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When a building permit is applied for through the Cowichan Valley Regional District, it is sent to the GIS department to assign a civic address. The GIS department uses an address grid that encompasses the entire region to ensure addresses are assigned consecutively and in an order that is easy to understand.
Occupancy will only be granted if you have your valid civic address posted.
No. Addresses must be assigned by the Cowichan Valley Regional District to ensure the correct civic is assigned and agencies such as E-911 are properly notified.
Roads within the Cowichan Valley Regional District fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation, Highways and Infrastructure. To verify your road name, contact the Ministry of Transportation at (250) 387-3198. For maintenance issues or hazards on the roadway, visit Highway Maintenance Contractors Public Contact Numbers web page.
The method for receiving a water access address is the same as that of a land access address (applying for a building permit through the CVRD Building department). Water access houses should have the addresses clearly posted so that passing boats can easily locate it, such as on the dock.
Provide a map of your property to the service provider using our interactive web map. If your address is incorrect or not shown on our web map, please contact the CVRD GIS staff via email or (250) 746-2684.
Yes. One address should be assigned to each residence on your lot. Additional civic addresses will be given out once the building inspector has determined the house is habitable and does not contravene the zoning regulations.
The Ministry of Transportation, Highways and Infrastructure approves road names within the Cowichan Valley Regional District. As part of the subdivision application procedure, the developer will be asked to provide 3+ road names that will be checked against the current road inventory for uniqueness. If the road name exists within the CVRD or a surrounding jurisdiction, the road name will be denied and the developer will have to submit other options.
Addresses are assigned based on an addressing grid that covers the entire CVRD. While we understand some address numbers may not be desirable, they are assigned to ensure yours and your neighbours' safety.
In rare circumstances, the CVRD may change or reassign civic addresses to correct inaccuracies or make room for new subdivisions. In these circumstances, the CVRD will notify all affected owners.
It should be noted that proponents of a proposed project are free to hold public information meetings on their own accord with or without local government involvement. It is relatively common for proponents to host one or more such meeting for large or complex projects to gauge community support and resolve identified issues with the community in advance of a development application.
Public HearingsPublic hearings are required by the Local Government Act in cases where local governments are considering bylaws to adopt an official community plan or zoning bylaw amendment. The Act public hearings must be held after first reading of the proposed bylaw and before third reading. The purpose of a hearing is to permit individuals who believe their interest in property is affected by the proposed bylaw to make written or verbal representations to the elected officials in relation to matters contained in the bylaw. This type of formal meeting does not permit two-way discussions with the primary obligation of the elected officials being to simply “hear” the information presented to them.
At a public hearing, elected officials are required under common law to be amenable to persuasion, though they may hold strong views on the matter. Once a public hearing has been concluded, elected officials are not permitted to receive any new information. That said, it is possible for additional public hearings should important new information be identified that is central to the decision-making process.
For more information, feel free to review the Rezoning Development Guide.
2. March 9, 2016 Board:#16-156 While the Board of the CVRD has expressed its opposition and lack of support for future Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) projects in the Cowichan Valley, the Board is aware of its responsibilities to give appropriate consideration to any land use application that might be made to the Regional District in accordance with the Local Government Act.
The manner of free expression is shaped somewhat by the legal obligations associated with a pending or an actual development application that is to be considered by the elected body. In this case, although an elected official is free to express their view on any given subject, it is considered prudent to ensure any view expressed respects the legal obligation of the elected official to maintain an “open mind” or be amenable to persuasive arguments either in favour or in opposition to a proposed bylaw. This helps ensure an elected official is not perceived to have prejudged the merits of any application, whether or not it happens to be consistent with an official community plan or zoning bylaw or any other consideration. Applications for official community plan and rezoning amendments are common components of local government business.
The requirements of procedural of fairness inherent in the rezoning process, as set out in case law, require elected officials to maintain an open mind. So, although they are entitled to hold and express opinions about issues of concern to the community, they must be prepared to listen to and weigh the arguments made both in favour of and in opposition to an application.
The Courts have stated that elected officials must be prepared to change their views based on the information presented by an applicant, including information presented at a public hearing. It is important to note that a Board or Council functions as a quasi-judicial body, with all associated responsibilities for procedural integrity, in the consideration of development applications. Otherwise, if a court finds an elected official had a closed mind, and was not prepared to change their views, no matter what information was presented, the elected official risks being disqualified from voting on the matter.
South Cowichan Zoning Bylaw No. 3520 The Bamberton lands on the east side of the Trans Canada Highway have a number of different zoning designations. These include Heavy Industrial 2 (I-2), Bamberton Light Industrial 1A Zone (I-1A), Rural Resource 1 (RUR-1) and Rural Resource (RUR-2). The water surface of the Saanich Inlet adjacent to the Bamberton Lands is zoned Heavy Industrial (I-2) and Marine Conservation 1 (W-1). None of the zones that apply to the Bamberton Lands or the water surface adjacent to the Bamberton Lands permit the storage and distribution of liquefied natural gas.
A building permit is required before:
(a) constructing, reconstructing, repairing or altering a building or structure,
(b) removing or relocating a building or structure,
(c) changing an occupancy or use of a building or structure,
(d) conducting a “tenant improvement” in an existing commercial or industrial suite,
(e) removing, altering or adding a plumbing distribution system and or drain, waste and venting system,
(f) demolishing a building,
(g) constructing or adding a fireplace, woodstove or chimney,
(h) constructing or altering a farm building or,
(i) constructing or altering a retaining structure.
Note: Gas and Electrical Work is regulated by Technical Safety BC
To get a building permit, you must first apply by submitting a complete application to 175 Ingram Street, Duncan or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. See here for a list of general requirements.
Please refer to the Building Permit Fee Schedule found in the CVRD Building Bylaw for new residential construction . For Renovation or Complex projects, fees will be 1% of the estimated construction value.
Please include this data with your application.
You will pay for your building permit when the permit has been issued and it is time to pick it up. Permit fees shall be paid by cash, debit or cheque payable to the Cowichan Valley Regional District. Please note: credit card is not accepted.
