ESDP Area Update
Review of Environmentally Senstive Development Permit Areas

In adopting the South Okanagan Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Bylaw in 2010, the Regional District committed to the "development of an inter-regional Biodiversity Conservation Strategy by collaborating with ecosystems experts, including those with traditional ecological knowledge, and balance ecosystems interests with economic and social sustainability" (Environmental Policy No. 1).

At its meeting of September 5, 2013, the Planning and Development (P&D) Committee of the Regional District Board resolved to "accept Keeping Nature in Our Future: A Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for the South Okanagan-Similkameen, as a guiding document for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and the amendment of Official Community Plans."

Keeping Nature in Our Future is the fulfillment of the RGS Bylaw's goal for a biodiversity conservation strategy and has, since September of 2013 been the basis for a comprehensive review of the environmental objectives, policies and development permit area guidelines contained within the Regional District's Okanagan Electoral Area Official Community Plan (OCP) and Zoning Bylaws.

This has represented the first such review of the Okanagan Electoral Area bylaws on a valley-wide basis as well as the first review of Environmentally Sensitive Development Permit (ESDP) Areas since their introduction in Electoral Area "D-2" (OK Falls / Eastside Road) in 1997.


The proposed amendments to the Okanagan Electoral Area OCP & Zoning Bylaws that have resulted from this review while extensive, may be summarised as follows:

Consistent OCP Designations and Zones

It is being recommended that the OCP policies and objectives related to the natural environment and recreation/trails be updated and made consistent across the Okanagan Electoral Area OCP & Zoning Bylaws. 

For OCP Bylaws, it is proposed that standardised sections entitled “Parks, Recreation & Trails” and “Natural Environment & Conservation” be used but that these be augmented by existing policies and objectives specific to each Electoral Area.

For Zoning Bylaws, it is proposed that standardised "Parks and Recreation (PR)" and "Conservation Area (CA)" zones be introduced into the bylaws along with a number of standardised definitions for related uses.

This has necessitated a review of OCP Designations and Zones to ensure that these are being applied consistently across the Okanagan Electoral Areas. 

For instance, privately held land will only be designated PR if the Regional District Board has adopted a plan to acquire such lands for park purposes.  Similarly, the designation and zoning of provincial Protected Areas (i.e. South Okanagan Grasslands) will also be made consistent across Electoral Areas (i.e. PR designation & PR Zone).

Update of ESDP Area Guidelines & Exemptions

It is being recommended that the mapping produced in support of "Keeping Nature in Our Future" be used as the basis for updating ESDP Area designation within the Okanagan Electoral Areas and that a consistent set of guidelines be applied to those lands.

Of note, it is not being proposed to apply the ESDP Area designation to Crown lands, lands in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) that are zoned for agriculture or lands that have been designated for low medium or high density (i.e. LR, MR or HR) use under an OCP Bylaw.

Instead, where these lands have environmental values, they be included in an alternate "Important Ecosystem Area".  This layer would allow the Regional District to “flag” an area  for the purpose of informing agency referrals or rezoning applications without attempting to rely on a permit scheme that may not be enforceable. 

The practical effect of this change will be to refocus and reduce the physical extent of the ESDP Area designation in the Okanagan Electoral Areas.

It is also being proposed to introduce a new "Expedited ESDP" process that would allow for a property owner to have a qualified environmental professional (QEP) complete a “Rapid Environmental Assessment” (REA).

The REA is intended to provide a cost-effective alternative to a traditional Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and requires that a QEP complete a standardised checklist to determine the presence of "environmentally valuable resources" (EVRs) within 100 metres of a development site.  If no EVRs are identified by a QEP, the Regional District would issue an ESDP.  If, however, a QEP identifies EVRs and is unable to mitigate the impact of the proposed development, an EIA would be required prior to the issuance of an ESDP.

It is also proposed to amend the current exemption for 2-lot subdivisions or subdivisions involving parcels 20 ha or greater in area with an exemption for boundary adjustments and consolidations.

An existing exemption for all types of residential development is also proposed to be modified so that only a one-time exemption is applied to additions not exceeding 50 m2.

Other Proposed Amendments

  • replace the current Terms of Reference (ToR) for Professional Reports, which describe the requirements for technical and professional reports prepared in support of an ESDP application, with similar requirements in the Regional District's Development Procedures Bylaw;
  • assessments reports be prepared by a qualified environmental professional (QEP) who is a Registered Professional Biologist (RPBio) or a team that includes an RPBio;
  • on parcels where additional development permit area designations related to the protection of the natural environment exist (i.e. WDPs), it is being proposed that a combined assessment of all values found on the site be completed and that the Regional District consider through the issuance of a single permit;
  • that provincial data related to the location of the Electoral Area boundaries be incorporated into every OCP and Zoning Bylaw schedule (NOTE: this will require the replacement and/or introduction of approximately 35 schedules);
  • that OCP and Zoning Bylaw Map Schedules be colourised; and
  • that a number of mapping errors resulting from the 2008 Repeal & Re-enactment (R&R) Process be corrected.

