects the mutual needs of the watercourse, wetlands and landowners adjacent to them. By complying with the Regulation, landowners will protect themselves by reducing the risk of property damage, personal injury and the loss of life.

Regulated Areas

Areas within the LRCA Area of Jurisdiction considered to be regulated include (but not limited to):

  • All watercourses including streams, rivers and creeks and area adjacent
  • Provincially Significant Wetlands plus 120 metres surrounding the wetland
  • In-land lakes and shorelines
  • 15 metres landward and 1 kilometre lakeward from the 100 year flood level on Lake Superior (excluding islands)
  • Ravines, valleys, steep slopes and talus slopes
  • Hazardous lands including unstable soil and bedrock
  • Property zoned "Use Limitation", "Hazard Land" or "Environmental Protection".

Regulated Activities

The regulation applies to development including (but not limited to):

  • The construction, reconstruction, erection or placing of a structure of any kind,
  • Any change to a building or structure that would have the effect of altering the use or potential use of the building or structure, increasing the size of the building or structure or increasing the number of dwelling units in the building or structure,
  • The temporary or permanent placing, dumping or removal of any material, originating on the site or elsewhere,
  • Site grading, or
  • Any alteration to a watercourse including culvert, bridge and boat launch installation, repairs or replacements.

How to determine if a property is regulated

Screening maps are available for viewing at the Authority office which depicts the Approximate Regulated Area for each Member Municipality. In addition, major watercourses have had floodline mapping completed, which determines the floodplain for the studied watercourse.

Property owners or potential property owners can request a map of a property which will display the Approximate Regulated Area as defined under the Regulations administered by the Authority. Individual maps of specific lots can be viewed at the Authority office or can be mailed, faxed or emailed.

Lawyers, Real Estate Agents or Planners can request a map on behalf of their clients when they are representing their clients during Real Estate transactions. A nominal fee of $75 plus HST ($84.75) is charged per inquiry, which can be paid by cheque, money order or Visa. Cheques/money orders should be made payable to the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority. Staff will provide a map depicting the approximate regulated area as well as a cover letter outlining if there are any known outstanding issues related to the property.

In order for Authority staff to discuss specific development proposals with prospective purchasers, the owner of the property must sign the Landowner Permission and Consent Form which allows the Authority to disclose specific details regarding the lot. The approximate regulated area is public information and can be disclosed at any time.

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How to apply for a permit

If your property is regulated and you are proposing a regulated activity, a Permit will be required. Bring your completed Permit Application Form, applicable fee and any plans or drawings to the Authority for processing by staff. A site visit, if warranted, will be scheduled with staff.

It is advisable to discuss proposals with Conservation Authority staff before applications are submitted.

Is there a fee for this service?

The Authority charges a fee for applications requiring a formal Permit under the Regulation. The fee is determined by the type of work to be undertaken and is outlined on our fees page.

Projects commencing prior to obtaining a permit will be charged double the fee, if the proposal is approved. If the proposal is not approved, the land owner will be responsible to restore the site back to pre-existing conditions at their expense.

Application Review and Approval

Applications are received and reviewed by Conservation Authority staff. Permits are approved either by staff or the Board of the LRCA, or denied by the Board of the LRCA, as outlined in the following documents:

Additional Information

Resources