We are committed to processing all permit applications as quickly as possible. For residential construction (new houses, additions, alterations and accessory buildings) the processing depends on the time of year and volume of permits. Please contact the building department at 250-746-2610 to get an estimate of the current processing times. Incomplete applications are often the main reason for an increase in processing times.
This will be at the discretion of the Area Building Official. Receiving an incomplete application can result in a longer wait time than an otherwise complete application as incomplete applications are placed in a suspension queue while they wait for additional submission.
Typically, 2 years. If the first inspection is not called for within the first 6 months, or work discontinues for 12 months, a permit can expire. It is recommended to maintain communication with your Building Official regarding expiration.
By calling 250-746-2610 or by e-mailing email@example.com. You MUST have your permit number and civic address. Please also be prepared to leave your name, phone number and the date requested. Special instructions or information is also required, for example; a gate code, key location or the presence of a dog. See here for more information on booking inspections. See here for more information on the building permit process, including required inspections.
Please see our list of required inspections here.
Inspections will occur between 8am - 4:30pm on the day of your request. Building Officials will not call ahead to meet you. It is the responsibility of the inspection requestor to be available between 8am and 4:30 on the day of the inspection.
You can view a copy of the BC Building Code here.
Sheds that are a maximum of 10 sq. m. (107 sq. ft.) do not require a Building Permit provided that they do not create a hazard. Minimum setbacks to property lines apply and depend on which zone the shed is located in. Larger sheds do require a permit. If your shed is under 10 sq.m. and contains plumbing, a building permit will be required. If a deck structure is 24” or less in height throughout the perimeter of the structure without manipulating grade, a building permit is not required. Measurements are taken from existing grade to the top of the walking surface. A building permit is required for ALL elevated decks. In all cases, setbacks apply to deck structures. If you are unsure about a specific project, contact our office.
To obtain copies of building inspection records for a specific property you must complete a request for information form and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to include the property owner's consent and what information you require so we can determine if releasing the records is in keeping with policies and legislative requirements. Charges may apply for copying plans or other large documents.
The CVRD may have septic and well information on file if building permits were previously issued on a property. This information may be obtained through a Property Information Request. The majority of this information however comes from the Island Health Authority.
Yes, in order to ensure that required agricultural setbacks and uses are adhered to. See here for the Farm Siting permit form.
For general questions contact 250-746-2610 or email email@example.com. Questions often cannot be completely answered without specific parcel information.
Lumber used for structural components must be graded in accordance with National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA) standard grading rules for Canadian lumber.
Typically, lumber is graded and stamped at the source of manufacture. With site cut lumber, the grading can be done on-site by a qualified grader who provides the necessary certification for the owner and subsequent verification by the Building Official where required by the BC Building Code.
All of the CVRD is within Climate Zone 4 with the exception of the Western Portion of Lake Cowichan which is Climate Zone 5. See here for more information.
North of Valley View Centre in Cobble Hill is 1.2 or less, South of Valley View is greater than 1.2.
See here for more information.
Zoning is a land management tool used by local governments to separate uses. Each of the nine Electoral Areas has a Zoning Bylaw with regulations specific for each zone, including; use, density and siting (e.g. setbacks). Permitted uses are identified for each zone additionally, each Zoning Bylaw is equipped with a section on definitions and general regulations. The CVRD web map can help you quickly determine what your property is zoned. For more information on how to use the Web Map see "What is the Web Map and how do I use it?"
Riparian areas can be defined as the area of land adjacent to a watercourse or body of water, a ditch, spring or wetland, whether or not usually containing water (see image below). The entire CVRD is within a Riparian Protection Development Permit Area (DPA). It is the responsibility of the property owner(s) to ensure there are no activities in the riparian area, or apply for a development permit. For more information on Riparian Areas, please click here.
For visualization purposes only.
The online Web Map allows anyone to search their property and find important information like zoning, OCP designations, development permit areas, service areas and more. To use the Web Map simply go to the Web Map and click on desktop icon (see image #1). From there a disclaimer statement will appear, click 'accept'. The map will launch and show the entire Regional District. To find your property you can either search by scrolling in and navigating to it, or use the address tool or parcel identifier (PID) for bare land (see image #2). Once you have found the property, use the 'identify tool' (top left - see image #3) by clicking on the tool and then on the property. By doing this, information should populate on the left side. From there you can click on any of the items shown in that list for more information. Links to other relevant bylaws are also provided (see image #4).
An accessory dwelling unit, also known as granny suite, separate suite, small suite or carriage house, is a smaller house located on the same lot as a single-family dwelling. The building can be purpose built or may be a conversion of/or to an existing garage or accessory building. The maximum permitted size of these units varies across electoral areas and can be found in the applicable Zoning Bylaw.
Accessory dwelling units are allowed in many zones throughout the CVRD (with the exception of Area G). This specific use, however, depends on the size of the property and the level of servicing. To find out if your zoning allows an accessory dwelling unit first check the specific zone in the zoning bylaw, then confirm the size of your property meets the minimum parcel size required depending on its level of servicing. Not sure what your zoning is? Check out our Web Map! Please make sure to check with the Building Department for code and permit requirements prior to undertaking any work.
A secondary suite is a self-contained residential unit within a home. They can be located in a basement of a dwelling or attached at ground level to the dwelling. The CVRD zoning bylaws for each electoral area regulates the maximum size of the secondary suite and do vary by electoral area. Always consider the specific zone, general regulations and definitions when determining eligibility for a secondary suite. To find out if your zoning allows a secondary suite on your property, first check the specific zone in the zoning bylaw, then confirm the size of your property meets the minimum parcel size required depending on its level of servicing. Not sure what your zoning is? Check out our Web Map!
Secondary suites are permitted in many residential zones throughout the CVRD. This specific use, however, depends on the size of the property and its level of servicing (e.g. connection to water and sewer). To find out if your zoning allows a secondary suite on your property, first check the specific zone in the zoning bylaw, then confirm the size of your property meets the minimum parcel size required depending on its level of servicing. Not sure what your zoning is? Check out our Web Map!
