This blog post has been created to provide additional information to developers regarding the Riparian Areas Protection Regulation.
In 2006, the provincial government created the Fish Protection Act (now the Riparian Areas Protection Act) to provide legislated protection for streamside areas. The Riparian Areas Protection Regulation (RAPR) Assessment Methods were released at this time to provide Qualified Environmental Professionals with a methodology to assess streams and to provide consistent protection for streamside areas.
The RAPR methods allow the delineation of a Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA); which is intended to act as a no-encroachment in perpetuity to ensure protection of the riparian vegetation that is essential to fish life.
Local governments were given the option to meet or beat the protection standards required by the RAR, and many communities in the Fraser Valley opted to adhere to these standards of protection. Information regarding streamside protection in communities that do not adhere to the RAR will be provided in a separate blog post.
A RAPR assessment is required whenever development is proposed on a property containing a watercourse. Depending on municipal bylaws, development typically includes all activities that require a permit, including building, subdividing, and land clearing.
There are pros and cons to the RAPR.
The methodology is very clear; as such, it is easy to confirm streamside setbacks early in the development process. This facilitates the planning process. The setbacks are also smaller than those required in some communities. This allows greater use of the land.
The main downside of the RAR is that it is inflexible. The setback width cannot be varied except in situations of extreme hardship. As such, it is critical to ensure any development plan conforms absolutely with the RAPR.
There are too many possible scenarios to detail here, but Redcedar Environmental Consulting has the expertise required to give you the detailed and accurate information you need for your development project.