Riparian Area and Ocean Shoreline Protection Bylaw Amendments

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In June 2023, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) initiated the process to amend Zoning Bylaw 337 and 722 in order to strengthen protection of riparian areas (fresh watercourses / waterbodies) and ocean shorelines within the SCRD's Electoral Areas.

A Public Hearing is scheduled on July 16, 2024 to allow the community to provide their views to their elected representatives on the adoption of the amended zoning bylaws. Learn more about the proposed amendments and how to submit your questions before the public hearing below.

Proposed Bylaw Amendments

Quick Overview

ThemeRiparian Area and Shoreline Protection
PurposeSCRD OCP's (land use policies) express a strong commitment to protecting sensitive ecological areas, including watercourses and shorelines, which is not fully operationalized through the Zoning Bylaw 337 and 722. The proposed amendments provide measures to immediately strengthen protection of watercourses and shorelines within the SCRD.
StatusPassed Second Reading of Amendment Zoning Bylaw No. 722.9 and 337.123
Advisory Planning Commission (APC) engagement conducted, including a workshop on the proposed amendments and BC Riparian Area Protection Regulation (RAPR).
Next StepsA hybrid Public Hearing with options to participate in-person at the SCRD Administrative Office (1975 Field Road, Sechelt) or electronically (ZOOM) is scheduled on Tuesday, July 16, 2024 at the SCRD Administrative Office starting at 7PM.
Visit https://www.scrd.ca/public-hearings for more information on how to submit feedback and attend the meeting.


Summary

Amendments to Zoning Bylaw 337 and 722 are proposed to strengthen protection of watercourses and ocean shorelines within the SCRD. The proposed amendments aim to immediately implement Official Community Plan objectives to protect sensitive ecological areas and the Board Strategic Plan’s goal to enhance the region’s resiliency to the effects of climate change.

Proposed amendments include:

1. Change how proposed new lot area is calculated when subdividing land. The proposal is to ensure all proposed new lots meet the minimum lot size when the area of land containing a fresh watercourse and/or a Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA) are subtracted. The purpose of this amendment is to ensure all new lots are developable and private property/public assets are protected from flooding and ravine erosion, while protecting healthy watercourses and streamside vegetation.

2. Establish a buffer from the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA) adjacent to fresh watercourses/waterbodies to ensure that land alteration activities (such as the construction of a home) does not intrude on the SPEA. Landscaping, such as a garden, would be permitted within this buffer.

3. Increase the setbacks from freshwater bodies and the ocean shoreline in Bylaw 337 to align with Bylaw 722 and meet Provincial Best Practices. Zoning Bylaw 337 was implemented in 1990 and no longer meets Provincial Best Practices for watercourse and ocean shoreline setbacks.

To review the draft bylaw text and for further context, please review the following Staff Reports: First Reading (click here) and Second Reading (click here).

Engagement Opportunities


In recognition of the technical nature of the amendments, staff have posted a narrated slideshow video (click here) explaining the amendments.

We invite you to ask questions using the question form on this page before the Public Hearing. Questions will be answered and posted on this page, and will be addressed during a presentation at the start of the Public Hearing.

Public Information Meeting

A Public information Meeting has been scheduled for July 4, 2024 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM SCRD Administrative Office (1975 Field Road, Sechelt). The meeting will be hosted in an open house format, allowing participants to drop in at their convenience during the designated hours. An information station for each proposed amendment will provide an opportunity for community members to ask questions, share feedback, and gain a deeper understanding of the proposed amendments.

Click here to learn more about the event.

Public Hearing

A Public Hearing to consider Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 722.9 and 337.123 has been scheduled on July 16, 2024 at 7PM with options to participate in-person at the SCRD Administrative Office (1975 Field Road, Sechelt) or electronically (ZOOM). Your feedback (support, opposition, information for Board consideration, etc.) submitted though the Public Hearing process will form part of the public record that the Board will review and consider when making a decision on bylaw adoption.

To learn more about how to submit feedback through the Public Hearing process or attend the hearing, please visit www.scrd.ca/public-hearings.

