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Implementing Riparian Areas Regulation

On May 7, 2015, as part of the Official Community Plan (OCP) and Land Use Bylaw (LUB) review, the Gabriola Island Local Trust Committee adopted regulations to protect various waterways with fish habitat on island. This is called Riparian Areas Regulation or RAR.

May 7, 2015 News Release

 Schedule D image

Bylaw No. 265 - Gabriola Island OCP Amendment

Bylaw No. 266 - Gabriola Island LUB Amendment


This in an important step to comply with the Fish Protection Act (2004) at the Provincial level, and aims to be consistent with the many other municipalities in the province that have implemented RAR  in their regions. RAR is a piece of legislation under BC law and as such, the requirements under it for local governments are LEGAL requirements.

Ministry of Environment Riparian Areas Regulation Brochure 

Riparian Areas Regulation Assessment Methods 


The Basics of RAR on Gabriola Island: Developing Near Riparian Areas 


WHAT has been changed?

RAR is implemented through a Development Permit Area (DPA). DPAs are not new on Gabriola Island.

Backgrounder on Gabriola Island Development Permit Areas

There are nine in total, and the one concerned with protection of waterways is the DPA-3. Through this latest OCP and LUB review process, the DPA-3 shifted from primarily covering Hoggan Lake, to spanning three distinct regions on Gabriola Island: Castell Brook Watershed (Plan 1) , McClay Creek Watershed (Plan 1) and Dick Brook Watershed (Plan 2).


WHERE is it implemented?

Click on images to enlarge

Schedule D1 Image     Schedule D2 Image


WHO does it affect?

Residents with property that falls in a DP-3 area (see map above to assess).

The following activities occurring in the defined DP-3 Riparian Areas REQUIRE a Development Permit:

  • Subdivision of property
  • Construction of, addition to, or alteration of a building or structure
  • Removal, alteration or destruction of vegetation
  • Disturbance of soils
  • Creation of non-structural or semi-impervious surfaces
  • Development as defined under the provincial Riparian Areas Regulation


HOW to apply

Click here for a STEP by STEP Development Permit application procedure


WHY RAR Implementation?

Riparian areas are necessary for stream and watershed health. Land use practices including land clearing, road building, construction of buildings and structures and location of septic systems in or near riparian areas can jeopardize these habitats and water quality.

Our job as stewards of the land is to ensure that these areas continue to function well into the future. Gabriola Island LTC believes RAR implementation will assist in this endeavour, and will allow the island’s natural environment and sensitive ecosystems to be protected to promote a healthy environment and community. (p. 4, Bylaw No. 265)


Links and Additional Resources

Gabriola Island Reports and Assessments

Property Owner Mail-Outs

Advisory Planning Commission

Staff Reports


Page last updated: 27/03/17
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