Development Permit Areas (DPAs) require permits under certain circumstances. Local governments have the authority to designate development permit areas in an official community plan. These identify locations that need special treatment for certain purposes including the protection of development from hazards, establishing objectives for form and character in specified circumstances, or revitalization of a commercial use area. This authority can also be used to achieve climate action goals for energy conservation, water conservation and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Unless a development permit is obtained, development in such areas is restricted.
If an official community plan designates development permit areas, then the implementing guidelines may be located in the official community plan or in the zoning bylaw.
A Development Permit (DP) is a land use permit used by local governments to review proposed developments to ensure they meet the policies and objectives of the Official Community Plan (OCP), and satisfy all required regulations in the zoning bylaw. A Development Permit may specify requirements respecting the character of development, including landscaping, and the siting, form, exterior design and finish of buildings and structures; environmental protection; protection from hazardous conditions and protection of farming. DP's may also impose conditions respecting the sequencing and timing of construction. Within designated Development Permit Areas (DPAs) land must not be subdivided or altered and buildings or structures cannot be constructed or altered, unless the owner has first obtained a DP. Once approved (by the General Manager or CVRD Board), the DP is registered against the title of the land and becomes binding on future land owners.
If you are planning to develop your property and it's located within one or more Development Permit Areas (DPAs), you will need a Development Permit (DP) prior to obtaining a Building Permit or obtaining subdivision approval, unless otherwise exempt. It is important to remember, a DP is not a building permit. To find out if your project requires a DP application you can call staff or follow the instructions below:
A Development Variance Permit (DVP) is a land use permit used by local governments to 'vary' or relax a regulation. A DVP is required whenever proposed development does not meet a regulation in a zoning bylaw, sign bylaw, subdivision bylaw or parking bylaw. Examples of regulations that may be varied include building setbacks, height or site coverage. Keep in mind - a DVP cannot vary land use or density. In order to do change a land use or the density of that use you will require a rezoning application. DVP applications are discretionary, which means depending on the merits of the situation it may be denied. All DVPs are first heard by the Electoral Areas Services Committee (EASC) and then approved/denied by the CVRD Board.
Although 'Air B&B Inc.' is a specific short term rental marketing company, it is commonly used as a blanket term when talking about short term rentals. Zones that permit short term rentals are limited in the CVRD. Bed and breakfast short term rentals are permitted within most single-family dwellings, however they are regulated, and generally require that it be contained within a single family dwelling (not an accessory building), and that the owner reside in the single family dwelling. To determine if your property is within one of these areas, please consult the Zoning Bylaw to determine the permitted uses on your property. You can find your zone and a link to the zoning bylaw using the Web Map. Note: secondary suites and accessory dwelling units/detached suites are typically intended for long term rentals.
The CVRD does not have a tree cutting bylaw. The CVRD does, however, regulate the cutting of trees in certain areas that have been designated as a Development Permit Area (DPA) and may even prohibit the cutting of trees and other vegetation. The Riparian Area Protection DPA is one of these areas that will require a permit prior to cutting or removal of any vegetation. Other areas that may require a permit prior to cutting trees are areas designated as a sensitive ecosystem and/or steep slope.
Tree cutting should occur during identified low-risk timing periods (mid-September to January). If tree cutting must occur outside this time window, a thorough nest search should be conducted. Removal or modification of a nest tree requires written permission (permit) from the Province (MoE) and may also require a federal permit.
The BC Building Code requires all dwellings to be code compliant, have permanent foundations and be connected to an approved septic system. It is not the size that counts, but the connection to services and compliance with the BC Building Code. The zoning bylaws regulate the maximum size of a dwelling but not the minimum (except some in Area D). Note: tiny homes on wheels, or recreational vehicles on wheels, are not permitted to be used as full time dwellings because they do not meet BC Building Code Regulations.
No, CVRD does not currently enforce the Step Code, nor do we have any incentive for voluntary compliance. CVRD will begin to enforce the step code once it becomes amalgamated into the BC Building Code.
See link here for information on climatic data by Electoral Area.
Although we don't require a building permit for the construction of a fence, we do regulate the height of fences in the zoning bylaw. Make sure to check the 'general regulations' section in the zoning bylaw before you dig.
You may request information from an existing building file using the following form. The form must be filled out by the listing agent and home owner then emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once we receive your email, you will be notified if information is available. Printing documents is provided for $0.25 per page. When your package is ready for pick up you may pick it up at 175 Ingram Street, Duncan. Unfortunately we cannot send documents electronically. Please note, identification is required at time of pick up.
Yes. The CVRD requires building permits for pools in order to enforce setbacks, and ensure proper fencing and gating. The reason for which is to ensure the safety of children, pets and wildlife. Similarly, if a retaining wall is required for a pool, you may need a building permit for it as well.
A 'swimming pool' means any structure or construction intended primarily for recreation that is, or is capable of, being filled with water to a depth of 0.6 metres (2 feet) or more. For the purpose of this definition a hot tub shall not be considered a swimming pool.
If its a Park design issue then please contact Graham Gidden, Parks and Trails Planner at 250-746-2639.
You will need your Visa or Mastercard for payment.
Riparian areas can be defined as the area of land adjacent to a watercourse or body of water, a ditch, spring or wetland, whether or not usually containing water (see image below). The entire CVRD is within a Riparian Protection Development Permit Area (DPA) which means certain activities will require a development permit application prior to a building permit. It is the responsibility of individual property owner(s) to ensure there are no activities in the riparian area, or apply for a development permit. For more information on the Provincial regulation, please click here. For more information specific to CVRD requirements see pages 18 - 24 here.
Subdivision is the process of altering legal property boundaries. It usually involves the dividing of a property into smaller lots. It can also include the realignment of existing property lines or the consolidation of two or more lots into a single lot. To subdivide land within an Electoral Area of the CVRD an applicant must apply to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). A Provincial approving officer, appointed by the B.C. government, approves subdivision plans in regional district electoral areas after all requirements are met. The CVRD is referred the application from the Ministry and considers minimum parcel size (found in each of the 8 zoning bylaws), and development permit requirements (found in the Official Community Plan).
