Environmental Planning and Permits
Conservation authorities have become the primary local agency to review and comment on development proposals pursuant to the Planning Act and the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) mandate to manage the watershed's natural resources and to protect life and property. ABCA staff will provide comments to the applicant or appropriate agency for:
- Plans of subdivision
- Official plans
- Zoning bylaws
- Municipal drainage reports
- Environmental assessments
Applicants are advised of significant natural areas, flood plain lands, steep slopes, erosion rates, faulty septic systems (in portions of Middlesex County only), the need for stormwater control, buffer strips, and wildlife corridors linking existing natural areas.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority has a public web mapping site giving users to access to information on properties we own and hazard areas we regulate:
Stormwater Management Policies and Technical Guidelines
This is the Stormwater Management Policies and Technical Guidelines (2009) of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA):
- Stormwater Management Policies and Technical Guidelines - 4 MB (Very large) PDF file
Examples of How Environmental Planning Works to Protect Life and Property
The following examples illustrate how useful environmental planning can be:
Mr. Smith submits an application to construct a house located within a 40-acre woodlot. Portions of the woodlot are located adjacent to a creek and have been designated as a provincially-significant wetland.
The Conservation Authority requests an environmental review of the proposal which will ensure the following;
- That the house and septic system will not damage the woodlot, creek or wetland;
- That the wetland, that provides flood storage for downstream lands, will not be reduced or negatively impacted by the proposal;
- That the woodlot, and any adjacent adjoining woodlots, will not be damaged through unnecessary tree removal or other forestry related impacts;
- That the habitat of threatened and endangered species is not encroached upon or adversely affected.
A Lawyer submits an enquiry to our office prior to her or his client's purchase of a lakeshore cottage. Our review indicates that the lot is subject to excessive rates of erosion, which may impact the building during the next 25-50 years - the client chooses not to pursue the deal.
A developer proposes to construct five residential building lots adjacent to a river. The Conservation Authority recommends that a stormwater management plan be completed to ensure that adjacent properties are not damaged due to increased runoff following construction. It is also determined that three of the lots are located within the flood plain. The buildings proposed for these lots are moved outside of the flood plain.
Flood plain lands located adjacent to the river are reserved for the creation of a walkway and natural belt so that all residents can continue to enjoy the beauty of the river corridor.
The Regulation of Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses (under Ontario Regulation 97/04)
The Regulation of Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses (under Ontario Regulation 97/04) replaces the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) Fill, Construction and Alteration to Waterways Regulation which had been the governing set of regulations for roughly 20 years. The conservation authority’s revised regulation was part of the Red Tape Reduction Act and is designed to protect public safety from natural hazards through the issuance of permits for works close to lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands or sinkholes.
The approval of the regulation in Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) watersheds follows a broad public consultation process that included four public information sessions held in different areas of the watershed in 2005 between August 20 and September 13, 2005. Four municipal information sessions were also held.
Extensive mapping was also undertaken as part of the regulation review process. Under the revised regulation some properties in the watershed that were previously regulated are no longer regulated while some other properties that weren’t regulated before may now be regulated. Under the previous regulations some parts of the shoreline were regulated while others were not. The revised regulation, under the new name ‘Regulation of Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alteration to Shorelines and Watercourses,’ provides consistent application to residents of all shoreline areas.
For further information on Regulation 147/06, please contact Geoff Cade or Daniel King at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.
The Ontario government approved the revised regulation for the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority Ontario Regulation 147/06, on May 9, 2006 and it was printed in the official Ontario Gazette on May 20 of that year. Prevention of loss of life and property damage from flooding and erosion, as well as enhancing natural resources, is a key mandate of a Conservation Authority and Ontario Regulation 147/06 provides a consistent approach to fulfill that mandate.
Call to see if you are in a regulated area
Before undertaking any filling, construction or altering of watercourses, contact the ABCA or your municipality to determine if you are in a ‘regulated area'. If applicable, ABCA staff will guide applicants through a permit process that involves gathering on-site information, survey work, and providing specific conditions to reduce risk to life and property, reduce potential social disruption and protect the environment from naturally occurring flooding and erosion.
A document about the provincial regulation can be downloaded from the Conservation Ontario website.
The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority delivered the Fill, Construction and Alteration to Waterways Regulation starting in 1984. This legislation, as set out in Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act, enabled the ABCA to review development, filling and construction activity within:
Before undertaking any filling, construction or altering of watercourses, contact the ABCA or your municipality to determine if you are in a ‘regulated area'. If applicable, ABCA staff will guide applicants through a permit process that involves gathering on-site information, survey work and providing specific conditions to reduce risk to life and property, reduce potential social disruption and protect the environment from naturally occurring flooding and erosion.
Shoreline Management Web Page
For the approved Updated Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) please visit the shoreline management plan page at this link:
Shore Protection Policy Change 2021 - Dynamic Beaches Only
Ausable Bayfield Conservation received written comments, until March 5, 2021, on proposed shoreline policy changes related to shore protection structures in regulated dynamic beach areas.
Review the changes here:
Ausable River Erosion Discussion Document
The following is a 6 MB (very large) PDF file of an Ausable River erosion discussion document:
This Armstrong West Revetment erosion investigation, posted for discussion only, was prepared by Ecosystem Recovery Inc. (February 1, 2021)