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New construction projects in Alberta typically require one or more regulatory approvals before any civil works can occur. The main government statutes and planning policies that govern civil works are listed below and described in detail under separate menu tabs. Failure to comply with the requirements could result in contravention of the legislation and enforcement measures being imposed.
PRIMARY FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS
- Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (Environmental Impact Assessments)
- Fisheries Act (Impacts to Fish and Fish Habitat)
- Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (impacts to Nesting Birds)
- Navigation Protection Act (Impacts to Navigable watercourses)
- Species at Risk Act (impacts to Rare and Threatened Wildlife)
PRIMARY PROVINCIAL LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS
- Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act
- Code of Practice for Pits (Approvals for Gravel Pits on Private Land)
- Conservation and Reclamation Regulation (Approvals for Pits on Crown Land)
- Historical Resources Act (Impacts to Historical Artifacts)
- Public Lands Act (Impacts to bed and shore of lakes, wetlands and rivers)
- Water Act (Approvals to disturb wetlands, dewatering, use of process water)
- Code Of Practice For Watercourse Crossings ( Approvals for certain watercrossings)
- Wildlife Act (Approvals to disturb wildlife habitat)
MUNICIPAL PLANNING REQUIREMENTS
A Municipal development permit maybe required for land development projects depending on the respective land use zoning and the intended land use activity. Rezoning applications and development permits can also trigger the need for supplementary investigations such as biological assessments, ecological assessments, wetland assessment, ECOPlans among other investigations. Through the municipal planning process, the local municipality typically addresses such items as as hours of operation, buffers, setbacks, noise, dust, haul routes, and traffic control.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (“CEAA, 2012”) is administered by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (“Agency”) and dictates which Projects require Federal level Environmental Impact Assessments. The Regulations Designating Physical Activities, prescribe physical activities and classes of projects for which a federal EA is required because they may cause significant adverse environmental effects or generate considerable public concern.
Examples of transportation and water management related activities that require EAs include:
- The expansion of an existing dam or dyke that would result in an increase in the surface area of the existing reservoir of 50 per cent or more and an increase of 1500 ha or more in the annual mean surface area of the existing reservoir
- The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of a new dam or dyke that would result in the creation of a reservoir with a surface area that would exceed the annual mean surface area of a natural water-body by 1500 ha or more
- The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of a new structure for the diversion of 10 000 000 m3/year or more of water from a natural water body into another natural water body
- The expansion of an existing structure for the diversion of water from a natural water body into another natural water body that would result in an increase in diversion capacity of 50 per cent or more and a total diversion capacity of 10 000 000 m3/year or more
- The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of a canal, lock, dam, dyke, reservoir or other structure for the diversion of water, railway line or public highway, aerodrome or runway in a wildlife area or migratory bird sanctuary
- The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of a new:
- canal or any lock or associated structure to control water levels in the canal
- lock or associated structure to control water levels in existing navigable waterways
- railway line that requires a total of 32 km or more of new right of way
- all-season public highway that will be more than 50 km in length and either will be located on a new right-of-way or will lead to a community that lacks all-season public highway access
- railway line designed for trains that have an average speed of more than 200 km/h
- railway yard with seven or more yard tracks or a total track length of 20 km or more
- aerodrome located within the built-up area of a city or town airport
- all-season runway with a length of 1,500 m or more
- The extension of an existing all-season runway by 1,500 m or more
The Fisheries Act regulates the protection of fish habitat, pollution prevention, the harvesting of fish, and the safe use of fish.
“Fish” includes all parts of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and marine animals, in all life stages (eggs, sperm, spawn, larvae, spat, juvenile and adult stages) (s. 2). “Fish habitat” is defined as “spawning grounds and nursery, rearing, food supply and migration areas on which fish depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes” (s. 2).
Serious harm is defined as “the death of fish or any permanent alteration to, or destruction of, fish habitat.” Under the new regime, serious harm to fish will be allowed if authorized by the Minister (or prescribed authority) or if the work is carried out in accordance with activities as permitted under the regulations.