The following are types of subdivisions where approval of the Approving Officer is required:
Minimum parcel sizes and subdivision regulations are determined in the Zoning Bylaw (please note that each electoral area may have their own zoning bylaw, and each zone within the bylaw has its own minimum parcel size). Minimum parcel sizes depend on the level of servicing (e.g. community water and sewer services) - typically, the minimum parcel size will decrease as the level of servicing on a property increases. For example, a lot that is on well and septic will have a larger minimum parcel size than a lot that is serviced by community water and sewer. To determine if your property is, or can be, serviced with community water and/or sewer, please consult the Web Map and ensure the 'Utility' layers are checked on.
In addition, to the minimum parcel size, general subdivision regulations also apply. These refer to the subdivision of lots severed by a road, another parcel or jurisdictional boundary; boundary adjustments/parcel realignments; subdivision of parcels containing a water body, watercourse or wetland; panhandle parcels etc. Note: each zoning bylaw contains its own general subdivision regulations and it is important to know which electoral area your parcel is within.
The Official Community Plan describes the long-term vision of the nine Electoral Areas that make up the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD). The plan includes objectives and policies that guide decisions on planning and land use management which impact our communities' sustainability and resilience. Regional Districts have the authority to develop official community plans under the Local Government Act.
After the adoption of an official community plan, all bylaws enacted or works undertaken by the Regional District must be consistent with the plan. However, the official community plan does not require the local government to proceed with any works or projects mentioned in the plan. Official community plans must include certain plan statements and map designations and may also contain optional policy statements and development permit area designations. Other federal and B.C. government guidelines and requirements may influence the content of an official community plan.
If a local government chooses to prepare and adopt an official community plan, it must have statements and map designations for:
If your proposed development does not conform to the regulations of a development bylaw (e.g. zoning bylaw), you will need a Development Variance Permit (DVP). DVPs cannot vary land use or density (e.g. minimum parcel size), but can vary the siting and height of a building. Keep in mind, these applications are discretionary, meaning it could be denied. All options to satisfy the bylaw requirements should be exhausted prior to making an application to vary the regulation.
An Official Community Plan (OCP) Amendment application is required when a proposed development does not conform to the land use designation(s) of the OCP. An amendment is the process of legally changing the land use designation on a property through an amending bylaw. The approval process for an OCP Amendment is similar to a Rezoning Application – a bylaw amendment and a Public Hearing are required before the Board adopts an OCP Amendment. In some instances, an OCP Amendment must be made before a change to zoning can occur, and the amendment applications (OCP and Rezoning) typically occur in tandem.
When the Electoral Areas Services Committee (EASC) and CVRD Board assess new development proposals, they are required to determine whether the project is consistent with the OCP. This is done by considering the proposal based on its designation in the OCP, and through an OCP policy assessment that is done by Planning staff. Amendments to the OCP are carefully assessed, as each new proposal should help contribute to the community achieving its visions and goals.
There are some occasions where a proposal is consistent with the goals and visions of the OCP, but is in conflict with the existing OCP land use designation or specific OCP policies. In this instance, an OCP Amendment may be required.
If your proposed development does not align with the objectives, policies and land use designation(s) specified in the Official Community Plan (OCP), an application to amend the OCP will be required. Keep in mind, a strong rationale must be provided to Planning staff explaining why your proposal cannot align with existing policies and regulations.
A Rezoning Application is an application to amend the Zoning Bylaw. The purpose of rezoning is to change land use regulations to allow development that aligns with CVRD Board priorities and is often used to secure development contributions to help provide public amenities.
While conditions such as building setbacks or height can be varied through a Development Variance Permit (DVP), changing the permitted uses or allowable density in a particular zone requires a change to the zoning bylaw through a rezoning application. if your intention is to use your property for a use not currently permitted under the existing zoning you will need to apply to change it.
Any local government that has adopted a zoning bylaw or rural land use bylaw must establish a Board of Variance (BOV). See Section 536 of the British Columbia Local Government Act. The Board of Variance is an independent board consisting of three volunteer members of the public who have been appointed by the Board of the Regional District. These members may not be an officer or employee of the local government; they do not have representation on the Regional District Board of Directors.
The Board of Variance reviews applications and makes decisions on minor variances to zoning and rural land use bylaws when it is illustrated by the applicant that compliance would cause undue hardship. Click here to read the Board of Variance Bylaw.
Tree cutting should occur during identified low-risk timing periods (mid-September to January). If tree cutting must occur outside this time window, a thorough nest search should be conducted. Removal or modification of a nest tree requires written permission (permit) from the Province (MoE) and may also require a federal permit.
Chickens are becoming a popular land use activity as more people look to their own yards to provide some food security. Before you start your chicken coop plans, be sure to check your Zoning Bylaw to ensure that chickens and/or livestock are a permitted use on your property. Keep in mind that the zoning bylaw for each electoral area may address chickens differently - in some areas such as Electoral Areas A and C, there are specific regulations for the keeping of chickens while in other zoning bylaws the 'Agriculture' use covers all livestock. Be sure to read through your zone thoroughly and don't forget to check out the definitions at the beginning of the zoning bylaw for additional clarity.
No. An RV is a recreational vehicle designed to be used as temporary quarters for recreational, camping or travel use. Currently in the CVRD, RVs are not a permitted use in any of the zoning bylaws because RVs do not meet the BC Building Code regulations for dwellings.
A Building Permit (BP) is typically needed for the construction of any structure over 10m2. You may also require a BP for any structural changes proposed to an existing building. For more information regarding the building permit process, please visit the Building Inspection webpage.
No. The CVRD does not have the necessary legislative powers to require business licenses. Please note that any construction or renovation work for a new business (e.g. new kitchen), may require a development permit and/or a building permit. A sign permit may also be required for any new signage (or the alteration of existing ones). You may also want to check with the Building Inspection Division that the building you are conducting your business in meets the BC Building Code requirements (e.g. certain uses have specific fire safety building requirements in the Building Code). Note: the zoning bylaws do regulate ‘home based businesses’, which regulate the size of the business space, parking and signage.
To see whether or not your property is within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) go to the online Web Map and search your property by scrolling, using an address or parcel identifier (PID). Once you have located your property, use the 'identify' tool (top left) and click on your property. Information should populate on the left with information like your zoning, and OCP designation. If your property is in the ALR you will see it listed in the items on the left. Please note: This mapping service is for general reference only. Mapping errors can occur.
