Sensitive Ecosystem Development Permit Area (SEDPA)

Qualitest provides the Sensitive Ecosystem Development Permit Area (SEDPA) services throughout the British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario including Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Sarnia, Vancouver, New Westminster, White Rock, Chilliwack, Port Moody, Abbotsford, Langley, Delta, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, Victoria,  Coquitlam, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Mapleridge, Kitimat, Terrace, Dawson Creek, Kelowna, Kamloops, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg etc.

What is the Sensitive Ecosystem Development Permit Area (SEDPA)?

Surrey’s SEDPA is made up of two distinct classifications of the natural environment: Streamside Areas and Green Infrastructure Areas.

STREAMSIDE AREAS: represent those areas next to and setback from a stream that link aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems as well as those areas that exert influence on a stream whether for food or habitat reasons.

GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE AREAS: represent the Green Infrastructure Network and Biodiversity Management Areas identified in Surrey’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy.

What are the SEDPA Objectives?

Surrey supports the use of the SEDPA in order to:

  • Maintain and enhance ecosystems
  • Support and enhance biological diversity
  • Integrate ecological systems and processes into urban areas
  • Assess conservation values and environment priorities equally with land development
  • Conserve, protect and enhance aquatic areas and habitat
  • Provide for: drainage maintenance access, potential public trails, beaver habitat accommodation, tree health, natural stream dynamics and slope stability risk minimization.

The Fish Protection Act was re-titled the Riparian Areas Protection Act (RAPA) in 2016. The Riparian Areas Protection Act focuses on four major objectives:

  • Ensuring sufficient water for fish;
  • Protection and restoration of fish habitat;
  • Improved riparian protection and enhancement; and
  • Stronger local government powers in environmental planning.

The RAPR functions in a Professional Reliance model with a prescriptive, repeatable assessment methodology that supports permitting for residential, commercial and industrial developments. Prior to the start of a project near a stream or riparian habitat, The RAPR requires that a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) conduct a (simple or detailed) riparian assessment to describe the Features, Functions and Conditions that contribute to fish habitat, including the riparian vegetation. The RAPR assessment establishes a Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA) and the required SPEA setbacks. The RAPR provides a riparian protection standard to protect the SPEA and avoid development within the SPEA.

The new RAPR is intended to provide improved oversight for the Ministry, incorporate training requirements for QEPs, and provide additional detail and rigour in the application of regulatory standards.

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