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Planning, Property & Development

Why You Should Get a Waterway Permit

It is against the law to construct in the Regulated Area of the City's waterways without a permit. Unauthorized work can result in riverbank failure and damage your property as well as neighbouring properties.

The Waterway By-law establishes a technical review and approval process that protects the public and property owners from adverse effects caused by unauthorized construction along a riverbank.

General Guidelines

Depositing Fill

  • Don't deposit any material in the Regulated Area without a Waterway Permit. This includes any type of fill, such as soil, concrete rubble, tires, and rock. A common perception is that depositing fill will stabilize or regain lost riverbank. Rather, it could increase the chance of failure.

    • Unauthorized deposition may result in an Order being issued by the City to remove the material and reinstate riverbank stability conditions at the owner's expense.

    • Properly designed and controlled slope re-grading can improve stability, if based on an Engineer's assessment of the geotechnical conditions and stability analysis of the slope.

  • Obtain a Waterway Permit before depositing material. Properly placed rock fill can help reduce erosion and improve riverbank stability conditions.

  • Consider obtaining the advice of a professional engineer when contemplating riverbank improvement works.
riverbank photo riverbank photo Riverbank photo


  • Don't start any construction in the Regulated Area including commercial and industrial buildings, dwellings, additions, garages, decks, or swimming pools, or demolition of any building, without a Waterway Permit.

  • Consider obtaining professional advice from a Geotechnical Engineer to ensure that your investment is protected and for purposes of providing documentation in support of a Waterway Permit.
riverbank photo riverbank photo

Riverbank Stabilization

    riverbank photo
  • Don't start any works in the Regulated Area without a Waterway Permit. Consider obtaining professional advice from a Geotechnical Engineer when planning to improve riverbank stability on your property.

  • Think about opportunities to include neighbouring property owners in efforts to stabilize the riverbank. Bank failures do not respect property boundaries. Collaborating with adjacent property owners can reduce individual costs and increase the effectiveness of the riverbank improvement works.

Riverbank Erosion and Massive Bank Failure Can Result in Loss of Property and Unsafe

riverbank erosion riverbank failure riverbank loss
Bank Erosion Massive Bank Failure Loss of Property


riverbank photo riverbank photo riverbank loss
Loss of Property Loss of Property Loss of Property


Last update: January 13, 2020

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