NEW REGULATION REGARDING THE PROTECTION OF LAKE SHORELINES
Since August 21, 2009, the Regional Municipality of the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and each of its Municipalities are required to implement the provincial Policy for the protection of riverbanks, lakeshores and floodplains, and they may give out fines if they find that the lake shoreline has been disturbed.
The MRC’s new regulations (2009-206) for the protection of lakeshores, riverbanks, littoral zones and floodplains are very detailed (http://www.mrcvg.qc.ca/documents-pdf/2009-206_anglais.pdf06). Here is a brief summary.
Every lake property owner is now responsible for protecting the lakeshore and the littoral zone.
The lakeshore is a 10-meter wide strip of natural vegetation (when the slope is less than 30%) or 15-meter wide strip (when the slope is greater than 30 % and uninterrupted). See the new regulations for more details. The lakeshore is the lake’s natural shield. It fulfills several biological functions. Its vegetation:
prevents excessive warming of the littoral zone;
captures a large part of the sediment and nutrients that otherwise would be washed into the lake, thus limiting the growth of algae;
stabilizes the bank, and limits erosion;
reduces the speed of run-off and facilitates water seepage into the soil;
provides essential habitat and food and shelter for wildlife and flora.
The littoral zone is that part of the lake extending from the high-water mark towards the middle of the lake.
Disturbing the 10-meter or 15-meter wide lakeshore by, for example, cleaning brush, cutting trees, or spreading fertilizer, is now prohibited.
All construction and operations on the lakeshore or in the littoral zone that are permitted by the new regulations require a permit or certificate. Signs must be posted on the site during the entire work period.
After consulting a municipal inspector, you may:
when the slope is less than 30%, cut vegetation to create a 5-meter wide opening onto the lake, as long as the herbaceous vegetation is preserved;
when the slope is greater than 30%, prune and trim to create a 5-meter wide opening, and construct a grass-covered trail or a stairway with a maximum width of 1.2 m. Debris may not be left on the lakeshore. Trees and shrubs outside the 5-meter zone may be pruned and trimmed up to a maximum of 40% of the total height of the tree trunk or shrub.
If your shoreline lacks natural vegetation, you are required to restore it. You can do this in two ways:
by letting nature take its course: let plants that are well adapted to lakeshore areas grow up naturally, which they will do in only 2 or 3 years;
by planting native species in mid-June or late August, without using fertilizers, preferably in the early morning or evening (consult the list on the Internet here: http://www.messines.ca/Catalogue2009.pdf).
MRC inspectors are monitoring the enforcement of these new regulations in close cooperation with municipal inspectors. They have the authority to come and visit any property between 7 am and 7 pm on their own initiative or following an official complaint. All complaints are handled in a confidential manner.
If you have any questions, contact Kazabazua’s Municipal Inspector, Danny St-Jean,
by phone (819-467- 2852) or by email (inspecteur.Kaz@bellnet.ca).
Michèle Borchers/Lakes Association of Kazabazua, June 2013