Building Near Water

If you plan on building or renovating near a river, stream, lake, or a designated wetland, you may need a special permit from the provincial department of the environment.

This applies to construction of any nature that takes place within 30 metres from a provincially designated watercourse or wetland.

As part of a building permit application process, our staff will check to see if your development or construction lies within these boundaries. If it does, you will need to apply to the Province's Department of Environment and Local Government for a  Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Permit, affectionately called a "WAWA" in the industry. The permit costs $25.

Those planning to build near water may have to apply to the provincial environment department for a special permit.

You can check to see if your property lies near a designated wetland by using the province's online mapping tool, geonb, and selecting the "wetlands" icon when you find your property. (It's the seventh icon from the left, and has a little black underline in the image below.) For illustration, here's a geonb map showing a portion of land near Chamcook Lake, with a designated wetland and boundary outlined.


What's needed:

If you need a WAWA permit, you will need to supply the province with the following information:

  • Project location - You will be able to use a map interface, but a Property Identification Number (PID) or coordinates will help streamline the process.  You can find your PID on your property tax bill, or, use the geonb mapping system above, which can help you find your PID. Just click on the outline of your property, then scroll through the popup window. (Alternately, Our planning department can also help you find your PID.)
  • Full description of the project
  • Drawings/Sketches (fully dimensioned)
  • Photos of the project area
  • Letter of consent from the property owner (if you are not the legal owner)
  • Method of payment (debit or credit card)*
  • If you have printed photos, maps, letters, or other documents to support your application and are not able to submit (upload) them electronically, you may mail or deliver them in person to the DELG regional office, quoting your application reference number that you will receive at the end of the application process.

Click here for the online application

Or see the government website for more information.