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Dock Permits 101: What You Need to Know

If you have lakefront property in the Okanagan, then you have likely considered having a dock installed. Those of you fortunate enough to have a dock may be considering new additions or a full replacement come summertime.

Well, if that’s the case, then you owe it to yourself to get started early. The permitting process in BC can be frustrating, especially if you wait until the warm weather hits since permits will take much longer to be processed. And before you think you might be able to get away with an unpermitted dock, the regulatory bodies who enforce dock permitting are cracking down on unpermitted docks on the foreshore.

The great thing is that Shoreline Piledriving handles permitting on your behalf. We just need to start the planning process now so that we can file your permit applications.

The whole process is painless, let’s show you what it looks like.

1. Start the conversation

Nothing can get underway until you reach out! There’s no need to commit. We offer free quotes and are happy to talk on the phone to start planning what you have in mind for your property.

2. Assess the property’s location and colour zone

In 2009, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) developed a map of the foreshore which outlines the restrictions of construction in each location.

These risk ratings were developed to help maintain foreshore habitats, and they are often the major restriction in terms of what construction is possible for an area.

What are the colour zones

The MOE has defined four colour zones, ranked by the value of the land as a habitat for shore spawning kokanee, freshwater mussels, and foreshore plants.

Each type of activity (construction) is ranked by its risk level as well. Combined, the colour zone of the land and the risk level of the construction may mean certain projects cannot move forward.

The colours are yellow (some risk and certain areas of high value), red (high risk and certain areas of very high value), and black (critical habitat). Certain places have no colour specified, which means it is either unclassified or a low-risk area.

One note, each colour zone has a “least risk timing window” which specifies the dates construction is possible for certain projects. For all of these reasons, it is highly advised that you get in touch to find out when your construction is able to get underway.

All of this information is available on the Government of BC’s webpage for the Okanagan Large Lakes Foreshore Protocol.

3. Estimators come out to find solutions

Shoreline Piledriving employs two qualified estimators who will review the existing guidelines and regulations for the planned location. Based on that information, they will provide clients with a quote and timeline. With approval, we can begin drafting a dock design with full pricing information.

These drafts will be crucial for the dock permitting applications.

4. Client approves work, environmental consultants may review plans

Once we have found the ideal solution for the dock with completed drafts, we will begin the permitting process.

There are two permit applications that every new dock in the Okanagan may require to begin building: the Section 11 application and Crown Land Tenure. A Section 11 is required for any work “in and around the water”. Crown Land Tenure is required when the dock design does not satisfy the general permission guidelines, or their existing license has expired. Unfortunately, these applications can take up to 6 months a year to be processed.

Docks that require specific permission include:

  • A dock where the license has expired and the structure does not meet the general permission guidelines
  • Shared dock structures
  • Locations where an archaeological site (or special interest site) are present.
  • Docks located in a paper subdivision

For these reasons, we may require an environmental consultant to complete an Environmental Impact Assessment, and/or a Qualified Environmental Professional Checklist.

We are able to work with any environmental consultant of your choice. Otherwise, we generally do work with Ecoscape Environmental Consultants, who have demonstrated time and time again their commitment to ensuring that environmental considerations and stewardship are prioritized.

5. Building is scheduled to begin

With all of the permitting out of the way, we can set out a timeline for the completion of this new project. At this time, we will work within the set guidelines of the MOE to ensure we are able to complete the construction within the work window they provide.

At Shoreline Piledriving, we ensure that your dock is not only perfect for you and your family but will continue to be decades into the future. Avoid unforeseen expenses by having your project completed by a team with an outstanding track record of successful builds.

Final considerations

Regulations vary between municipalities. While this information is accurate for most Okanagan residents, there may be exceptions or extra steps for a small percentage of clients.

Also, docks cannot impede public access on the foreshore. Our construction on the foreshore will typically include stairs over the dock to ensure that public access is maintained. We build docks by the book, but that never comes at the cost of functionality.

Ready to get started? Contact Shoreline Piledriving – the Okanagan’s premier dock builders!