4 Things you need to know if you are developing in a Natural Environment Permit Area in Lake Country, BC

As you start planning your dream home or investment property in Lake Country, there are some things you will need to know.

The District of Lake Country bylaw number 750 is called the Official Community Plan (OCP). The OCP was adopted in 2007 through the Local Government Act and its purpose is to guide future land use development within the municipal boundary.

Part of the OCP (Section 22) outlines the various Development Permit Areas that have been established to promote responsible development practices. One of which is Section 22.8 “Natural Environment” development permit area. These areas have been established based on sensitive ecosystem inventory mapping information that was conducted in 2005. The community is committed to keeping these areas as natural as possible and ensuring development includes specific considerations into their plans.

If your property is located in this development permit area, these are things you will need to consider:

  1. Minimization of the development footprint. Consideration has to be given to leaving as much of the natural environment intact and undisturbed as possible.
  2. Minimization of the removal of trees, shrubs and natural vegetation. Ultimately in order to develop a property for the purpose of building any structures, tree clearing, grubbing and stripping activities must occur. The OCP outlines compensation / restoration requirements for the removal / disturbance of trees and shrubs meaning that if removed, re-planting of the same or similar indigenous species will be required during the landscaping phase of the development. Make an effort to avoid removal or disturbance of natural vegetation where possible and based on identified sensitive features (see point 4).
  3. Management of stormwater, erosion and sedimentation. As Lake Country is located in a very dry, hot climate it is important to protect the soils and sloped surfaces from eroding and potentially creating sedimentation onto natural vegetation or into waterbodies. Consider the topography of the property in relation to the proposed development to avoid or minimize the risks of negative impacts.
  4. Environmentally sensitive features assessment and protection. Last but not least, a “Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP)” is required to be consulted with to conduct an assessment of the property for sensitive features including; natural water features, wildlife habitat, wildlife connectivity, and identification of potentially occurring provincial or federally listed wildlife or vegetation species on the property. The QEP will prepare a written report following their assessment of their findings and any recommendations they have for the proposed development. Depending on their findings, they will likely include an environmental monitoring program throughout the development / construction phase to ensure the development goes as planned and does not have any negative impacts on the natural environment.

With Lake Country EHS we can help you learn more about the things you have to know when developing in a natural environment permit area. Contact us now.

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