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Planning and Regulations - FAQ

1) What should I do first? One of the first things you should do is to contact our staff or consult our online mapping to see if the area in question is of interest to the SVCA.  Feel free to call 519-367-3040 ext. 243 or email if you need assistance.

Please note: you need to provide us with a FULL property description, such as: municipality, lot and concession, civic address and assessment roll number if known.  As well, you will also be asked for a brief description of the project.  Providing a site plan is often helpful.  See our site plan example.

To determine if SVCA approval is required further review may be needed before a response can be provided.

2) I want to undertake a project, such as building a house or installing a culvert.  Is Saugeen Conservation approval needed before I start?

Usually you should start by contacting the staff at Saugeen Conservation.  Feel free to call 519-367-3040 ext. 243 or email

You will need to provide us with a full property description, such as: municipality, lot and concession, civic address, and assessment roll, number if known.  You will also be asked for a brief description of the project.  Providing a site plan is helpful. You can find a site example plan here.  

If our approval is required, then further review may be needed before a response is given.  Usually a proposal, requiring a more detailed review, will be assigned to a specific staff person.  This pre-consultation stage between staff and the proponent helps to streamline the subsequent permit application review process.

3) Am I allowed to build on this property?

Location, location location!! The location of the property and the location of the building site are key to answering this question.  If you know what and where you want to build on the property, providing us with a site plan is helpful.  A hand-drawn sketch is usually sufficient.

If the building site (or related construction works such as an on-site sewage system and/or driveway), is within a Regulated Area, then Saugeen Conservation permission must be obtained before any construction or site alteration begins.

A property situated within a Regulated Area does not necessarily mean a building isn't allowed.  Whether or not development is permitted largely depends on the natural hazards that may be present (e.g. flood plain, wetland, steep slope), the policies in effect, and the specific aspects of your proposal.

Please note: You will still need to get all other applicable approvals in addition to Saugeen Conservation's permit (e.g., approval from the municipality).

4) How do I know if my property is in a Regulated Area?

First, please consult the on-line mapping to see if your property is within an area of interest to the SVCA.

Next, feel free to contact Saugeen Conservation for specific information about a property.  In the following link you can find general information about Regulation 169/06,

Please note that all Conservation Authorities Regulations were amended by the Province of Ontario in 2006.  If you have information about a property that pre-dates the year 2006, it is advisable to contact us again so you can obtain current facts.

5) My property is partially zoned "Hazard Land" - what does this mean?

Zoning by-laws are established by municipal councils for controlling the uses of property. One type of zoning category is a "Hazard" zone (or similarly named zone, such as Environmental Protection, Environmental Hazard, or Natural Environment zone). A hazard zone identifies areas where natural hazards exist, including floodplains, steep slopes, Lake Huron shoreline, or organic soils. Because of these site limitations new buildings are generally not allowed. 

To determine where the Hazard zone is located and the permitted uses, refer to your municipality's Comprehensive Zoning By-law.  (A link to all our member municipality websites can be found here.)

Many of these By-laws are available on-line through County or within your own municipality.  Please be aware zoning by-laws can sometimes be complicated documents.  So, if accuracy is of importance you should confirm the zoning status by contacting the applicable municipal office.

In general, if a property is affected by a Hazard or similar zone, or is adjacent to a Hazard zone, then that area is also subject to Regulation 169/06 administered by Saugeen Conservation.

6) How do I apply for a permit?

a. Before you actually submit a permit application form, Saugeen Conservation recommends you consult with our Planning and Regulations staff.  This pre-consultation stage is very important, and it will ultimately save you time and effort.  For more information about this first step, see question #1.

b. During the pre-consultation step, Saugeen Conservation staff will often ask for more information about your project.  We may also notify you about additional supporting information that is needed.  Once initial information has been collected a preliminary review then follows.  In most cases you will be informed as to any policies or factors that could affect your proposal, and revisions to your plans might be suggested.

c. A site inspection may be conducted at some point.  This viewing of the physical characteristics of the site in question is an essential step before a permit may be issued.

d. Following pre-consultation you may submit the application, along with the applicable fee.  Upon receipt of a completed application, staff will perform a final review.  If no concerns are present, a permit will then be issued to you.

7) What if my proposal involves working around water?

Before any watercourse or wetland is to be altered in any way, permission from Saugeen Conservation is necessary.  The same pre-consultation and review process as described above is followed for water-related projects.

For works proposed in a watercourse (including inland lakes) in most cases, Saugeen Conservation will require that the project be undertaken only during a certain time of year.  Usually the 'timing window' will be limited to the summer months, but this timing varies depending upon stream flow characteristics.

8) May I put in a pond?

If a pond will be in or near a watercourse or in a Regulated Area, permission from Saugeen Conservation should be obtained first.

New ponds on watercourses or in wetlands are generally not allowed.  The farther the proposed pond will be back from such natural features, the more likely Saugeen Conservation will have fewer concerns.

9) What Happens to my SVCA Permit Application?

  • Your permit application will be assessed by Saugeen Conservation staff to determine whether the proposed works will affect the control of flooding, erosion, dynamic beaches, pollution or the conservation of land. 
  • After this review, if your application is acceptable then Saugeen Conservation staff will issue a permit to you.  The permit may include conditions. 
  • Before Saugeen Conservation refuses to grant permission for your project, you have the opportunity to attend a hearing before the Executive Committee.  If you request a hearing you will be notified as to the date and time.  At the hearing you may present your application to the Committee.  Upon hearing the submission of the applicant and reviewing other information submitted, the Executive Committee will make its decision. 
  • If permission is refused, you will be notified of the reasons in writing.  Within 30 days of receipt of the notice of refusal, you may appeal to the Minster of Natural Resources.  The Minister's office will assign the appeal to the Mining and Lands Commissioner, who may dismiss the appeal or grant permission.



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