Does my development comply with local land use bylaws?
To find out if your development complies with the applicable official community plan and zoning bylaws for your area, contact our Planning Department. Official community plan bylaws and zoning bylaws are available for review on this website. For more information on how land use designations, zoning and development permit areas affect your options for development, please contact the Planning Department by phone at 604 485-2260 or email at planning@powellriverrd.bc.ca before proceeding with any works.

Does my new development require a development permit?
To find out if your proposed development requires a development permit, contact our Planning Department. Under the authority of BC’s Local Government Act, the Powell River Regional District has designated Development Permit Areas to:

  • protect riparian areas; and
  • protect development from hazardous conditions.

If any part of a property lies within a Development Permit Area, a development permit issued by the Powell River Regional District is required prior to proceeding with any new development.

There is a watercourse (stream, lake, wetland, etc.) on my property.  Do I need a development permit prior to developing?
Yes. The Powell River Regional District has designated Development Permit Areas to protect riparian areas (watercourses) that provide fish habitat. Riparian areas are protected under BC’s Fish Protection Act and Riparian Areas Regulation.

Prior to clearing or undertaking any development on your land, a development permit issued by the Powell River Regional District is required.  If the proposed work is within 30m of the watercourse, as part of the development permit application process, you will need to hire a Qualified Environmental Professional to perform a Riparian Area Assessment that will be submitted to BC’s Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for review. Please contact our Planning Department to see if this regulation applies to your property.

My property is sloped. Will I need a geotechnical analysis prior to developing it?
If the area you are developing lies within a Development Permit Area established to protect development from hazardous conditions, a report prepared by a Qualified Geotechnical Professional with experience relevant to hazardous conditions such as steep and unstable slopes will be required as part of your development permit application. Please contact our Planning Department to see if this regulation applies to your property.

My sloped property is outside a Development Permit Area established to protect development from hazardous conditions. Should I consider getting a geotechnical analysis anyway?
As a property owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your development is safe and located appropriately on your site. Having a professional assess your proposal prior to starting will bring an added level of assurance that you are fulfilling your responsibilities and protecting your development from risk.

Who do I contact regarding subdividing my property?
In the electoral areas, subdivision approvals are under the authority of the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. However, prior to submitting your subdivision application to the ministry, contact our Planning Department to ensure your proposed development complies with local land use bylaws. This step can save you time and money in the long run.

For more information on the rural subdivision approval process and how to make an application, visit www.th.gov.bc.ca/DA/Subdivision_Home.asp or contact:

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
6953 Alberni Street, Powell River, BC  V8A 2B8
Tel 604 485-3610  Fax 604 485-3611

Do I need a building permit to build in the electoral areas?
The BC Building Code applies to all lands within the Province of British Columbia. The Powell River Regional District has not adopted a building bylaw to implement building inspections or issue building permits. However, builders are required to build to code.

If I am building my own home, a home for someone else or to sell do I need home warranty insurance?
Individuals wanting to build their own home are required by law to obtain an Owner Builder Authorization from the Homeowner Protection Office and to pay a fee, prior to commencing construction of the new home. All residential builders in British Columbia are required by law to be licensed by the Homeowner Protection Office and arrange for third-party home warranty insurance on proposed new homes. In geographic areas where building permits are not required for new home construction, licensing and warranty insurance must be in place prior to the commencement of construction. For more information regarding licensing and home warranty insurance requirements, please visit the Homeowner Protection Office website or contact them by phone at 1 800 407-7757.

How do I get a house number for my new development?
The Powell River Regional District assigns all house numbers in the electoral areas. If you are building a new house, you will need a house number to apply for electrical and telephone connections. Contact our office for assistance.

Your house number needs to be placed in a visible location, where your driveway connects to the main road. A highly visible address is critical for provision of emergency services. Double sided, reflective house numbers are recommended.

