Land Tenures Branch
Private Moorage Program - Marine Q's and A's
1. Why were the marine private moorage application requirements changed?
Various agencies have identified the need for applicants to provide accurate site information, including but not limited to the location of sensitive habitats, the nature of the seabed and water depths. The enhanced marine private moorage application requirements were developed to enable a review process that adequately considers environmental, cultural and cumulative impacts. Only applications in compliance with these enhanced standards of accuracy and information will be accepted.
2. Which areas are affected by the enhanced application requirements?
The enhanced application requirements apply within all marine areas of British Columbia that the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has jurisdiction over.
3. Are there any additional application requirements besides plans?
Yes, there are. Please refer to the Private Moorage Application Requirements List located here. The first two items (the site plan and a side profile) mentioned on that website are replaced by the enhanced application requirements, however, all subsequent items (e.g. photographs and a management plan) are still required.
4. Who can I hire to produce these plans, including depth soundings, and how much is it likely to cost?
You can hire a British Columbia Land Surveyor (BCLS), a professional engineer (PEng.), or the services of a marine construction company. Costs will vary depending on location and the extent of the proposed structures. Some hydrographic charts may provide adequate information pertaining to the water depth and nature of the sea bottom, depending on the scale of the charts.
5. What if I am unable to meet the enhanced mandatory requirement for submission of a marine private moorage application?
Only applications in compliance with these enhanced standards of accuracy and information will be accepted by FrontCounter BC. Incomplete applications and application fees will be returned to the applicant, outlining the areas of deficiency.
6. Do the Provincial and Federal Best Management Practices still apply?
Despite the enhanced application requirements, Provincial and Federal Best Management Practices and guidelines for dock construction are applicable. Compliance with these standards is still required.
7. Why do I need to provide written confirmation from local government that the proposal complies with the existing zoning bylaws?
This region has multiple local governments with different zoning bylaws, some of which expressly forbid marine private moorages, docks, etc. Some bylaws may also have bearing on the design of the structures which has to be investigated by the applicant prior to submitting an application. Please contact your local government or refer to their website for information pertaining to local zoning.
8. When will a baseline marine habitat assessment be required and how much does it cost?
A baseline marine habitat assessment may be required when an application for a marine private moorage is submitted in the vicinity of an ecologically sensitive area, e.g. an eelgrass bed, or when the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations has information available that warrants a scientific study prior to approval. The decision whether a baseline marine habitat assessment will be required is made after the application has been accepted by FrontCounter BC and during the review process. Costs for these studies vary depending on the specifics of the proposal.
9. Why are applicants encouraged to describe and discuss their proposals with pertinent First Nation(s)?
The Province has an obligation to consult with First Nations prior to making decisions on applications over Crown land. Some of the procedural aspects of consultation, such as information sharing, can be taken on by the applicant as a way of streamlining the application review process. Further, these direct discussions can facilitate a better mutual understanding of the proposal and the nature of First Nations’ interests affected by it.