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You’re moving into your Kelowna waterfront home and are already imagining sun-soaked days on the Okanagan Lake. Before you can build the dock that makes your dream of the idyllic Okanagan lifestyle a reality, you’ll need to have the proper Okanagan Lake dock permits in place. Don’t worry. When you work with Shoreline Pile Driving & Boat Lifts, we take care of all the necessary permits and applications for you.

To help you get started, here are five things to know about Okanagan Lake dock permits.

1. How long does it take to get an Okanagan Lake Dock Permit?

It often takes between two and six months to process your permits. However, depending on your location and the permits required, it can take as long as one year.

At Shoreline Pile Driving, we have two qualified estimators who review existing guidelines and regulations for the planned location of your dock. Based on their review, we provide you with a quote and timeline so you know when your dream dock will be ready to use.

While we know that the Okanagan Lake dock permit stage can feel long, permits help to protect both you and the environment. Natural Resource Officers often visit job sites to ensure all dock builders have the appropriate permits in place and may request a copy of your Section 11 application.

Drone photo of dock build on Okanagan Lake by Shoreline Pile Driving

2. What is a Section 11 Application?

A Section 11 application under the Water Sustainability Act informs the Ministry of Environment of your proposed dock construction or repair work. Once approved, the Section 11 application allows you to work in and around the lake under specific terms and conditions outlined by the provincial government.

3. When should I start the Okanagan Lake Dock Permit Process?

Because the process can take several months, we recommend submitting applications as soon as your design has been finalized.

4. I already have a dock on Okanagan Lake, but it requires repairs. Will I need a permit?

Yes. All planned work that happens in or around the water requires a Section 11 application.

If your existing license has expired and you’re repairing a shared dock or your dock is located in an archaeological site, you may also require Crown Land Tenure which can take up to a year to be processed. Lastly, each municipality also has its own paperwork and permits before dock repairs can begin.

You may need permits for:

  • Replacing your decking
  • Repairing the frame or foundation
  • Fixing rusted platforms or supports
  • Replacing rotting wood
  • Repairing dock accessories
  • Ensuring electrical components work as they should
Side view of dock on Okanagan Lake

5. How do I know if there are any Restrictions in my Location?

In 2009, the Ministry of Environment introduced the Okanagan Region Large Lakes Foreshore Protocol. Complete with detailed foreshore sensitivity maps, risk ratings for development activities, and preferred procedures and practices. This protocol helps maintain important habitats on the shores of lakes across the region.

To measure habitat sensitivity, the protocol introduced four colour zones:

  • Black indicates critical habitats
  • Red is high to very high-value habitat
  • Yellow is moderate with some high-value habitat
  • No Colour refers to unclassified or low-value habitats

Each colour zone has a timing window to reduce the impact on fish and wildlife species. If your dock is in a black, red, or yellow zone on Okanagan or Kalamalka Lake, the work must be done between June 1 and Sept 30 to protect Kokanee shore spawning habitats. These zones also have distinct size, depth, and material requirements for your new dock. At Shoreline, we ensure your new dock meets these requirements during our design phase.

Ready to build your dream dock and have questions about Okanagan Lake dock permits? We’ve been facilitating the permit process and building beautiful, long lasting docks for 40 years. Contact us online to learn more and for a free quote.