Respectful questions and dialogue are invited. SCRD has zero tolerance for disrespectful communication and behaviour per SCRD’s Respectful Workplace Policy.

On the right side of the page, you will find more information on the project and useful links.

On the bottom of the page, you can ask questions about the proposed amendments.

In June 2023, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) initiated the process to amend Zoning Bylaw 337 and 722 in order to strengthen protection of riparian areas (fresh watercourses / waterbodies) and ocean shorelines within the SCRD's Electoral Areas.

A Public Hearing is scheduled on July 16, 2024 to allow the community to provide their views to their elected representatives on the adoption of the amended zoning bylaws. Learn more about the proposed amendments and how to submit your questions before the public hearing below.

Proposed Bylaw Amendments

Quick Overview

ThemeRiparian Area and Shoreline Protection
PurposeSCRD OCP's (land use policies) express a strong commitment to protecting sensitive ecological areas, including watercourses and shorelines, which is not fully operationalized through the Zoning Bylaw 337 and 722. The proposed amendments provide measures to immediately strengthen protection of watercourses and shorelines within the SCRD.
StatusPassed Second Reading of Amendment Zoning Bylaw No. 722.9 and 337.123
Advisory Planning Commission (APC) engagement conducted, including a workshop on the proposed amendments and BC Riparian Area Protection Regulation (RAPR).
Next StepsA hybrid Public Hearing with options to participate in-person at the SCRD Administrative Office (1975 Field Road, Sechelt) or electronically (ZOOM) is scheduled on Tuesday, July 16, 2024 at the SCRD Administrative Office starting at 7PM.
Visit https://www.scrd.ca/public-hearings for more information on how to submit feedback and attend the meeting.


Summary

Amendments to Zoning Bylaw 337 and 722 are proposed to strengthen protection of watercourses and ocean shorelines within the SCRD. The proposed amendments aim to immediately implement Official Community Plan objectives to protect sensitive ecological areas and the Board Strategic Plan’s goal to enhance the region’s resiliency to the effects of climate change.

Proposed amendments include:

1. Change how proposed new lot area is calculated when subdividing land. The proposal is to ensure all proposed new lots meet the minimum lot size when the area of land containing a fresh watercourse and/or a Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA) are subtracted. The purpose of this amendment is to ensure all new lots are developable and private property/public assets are protected from flooding and ravine erosion, while protecting healthy watercourses and streamside vegetation.

2. Establish a buffer from the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA) adjacent to fresh watercourses/waterbodies to ensure that land alteration activities (such as the construction of a home) does not intrude on the SPEA. Landscaping, such as a garden, would be permitted within this buffer.

3. Increase the setbacks from freshwater bodies and the ocean shoreline in Bylaw 337 to align with Bylaw 722 and meet Provincial Best Practices. Zoning Bylaw 337 was implemented in 1990 and no longer meets Provincial Best Practices for watercourse and ocean shoreline setbacks.

To review the draft bylaw text and for further context, please review the following Staff Reports: First Reading (click here) and Second Reading (click here).

Engagement Opportunities


In recognition of the technical nature of the amendments, staff have posted a narrated slideshow video (click here) explaining the amendments.

We invite you to ask questions using the question form on this page before the Public Hearing. Questions will be answered and posted on this page, and will be addressed during a presentation at the start of the Public Hearing.

Public Information Meeting

A Public information Meeting has been scheduled for July 4, 2024 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM SCRD Administrative Office (1975 Field Road, Sechelt). The meeting will be hosted in an open house format, allowing participants to drop in at their convenience during the designated hours. An information station for each proposed amendment will provide an opportunity for community members to ask questions, share feedback, and gain a deeper understanding of the proposed amendments.

Click here to learn more about the event.

Public Hearing

A Public Hearing to consider Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 722.9 and 337.123 has been scheduled on July 16, 2024 at 7PM with options to participate in-person at the SCRD Administrative Office (1975 Field Road, Sechelt) or electronically (ZOOM). Your feedback (support, opposition, information for Board consideration, etc.) submitted though the Public Hearing process will form part of the public record that the Board will review and consider when making a decision on bylaw adoption.

