13. October 2020 0

The City of Vancouver has recently released an amendment to its 2018 Groundwater Management Bulletin, which provides rezoning and development permit applicants with information on the process and submission requirements related to groundwater management at development sites throughout Vancouver.

Of particular note, the submission of a hydrogeological study is required for:

  • rezoning and subsequent development permit applications located partly or wholly within any of the area of concern for groundwater;
  • applications (with limited exceptions) that are made directly at the development permit stage (i.e. under current zoning) within the Cambie Corridor study area;
  • applications anywhere in the City of Vancouver that include open-loop geoexchange systems; and
  • sites that are subject to the City’s Rezoning Policy for Sustainable Large Developments

The purpose of the hydrogeological study is to demonstrate that a proposed development can be feasibly constructed without significant groundwater-related risks or negative impacts, either on-site or off-site. The apparent impetus behind this requirement is to allow the City to gain a greater understanding of subsurface conditions, protect aquifers and support long-term groundwater management.

Importantly, the amended bulletin provides current and prospective rezoning and development permit applicants with greater guidance on the specific requirements for each stage of a hydrogeological study, information on which types of developments are excluded from this requirement, and clarification on whether a specific site is, in fact, situated within an identified area of concern. The full amended Groundwater Management Bulletin can be found at the City of Vancouver’s bylaw webpage and functions as an excellent resource for those planning rezoning and development projects in the City.

This update was co-authored by Richard Bereti and Andrew Tang. Looking for more information regarding similar issues? Contact Richard Bereti at, Una Radoja at or anyone else from our team listed on the Authors page.

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