(250) 307-7365 info@sageenvironmental.ca

Written By: Rhia Whittaker, Grad.Tech.

When necessary work is needed in a pinch, the 45-day notification process may delay urgent works in order to mitigate floodwater risks. In certain circumstances there are exemptions from the Approval or Notification process. The exemptions lie mostly under emergency situations. In short, if there is potential danger to life or property during an emergency event such as a flood, you do not need to attain an approval for work that would prevent or limit the danger. Such work includes emergency erosion protection during a declared emergency under the Emergency Program Act[1] and/or work that includes removing obstructions from bridges and culverts affected by floods or other emergencies. This type of emergency work may only be carried out by Government officials from the Province, Municipalities, and Regional Districts.

If you witness the need for emergency work in your community, contact your regional Habitat Officer at the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) as soon as possible. Although it is emergency work, there will still be specified Terms and Conditions, and Best Management Practices (BMP) to abide by.

Repairing damages caused by a flood does not fall under this exemption. Repair or restoration work still requires a Notification or Approval Application and the support of a Qualified Environmental Professional ( QEP ).

Photo 1: Flood waters in 2017 over topped Meighan Creek in Armstrong BC

Two other exemption options include: in-stream works governed by standards or regulations set out by the Forest and Range Practices Act[2] of British Columbia or; in-stream works may be made by a person who holds a permit under the Mines Act[3]. These exemptions can only be granted if there is compliance with legislative requirements.

Unless there is an emergency that would cause potential damage to life or property, you will likely still need to apply for a Notification or an Approval. The emergency work must also be carried out by government officials. Unsure where your project lies in the spectrum? Feel free to contact us. If you have work that is in a hurry, we at Sage Environmental will do our best to accommodate, while keeping in mind the 45-day grace period for granted Notifications and Approvals.

[1] Government of British Columbia. 2020 March 5. Emergency Program Act [RSBC 1996] Chapter 111: http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/ID/freeside/00_96111_01

[2] Government of British Columbia. 2020. Forest & Range Practices Act (FRPA): https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/laws-policies-standards-guidance/legislation-regulation/forest-range-practices-act

[3] Mines Act. http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96293_01#section10