You may also consult the Agricultural Land Commission Mapping System. Note: If your property falls within the ALR, additional regulations may apply.
While conditions such as building setbacks or height can be varied through a Development Variance Permit (DVP), changing the permitted uses or allowable density in a particular zone requires a change to the zoning bylaw through a rezoning application. If your intention is to use your property for a use not currently permitted under the existing zoning you will need to apply to change it.
Zoning bylaws rarely have this information listed in the particular zone but rather details their specifics under separate sections. In the first few pages of the zoning bylaws you will find an index, which can be used to find the ‘General Regulations’. These sections apply broadly across all zones and include regulations for accessory buildings, suites, home-based businesses and much more.
Landslide hazards exist in mountainous areas throughout the world. Wherever there are steep slopes, there is a risk of material falling or sliding down the slopes. Heavy rains can often cause instability as soils become overly saturated. As climate change increases the intensity and frequency of rainstorms in the Cowichan region, the CVRD has been studying what this means to the region’s existing natural hazards including (including flooding and landslides). The steep slopes above Cowichan Lake are prone to landslides, so the CVRD has been investigating these hazards.
There are many types of landslides, varying by the amount of water mixed with the sliding material. In the Youbou area, debris slides, debris flows, and debris floods are all potential hazards. Click here for more information on types of landslides.
It is the responsibility of local governments to identify hazards affecting or with potential to affect the community and to use that information to inform and guide land use decisions. Building inspectors must also ensure that all buildings under permit are safe for their intended use.
The CVRD has completed an initial study into landslide risk in the Youbou area. This study identified significant risks and led to follow-up studies.
Initial Study – based on existing air photos and provincial base mapping accurate at 1:15,000 scale
Ebbwater / Palmer (2019) analyzed historical air photos and provincial geological and topographical mapping to establish the landslide hazard on the slopes above Cowichan Lake from Cottonwood Creek to Hill 60. The landscape was divided into large polygons, each with hazard score based on the likelihood of a landslide impacting that polygon. This mapping is accurate at the 1:15,000 scale, but the hazard varies within each polygon; generally the hazard is greater closer to the base of the slope and within gullies. The mapping serves as a flag that further investigation at the site level may be required to determine the actual risk to an individual property. In cases where properties were found to be within the high hazard areas, notification letters were sent to the property owners. A public meeting was held in May, 2019 to share the results of the risk assessment with the community.
Follow-up: Debris Flow Modelling – based on new specially flown high-resolution data accurate at 1:5,000 scale
Palmer / Stantec (2020) conducted refined debris flow runout modelling for much of the same study area as the 2019 study. This project involved the acquisition of high-resolution LiDAR for the study area. Stantec then modelled over 68,000 hypothetical landslides and established a line beyond which no landslides travelled. This mapping is accurate at 1:5,000 scale and identifies areas where the hazard from a debris flow is very low. Previously-notified property owners will receive an update about the new mapping, and the results are being shared with the community.
Follow-up: Rock Slope Deformations – LiDAR and field investigations by CVRD & Mosaic
The initial study identified several rock slope deformation features on the slopes above Cowichan Lake. Both the CVRD and Mosaic Forests (the landowner) conducted additional investigations into these features and found that they were stable and presented an extremely low risk.
Based on the type of hazard and the level of risk identified in the first study, the CVRD committed to the community that they would try to do two things: 1) undertake further investigations to refine the information within the polygons; and, 2) try to reduce the impact on property owners having to do additional engineering work prior to development. The second study now provides this information at a resolution of 1:5,000 and does not require property owners to do landscape level hazard assessments beyond their property boundaries with regards to landslides.
No, the results of the two studies are consistent. The 2020 study is an update and refinement of a hazard identified in the 2019 study. The CVRD was able to obtain high-resolution LiDAR for the study area allowed for a firmer definition of hazard areas. The 2019 Ebbwater / Palmer study was based on provincial TRIM mapping (visually inferred 10 meter contours) and historical air photos. It identified the hazard at a 1:15,000 scale, dividing the landscape into large areas with a hazard score based on the likelihood of a landslide impacting that polygon. Within each hazard area, the hazard varies. The 2020 Palmer / Stantec study is based on the new LiDAR which allows mapping at a much finer scale than was previously possible (digital 10 cm accuracy). The modelling of debris flow runout enables us to map a line beyond which no modelled landslides travelled.
A comparison of the results shows the 2020 runout limit cuts across various 2019 hazard polygons. For example, a high hazard polygon was identified in the area of Creekside Drive with an Annual Encounter Probability equating to 1:3,000 years. It is understood that within this polygon the hazard varies, generally increasing closer to the base of the steep slopes and within gullies. Further geotechnical investigation is required to show where, within the polygon, the higher hazard areas are located and what the actual risk is at the site level. What the 2020 results do, is a first step in this further geotechnical investigation. The runout limit runs parallel to the slope, bisecting the hazard polygon. It defines parts of the polygon (below the line) in which the hazard is below the 1:10,000 year threshold. In the rest of the polygon, there may be a hazard due to landslides – in these areas, further geotechnical investigation would be required to define the risk.
At the individual property level, the results of this study are good news to many. The message to many residents from the 2019 study was that they may be living in a landslide hazard area and that additional, site-level geotechnical assessments may be required to determine the risk at the property level. By better defining the potentially hazardous areas at a higher resolution, the 2020 study effectively shrinks the hazard polygons, in many cases meaning that part or all of a property is no longer considered to be within a hazard zone. In cases where hazards still exist on a property, the 2020 mapping can provide additional information about the likelihood and extent of potential damage.
The likelihood of a hazard occurring in any year, expressed as a percentage. For example, a hazard with a 1% chance of occurring in a given year has an AEP of 0.01. This AEP is also commonly expressed as a 1 in 100 year chance of occurring.
If you already live in this area we will require you to do a further assessment if you are considering any additional work on your home or property to ensure that the proposed works do not increase the level of risk. If you are planning a new development we will want to ensure that it is done safely and risks are mitigated.