There are two provisions in the Act that specifically apply to new construction; Fish Passage and Deposit of Deleterious Substances.
The Fisheries Act requires the safe passage of fish. Under s. 20(1), where the Minister determines it to be necessary for the public interest, he/she can require the construction of a fish-way or canal to permit the free passage of fish around obstructions across or in any stream. Any projects that have the effect of blocking the stream channel require the construction of a fish-way in a portion of the channel to allow for fish passage. For some projects (such as bridges), a fish-way may be required only during the construction phase; for projects that result in the permanent blockage of streams (such as dams), the fish-way would be a permanent structure requiring ongoing maintenance. A fish guard or screen must be placed at the entrance of water intakes, ditches, channels or canals that are constructed for conducting water from any Canadian fisheries waters for irrigating, manufacturing, power generation or domestic purposes.
Deposit of Deleterious Substances
Section 36(3) prohibits any person from depositing or permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance of any type in water frequented by fish or in any place under any conditions where the deleterious substance may enter such water. “Deleterious substance” means any substance that degrades or alters the water and makes it harmful to fish or fish habitat (s. 34(1)). Common types of deleterious substances are: silt, nutrient imbalances, acid rain, toxic contaminants, pesticides, industrial and municipal waste discharges, and other chemical, physical and biological agents.
Section 36(5.1) provides that regulations may be passed allowing the deposit of deleterious substances in certain classes of waters or places, or resulting from certain works undertakings or activities. However, no such regulations are currently in force.
The Act also places a duty on a person to report the deposit of a deleterious substance and to take steps to remedy or mitigate any adverse effects (s. 38(4)).
Projects Near Water
DFO has developed a number of guidance documents intended to assist proponents with the implementation of the new requirements of the federal Fisheries Act. These guidance documents identify:
- Types of water bodies where DFO review is not required;
- Those project activities and criteria where DFO review is not required; and
- Measures to avoid causing harm to fish and fish habitat.
The Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 protects certain bird species. Specifically it is prohibited to disturb, destroy or take a nest, egg or nest shelter of a migratory bird or have in one’s possession a live migratory bird, carcass, skin, nest or egg of a migratory bird except under authority of a permit (s. 6, Regulations). It is also prohibited to deposit or permit to be deposited oil, oil wastes or any other substances harmful to migratory birds in any waters or any area frequented by migratory birds (s.5.1), and also allows for the authorization of deleterious deposits by the Canada Shipping Act, another federal act, or the Minister.
Clearing and/or Civil Work is prohibited if it will disrupt nesting habitat for the period of time during which bird species listed under the Act are present and nesting. At the sole discretion of Alberta Environment and Parks, this period may start by April 1 and extend through to August 15 in the given year. Depending on the project location and seasonal weather conditions. Environment and Parks reserves the right to adjust these dates.
If the Contractor wishes to commence clearing or other potentially disruptive work after April 1 and before August 15, he shall employ a Wildlife Specialist, acceptable to the Consultant, to determine whether the proposed work will disturb nesting birds listed under the Act. The Contractor shall submit the Wildlife Specialist’s report to the Consultant for review a minimum of 1 week prior to the scheduled commencement of this Work. All costs associated with obtaining the services of the Wildlife Specialist, preparation of the Wildlife Specialist’s report and any measures necessary to mitigate disturbance to nesting habitat will be considered incidental to the work, and no separate or additional payment will be made.
Navigation Protection Act
The purpose of the Navigation Protection Act is to protect the public right of navigation in navigable waters. “Navigable water” governed by the Act includes the water bodies listed in the schedule and any canal or other body of water created or altered that is associated with the water bodies listed in the schedule (s. 2)7.
There are six waterways in Alberta listed in the schedule that require approval under the Act. Peace River, Athabasca River, Lake Athabasca, North Saskatchewan River, South Saskatchewan River and Bow River.
