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Planning and Development Overview

The Otonabee Region Conservation Authority (ORCA) performs a number of important roles in the land use planning and development process. In these roles, ORCA derives its authority from the Conservation Authorities Act and its associated Regulations, and indirectly, from the Planning Act.

ORCA is the approval authority for development and/or activity applications submitted for approval under the ‘Regulation of Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses’ (Ontario Regulation 167/06) under the Conservation Authorities Act. Approvals are granted in the form of a permission (permit).

In terms of planning, ORCA has been delegated responsibility from the province to review and comment on planning issues that are related to natural hazards. ORCA further acts as a service provider to the municipalities within our watershed by providing technical peer review of reports and advice in the areas of natural heritage and water resources.

Obtaining a Permit

In the past, Conservation Authorities served as the first point of contact and the local service provider for Fisheries Act review, and had entered into agreements with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to facilitate this process. Changes to the Fisheries Act effective November 25, 2013, have resulted in the cancellation of these agreements. Please see this FACTSHEET for further information about this change. ORCA will continue to undertake advisory reviews involving fisheries and aquatic resources under the Planning Act and/or as a watershed management agency under the Conservation Authorities Act.

ORCA also enjoys a unique relationship with Parks Canada, which operates the Trent-Severn Waterway. Parks Canada manages water levels along the Trent-Severn Waterway to provide the needed water depth for boating and related recreational activities as well as minimize flooding. Water depths are regulated on the 14 locks and water control structures that are part of the Waterway and are within our watershed. Permits may be required by Parks Canada for activities on lands below the ‘Upper Controlled Navigation Limit’, while permits may be required from ORCA for activities above the ‘Upper Controlled Navigation Limit’.