Parksville Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations designated the Parksville Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area (PQBWMA) on March 31, 1993 under Section 4(2) of the Wildlife Act for the conservation of coastal intertidal, estuarine and riparian habitats habitat used by birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish.
The PQBWMA includes approximately 1, 024 hectares of land lying between Craig Bay and the Little Qualicum River. In addition, the PQBWMA includes lands adjacent to select reaches of the Englishman River and Morrison Creek. The PQBWMA includes lands in Electoral Areas E, F, and G. Click here to view a map showing the location of the PQBWMA.
The PQBWMA supports a diverse range of wildlife and ecosystems which are regionally and internationally significant. Highlights of the PQBWMA include:
- It contains many estuaries, beaches, and foreshore gravel bars that provide critical staging grounds for the internationally important Pacific Brant Sea Goose;
- It provides habitat to over 60 other water bird species;
- Over 100,000 water birds come to the area to feed in the productive foreshore waters;
- The estuaries and foreshore zones provide vital rearing habitat to all pacific salmon species, steelhead, and coastal cutthroat trout;
- Millions of herring spawn each spring on the abundant eel grass and algal beds found within the foreshore; and,
- Several species of marine mammals such as California Sea Lion, Harbour Seal, Northern Seal Lion, and Harbour Porpoise are attracted to the area to feed.
It should be noted that the PQBWMA is located within Coast Salish territory.
Managing and protecting the PQBWMA
Although the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is the provincial agency primarily responsible for the management and protection of the PQBWMA, there are also a number of other government agencies and stakeholders such as the Regional District of Nanaimo, First Nations, private property owners, and environmental stewardship groups which play an important role in the protection of the PQBWMA. The following is a brief summary of the role that is played by private property owners and the Regional District of Nanaimo.
Property owners who own land adjacent the PQBWMA have an important responsibility as stewards of the land, and can assist with the protection and preservation of environmental values so that they can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.
The Regional District of Nanaimo's role is to ensure that development activities proposed on lands located above the present natural boundary do not have negative impacts on the environmental values associated with the PQBWMA. The tools that are used by the RDN to accomplish this are minimum setback requirements and a floodplain bylaw that applies to all buildings and structures, Development Permit Areas for the purpose of environmental protection (Electoral Areas F and G only), and a marine retaining wall policy.
Development within or adjacent to the PQBWMA
As mentioned above, the Regional District of Nanaimo specifies minimum setback requirements that apply to all buildings and structures, Development Permit Areas for the purpose of environmental protection, and a marine retaining wall policy.
All development should be located upland of the natural boundary and should, where feasible, meet the applicable minimum setback requirements. All development must also be consistent with the applicable Development Permit Area Guidelines.
The following is a summary of the applicable regulations, guidelines, and policies, that apply to development activities within the PQBWMA.
Minimum Setback Requirements
Regional District of Nanaimo Land Use and Subdivision Bylaw No. 500, 1987 (Bylaw 500) applies to all lands within the portion of the PQBWMA that lies within Electoral Area 'G'. Sections 3.3.8 and 3.3.9 specify the minimum distance that all buildings and structures must be located from watercourses and the sea. Please note, minimum setback requirements area measured from the outermost portion of a building or structure.
Floodplain Bylaw Requirements
Regional District of Nanaimo Floodplain Management Bylaw No. 1469, 2005 (Floodplain Bylaw) generally applies to all lands within 15 metres of the present natural boundary of the sea, to lands within a designated floodplain, and to all lands within the minimum setback requirements specified in the Floodplain Bylaw. The Floodplain Bylaw is for the purpose of protecting property from the impacts of flooding, and accomplishes this by designating minimum setback requirements and a minimum Flood Construction Level which all buildings and structures must meet.
Potential Archaeological Sites
Lands within the PQBWMA have the potential to contain archaeological sites. If you are proposing development activities adjacent to or within the PQBWMS, it is recommended that you contact the Archaeological Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations to determine if there are any known archaeological sites on your property and what approvals may be required to authorize your proposal. The Archaeological Branch can be reached at (250) 953-3340.
Development Permit Areas that apply to properties adjacent to the PQBWMA (Electoral Area F and G only)
The Regional District of Nanaimo Electoral Area F and Electoral Area G Official Community Plans designate Development Permit Areas that apply to properties located adjacent to the PQBWMA.
The purpose of a Development Permit Area is to ensure that development is conducted in a way which is consistent with the objectives and policies of the Official Community Plan and in a way which minimizes impacts on the environment and adjacent properties. By adhering to the Development Permit Area Guidelines, property owners are helping to ensure that the environmental values of the PQBWMA will be protected for future generations.
Unless specifically exempt, all development activities proposed within a Development Permit Area must obtain a Development Permit from the Regional District of Nanaimo before the proposed works can proceed. Therefore, it is recommended that prior to undertaking any development activities such as land alteration, construction, removal of vegetation, or shoreline protection that you contact the Regional District of Planning Department to determine if a Development Permit is required.
Electoral Area E
There is no Development Permit Area applicable to parcels adjacent to the sea in Electoral Area E.
Electoral Area F
In Electoral Area F, the PQBWMA apples to properties adjacent to select reaches of the Englishman River and Morrison Creek as shown here. The Electoral Area F Official Community Plan designates the Watercourse Protection and Fish Habitat Protection Development Permit Areas which apply to all mapped and unmapped streams in Electoral Area F.
A Development Permit may be required for any alteration of land, disturbance of soil, subdivision of land, or other development activities within 30 metres from the present natural boundary or, in the case of a ravine, 30 metres from the top of the ravine bank of any stream, wetland, or pond.
In accordance with the Riparian Areas Regulation, the Development Permit Area Guidelines require that a report be prepared by a Qualified Environmental Professional.
Electoral Area G
In Electoral Area G, all coastal properties adjacent to the PQBWMA are designated within the Environmentally Sensitive Features Development Permit Area. With respect to coastal properties, the Development Permit Area applies to any alteration of land, disturbance of soil, subdivision of land, or other development activities within 15 metres upland and 15 metres seaward of the present natural boundary.
For more information about the Environmentally Sensitive Features Development Permit Area in Electoral Area G click here.
Marine Retaining Wall Policy
The Regional District of Nanaimo Board adopted Policy B1.9 -Marine Retaining Wall Policy on October 26, 2004 to provide guidelines for the construction of marine retaining walls so that the potential impacts on adjacent properties and the natural environment are addressed. This policy is applicable when a Development Permit or Development Variance Permit is being requested that proposes a marine retaining wall.
Click here to view the RDN Marine Retaining Wall Policy.
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Operations Requirements for Works within the PQBWMA
In addition to the requirements specified by Regional District of Nanaimo, all development activities that are proposed at or below the natural boundary may require a General Wildlife Permit from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. This is in addition to any other approvals that are required for use of Crown lands. Please contact the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations' West Coast Regional Office through FrontCounter BC at (250) 751-7220 to determine if your project requires a General Wildlife Permit.
More information and important links
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
The Ministry recently delivered an information bulletin to all properties adjacent to the PQBWMA in Electoral Area E and G. Click Here to read the FLNRO Bulletin.
For more information about the PQBWMA please visit the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations information page by clicking here.
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations - Archaeological Branch
Many coastal properties may include archaeological sites. An alteration permit from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations' Archaeological Branch may be required prior to undertaking any development. For more information please visit www.for.gov.bc.ca/archaeology or call (250) 953-3334.