There are three main categories of works under the Act: approved works (s. 6); permitted works (s. 9) and designated works (s. 10)
- Approved works are works that are approved by the Minister after being assessed as likely to substantially interfere with navigation.
- Permitted works are works that may proceed without the Minister’s approval, after determination by the Minister that they are not likely to substantially interfere with navigation. Permitted works are deemed compliant with the Act if they meet regulatory requirements and any terms and conditions applied to the project.
- Designated works are works that may proceed without notice under the Act, as long as they comply with the requirements of the Minor Works Order (discussed below). If the waterway is not listed in the schedule, an approval is not required under the Act (s. 10). If the waterway is listed in the schedule, and the work is not listed in the Minor Works Order an approval for the work must be obtained from Transport Canada.
The Act prohibits the building or placing of a work, other than a “designated work”, in, on, over, under, through or across navigable waters unless an approval has been issued by the Minister prior to commencement of construction (s. 6). “Work” is defined in s. 2 and includes any structure, device or thing, whether temporary or permanent, that is made by humans. It also includes the dumping of fill or the excavation of materials from the bed of any navigable water. If the Minister considers that two or more works are related, the Minister may deem them to be a single work (s. 5(5)).
Designated works include “minor works” or works that are constructed or placed in, on, over, under, through or across any “minor water” (s. 2). Minor works and minor waters may be designated by Ministerial order pursuant to s. 28(2) of the Act. Section 28(1) of the Act also provides the Minister with broad authority to make regulations respecting theconstruction, placement, alteration, repair, rebuilding, removal, decommissioning, maintenance, operation, safety or use of works – other than in or over minor waters – and approvals relating to the same.
Works meeting the assessment criteria of the Minor Works Order are classed as “designated works” under the Act and may proceed without notice to the Minister as long as they comply with the requirements of the Act and any applicable regulations. The classes of works established by the Minor Works Order are:
- Erosion-Protection Works
- Docks and Boathouses
- Boat Ramps, Slipways and Launch Ramps
- Aerial Cables — Power and Telecommunication
- Submarine Cables — Power and Telecommunication
- Pipelines Buried Under the Bed of Navigable Water
- Pipelines and Power or Communication Cables Attached To Existing Works
- Works within a Boomed-Off Area Upstream or Downstream of an Existing Work For Water Control
- Outfalls and Water Intakes
- Mooring Systems
The purposes of the Species at Risk Act (“SARA”) are to prevent Canadian indigenous species, subspecies and distinct populations of wildlife from becoming extirpated or extinct, to provide for the recovery of endangered or threatened species, and to encourage the management of other species to prevent them from becoming at risk.
“Critical habitat” is defined as habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in a recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species. An “endangered species” is a species that is facing imminent extirpation or extinction, while a “threatened species” is a wildlife species that is likely to become an endangered species if measures are not taken to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction. “Extirpated species” means a wildlife species that no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but exists elsewhere in the wild.
SARA formally establishes the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (“COSEWIC”) as the independent body of experts responsible for assessing and identifying species at risk. COSEWIC can classify a species as extinct, extirpated, endangered, threatened, of special concern, or not currently at risk.
As soon as a species is added to the list, a number of provisions take effect. Under s. 32 it is prohibited to kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a wildlife species that is listed as an extirpated species, an endangered species or a threatened species, while prohibits the destruction of their residences.
Under s. 73, the Minister may enter into an agreement or issue a permit to a person, authorizing the person to engage in an activity affecting a listed wildlife species, any part of its critical habitat or the residences of its individuals if:
- the activity is scientific research relating to the conservation of the species and conducted by qualified persons;
- the activity benefits the species or is required to enhance its chance of survival in the wild; or
- affecting the species is incidental to the carrying out of the activity.
The Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (“EPEA”) includes provisions that require the review of proposed projects that could cause an adverse effect on the environment, and the reclamation and conservation of land. Alberta Environment and Parks (“AEP”) and the Alberta Energy Regulator (“AER”) administer the Act.
Environmental Impact Assessments
The primary purpose of the environmental assessment (“EA”) process is to integrate environmental protection and economic decisions at the earliest stages of planning, predict the environmental, social, economic and cultural consequences of proposed activities, and assess plans to mitigate any adverse impacts (s. 40). All “mandatory” activities require an EA, and so do and any projects for which the potential environmental impacts warrant further consideration.
Mandatory activities under the Environmental Assessment (Mandatory and Exempted Activities) Regulation include dams greater than 15 metres in height, water diversion structures and canals with capacity greater than 15 m3/sec. and water reservoirs with capacity greater than 30 million m3. Exempted activities include the:
- Widening or realignment of an existing highway; and
- Maintenance and rehabilitation of a water management project, including a dyke, dam, weir floodgate, breakwater, drain, groyne, ditch, basin, reservoir, canal, tunnel, bridge, culvert, embankment, headwork, fishway, flume, aqueduct, pipe, pump or measuring weir.
Water management projects that require an environmental assessment under EPEA (i.e. they are included in the list of mandatory activities in the Environmental Assessment (Mandatory and Exempted Activities) Regulation) are the construction, operation or reclamation of
- A dam greater than 15 metres in height when measured to the top of the dam
- From the natural bed of the watercourse at the downstream toe of the dam, in the case of a dam across a watercourse, or
- From the lowest elevation at the outside limit of the dam, in the case of a dam that is not across a watercourse
- A water diversion structure and canals with a capacity greater than 15 cubic metres per second
- A water reservoir with a capacity greater than 30 million cubic metres
If the proposed project is not a mandatory activity as defined by the regulation, the Director may decide that the potential environmental impacts warrant further consideration and order that an environmental assessment be undertaken (EPEA, s. 44).
Sections 60 and 61 of EPEA prohibit anyone from commencing or continuing an activity designated by the regulations as requiring an approval or registration unless they hold the required approval or registration. The Activities Designation Regulation (“ADR”) lists the activities that require an approval (Schedule 1), a registration (Schedule 2) or the filing of a notice (Schedule 3)8. Registration activities are governed by a code of practice.
There are only two activities that require a notice; all other activities listed in the ADR require either an approval or registration.
All pits (including those for sand and gravel extraction) on Private Land in Alberta are required to comply with the EPEA and associated regulations, regardless of size. The Code covers topics such as: registrations and authorizations, operational requirements, conservation and reclamation, reporting, record keeping, etc. The Code includes the following specific provisions:
- Written landowner consent will be required to conduct any activity in the pit;
- Pits less than 2 hectares (5 acres) in size will generally be exempt from the requirement
- Pits greater than 2 hectares (5 acres) must be registered with AEP and an “Activities Plan” must be prepared before operating the pit and must be updated and maintained to reflect the operation;
- Pit water cannot be released to an outside pit area if it does not meet certain criteria;
- Soil conservation requirements apply in respect of topsoil and subsoil; and
- A report on the status of the pit must be submitted every five years.
All sand, gravel and clay pits on Crown Land in Alberta are required to comply with the Public Lands Act Conservation and Reclamation Regulation. The requirements are specified in the Guide to Acquiring Surface Material Leases on Crown Land which was written by Green Plan. The Guide includes the following specific provisions:
- Pits less than 2 hectares (5 acres) in size are exempt from the requirement but must be registered as an SMC.
- Pits greater than 2 hectares (5 acres) must be approved as a Surface Material Lease (SML) before operating the pit and must be updated and maintained to reflect the operation;
- First nations Consultation must be conducted as a condition of Approval
- Pit water cannot be released to an outside pit area if it does not meet certain criteria;
- Soil conservation requirements apply in respect of topsoil and subsoil; and
- A report on the status of the pit must be submitted annually and every ten years.
