Community Review (Underway Now)
In 2022, Village of New Denver Wildfire Hazard Development Permit Area (DPA) guidelines were drafted, by the Village and the Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative (SIFCo). These draft guidelines can be reviewed online HERE. Please keep reading, below, for information about the purpose of these guidelines, how they work, etc.
The Village of New Denver now wants to hear feedback from the community about the Draft Wildfire Hazard DPA Guidelines. Residents and property owners are invited to attend a drop-in style Community Open House on Wednesday, November 15, from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., to review and discuss the draft Wildfire Hazard DPA guidelines [as well as Council’s 4-year Strategic Plan & Downtown Revitalization Plan Early Directions]. Paper copies of the draft guidelines and a short survey will also be available at the open house.
If you have any questions or comments ahead of the November 15 open house, please contact the Village Office directly.
About Wildfire Hazard Development Permit Area Guidelines
The intention is for Wildfire Hazard DPA guidelines to be integrated into New Denver’s Official Community Plan (OCP) in early 2024. If Wildfire Hazard DPA guidelines were added to New Denver’s Official Community Plan, they would result in the requirement of a Development Permit associated with wildfire hazard mitigation. In this case, the Village is proposing these DPs be required in all areas of the Village, and prior to most Building Permits or Subdivision Approvals.
Wildfire Hazard Development Permits are intended to make neighbourhoods safer by reducing the risk of wildfire hazards and minimizing the spread of fires into the community. They work to mitigate the risk of personal injury and property damage or loss from wildfire hazards, to promote activities that reduce wildfire hazards, and to increase the community’s resilience to wildfire hazards and climate change. Wildfire Hazard DPAs work to protect the natural environment, its ecosystems, and biological diversity.
Wildfire Hazard DPA guidelines consider FireSmart principles such as increasing the space between structures and nearby vegetation, and incorporating fire-resistant design features and materials into buildings to help protect the community from wildfires.
When Would a Wildfire Hazard DP Required?
New Denver’s draft Wildfire Hazard DPA text proposes a Development Permit (DP) requirement at the time of subdivision, where the number of parcels is increased, and prior to construction of, or alteration of, a building or other structure.
A number of exemptions would be included. Please review the draft guidelines for all exemptions proposed. Some examples of exemptions listed in the draft include:
- Interior renovations to existing buildings;
- The construction of, or alterations to, accessory buildings or structures that are not in excess of 9.33 square meters (100sq.ft.);
- Additions to existing approved buildings that are not in excess of 25% of the existing gross floor area;
- Any development comprised entirely of non-flammable materials such as metal, stone, or concrete.
The Wildfire Hazard DPA is proposed to apply to all areas of the Village of New Denver. This is because the surrounding wildland areas possess a High ‘Fire Threat Class Rating,’ identified through field verification and available data including the Provincial Strategic Threat Analysis database – this is illustrated on the Wildfire Urban Interface Risk Class Map included as Schedule B of the draft Wildfire Hazard DPA guidelines. Considering the small size of the municipality and the high wildfire threat surrounding the Village, it has been recommended by the Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative (SIFCo) that the entire Village boundary should have a Wildfire DPA applied to address this wildfire risk to future developments.
How Would Construction & Building Permits be Effected by a Wildfire Hazard DP?
Prior to a Building Permit being issued, a Wildfire Hazard Development Permit would be required for construction or alteration of a building or other structure, unless an exemption applies. When applying for a Wildfire Hazard Development Permit, building materials, site & building location, and landscaping would be considered and addressed in relation to the Wildfire Hazard DPA guidelines. Guidelines associated with these categories are outlined in the draft Wildfire Hazard DPA Guidelines. For example:
- Roofing Materials: The roof covering shall conform to Class A or B fire resistance when tested in accordance with ATSM E108 or UL790.
- Overhanging Projections: Structural components (post & beam) of decks, balconies, and porches should be heavy timber construction as defined in the current BC Building Code, or should be clad with fire-resistant material (non-combustible, Class A, or Class B fire resistance as referenced in the current BC Building Code).
- Exterior Doors and Windows: Construct exterior doors and garage doors of non-combustible materials.
- Eaves, Soffits & Vents: Close eaves and soffits so no joists are exposed.
- Site Considerations & Building Location: Locate fuel tanks 10 meters or more from buildings wherever possible.
- Landscaping: All areas within 1.5 meters of principal buildings should be free of the following:
- Coniferous of flammable vegetation
- Wood, bark, or leaf mulches
- Any stored flammable materials
- Other accumulated flammable debris.
How Would Subdivision be Effected by a Wildfire Hazard DP?
Prior to a Subdivision being approved, when the number of parcels is being increased, a Wildfire Hazard Development Permit would be required. The draft Wildfire DPA Guidelines propose that a Wildfire Hazard Assessment must be prepared when subdivision is proposed. Some of the draft guidelines include development locations being set back a minimum of 10m from property lines adjacent to forests and sensitive environmental areas; firefighting and emergency access being provided adjacent to forested areas; and development being set a minimum of 10m from the top of ridgelines, cliffs, ravines, or the top of slopes.
You can learn more about FireSmart and the Slocan Valley Wildfire Resiliency Program on the Village’s webpage www.newdenver.ca/resources/firesmart-and-wildfire-resiliency/.
Below is FireSmart BC’s ‘Tips To FireSmart Your Home Infographic‘ outlining some helpful ways to decrease the risk of wildfire damaging your home. These actions can be taken whether or not a Development Permit is required.