Permit and Planning Questions

 What is the difference between the permit and planning programs?
Through the Conservation Authorities Act Quinte Conservation is responsible for regulating development around hazardous lands and environmental features.  A permit is required for development proposed within our Regulated Area.  Permit applications are applied for directly through our office and Quinte Conservation staff make the decision on individual applications.


Further details on our role in permit review can be found in the “Permit” section of the FAQ page.


Applications made under the Planning Act such as a severance or a minor variance are initiated through an individual municipality and Quinte Conservation is circulated on those files to provide technical and planning advice.  We have a delegated responsibility from the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to represent provincial interests where natural hazards are concerned and will also provide comments on natural heritage features such as wetlands.  Quinte Conservation staff do not make a decision on a planning application; that responsibility lies with individual municipalities.


In general, Planning Act approvals must be obtained prior to applying for a permit through our regulations program. 


Further details on our role in plan review can be found in the “Planning” section of the FAQ page.
 Why are there separate fees for permit and planning application review on the same property? 
Quinte Conservation has different responsibilities and review roles required under the Planning Act and the Conservation Authorities Act.  Each process is handled individually and through separate administrative channels and staffing.
 How do I find out if my property falls within Quinte Conservation’s Regulated Area?

You can use our Property Regulation Map to determine if your property may be in an area that we regulate. 


If you are not sure which Conservation Authority your property is in you can find out by viewing this map on Conservation Ontario’s website.  

Planning Questions

Here are some common questions regarding our planning program.

 Why does Quinte Conservation review my planning application?
Under the Planning Act, all Conservation Authorities are considered “public bodies” and must be given the opportunity to comment on applications and documents prescribed under the Act.


Additionally, all Conservation Authorities have been delegated responsibility from the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to represent the provincial interest on matters related to Natural Hazards.  Quinte Conservation will review all Planning Act applications circulated to us with regards to Section 3.1 (Natural Hazards) of the Provincial Policy Statement. We will also comment on Natural Heritage features (e.g. wetlands and woodlands) and water quality and quantity (e.g. stormwater management). 
 How does Quinte Conservation find out about my planning application?  
Each municipality within our watershed will circulate planning applications to our office.  Some municipalities will circulate all applications while others will only send those that are within our regulated area.  Quite often Quinte Conservation staff will be involved in a pre-consultation meeting or conversation with the municipality or the applicant before an application is submitted for final review.
 What does Quinte Conservation comment on?
We have service agreements with all of the municipalities in our watershed to review and provide comments on Section 3.1 (Natural Hazards) of the Provincial Policy Statement.  We also give advice and technical input on Natural Heritage features (eg. woodlands and wetlands) as well as water quality and water quantity (e.g. stormwater management). 


Information on our service agreements can be found on our Planning Services page.  
 Does Quinte Conservation approve my planning application?
No.  We provide input with regards to environmental features and other issues specified in our service agreements.  The final approval of an application rests with the Municipality or the applicable planning approval agency.
 What do I do if I need help?
Please Contact Us with any questions you have.  We are able to answer most questions by phone or email.


If you would like to speak to a staff member in person or have them visit your property you can book an appointment or request a site visit.

Permit Questions

Here are some common questions regarding our permit program.

 Why is my property regulated by Quinte Conservation and what features do you regulate?

Under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act and  O.Reg 319/09, Quinte Conservation has a mandate to protect life, property and the environment. Specific areas and features are regulated through this legislation and our office is responsible for ensuring development is safe and does not create or exacerbate any hazards.


We regulate development around features such as watercourses, shorelines and steep slopes that are prone to flooding and erosion hazards, as well as wetlands and other sensitive environmental areas that can be affected by ecological and hydrological impacts.

 What is the difference between the regulated area and a setback?
The regulated area is the distance around an environmental feature where Quinte Conservation has jurisdiction and where you need a permit from our office.  The regulated area varies from 45m-120m depending on the feature.  Being in the regulated area does not mean you cannot do work in the majority of cases, it just means you need a permit from our office for that work.


The setback is a distance around an environmental feature where development is not permitted by our office except in specific circumstances.  These setbacks vary from 15-30m depending on the feature and are to account for unforeseen impacts such as wave uprush or ice jamming and are also to provide a buffer around sensitive features such as wetlands.  The setback is part of the regulated area, not in addition to it.  For example, if the regulated area around a wetland is 120m and the setback is 30m, the first 30m of the regulated area around the wetland is the setback, the remaining 90m is the rest of the regulated area.
 What types of development activities are regulated by Quinte Conservation?