To learn more about how to submit feedback through the Public Hearing process or attend the hearing, please visit www.scrd.ca/public-hearings.

Respectful questions and dialogue are invited. SCRD has zero tolerance for disrespectful communication and behaviour per SCRD’s Respectful Workplace Policy.

On the right side of the page, you will find more information on the project and useful links.

On the bottom of the page, you can ask questions about the proposed amendments.

Ask a question prior to the Public Hearing

Please note that your question will not form part of the public record for the Public Hearing. To provide your feedback (support, opposition, general feedback) for Board consideration, please visit www.scrd.ca/public-hearings.

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  • Share Currently bylaw 722 allows for multiple property types to build within a very short distance of 5ft from a property line. This isn't good for tree retention between neighbours and often causes conflict. It also then causes folks to by non native often invasive laurels to create a privacy screen. If we are trying to protect riparian areas as well as look into implementing more tree retention would it not be better to make this distance greater, so that folks can't build so close to the property lines. on Facebook Share Currently bylaw 722 allows for multiple property types to build within a very short distance of 5ft from a property line. This isn't good for tree retention between neighbours and often causes conflict. It also then causes folks to by non native often invasive laurels to create a privacy screen. If we are trying to protect riparian areas as well as look into implementing more tree retention would it not be better to make this distance greater, so that folks can't build so close to the property lines. on Twitter Share Currently bylaw 722 allows for multiple property types to build within a very short distance of 5ft from a property line. This isn't good for tree retention between neighbours and often causes conflict. It also then causes folks to by non native often invasive laurels to create a privacy screen. If we are trying to protect riparian areas as well as look into implementing more tree retention would it not be better to make this distance greater, so that folks can't build so close to the property lines. on Linkedin Email Currently bylaw 722 allows for multiple property types to build within a very short distance of 5ft from a property line. This isn't good for tree retention between neighbours and often causes conflict. It also then causes folks to by non native often invasive laurels to create a privacy screen. If we are trying to protect riparian areas as well as look into implementing more tree retention would it not be better to make this distance greater, so that folks can't build so close to the property lines. link

    Currently bylaw 722 allows for multiple property types to build within a very short distance of 5ft from a property line. This isn't good for tree retention between neighbours and often causes conflict. It also then causes folks to by non native often invasive laurels to create a privacy screen. If we are trying to protect riparian areas as well as look into implementing more tree retention would it not be better to make this distance greater, so that folks can't build so close to the property lines.

    Jenny Roan asked 8 days ago

    Thank you for your concern and suggestion regarding setbacks and tree retention between properties. 

    Firstly, it's important to note that the current focus of the zoning bylaw amendments pertains specifically to setbacks from fresh and marine waterbodies, aiming to enhance protection of riparian areas and streams within our region, while also updating the SCRD bylaws to meet legislative requirements and provincial guidelines.

    Regarding your suggestion to increase the distance between properties to prevent building close to property lines, this issue falls outside the scope of the current bylaw amendments. Setbacks between properties are addressed under different sections of the zoning bylaw.

  • Share Pls confirm that bylaws affect new developments only and existing structures are grandfathered Does this affect minimum distances from a stream on a neighbour’s property? on Facebook Share Pls confirm that bylaws affect new developments only and existing structures are grandfathered Does this affect minimum distances from a stream on a neighbour’s property? on Twitter Share Pls confirm that bylaws affect new developments only and existing structures are grandfathered Does this affect minimum distances from a stream on a neighbour’s property? on Linkedin Email Pls confirm that bylaws affect new developments only and existing structures are grandfathered Does this affect minimum distances from a stream on a neighbour’s property? link

    Pls confirm that bylaws affect new developments only and existing structures are grandfathered Does this affect minimum distances from a stream on a neighbour’s property?

    Mark asked 13 days ago

    Thank you for your questions. 