We don’t know what the vision you have for your property is, so additional site-based assessments would take this into consideration and help you ensure that whatever you are planning meets the safety requirements. The point is to make sure that you and future residents of the property know the risks and take them into consideration in development.
The level of risk identified in the 2019 study meant that the CVRD was obligated to notify property owners and the community as a whole about the risks from landslides in the Youbou area. The CVRD hosted a public meeting in Youbou in May, 2019, and had several follow-up meetings with local residents. In response to various hazards identified across the region, the CVRD adopted a Board approved Natural Hazard Risk Tolerance Policy to ensure development in hazardous areas is done in ways to mitigate the risks to acceptable levels.
We are informing property owners in areas where there is risk as well as informing property managers in adjacent areas so that the risks to the communities can be kept as low as possible. This means addressing either the hazard or the likelihood that an event will affect people. The CVRD continues to build out its regional mapping program and assessments of the multiple hazards our communities face.
Climate change projections for the Cowichan Valley include increases to both the amount and intensity of rainfall in the coming decades. Heavy rainfall can be a trigger of landslides, so there is a potential that climate change and/or human activities could increase the frequency of landslides in the future. The answer to how this affects the hazard identified is different above and below the extent of modeled runout. This line shows the furthest downslope any of the modelled landslides travelled regardless of whether the originating trigger was natural, climate induced or development based.
Your building permit or development permit process will help us identify this potential and ensure that that risk is mitigated.
It sounds like you are doing a great job maintain your property and keeping it FireSmart.
That being said, FireSmart diligence is a year-round activity and even a low risk property can become high risk once leaves or needles drop from trees.
Windstorms and tree shedding can create pockets of debris in corners and areas of your home that can become major hazards in a wildfire event. Embers from large fires can travel great distances and start fires miles away, so even the most prepared people can still be affected by a fire.
FireSmart is built upon scientific facts and practices that effectively make a difference no matter the unique characteristic of each property. If your unsure where to get started or you feel overwhelmed, please reach out to the CVRD FireSmart program at email@example.com or better yet, sign up for the FireSmart Kick Start project to get your property assessed.
Check the CVRD website for tips and links on how to sign up as well as how to approach your neighbours.
Do you have a truck? Or a saw? You could reduce your own risk by helping your neighbours. Offer to take away branches, leaves and yard debris for a neighbour in need of some help.
The home ignition zone is broken down into 4 zones.
Occasionally, the CVRD may advertise opportunities that are temporary, part time, casual, and/or seasonal in nature. These opportunities will be placed on the Employment Opportunities page as they become available to the public and may also be advertised in local newspapers. Summer young worker positions are hired for a 2 to 4 month period commencing in May of each year. Examples of the types of summer young worker opportunities include: Parks Crew, Recreation and Summer Camp, Lifeguarding and Swim Instruction, Solid Waste Management, Land Use Services (Community Planning), and Engineering Services.
Common CVRD map data is available on the CVRD geospatial data download page.
A PID is a Parcel Identifier. It is a nine (9) digit number that is unique to your property. (e.g. 000-000-000). You can determine your PID on either the interactive map, or you contact the CVRD mapping department and we would be happy to provide it to you. Call 250-746-2620 or 1-800-665-3955 or email.
The legal description for your property is included on your tax notice. You can also get your legal description from our interactive map, or you can contact the CVRD mapping department and we would be happy to assist. 250-746-2620 or 1-800-665-3955 or email.
With Plan Your Cowichan, you can help shape the Cowichan Valley’s future. There are more options for you to give feedback, ideas, choose areas on project map that are meaningful to you, and even join a community circle where you and other residents can be directly involved in giving project feedback through online guided discussions.
Yes, you can unregister and/or unsubscribe to let us know you no longer want to receive information or participate.
Some projects allow residents to follow project news without registering to Plan Your Cowichan. Both registered and unregistered residents may choose the “Subscribe” option to receive newsletters for example.
The sign up / register banner may be included on project pages if you have not yet registered to Plan Your Cowichan. As a registered participant you have far more engagement options with the tools available on project pages. Please note, without registering, you will not be able to participate in using certain features and tools such as registered participant surveys, adding your own idea, using map to add pins, etc.
In-person events for public engagement are an important and valuable forum for making community connections with one another. As Covid-19 pandemic restrictions ease, we’ll be evaluating safety measures, public enthusiasm for in-person engagement and event forum availability. When a decision is reached for the return of some in-person engagement sessions, it will be made public via CVRD website news, social media channels and other available media.
Recycling contamination occurs when material that is not accepted for recycling is put in recycling totes. The CVRD must keep contamination rates low (3%) as it can present itself as a major obstacle in the recycling process. In an effort to reduce current contamination rates of about 15%, the CVRD is reaching out to residents when unaccepted materials are identified in the curbside tote assigned to their address.
Please review the curbside accepted materials list to learn what materials are accepted in the curbside recycling program, and what materials can be brought to a Recycling Centre. If you have questions, or if you believe that you have received a notice in error, please contact the Recycling Hotline at 250 746 2540.
If you would like to review your notice, go over the materials that are accepted in the curbside recycling program, or believe that you have received a notice in error, please call the Recycling Hotline at 250 746 2540.
The curbside recycling program accepts clean household packaging and paper only. Hard plastics are products (eg., Rubbermaid totes, Tupperware containers, toys, plastic lawn furniture), which are not accepted in the curbside program.
People often think that the chasing-arrows symbol on plastic items means the item is recyclable but unfortunately, this code (called the resin identification code) is actually just indicating the type of plastic the item is comprised of. Within these codes, there are different manufacturing processes, dyes, additives and melting points that make each item unique. For example, within resin code #2, the items can vary from plastic bags and water bottles to your CVRD recycling tote!
Plastic packaging materials (e.g. plastic containers, plastic bags, and plastic bottles) are the most commonly recycled plastic materials due to their consistent composition, single-use nature, and established end-market. As such, the CVRD curbside recycling program accepts household packaging, not products.
To learn more, watch our Hard Plastics Recycling Mythbuster video!