Development includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Construction or demolition of buildings or other structures (e.g. house, garage, shed, deck, etc.)
  • Site alteration, placement of fill or grade modifications.  Fill can include gravel, rock, sand, soil, etc.
  • Installation and/or replacement of bridges, culverts and water control structures
  • Any shoreline alterations including docks, boathouses, erosion protection, etc.
  • Any realignment, channelization or dredging of a watercourse
  • Any changes in grade adjacent to a wetland or vegetation removal in a wetland
 What is a wetland?

For the purposes of our regulation a wetland is a feature that meets the following criteria:

  1. is seasonally or permanently covered by shallow water or has a water table close to or at its surface;
  2. directed contributes to the hydrological function of a watershed through connection with a surface watercourse;
  3. has hydric soils, the formation of which has been caused by the presence of abundant water; and,
  4. has vegetation dominated by hydrophytic plants or water tolerant plants, the dominance of which has been favoured by the presence of abundant water, but does not include periodically soaked or wet land that is used for agricultural purposed and no longer exhibits a wetland characteristic referred to in clause (3) or (4)."
 Can I protect my shoreline from further erosion?

PLEASE NOTE: All shoreline protection works (i.e. new, replacements and/or repairs) require a permit from Quinte Conservation. Additional permits from other agencies may be required.


Yes, with some conditions.  If you have an existing retaining wall or other form of man-made protection, you can replace it or repair it on the same footprint.  You cannot expand the footprint of existing protection measures to either take up more space on the lake/creek bed or raise the grade so that flood water is blocked from coming onto the property.


New vertical walls are not permitted, however if you have a natural shoreline that is eroding you are permitted to place rocks, boulders, or other material provided it is sized appropriately and is placed at a stable slope along the shoreline.  In general a 3:1 slope is considered stable.  It is important to remember that any new erosion protection measures cannot extend out onto the lake/creek bed. 
 Do I need a permit for a dock?
You do not need a permit for a removable dock such as a floating dock.  You will need a permit for the
anchor point (size restrictions may apply) of a cantilevered dock or any other permanent structure associated with a dock.  No part of any anchor point can be within the flood plain.  Permanent docks are not permitted.
 Do I need a permit for a deck?
You need a permit for a deck if it is located within the regulated area.  Open (uncovered) decks are permitted to encroach closer to the flood plain or a wetland provided a 6m setback is respected.
 Do I need a permit for a well?
You need a permit for a dug well.  Drilled wells do not require a permit.  Wells cannot be located in the flood plain or a wetland.
 Do I need a permit to cut down trees?
You do not need a permit to cut down trees from our office provided the trees are not located in a wetland feature.  Wetlands cannot be interfered with, and this included vegetation removal.  We recommend that trees along a shoreline be “limbed up” or cut back to the stump so that the root system can still provide some added erosion protection to your shoreline.  Check with your local municipality to see if they have any tree-cutting by-laws before starting any work.
 What happens if I don’t get a permit before starting my project?
Work that is completed without a permit is a violation of our regulations. Quinte Conservation can pursue legal action and charge the parties involved which will result in court action. If convicted, the court has several options for penalties that include jail time, fines and/or the restoration of the site to its original condition. This may involve removal of structures and fill at the expense of the parties involved. Depending on the type of work completed, you may also be subject to charges from other agencies.
 Can I appeal a decision by Quinte Conservation to deny my permit application?
Yes.  If staff denies your application you have 30 days to request a Hearing before our Hearing Committee, which is a sub-committee made up of members of our Board of Directors.  Hearings are subject to a fee
 Will I need other approvals in addition to Quinte Conservation?

Possibly.  A permit from Quinte Conservation does not override any other permit requirements from any other agencies, whether federal, provincial or municipal.  You should contact your local municipality to discuss building permits and any other approvals that are required.


If you are doing work in or around the water, you should also contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) regarding their permit requirements.


If you are doing work in a Source Water Protection Area you should inquire about any restrictions or risk management requirements.


You can apply for a permit from our office and a building permit from the municipality concurrently but a permit from our office must be obtained before you receive a building permit.  The Conservation Authorities Act is considered “applicable law” under the Building Code and as such must be taken into consideration first, before a building permit is issued.  
 What do I do if I need help?
Please Contact Us with any questions you have.  We are able to answer most questions by phone or email.


If you would like to speak to a staff member in person or have them visit your property you can book an appointment or request a site visit.