    Your first question relates to “non-confirming uses”. At the time a new land use regulation bylaw is adopted, if an existing use building is lawfully used and it does not conform to the bylaw, then it may be continued as a legal non-conforming use. If the use and density of an existing building conforms to a new land use regulation bylaw, but the building’s siting, size or dimensions do not, the building may be maintained, extended or altered as long as it does not result in further contravention of the bylaw. Any new use of land or a building is subject to the new bylaw.

    To learn more about non-conforming uses, I encourage you to review Local Government Act, Part 14, Division 14 – Non-conforming Use and Other Continuations.

    The answer to your second question is no. Zoning setbacks regulate the siting of buildings and structures, not existing property lines.

  • Share A major justification for these changes are stated to be a requirement to comply with Provincial requirements. What are these laws? Could you cite the Act and sections? The changes will restrict our ability to use and enjoy our properties, so we want to know whether these are actual laws, guidelines or best practices. on Facebook Share A major justification for these changes are stated to be a requirement to comply with Provincial requirements. What are these laws? Could you cite the Act and sections? The changes will restrict our ability to use and enjoy our properties, so we want to know whether these are actual laws, guidelines or best practices. on Twitter Share A major justification for these changes are stated to be a requirement to comply with Provincial requirements. What are these laws? Could you cite the Act and sections? The changes will restrict our ability to use and enjoy our properties, so we want to know whether these are actual laws, guidelines or best practices. on Linkedin Email A major justification for these changes are stated to be a requirement to comply with Provincial requirements. What are these laws? Could you cite the Act and sections? The changes will restrict our ability to use and enjoy our properties, so we want to know whether these are actual laws, guidelines or best practices. link

    A major justification for these changes are stated to be a requirement to comply with Provincial requirements. What are these laws? Could you cite the Act and sections? The changes will restrict our ability to use and enjoy our properties, so we want to know whether these are actual laws, guidelines or best practices.

    Rubylaker asked 20 days ago

    Thank you for your question. Here are some key reference materials which informed the proposed amendments. 

    General materials 

    Ocean Setback increase to Bylaw 337

    Freshwater setback increases to Bylaw 337

    Subdivision Calculation (Both bylaws 722 and 337)

    SPEA Buffer (Both bylaws 722 and 337)

  • Share Hi is it possible for multiple information sessions before the hearing .The subject dramaticly affects numerous residents negatively on Facebook Share Hi is it possible for multiple information sessions before the hearing .The subject dramaticly affects numerous residents negatively on Twitter Share Hi is it possible for multiple information sessions before the hearing .The subject dramaticly affects numerous residents negatively on Linkedin Email Hi is it possible for multiple information sessions before the hearing .The subject dramaticly affects numerous residents negatively link

    Hi is it possible for multiple information sessions before the hearing .The subject dramaticly affects numerous residents negatively

    rsc asked 13 days ago

    A Public Information Meeting was held on July 4th the purpose of which was to answer questions from community members through one on one and small group discussions. The next scheduled engagement opportunity is the Public Hearing on July 16 at 7PM. At the Public Hearing, community members will be given an opportunity to provide their views to the SCRD Board on the proposed bylaw amendments. After the closing of the public hearing , the Board may do one of the following: adopt or defeat the bylaw, or direct staff to alter the bylaw and then either do additional engagement or adopt the bylaw. 

    Learn more about the public hearing here: https://www.scrd.ca/public-hearings 

  • Share Will existng facilites be grandfathered in under this bylaw change. The ocean front property has had stairs and steps to the high water mark for over 30 years. I have seen the term "legal non-conforming". What does this mean? Are my stairs legal non- conforming? on Facebook Share Will existng facilites be grandfathered in under this bylaw change. The ocean front property has had stairs and steps to the high water mark for over 30 years. I have seen the term "legal non-conforming". What does this mean? Are my stairs legal non- conforming? on Twitter Share Will existng facilites be grandfathered in under this bylaw change. The ocean front property has had stairs and steps to the high water mark for over 30 years. I have seen the term "legal non-conforming". What does this mean? Are my stairs legal non- conforming? on Linkedin Email Will existng facilites be grandfathered in under this bylaw change. The ocean front property has had stairs and steps to the high water mark for over 30 years. I have seen the term "legal non-conforming". What does this mean? Are my stairs legal non- conforming? link

    Will existng facilites be grandfathered in under this bylaw change. The ocean front property has had stairs and steps to the high water mark for over 30 years. I have seen the term "legal non-conforming". What does this mean? Are my stairs legal non- conforming?

