The question of how to properly repair or construct a lake shore retaining wall has come up from a number of our members, so we thought we should share the advice that we've gathered.
Repairing a wall
⦁ Change Approval and Notification (Section 11 Water Sustainability Act - Changes in and About a Stream) form must be submitted to Front Counter BC
⦁ Suggest a consultant be used to fill out the form
⦁ Include a picture of the existing wall
⦁ Have the area surveyed with elevations marked
⦁ Drawing of the wall construction and material to be used must be included
⦁ Name of contractor doing the repair is necessary
Building a new wall
Waterfront owners have the right to protect their property from erosion and to repair damage caused by erosion that has occurred in a single event or that has happened over a short period of time.
The most likely route to successfully building a retaining wall near the foreshore is to use professionals to assist in the design, application and construction. The waterfront owner should consider hiring the following:
⦁ Qualified Environmental Professional, QEP, to assess the impact the wall will have on the foreshore. This person can also make the Section 11 application to the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource MFLNR.
⦁ Professional Engineer to provide the design, material selection and drawings that will be needed for the application. This person can also provide project management and consulting during construction.
⦁ Surveyor to establish and mark out the natural boundary and, in the case of Shuswap Lake the 348.7 elevation above which the wall must be placed.
⦁ This will also trigger a requirement for a Riparian Development Permit (in areas with an OCP) from the CSRD and a Building Permit (if there is building regulation) if the wall is over 1.5 m tall
⦁ Contractor to build the wall. This person should be familiar with foreshore construction and have experience working within the rules and regulations regarding the foreshore.
⦁ A lawyer will probably not be required but there may be circumstances where legal advice is needed.
Timing plays an important role. Prior to the lake levels rising in the spring the property owner should start the planning process. This is also the right time to hire the professionals that will be involved. The design and application processes can take several months to complete so it is best to get these done as early as possible. Construction will likely have to be done in the fall when the levels have dropped low enough for the work to proceed. Note, there are certain work windows when no work is allowed on the foreshore. The QEP will be able to determine if these windows are in effect.
Access to the foreshore needs to be determined. Often the property is developed and getting equipment and materials to the foreshore can be challenging. The engineer and the contractor can provide options during the planning stages.