The NVCA's Planning Service provides environmental planning expertise to guide municipal and other land-use planning decisions on a watershed basis, consistent with current applicable federal and provincial legislation and policies, authority policy and municipal planning policy.
Planning Services has three major components:
plan input and review (Planning Act, Niagara Escarpment Act, Environmental Assessment Act)
Conservation Authority regulations and permitting
strategic planning (watershed/subwatershed plans and policy development)
Plan Input & Review
This program provides input and review of planning and development applications involving the Authority's mandate under legislation such as Planning, Niagara Escarpment, and Environmental Assessment Acts.
Staff provide comments on Municipal Official Plans, Zoning Bylaws, subdivision and consent applications, Niagara Escarpment applications, and projects under the Environmental Assessment Act. In cases where applications conflict with provincial or Authority policy, staff may attend the Ontario Municipal Board hearings in support of those policies.
Conservation Authority Regulation & Permitting Program
The purpose of the Conservation Authority Regulation (called the Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses Regulation) is the protection of public safety and the environment. This regulation affects what and where a conservation authority can regulate through the permitting process. Specifically this regulation allows conservation authorities to:
prohibit, regulate or provide permission for straightening, changing, diverting or interfering in any way with the existing channel of a river, creek, stream, watercourse or changing or interfering with a wetland.
prohibit, regulate or provide permission for development if the control of flooding, erosion, dynamic beaches, pollution or the conservation of land may be affected by the development.
Want to know if your property falls within the boundaries of this regulation? Check our interactive mapping system.
This component of planning services provides the strategic direction for all Authority programs. This includes preparing updates and reviews of the Watershed Plan and preparing subwatershed plans for particularly sensitive areas. The Watershed Plan involved the collection of information in order to understand the conditions, functions, and water related issues with strategies and recommendations to address them. Subwatershed Plans provide more details on the ecological features and functions, specific issues, and strategies and recommendations to address them at a more local level.
Strategic planning also reviews the need for and prepares local NVCA policies, where provincial policies are absent or not adequate, (e.g. a pond policy) to assist in meeting our watershed objectives and targets.