    Frank B asked 13 days ago

    Thanks for your question, 

    The zoning setback from the natural boundary of the ocean is for the development of buildings and structures. Per SCRD zoning bylaws, pathways and stairs to the ocean area not considered a “building” or a “structure” (unless the are large in scope and/or require retaining walls over 2m - in which case these would be a “structure” and require a Building permit and comply with zoning setback) and therefore the setback does not apply. If your path and stairs are small in scale, then you are in compliance with the zoning bylaw. 

    Please note – Freshwater (streams, wetlands, lakes, etc.) setbacks are treated differently than ocean setbacks. Any land alteration (building, tree cutting, etc.) within 30 metres of a freshwater waterbody or the top of bank requires an SCRD Development Permit and a Riparian Area Protection Regulation Assessment.

  • Share Our waterfront home and about two dozen homes adjacent to use a gravel road to access our homes. This road is about ten feet above the high tide mark but two dozen homes use this road to access their homes. Power lines run along this road. How will esplanade homes like ours be affected by the setback changes? on Facebook Share Our waterfront home and about two dozen homes adjacent to use a gravel road to access our homes. This road is about ten feet above the high tide mark but two dozen homes use this road to access their homes. Power lines run along this road. How will esplanade homes like ours be affected by the setback changes? on Twitter Share Our waterfront home and about two dozen homes adjacent to use a gravel road to access our homes. This road is about ten feet above the high tide mark but two dozen homes use this road to access their homes. Power lines run along this road. How will esplanade homes like ours be affected by the setback changes? on Linkedin Email Our waterfront home and about two dozen homes adjacent to use a gravel road to access our homes. This road is about ten feet above the high tide mark but two dozen homes use this road to access their homes. Power lines run along this road. How will esplanade homes like ours be affected by the setback changes? link

    Our waterfront home and about two dozen homes adjacent to use a gravel road to access our homes. This road is about ten feet above the high tide mark but two dozen homes use this road to access their homes. Power lines run along this road. How will esplanade homes like ours be affected by the setback changes?

    DougR asked 17 days ago

    Hi, thanks for reaching out with your question. 

    The proposed amendments will not impact existing public roads (which in a regional district are owned and maintained by the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure).

  • Share Does SPEA also include ocean shorelines? Where does one find the specific changes for ocean front properties, above the high tide mark? What is the qualification requirement for the qualified person that is defining the high water tide line? on Facebook Share Does SPEA also include ocean shorelines? Where does one find the specific changes for ocean front properties, above the high tide mark? What is the qualification requirement for the qualified person that is defining the high water tide line? on Twitter Share Does SPEA also include ocean shorelines? Where does one find the specific changes for ocean front properties, above the high tide mark? What is the qualification requirement for the qualified person that is defining the high water tide line? on Linkedin Email Does SPEA also include ocean shorelines? Where does one find the specific changes for ocean front properties, above the high tide mark? What is the qualification requirement for the qualified person that is defining the high water tide line? link

    Does SPEA also include ocean shorelines? Where does one find the specific changes for ocean front properties, above the high tide mark? What is the qualification requirement for the qualified person that is defining the high water tide line?

    dsanford asked 14 days ago

    Hi, thank you for your questions. 

    Freshwater bodies, such as creeks, lakes, rivers and wetlands have “Streamside Protection and Enhancement Areas” (SPEAs) per the provincial government’s Riparian Areas Protection Regulation (RAPR). SPEAs are a area protected from building and land alteration along freshwater.

    Oceans are not subject to RAPR, and therefore do not have SPEAs.

    The only proposed zoning amendment related to the ocean is changing the setback for buildings and structures from 7.5m to 15m in Zoning Bylaw 337 (Pender Harbour zoning bylaw). The zoning setback in zoning bylaw 722 (bylaw for West Howe Sound, Elphinstone, Roberts Creek, and Halfmoon Bay) already has a 15m ocean setback.

