All areas of Ontario have experienced natural hazards such as flooding, erosion and slope failures. Structures and property located within watercourse floodplains, slopes and valleys or shorelines may be susceptible to damage from natural processes such as flooding, erosion, slope failures and dynamic beaches. These natural processes become hazards when people and development locate in the areas where these processes normally occur.
Conservation Authorities have delegated responsibilities from the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to represent provincial interests with respect to natural hazards encompassed by Section 3.1 of the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). These delegated responsibilities require LPRCA to review and provide comments to municipalities on policy documents, as well as, development and site alteration applications submitted pursuant to the Planning Act to ensure the provincial interest has been maintained.
The principle goals of the PPS are to minimize the risks to life, property damage and social disruption, and to avoid public expenditure for emergency operation, evacuations and restoration due to natural hazards and associated processes. This is based on three components: prevention, protection and emergency response.
Prevention from putting people and property at risk is the most cost effective means and the preferred approach for management of natural hazards. As such, the intent of the PPS is to direct development and site alteration away from areas where there is risk to public safety or of property damage.
Long Point Region Conservation Authority staff provides written comments to municipalities on applications made under the Planning Act as part of the Provincial One Window Plan Review Service. These applications may include:
- Official plans and zoning by-law amendments
- Plans of subdivisions
- Severances; and
- Minor variances
The approaches used to identify flooding and erosion hazard limits on the Great Lakes are different from the approaches that apply to river and stream systems. Detailed engineering, geotechnical and scientific principles, practices and procedures for hazardous lands identification, planning and management are contained in the following technical guides (Ministry of Natural Resources, 1991):
- Technical Guide for Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Shorelines, Flooding, Erosion and Dynamic Beaches
- Technical Guide: River and Stream Systems Flooding Hazard Limit
- Technical Guide: River and Stream Systems Erosion Hazard Limit
- Technical Guide for Hazardous Sites
When making recommendations to our municipal partners concerning development and site alteration in hazardous lands associated with Planning Act applications, LPRCA staff is informed by a number of documents, including the PPS, the Technical Guides listed above and LPRCA’s Shoreline Management Plan (1989).
In participating in the review of development applications under the Planning Act, the CA will also ensure that the applicant and municipal planning authority are aware of LPRCA’s Ontario Regulation (O. Reg) 178/06: Regulation of Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses made under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act and requirements under the regulation in order to eliminate unnecessary delay or duplication in the process.
As the CA is only providing recommendations to the municipal partner, it is important to note that an application that has been successfully approved under the Planning Act process, which falls within the area of jurisdiction of the CA, still requires proceeding through the Conservation Authorities Act permitting process. Decisions made under the Planning Act by that planning authority do not bind the CA or alter the requirements for permission under the Conservation Authorities Act permitting process.
The LPRCA has been assisting Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in the implementation of Section 35 of the Federal Fisheries Act since 2000. With recent amendments to the Fisheries Act, our partnership agreement has come to an end effective November 25, 2013. Proponents must now ensure that their projects meet the DFO requirements under the self-assessment process. The following websites have all the information proponents need to self-assess their project and if required, submit an application to DFO:
Does my project need a review? www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pnw-ppe/index-eng.html
Measures to avoid harm: www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pnw-ppe/measures-mesures/index-eng.html
Request a review or authorization: www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pnw-ppe/reviews-revues/index-eng.html
The LPRCA will continue to manage the resources of the Long Point Region watershed, consistent with our mandate, using science-based approaches and tools provided to us by the Ontario Conservation Authorities Act.