- The operator must obtain a reclamation certificate for all pits over 5 hectares in size. Without a reclamation certificate the operator remains liable for conservation and reclamation issues.
The Historical Resources Act is administered by the Minister of Alberta Culture. The purpose is to preserve, protect and present historical and archaeological resources of provincial, national and international significance.
The definitions of “historical resource” and “archaeological resource” in s. 1 of the Act are very broad: “archaeological resource” means a work of humans that (i) is primarily of value for its prehistoric, historic, cultural or scientific significance, and (ii) is or was buried or partially buried in land in Alberta or submerged beneath the surface of any watercourse or permanent body of water in Alberta.”historic resource” means any work of nature or of humans that is primarily of value for its palaeontological, prehistoric, historic, cultural, natural, scientific or aesthetic interest including, but not limited to, a palaeontological, archaeological, prehistoric, historic or natural site, structure of object.”
General prohibitions in the Act prohibits anyone from altering, marking or damaging an archaeological resource or paleontological resource unless he is the holder of an excavation permit under s. 30 or has the written permission of the Minister. Any person who discovers a historic resource in the course of making an excavation for any purpose, other than research, must immediately notify the Minister of the discovery (s. 31).
Under s. 37, where any operation or activity will, or is likely to, result in the alteration, damage or destruction of historical resources, the person undertaking the activity or operation may be ordered to:
- Carry out an assessment to determine the effect of the proposed activity or operation on historical resources in the area where the activity is being carried on;
- Prepare and submit a report containing the assessment of the proposed activity or operation; and
- Undertake all salvage, preservation or protective measures or take any other action the Minister considers necessary.
Any project can attract the requirements of the Act, depending upon where the project is located, the existence of historic resources, the extent to which the area has already been disturbed, and the extent to which it will be further disturbed by the activity.
The Public Lands Act (“PLA”) only applies to public land under the administration of the Minister of Environment and Parks (s. 2(1)) and the Alberta Energy Regulator (“AER”) (per s. 2.01). With a few exceptions, title to the beds and shores of (a) all permanent and naturally occurring bodies of water, and (b) all naturally occurring rivers, streams, watercourses and lakes, protected under the Public Lands Act.
Approvals are required under the PLA for any activity that may disturb or modify the bed and/or shore of a water body or impact the aquatic environment (s.54(1)). As well, approvals are necessary where a person creates a condition that may cause a danger by fire or soil erosion.
The following activities are exempt from the approval requirement:
- Temporary, seasonal docks/piers and associated mooring structures – by policy, AEP does not currently require an approval for the placement of docks/piers and associated mooring facilities on the bed and shore of a lake or river, provided that:
– Use of mooring structures is reasonable
– A single pier or dock that is appurtenant to a riparian landowner’s upland
– Associated mooring structures are limited to boat lifts and shelters, or a swimming raft
– All structures are temporary for seasonal, non-commercial use
– At the end of the recreational season, all such structures are completely removed from public land and stored on private property over the winter
- Pipeline watercourse crossings – pipelines installed across a watercourse and regulated by the Code of Practice for Pipelines and Telecommunication Lines Crossing a Water Body under the Water Act will only require an approval under the following conditions:
– Public land is adjacent on both sides of the watercourse
– Pipeline company requests an approval to ensure location is identified within departmental records
– At the request of a departmental officer
- Road allowances on beds and shores – Generally, title to beds and shores of all permanent and naturally occurring waterbodies, including all naturally occurring rivers, streams, watercourses and lakes, is vested in the Government of Alberta, as indicated in section 3 of the Act. However, surveyed and un-surveyed road allowances that cross a Government of Alberta-owned waterbody or watercourse are considered to be
A permit is required to divert water, or prior to developing the following structures or modifications on lake beds, shores and floodplains:
- Any project (temporary or permanent) that impacts the aquatic environment or involves the disturbance, modification, placement or removal of material on the lake’s bed, shore or floodplain (includes removal of pressure ridges caused by ice thrusts and the placement of sand for beaches)
- Any commercial development (temporary or permanent)
- Cutting or removal of aquatic vegetation
- Erosion protection, retaining walls, groynes, breakwaters and causeways
- Permanent piers, boat launches, boathouses, etc., and other associated improvements
- Permanent waterline installations into or beneath the lake
- Other permanent structures on the bed, shore or floodplain of the lake
Applications are reviewed for potential impacts to the water body’s bed and shore, floodplain, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and public access.