    BC Land Surveyors (BCLS) are relied on to define/ locate the natural boundaries of the ocean. 

    Here are some helpful links:

  • Share I have a deep ravine at the edge of my property which is just over half an acre and zoned for two houses. There is currently only one small house but I purchased this property with the intention of building a second house in five years or so. How will these proposed changes affect me? Is there a way to find out how these changes directly affect me and other individual property owners? on Facebook Share I have a deep ravine at the edge of my property which is just over half an acre and zoned for two houses. There is currently only one small house but I purchased this property with the intention of building a second house in five years or so. How will these proposed changes affect me? Is there a way to find out how these changes directly affect me and other individual property owners? on Twitter Share I have a deep ravine at the edge of my property which is just over half an acre and zoned for two houses. There is currently only one small house but I purchased this property with the intention of building a second house in five years or so. How will these proposed changes affect me? Is there a way to find out how these changes directly affect me and other individual property owners? on Linkedin Email I have a deep ravine at the edge of my property which is just over half an acre and zoned for two houses. There is currently only one small house but I purchased this property with the intention of building a second house in five years or so. How will these proposed changes affect me? Is there a way to find out how these changes directly affect me and other individual property owners? link

    I have a deep ravine at the edge of my property which is just over half an acre and zoned for two houses. There is currently only one small house but I purchased this property with the intention of building a second house in five years or so. How will these proposed changes affect me? Is there a way to find out how these changes directly affect me and other individual property owners?

    Nat asked 13 days ago

    If you have property specific question reading a future development project, please reach out to the SCRD Development Planners with information on your property (address, description and proposed siting of your development project, etc.) to schedule a pre-application meeting. At this meeting, staff can outline if you require a Development Permit based on your preliminary development plan as well as confirm what is possible under your property’s zoning. 

    For more information on how to schedule a pre-application meeting, please visit this webpage: https://www.scrd.ca/planning

  • Share Where do we email feedback to you about these changes in order to form part of the public record for the Public Hearing? on Facebook Share Where do we email feedback to you about these changes in order to form part of the public record for the Public Hearing? on Twitter Share Where do we email feedback to you about these changes in order to form part of the public record for the Public Hearing? on Linkedin Email Where do we email feedback to you about these changes in order to form part of the public record for the Public Hearing? link

    Where do we email feedback to you about these changes in order to form part of the public record for the Public Hearing?

    gmajor asked 16 days ago

    Please email your feedback (support, opposition, ideas for consideration, etc.) to this email for it to form part of the public record shared with the SCRD Board of Directors: publichearings@scrd.ca

    For more information on the public hearing, please visit: https://www.scrd.ca/public-hearings

  • Share Is "hardscaping" ( as defined in the proposed changes ) permitted in the SPEA (assuming the changes are adopted) ? on Facebook Share Is "hardscaping" ( as defined in the proposed changes ) permitted in the SPEA (assuming the changes are adopted) ? on Twitter Share Is "hardscaping" ( as defined in the proposed changes ) permitted in the SPEA (assuming the changes are adopted) ? on Linkedin Email Is "hardscaping" ( as defined in the proposed changes ) permitted in the SPEA (assuming the changes are adopted) ? link

    Is "hardscaping" ( as defined in the proposed changes ) permitted in the SPEA (assuming the changes are adopted) ?

    Rubylaker asked 27 days ago

    Any land alteration within 30 metres of a watercourse/ fresh waterbody or the top of bank requires an SCRD Development Permit and a Riparian Area Protection Regulation Assessment. The outcome of a riparian assessment is a Stream Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA), which is an undevelopable area where no land alteration (building, tree cutting, vegetation removal, hardscaping, etc.) is permitted.  This is an existing process set out in the BC Riparian Area Protection Regulation (RAPR), which the Sunshine Coast Regional District is required to implement. 

    Here are some helpful links:

Page last updated: 10 Jul 2024, 03:54 PM