The curbside recycling program accepts clean household packaging and paper only. When collected at curbside, these materials often get tangled in sorting machinery which delays the sorting process. Clean textiles/clothing without rips, stains or holes can be donated to various charitable organizations and Recycling Centres. Please put all items that cannot be donated in the garbage.
When your curbside recycling is collected, the truck driver has a matter of a few seconds to review your material and identify contaminants. When a bag is identified, it is difficult to determine if it is garbage or bagged recyclables, so the driver tags it to the closest possible item that it resembles.
The CVRD asks that all recyclables be kept loose within your tote. Recyclables that are bundled or bagged cannot be properly recycled because the equipment at the sorting facility cannot access the materials to effectively sort them. For safety reasons, staff do not open these bags.
Film plastic material (plastic bags, plastic wrap, bubble wrap) and snack wrappers (potato chip bags, cookie bags) are not accepted in the curbside recycling program. These materials get tangled in sorting equipment requiring lengthy shut-downs and expensive delays. Plastic bags also tangle with other materials making it difficult to separate and sort recyclables.
These materials can be taken to a CVRD Recycling Centre to be properly handled, sorted, and recycled.
The curbside recycling program accepts clean household packaging and paper products only. When your curbside recycling is collected, the truck driver has a matter of a few seconds to review your material and identify contaminants. Packaging and paper products have a fairly uniform appearance, which makes other materials stand out when they are collected. While it is not always possible to identify exactly what the material is, the drivers flag the item as a contaminant that should be reviewed.
If you would like to review your unidentified recycling contamination notice, please call the Recycling Hotline at 250 746 2540.
Glass (jars, bottles, refundable drink containers) is not accepted in the curbside recycling program. When placed in automated curbside totes, glass breaks into unrecoverable pieces which intermixes with and contaminates the other recyclables and can create potential health and safety issues at the sorting facility.
Please take glass to a CVRD Recycling Centre to be properly handled and recycled.
Styrofoam material (foam meat trays, takeout containers, foam packing) is not accepted in the curbside recycling program. When placed in curbside totes, these materials break into unrecoverable pieces which intermix with other recyclables which contaminate the load.
Please take all of your foam material to a CVRD Recycling Centre to be properly handled and recycled.
If you would like a larger tote, please fill out and submit the tote exchange form. Garbage totes larger than the standard 140L size will be subject to an additional annual service fee to ensure that all users pay their fair cost for garbage disposal.
Bear-resistant hardware can be ordered from the CVRD for $60 by filling out and submitting the tote exchange form.
Reducing your waste is very important considering the journey that your garbage takes before it is landfilled in Washington State. The CVRD aims to reduce residential waste from 358 kg per capita to 250 kg per capita to meet its goal for a zero-waste future. To learn some tips on how to reduce your waste, visit the Waste Management Education Page.
CVRD garbage collection is only provided to Electoral Areas D, E, F, G and I. Please contact a private hauler to subscribe to a garbage collection service if you reside outside of these Electoral Areas.
According to bylaw 4412, registered charities, not-for-profit organizations, or school districts are the only groups eligible to receive the tipping exemption.
As long as the asbestos-containing materials remain in good condition and are not disturbed, there is very little risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibre. The risk of exposure arises when the asbestos-containing materials are disturbed (e.g. during renovation) and the fibres become airborne. Airborne asbestos fibres are a risk to you, your kids, your building contractor, the trucker who hauls away your construction waste and the worker at the waste facility who handles it.
Two out of three Cowichan homes were built before 1990 when asbestos was often used in house construction. Asbestos is everywhere in these older homes: in the insulation, walls, ceilings, surface coatings, floorings, ducting, plumbing, wiring, light fixtures and more. Asbestos is commonly mixed with other materials, making it difficult to recognize. All pre-1990 building materials should therefore be considered suspect. Asbestos is commonly found in: loose insulation (e.g. vermiculite), roof gutters (asbestos cement), stucco, soffit boards, light fixtures, acoustic tiles, textured or coated walls and ceilings, siding and under sheeting, pipe insulation, insulation on electrical wires, furnace duct tape, boiler and furnace insulation, vinyl or linoleum flooring, drywall fillers and joint compound, roofing felt, shingles and tiles, etc. Check out this WorkSafe BC poster to see where asbestos could live in your home.
If you are buying a house, have a hazardous material assessment done by a qualified person in addition to your building inspection as a condition of your purchase. This hazardous materials assessment will help you determine the true cost of buying the house, especially if you are planning to renovate and will have to manage asbestos material and other hazardous materials.
The cost of this service is a small price to pay when buying or renovating a house to protect everyone you care about and many you have never met.
The cost of a hazardous materials assessment will vary (~ between $500 and $3,500) depending on the size of your house, if you are testing the entire house and how many samples are needed. Depending on the size of your renovation project, you can decide to have:
1. A full hazardous material assessment of your house or,
2. A hazardous material assessment with limited scope (i.e. an assessment of the materials that will be disturbed during your renovation project).
For example, if you are renovating the bathroom, you may only need to test the materials in your bathroom. The hazardous waste assessments will provide you with written documentation of the results. A full hazardous material assessment will come in handy for future renovation projects, or for when you plan to sell your house.
WorkSafeBC’s brochure for homeowners will provide you with information on where to look for a reputable contractor and questions that you should ask every contractor that you consider hiring. (As an example, a reputable company will have a Hazardous Waste Generator number and a Waste Manifest number). Environmental companies that deal with hazardous waste material may also be able to provide a listing of reputable contractors. Remember to ensure that you find current information as a company that was considered reputable a few years ago may no longer be so.
Do not hire a regular carpenter or renovation company to deal with asbestos material as you not only put your life in danger, you also put their lives in danger.
Asbestos-containing material that is properly prepared for disposal (i.e. double-bagged in 6 mil polyethylene bags, properly tied, and labelled) can be taken to the following facilities:
DUNCAN: Coast Environmental Ltd.* 5271 Boal Road, Duncan 250-748-4611 or 250-715-0954 *Note: Coast Environmental Ltd. Chemainus location does not accept asbestos waste.
NANAIMO: Regional District of Nanaimo Landfill* 1105 Cedar Road, Nanaimo 250-722-2044*Note: Asbestos waste is accepted by appointment only.