The Water Act regulates the allocation, protection and conservation of water in the Province of Alberta and is administered by Alberta Environment and Parks and the Alberta Energy Regulator.
Key requirements relate to disturbances to wetlands, water diversion; dewatering and stormwater management; and the use of water for processing applications.
As of June 1, 2015 in the White Area, and July 4, 2016 in the Green Area, proponents that are planning an activity or water diversion that may impact a wetland must submit wetland-related Water Act and Public Lands Act applications in accordance with the Alberta Wetland Policy. Proponents that are planning an activity or water diversion that may impact a wetland must follow a three-stage application process which involves:
- Planning and Legislative Alignment;
- Wetland Assessment; and
- Application Submission.
The first stage involves conducting a preliminary review of ownership, identifying and delineating wetlands, and estimating the relative value of the wetlands. The next step is to determine if regulatory approval is needed for the activity and if so, under which legislation (the Public Lands Act or the Water Act).
The assessment step requires a Qualified Wetland Science Practitioner (“QWSP”) to perform a wetland assessment. Following this, the Alberta Wetland Mitigation Directive (at sections 5 and 6) provides criteria to help proponents review the assessment results, determine if they wish to proceed with an application, and identify best management practices for minimizing the impact of the planned activity on the wetland.
Once a proponent reaches the application submission stage, if avoidance is not an option, discussions with AEP may be appropriate to determine if replacement options can be considered. The Alberta Wetland Mitigation Directive dated July 4, 2016 provides details for wetland replacement requirements, including a Wetland Replacement Matrix. A Wetland Replacement Agent Program is also under development (there are presently only two designated replacement agents).
Section 36(1) of the Act prohibits anyone from commencing or continuing an activity unless that person holds the required approval. “Activity” is broadly defined in s. 1(1)(b) and can be summarized as:
- Placing, constructing, operating, maintaining, removing or disturbing works
- Maintaining, removing or disturbing ground, vegetation or other material
- Carrying out any undertaking in or on any land, water or water body that:
– alters or may alter the flow or level of water,
– changes or may change the location of water or direction or flow of water,
– causes or may cause siltation of water or erosion of the bed or shore, or
– causes or may cause an effect on the aquatic environment
- Altering the flow, direction of flow, level of water or changing the location of water for removing an ice jam, drainage, flood control, erosion control or channel realignment
- Drilling or reclaiming a water well or borehole
- Anything defined as an activity in the regulations
The Water (Ministerial) Regulation (“WMR”) defines “activity” as anything (i) conducted by a licensee subject to a license, (ii) impairing or may impair the rights of any household or traditional agricultural user, or (iii) causing a or may cause a significant adverse effect on the aquatic environment, human health, property or public safety.
There are two groups of activities exempt from the approval requirement: (i) activities listed in Schedules 1 and 2 of the WMR, and (ii) activities that require the giving of notice to the Director and are conducted pursuant to a code of practice.