Public Consultation

The Regional District held Public Information Meetings in each of the Okanagan Electoral Areas in order to present the proposed changes to the ESDP Area Guidelines:

Electoral Area "A" - December 14, 2015, 5-7pm, Sonora Centre (8505 68th Avenue)

Electoral Area "C" - November 17, 2015, 7-9pm, Oliver Community Centre (6359 Park Drive)

Electoral Area "D" - December 8, 2015, 5-7pm, OK Falls Community Centre (1141 Cedar Street)

Electoral Area "E" - January 11, 2016, 5:30-7:30pm, Old Age Pensioners Hall (3rd & Ritchie Ave)

Electoral Area "F" - December 2, 2015, 6-8pm, West Bench Elementary School (1604 West Bench Drive)

Information Release: Regional District Seeking Community Input on Environmental Strategies (2015-11-26).

A session with local area QEPs (qualified environmental professionals) was also held on March 15, 2016.

Finally, the proposed amendments were also considered by the Okanagan Electoral Area Advisory Planning Commissions (APCs):

Electoral Area "A" December 14, 2015 Report Minutes
Electoral Area "C" November 17, 2015 Report Minutes
Electoral Area "D" December 15, 2016 Report Minutes
Electoral Area "E" January 11, 2016 Report Minutes
Electoral Area "F" December 2, 2015 Report Minutes

Amendment Bylaw Status - Adopted June 15, 2017

Draft DocumentsPlanning & Development CommitteeRegional District Board Consideration

Draft Amendment Bylaw No. 2710
(version 2016-12-23)


DRAFT Amendment Bylaw Schedules:


Electoral Area “A”


Schedule ‘A’ - OCP Map (OCP Schedule ‘B’)


Schedule ‘B’ - ESDP Area (OCP Schedule ‘C’)


Schedule ‘C’ - WDP Area (OCP Schedule ‘D’)


Schedule ‘D’ - Road & Trail Network (OCP Schedule ‘E’)


Schedule ‘E’ - Zoning Map (Zoning Schedule ‘2’)



Electoral Area “C”


Schedule ‘F’ - OCP Map (OCP Schedule ‘B’)


Schedule ‘G’ - ESDP Area (OCP Schedule ‘C’)


Schedule ‘H’ - WDP Area (OCP Schedule ‘D’)


Schedule ‘I’ - Protection of Farming DP Area (OCP Schedule ‘E’)


Schedule ‘J’ - Zoning Map (Zoning Schedule ‘2’)



Electoral Area “D-1”


Schedule ‘K’ - Zoning Map (Zoning Schedule ‘2’)



Electoral Area “D-2”


Schedule ‘L’ - OCP Map (OCP Schedule ‘B’)


Schedule ‘M’ - ESDP (OCP Schedule ‘C’)


Schedule ‘N’ - WDP Area (OCP Schedule ‘D’)


Schedule ‘O’ - Form and Character DP Areas (OCP Schedule ‘E’)


Schedule ‘P’ - HSSDP Areas (OCP Schedule ‘F’)


Schedule ‘Q’ - Transportation & Trail Network (OCP Schedule ‘G’)


Schedule ‘R’ - Aggregate Potential (OCP Schedule ‘H’)


Schedule ‘S’ - Wildfire Hazard (OCP Schedule ‘I’)


Schedule ‘T’ - Zoning Map (Zoning Schedule ‘2’)



Electoral Area “E”


Schedule ‘U’ - OCP Map (OCP Schedule ‘B’)


Schedule ‘V’ - ESDP Area (OCP Schedule ‘C’)


Schedule ‘W’ - WDP Area (OCP Schedule ‘D’)


Schedule ‘X’ - Naramata Townsite DP Area (OCP Schedule ‘E’)


Schedule ‘Y’ - Road and Trail Network Plan (OCP Schedule ‘F’)


Schedule ‘Z’ - Zoning Map (Zoning Schedule ‘2’)



Electoral Area “F”


Schedule ‘AA’ - OCP Map (OCP Schedule ‘B’)


Schedule ‘BB’ - ESDP (OCP Schedule ‘C’)


Schedule ‘CC’ - WDP Area (OCP Schedule ‘D’)


Schedule ‘DD’ - Geological Hazard Map (OCP Schedule ‘E’)


Schedule ‘EE’ - Major Road Network Map (OCP Schedule ‘F’)


Schedule ‘FF' - Aggregate Resources Map (OCP Schedule ‘G’)


Schedule ‘GG’ - Zoning Map (Zoning Schedule ‘2’)


Administrative Report

Minutes (2013-09-13)



Administrative Report

Minutes (2014-10-16)



Administrative Report

Attachment No. 2 - Draft ESDP Mapping

Minutes (2015-09-17)




Review of Properties

Minutes (2016-07-17)




Bylaw Introduction (1st & 2nd reading):

Administrative Report


Minutes (2017-05-18)


Public Hearing:

Report (2017-06-01)

Representations (2016-07-07)

Representations Dec 2016

Public Hearing Notice


3rd reading:

Administrative Report

Minutes (2017-06-01)



Administrative Report

Minutes (2017-06-15)