February 15, 2018

Announcement: Goulbourn Wetland Complex No Longer Exempted from RVCA's Regulated Area

Since 2006, the Province has required Conservation Authorities to regulate development in wetlands and adjacent lands and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority’s (RVCA) responsibilities are outlined in Ontario Regulation 174/06. At their meeting on January 25, 2018, the RVCA Board of Directors passed a motion to apply Ontario Regulation 174/06 to wetlands in the Goulbourn Wetland Complex that were identified as Provincially Significant by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) in 2008. To-date, only wetlands identified in municipal Official Plans and zoning were regulated in this area. This recent decision by the Board brings the area in line with how wetlands are regulated in the rest of the Rideau watershed as the Goulbourn Wetland Complex had been given a special exemption. The exemption was put in place in 2009 by the RVCA’s Board of Directors at that time because of the creation of the Flewellyn Special Study Area by the City of Ottawa. The recent lifting of the exemption and the application of Ontario Regulation 174/06 as outlined above is effective immediately. 

Notifying Property Owners 

Notices have been sent to landowners whose property may be covered by or adjacent to wetlands identified as Provincially Significant by the MNRF in 2008. This means portions of their property may be subject to Ontario Regulation 174/06 that were previously exempt. 

What Affect Does Ontario Regulation 174/06 Have? 

Ontario Regulation 174/06 (Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses Regulation) under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act, requires property owners to obtain the written permission of the RVCA prior to interfering in any way with the existing channel of a river, creek, stream or watercourse or for changing or interfering in any way (including hydrologic function) with a wetland. Therefore, property owners must receive approval from the RVCA prior to undertaking any development or site alteration within a Provincially Significant Wetland or within 120 metres of a Provincially Significant Wetland boundary. Development is defined as: 

  • The construction, reconstruction, erection or placing of a building or structure of any kind or changes to a building or structure that would result in an increase in size or the number of dwelling units, 
  • Site grading, and 
  • Temporary or permanent placing, dumping or removal of any material, originating on the site or elsewhere.

Why Was the Goulbourn Wetland Complex Exempted in 2009? 

In 2008, the Goulbourn Wetland Complex was reevaluated and MNRF identified wetlands that were Provincially Significant. In 2009, the City of Ottawa’s Comprehensive Official Plan Amendment (OPA) which would have recognized these wetlands was appealed. The City established the Flewellyn Special Study Area as a temporary measure to work through wetland and drainage issues raised as part of the OPA appeal. In the interim, the City of Ottawa’s Official Plan indicated that no new development would be permitted in the area until the Special Study Area designation was removed. With this assurance, the RVCA’s Board of Directors decided to exempt the 2008 wetland boundaries from Ontario Regulation 174/06 while the Special Study Area was in place. 

Why Has the Exemption Been Lifted? 

In 2016, the Flewellyn Cumulative Effects Study was completed and the City of Ottawa presented the study’s conclusions to property owners, interested residents and the public. A new evaluation of the Goulbourn Wetland Complex was then completed and the MNRF released new Provincially Significant Wetland boundaries in 2017. Affected property owners were notified by both the MNRF and the City of Ottawa throughout the process and opportunities to challenge the boundaries were outlined. The next step is for the City to complete an OPA to adopt the new 2017 Provincially Significant Wetland boundaries. 

In the fall, the City of Ottawa indicated that they were waiting until early 2018 to initiate the OPA process and would not bring an OPA to Committee until late 2018 or early 2019. This timeline gives property owners the 2018 growing season to hire a wetland evaluator to challenge wetland designations. Given this timing, a discussion was initiated with the RVCA’s Board of Directors. Any significant loss or destruction of wetlands in this area could lead to increased flooding of private property, increased flooding of municipal roads and infrastructure, impaired groundwater recharge areas, decreased baseline streamflow, impacted water quality and quantity, and damage to wildlife and aquatic habitat. The decision was made to lift the exemption and apply Ontario Regulation 174/06 to those wetlands designated as Provincially Significant in 2008 as an interim measure until the City’s OPA is complete. Once the City’s OPA process is completed, the RVCA will apply Ontario Regulation 174/06 to the final wetland boundaries adopted in the Official Plan. 

For More Information Please Contact Us 

We encourage you to contact our office if you have any questions or would like additional information, including a site-specific map of your property showing regulated areas. 

You can contact one of our Resource Specialists at: 

  • Phone 613-692-3571 or 1-800-267-3504 Ext. 1193 (Megan) or 1132 (Emma) 
  • Email  

You can also view maps, Ontario Regulation 174/06 and RVCA’s development policies at "Regulations & Planning”Regulations & Planning”


Learn more about RVCA programs and services, news, events and more

Contact Us

Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
3889 Rideau Valley Drive
Manotick, Ontario K4M 1A5

613-692-3571, 1-800-267-3504



Regular Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Member of: conservation ontario