Schedule 1 exempt activities include, but are not limited to:
- Placing, constructing, installing, maintaining, replacing or removing:
– floating platforms, portable or seasonal piers, boat launches or docks in or adjacent to water bodies
– fences in or adjacent to water bodies
– crossings in water bodies that (i) are not frequented by fish, (ii) are not altered at flood events below the 1/25 year flood event, (iii) have a culvert 1.5 metres in diameter or less (where applicable), (iv) divert no water, and (v) the installation of the crossing is not part of a causeway through a lake, slough, wetland or other similar water body
- Installing a water supply line in, adjacent to or beneath a water body for the purpose of diverting water from the water body, if the line is installed by directional drilling or boring, and if a license is not required for the diversion of the water
- Landscaping where it is not adjacent to a water course nor will change the flow or volume of water on an adjacent parcel
- Removal of debris from a water body that is not frequented by fish if the person removing the debris owns or occupies the land adjacent to the water body
- Removing a beaver dam from a water body if the person removing the dam owns or occupies the land adjacent to it or has been authorized to remove it under s. 95 of the Act
- Constructing, installing, maintaining, replacing or filling in a dugout, except where the dugout is located in a watercourse, lake or wetland
Schedule 2 lists activities within designated areas of the province for which an approval is required.
A license is required under s. 49(1) of the Act to commence or continue a diversion of water for any purpose, or to operate a works. “Works” is defined broadly as any man-made structure, device or contrivance (includes dam or canal) and the land and mitigative measures associated with it.
Diversions or works exempt from the license requirement include those:
- for household purposes;
- already subject to a registration or approval;
- diversions/works listed in Schedules 3 and 4 of the WMR; and
- temporary diversion carried out pursuant to a code of practice and requiring the giving of notice to the Director.
Codes of Practice
Sections 36(2) and 49(1) of the Act prohibit anyone from commencing or carrying on an activity, diversion of water or operation of a works that are subject to a code of practice unless notice is provided to the Director in accordance with the regulations. The following activities are subject to codes of practice:
- Pipeline crossing or telecommunication line crossing – Code of Practice for Pipelines and Telecommunications Lines Crossing a Water Body
- Watercourse crossing –Code of Practice for Watercourse Crossings
- Diversion of water for hydrostatic testing of pipelines –Code of Practice for the Temporary Diversion of Water for Hydrostatic Testing of Pipelines
- Outfall structure – Code of Practice for Outfall Structures on Water Bodies
A “watercourse crossing” is defined in the Code as any permanent or temporary structure that crosses or is being constructed to cross, over or through a water body, including associated permanent or temporary structures (i.e. isolation measures, erosion protection structures and sedimentation management structures). Owners of crossings and those who conduct works (i.e. construction, maintenance, replacement or removal of all or part of a crossing) are bound by the Code.
Notice must be given to the Director at least 14 days in advance of works being carried out (s. 3). The substantive requirements of the notice include schedule, plans, maps, class of water body, and type of watercourse crossing. Any variation in the works requires a new notice.
Notice is not required in emergency situations however the Director must be notified within 24 hours of the owner becoming aware of the emergency and within 30 days of completion of works to deal with the emergency the owner must provide further information to the Director. A restricted activity period for works may apply. The owner must maintain records regarding the works undertaken under their notice. Upon contravention of the Code, owners must report to the Director within 24 hours and must file a written report to the Director within seven days.
Section 36 of the Wildlife Act prohibits the disturbance of wildlife habitation. A person must not molest, disturb or destroy a house, nest or den of prescribed wildlife or a beaver dam in prescribed areas and at prescribed times of the year, unless the person is authorized to do so pursuant to the Agricultural Pests Act, the Water Act, a licence authorizing the control or collection of wildlife, or regulations under the Act.
Section 96 of the Wildlife Regulation prescribes the wildlife, areas and times of year to which s. 36 of the Act applies. Included are all endangered wildlife, upland game birds, some migratory birds, snakes, bats and beavers (re: the latter, except on privately owned land). For most wildlife, disturbing the habitat of these animals is prohibited throughout Alberta and throughout the year.
One of the most significant applications of the ACT releative to land development projects are timing restrictions in key wildlife areas and requirements to develop a Caribou Protection Plan in Caribou Ranges
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