Cataraqui Conservation recently began a public consultation process to seek input on proposed changes to the policies we use to implement Ontario Regulation 148/06: Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses. Cataraqui Conservation is a regulatory authority mandated by the Province to implement this regulation.
Created and enacted by the Ontario provincial government, the purpose of this regulation is to ensure that any proposed changes a landowner or municipality wishes to make to a waterfront property, including building near or altering a shoreline, are not negatively affected by natural hazards, such as flooding and erosion. As well, the regulation requires that these changes do not put people, their properties and/or other properties at greater risk from these hazards.
The purpose is also to protect the hydrologic and ecologic functions of wetlands, which play a significant role in avoiding flooding and erosion and safeguarding the quality of our water, as well as the diversity of plant and animal life in our region.
Under the five-year review, the regulation itself is not changing. Instead, Cataraqui Conservation is proposing updates to the existing policies to ensure they are consistent with the authority’s core mandate of protecting people and property from natural hazards and to reflect the latest technical data and guidance. Further information on the policy update process can be found here: https://cataraquiconservation.ca/pages/cataraqui-conservation-permitting-policy-updates.
To help clarify why the policies are being updated and what is involved in this process, we provide the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Are these new policies?
No. The policies (“Guidelines for Implementing Ontario Regulation 148/06”) are not new policies but are instead an update to existing policies that have been in place since 2006. These policies are updated on a standard 5-year cycle.
Why does the regulation need to be changed at all?
The purpose of the update is to ensure that our policies continue to reflect the intent of O. Reg. 148/06 – which is to protect people and property from impacts relating to natural hazards (e.g., flooding and erosion)
The proposed changes are intended to add clarity so that people understand what the rules are for new development (e.g., buildings and structures) and site alteration activities (excavation, grading, placement of fill) near natural hazard areas, shorelines, and wetlands. They include, for example, clearer policies regarding docks and boathouses, which are detailed in the accompanying document.
The hope is that better policy clarity will result in a more efficient permit review and approval process for property owners throughout the Cataraqui Region. The proposed changes are also intended to improve consistency with how Conservation Authorities, especially in eastern Ontario, regulate work and also as a response to changing development pressures.
Will this affect existing buildings and structures on or near the water?
No. The regulation, existing policies, and proposed changes all apply to new work only – not to existing development and site alteration.
How can the public participate in this process?
Existing Provincial legislation does not mandate specific public consultation requirements for updates to Conservation Authority regulatory policies. Regardless, widespread consultation is key to helping the public understand why and how we regulate and to ensure that policy changes properly address real challenges and needs. Therefore, we wish to reach out and collect feedback from as many property owners, area residents, and organizations as possible. We are actively promoting this process directly to the public as well as specifically contacting various organizations, agencies, municipalities, industry groups, lake associations, contractors, and more.
The consultation period runs from July 4, 2022, to July 29, 2022, during which time staff will collect input from the public and stakeholders. In order to connect with the public and stakeholders in the most efficient and effective way, the consultation process will be electronically based. A dedicated webpage has been established for this purpose (https://cataraquiconservation.ca/pages/cataraqui-conservation-permitting-policy-updates) on the Cataraqui Conservation website. This will be supplemented with social media postings, media releases, and direct notifications to stakeholders including our member municipalities and other agencies, organizations, and consultants.
How will comments be considered?
Feedback from the public and stakeholders is a key factor in considering the final recommended changes as the proposed changes to our policies are currently in draft format and by no means final at this stage.
Cataraqui Conservation staff, the Planning & Permitting Ad Hoc Committee (PPAHC) and our Full Authority Board will take any input received into consideration as part of the policy update process prior to finalization. Both the Committee and the Full Authority Board are comprised of appointed representatives of each of the municipalities within our jurisdiction, with the intent of facilitating the concerns and recommendation of each community.
The final changes will be endorsed by the PPAHC and adopted by the Board.
Once the policies are updated, do landowners have options if their proposed work does not comply?
Cataraqui Conservation remains a solutions-oriented regulatory authority and our staff is committed to working collaboratively with landowners and other stakeholders to find ways to permit projects that meet the needs of the applicant while maintaining proper protection from natural hazards. This will not change.
Where staff cannot support permit approval, an applicant has the right to request a permit hearing before Cataraqui Conservation’s Full Authority Board.
To review the proposed changes and provide comments, please visit: https://cataraquiconservation.ca/pages/cataraqui-conservation-permitting-policyupdates
Cataraqui Conservation appreciates all feedback received and will review comments over the coming weeks and evaluate next steps once the consultation period has closed on July 29, 2022.