VICTORIA: Hartland Landfill* #1 Hartland Avenue, Victoria 250-360-3030 *Note: Asbestos waste is accepted by appointment only.
Asbestos Sampling The methods used to collect samples are just as important as the methods used to analyze the samples. To ensure that you do not get false-negative results it is vital that the samples are collected properly by a company that is qualified to do so. Asbestos Removal Have all identified (or suspected) asbestos-containing materials removed by a qualified asbestos removal professional. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THESE MATERIALS YOURSELF. The cost of material removal will vary depending on the type of material, the volume of material, the accessibility of material, etc. For example, the removal cost for vermiculite insulation may cost around $10/square foot, stucco ~$8-$10/square foot, plaster flooring ~$8/square foot, drywall ~$5/square foot, and tile flooring~ $4/square foot. How Long Does it Take to Have Asbestos Removed? The time it takes to remove asbestos depends on the type of material, the volume of material, the accessibility of the material, the type of equipment the contractors have access to, etc. Typically, removal of one type of material will take three to five days as the contractor must seal the area off and carry out a number of other preparations both before and after the actual removal of asbestos to keep you and their staff safe. How is Asbestos Disposed of? Asbestos removal professionals have appropriate training and safety equipment that enables them to handle asbestos while avoiding exposure. Asbestos-containing material must be double-bagged in 6-mil polyethylene asbestos bags and properly labelled before they can be taken to an asbestos disposal facility. Be Aware, Unfortunately, there are contractors that will accept jobs that they are not qualified to do, putting their staff and you at significant risk. Qualified contractors will remove and properly dispose of asbestos from your home. Be aware that it is not acceptable or legal for a contractor to leave asbestos at your home for you to deal with.
If you are moving into an existing single family home in an Electoral Area, you will already be included in the pick-up program and totes should have been left at your property by the previous owner.
CVRD Electoral Area residents receive recycling and garbage pick-up from the Cowichan Valley Regional District. North Cowichan, City of Duncan, Town of Ladysmith, and Town of Lake Cowichan residents should contact their municipalities for pick-up schedules.
The curbside blue recycling tote is for household packaging and paper. All paper including newspaper, flyers, magazines and catalogues are accepted, as well as cereal boxes and cardboard (must fit loosely in the tote with the lid closed). Household plastic containers such as for laundry detergent or food, milk jugs and containers, and pails under 5 gallons (18 litre) are accepted, Tetra paks, paper coffee cups, empty aerosol cans, nursery plant pots and seedling trays are all accepted. All material must be rinsed clean.
Glass, styrofoam, and film plastic must be handled differently than other recyclables to avoid contamination and damage to recycling processing machinery.
Glass and styrofoam break into unrecoverable pieces during curbside collection, contaminating the load and, in the case of glass, posing health and safety issues for workers.
Plastic bags and other film plastic must be handled separately from other recyclable materials because it gets wrapped up in the sorting equipment, causing lengthy delays and equipment failures. Also, when plastic film is mixed with other materials during collection, pieces of the other recyclables (paper, food containers) get wrapped up in the plastic; it is difficult to separate the recyclables from the plastic film, resulting in unrecyclable material.
If you've built a new house in an Electoral Area, you will automatically be put on the pick-up program. New totes will be sent to your home about 2 months after your insulation inspection is completed. You will get a standard 240L blue tote for recycling. If you live in an area that receives garbage pick-up from the CVRD, you will also get a 140L black tote for garbage. Different tote sizes can be requested in advance by calling the Recycling Hotline at (250) 746-2540 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Annual billing will begin upon substantial completion of your insulation inspection.
Open hearth fireplaces may be eligible for a rebate if residents are purchasing an electric insert. The program guidelines require that residents replace a wood burning heat source that is currently used as the PRIMARY home heating source. As fireplaces are rarely the primary heating source in a house, rebate eligibility is at the discretion of program administrators.
The program does not cover new wood-burning inserts installed in an open hearth fireplace when there was no pre-existing wood-burning insert. Typically, installing a wood-burning insert in an open-hearth fireplace results in increased usage of the new wood-burning appliance, thereby increasing air particulate emissions. Open hearth fireplaces tend to be used mainly for special occasions, whereas the installation of a wood-burning insert would likely cause an increase in wood burning.
If residents already have a wood burning insert installed in an open hearth fireplace that is at least five years old and/or uncertified, residents may be eligible for a rebate if the wood burning insert is replaced with a new EPA- or CSA-certified wood burning appliance.
Program start date is January 15, 2020. The homeowner must purchase and install the new appliance after the program start date. Program end date is November 30, 2020. The homeowner must purchase and install the new appliance, dispose of old appliance for recycling, and submit all completed required documentation before the program end date. Homeowners with incomplete applications by November 30, 2020 will be considered ineligible for the 2020 program.
The following table outlines the eligible appliances and rebate values for the 2020 Woodstove Replacement Program. Additional $50 rebates are provided by registered retailers for EPA or CSA certified wood appliances and $150 for heat pumps.
Each Electoral Area has a Zoning Bylaw with regulations for each parcel, including; use, density and siting (e.g. setbacks). Permitted uses are identified for each zone, for clarity - each Zoning Bylaw is equipped with a section on definitions and general regulations. The CVRD web map can help you quickly determine what your property is zoned. For more information on how to use the Webmap see "What is the Webmap and how do I use it?"
Zoning bylaws can be complex and because we have so many of them it can be even more challenging. We recommend following these easy steps:
The online Web Map allows anyone to search their property and find important information like zoning, OCP designations, development permit areas, service areas and more. To use the Web Map simply go to the Web Map and click on desktop icon (see image #1). From there a disclaimer statement will appear, click 'accept'. The map will launch and show the entire Regional District. To find your property you can either search by scrolling in and navigating to it, or use the address tool or parcel identifier (PID) for bare land (see image #2). Once you have found the property, use the 'identify tool' (top left - see image #3) by clicking on the tool and then on the property. By doing this, information should populate on the left side. From there you can click on any of the items shown in that list for more information. Links are also provided to pertinent bylaws like the applicable zoning bylaw (see image #4).