Fish Protection Act and Ground Water Protection


The Fish Protection Act aims to protect "fish habitat" while facilitating residential development. The bylaw requires the local government to protect "riparian" areas during residential, commercial and industrial developments. This is done by ensuring real estate developers hire qualified environmental professionals to assess the habitat and potential impacts. Preventing harmful alterations that disrupt or cause the destruction of fish habitat is a high priority and is authorized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This applies only to areas east of Vancouver Island, in the Lower Fraser Valley and in the southern part of the interior. These include the Capital, Okanogan Center, Seaway, Comox, Cowichan Valley, Fraser Valley, Greater Vancouver, Nanaimo, Okanogan, Sunshine Coast and Powell River. Your real estate agent is responsible for providing clients with the information necessary to make informed decisions about the type of ownership and potential processes a developer may be subject to. It's a good idea that your real estate agent charges a clause to protect this aspect of the transaction.

Sample clause: "Provided that the buyer receives and approves the opinion of an independent professional regarding any limitation on the use and / or development of the property resulting from the Fish Protection Act by (Date).
This condition is for the benefit of the soul of the buyer

This example clause should not be used. Please consult your lawyer or your real estate agent for advice regarding subject clauses.

Groundwater protection is a relatively new regulation that came into effect in November 2005. This regulation aims to protect groundwater and wells from contamination. The regulation requires the owner of a well to do the following:

The owner MUST:

(i) Maintain the integrity of the wellhead and surface seal;

(ii) hire a qualified well driller if alterations or closure of the well are contemplated;

(iii) ensure that the well identification plate remains visible and undamaged;

iv) Disable or permanently close a decommissioned well

(v) Make sure the well is secretly plugged or covered.

Your real estate agent should inform buyers that a bylaw will impose them obligations when they buy property that has property. In addition, if you plan to buy a property with a well, it would be wise to check how the previous owner has complied with the regulations.

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