Do I need an electrical permit if building in the electoral areas?
Yes, electrical permits are required. Permits are issued by the Province for the electoral areas.  For further information contact:

Government Agent
6953 Alberni Street, Powell River, BC  V8A 2B8
Tel 604 485-3622  Fax 604 485-3627

I want to develop a driveway access onto my property from the road. Do I need a permit and how do I know if a culvert is required?
Prior to establishing a driveway access onto any road, contact the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to get approval for your proposal and ensure it meets all provincial requirements.

Am I responsible for maintaining my driveway access including culvert maintenance?
Yes. An individual who has a driveway access onto any road is responsible for maintaining it.  This includes maintaining culverts to ensure they are clear of debris and draining properly, replacing culverts when necessary, clearing snow from the access entrance, and maintaining the access to ensure that drainage and materials do not spill onto the road. Failing to maintain your driveway access and culvert can cause damage to the road, your property, and adjacent properties.

From the perspective of emergency response, what other things should I consider when developing a driveway?
Your driveway should be clearly marked with your house number, be at least 5 metres wide, have a solid base of gravel or asphalt and should not be too steep or have very sharp curves. Driveways should remain clear of excess vehicles or anything else that would hinder access by a large emergency vehicle.

Are there setbacks for development?
Property owners must ensure that all buildings and structures are sited wholly within their surveyed property boundaries in a manner which ensures adequate setbacks for wells, septic systems and fire safety. Additionally, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure requires specific setbacks for the location of buildings or structures from a dedicated road right-of-way. Contact the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for specific information on these requirements.

Are there building setbacks from the ocean?
The Powell River Regional District encourages compliance with the BC Ministry of Environment guidelines for recommended setbacks from the sea and steep banks. Contact our Planning Department for details on recommended setbacks that may apply to your property.

Who do I contact regarding wells and sewer systems on my property?
Property owners must be very careful about how they situate wells and septic fields on their property. The minimum setback requirement from a well is 30 metres. For further details regarding well or sewer system installation contact:

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
300–5000 Joyce Avenue, Powell River, BC  V8A 5R3
Tel 604 485-3310  Fax 604 485-3305

All septic systems and other forms of sewage treatment must be designed and installed by an authorized installer. Contact Vancouver Coastal Health Authority for a list of qualified installers.

I think my property may be in the Agricultural Land Reserve, what does that mean?
There are a number of properties that are located within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in the Powell River Regional District. Lands within the ALR are intended for agricultural production and are regulated under BC’s Agricultural Land Commission Act and Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act. To help you determine if your land is part of the reserve, maps that show these lands are available to view at our office or on the Agricultural Land Commission website at www.alc.gov.bc.ca. Subdivision and land use within the ALR is under the authority of the Agricultural Land Commission. For more information contact:

Provincial Agricultural Land Commission
133-4940 Canada Way, Burnaby, BC  V5G 4K6
Tel 604 660-7000  Fax 604 660-7033

How do I know if there are archaeological remains on my property?
To find out if there may be registered archaeological sites on your property, contact our Planning Department or the Provincial Archaeology Branch. Archaeological sites are protected under BC’s Heritage Conservation Act. This legislation applies equally to sites on public and private land.

If you find bones, artifacts or other signs of archaeological remains when developing your property you should cease all land altering activities immediately and contact the Provincial Archaeology Branch at 250 953-3334.

To learn more about archaeological resources in our region, visit the Tla’amin & Simon Fraser University Archaeology Project website at www.sliammonfirstnation.com/archaeology.

What are invasive plants and why do we need to take immediate action?
Invasive plants are non-native plant species that have been introduced, either intentionally or accidentally, into the environment from other areas. Without their natural pathogens and predators, they are capable of moving aggressively into an area, and monopolizing resources such as light, nutrients, water, and space to the detriment of other species. Invasive plants threaten natural ecosystem functions, species biodiversity, food security, human health and safety, and economic development.

To learn more about invasive plants in our region, visit the Coastal Invasive Plant Committee’s website at www.coastalisc.com.