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Courtenay seeking feedback about erosion, sediment bylaw

Construction activity often means crews moving large amounts of soil, and sometimes this results in debris entering our storm drains, roads and waterways.

The City of Courtenay is working on a new bylaw to regulate Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC), and is holding a public information session Dec. 6 from 5 to 6 p.m. in the City Hall council chambers.

Allan Gornall, the City’s sustainability planner, says the session will give people an opportunity to review the proposed bylaw and ask questions.

“Certainly anyone involved in the building and development community may wish to come and find out more, but it’s open to anyone with an interest in keeping our streams and storm drains clear of debris,” said Gornall. “There are lots of ways to reduce erosion, and it can be as simple as putting tarps over dirt stockpiles.”

Minimizing the amount of sediment entering the City’s storm drain network will reduce storm drainage maintenance costs, as well as protect aquatic habitat.

The bylaw passed first, second and third reading by City council. Council will consider final adoption in January.

If the bylaw is adopted, an ESC permit would be required for any proposed construction activities on areas 2,000 square metres or larger. Smaller activities under 2,000 square metres would not be required to get a permit, but they would still need to implement best management practices as set out in the proposed bylaw.

Some examples include applying a straw or mulch cover until final landscaping is completed, tarps, sandbags, fencing, and retaining as much existing ground cover as possible.

Non-compliance could result in fines from the City, as well as fines and other punitive action by provincial and federal regulators.

Other municipalities with similar bylaws include Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge and Nanaimo.

“We want to minimize any potential negative impact from construction,” noted Gornall. “We all share our storm drain network and waterways, and it’s in the best long-term interest of the community to keep them clean and in good health.”

The proposed bylaw, as well as draft copies of brochures and guides with more information on the bylaw and ways to be compliant, is available on the City of Courtenay website at www.courtenay.ca.

For more information on the public information session or the proposed bylaw, contact the development services division at 250-334-4441 or e-mail planning@courtenay.ca.

— City of Courtenay

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