Development Planning


Developing buildings and land in the Municipality is often a multi-stage process and usually involves interaction not only with Planning Staff, but with Municipal Staff in other departments (e.g. Engineering and Building), as well as with Council and the General Public. 


Amendments to the Environmental Management Act related to the Province’s contaminated site identification process take effect February 1, 2021, and will require all local governments in British Columbia to participate in the contaminated sites screening process.  

What does this mean?

This means effective February 1, 2021, North Cowichan will require applicants to provide a completed Site Disclosure Statement in addition to the required application documents for development applications, land use amendments, subdivisions and building permits.  A Site Disclosure Statement is necessary to determine and identify if potential Schedule 2 activities of the Contaminated Sites Regulation have occurred on the subject property or properties.  Identification of a "Schedule 2" industrial or commercial use on the property or properties will typically require that the Site Disclosure Statement be forwarded to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.  In this circumstance, North Cowichan cannot grant development approvals or issue permits until it receives authorization from the Ministry to proceed.

The provincial Site Remediation website is the best resource of information on all aspects of contaminated sites.


As every property and development proposal is unique, and application requirements can vary, please contact Planning Staff by phone: 250-746-3119 or by email: to discuss your project and application requirements prior to submitting an application.  Planning Staff are here to guide you through the process and to advise if a Pre-Application Meeting is necessary prior to your submission.

Application Guides

The Application Guides below are designed to help you understand the various development processes and to help you properly prepare your development proposal.

Development Application Form with Checklist

Once you have read through the relevant Application Guide, you can prepare your development proposal and complete an application.

Site Disclosure Statement 

A completed Site Disclosure Statement is required in addition to the required application documents for development applications, land use amendments, subdivisions and building permits.  A Site Disclosure Statement is necessary to determine and identify if potential Schedule 2 activities of the Contaminated Sites Regulation have occurred on the subject property or properties.

Applications that are submitted without the mandatory Site Disclosure Statement will be considered incomplete and will delay the application process.

Agent Authorization Form


To submit your complete application package you can:

  • Send by mail, courier or in-person at 7030 Trans-Canada Highway, Duncan BC  V9L 6N8 - Attention: Planning Department
  • Drop in Drop Box located at the front entrance of the Municipal Hall, 7030 Trans-Canada Highway, Duncan BC - Attention: Planning Department

Application Fees

  • Please refer to the Fees and Charges Bylaw for the most current Land Development application fee when submitting your application.  Payments for application fees can be made by Debit, Cheque or On-Line Banking.  We are currently not set up to accept payments by Credit Card.

Development application fees scheduled to increase June 15, 2023.


North Cowichan is increasing development application fees to shift more of the cost of processing development applications and managing development from general taxation to development applicants. The intent is to generate additional revenue from increased application fees that can be used to improve service levels and reduce application processing times. In anticipation of increased fee revenue Council has provided preliminary approval for additional staff resources that will improve application processing time and reduce the current backlog of development applications.


Key dates:
  • February 21, 2023 – Council Meeting: First three readings of Bylaw
  • March 1, 2023 – Council Meeting: Council expected to consider adoption of Bylaw
  • June 15, 2023 – New development application fees start (if adopted)

Learn more at 


Agricultural Land Reserve Application 

Use the Agricultural Land Reserve Application (links to Provincial Agricultural Land Commission site).

  • Exclude land from the ALR
  • Include land from the ALR
  • Subdivide land in the ALR
  • Use land in the ALR for non-farm purposes

Board of Variance Application 

The Board of Variance addresses appeals for variances that are considered “minor” and where compliance would cause “undue hardship” to the property owner.  In order for the Board of Variance to grant a variance, it must be of the opinion that the variance does not:

  • Result in inappropriate development of the site;
  • Adversely affect the natural environment;
  • Substantially affect the use and enjoyment of adjacent land;
  • Vary permitted uses and densities under the applicable bylaw; or
  • Defeat the intent of the bylaw;
  • Vary the application of an applicable bylaw in relation to residential rental tenure.

If your request does not meet the above conditions, a Development Variance Permit is another application process that may be more suitable.  Planning Staff can help you determine your best option before submitting your application. Please refer to the Board of Variance Guide for more information.

Telecommunication Antenna Structure

To apply for a Telecommunication Antenna Structure Statement of Concurrence, please complete the following application form referring to Council Policy: Telecommunication Antenna Structure as a guide.

Temporary Mobile Home Permit Application

Please complete the Temporary Mobile Home Permit Application for New Temporary Mobile Home Permit Applications and for Annual Renewal Applications.

Subdivision Application 

Please contact the Engineering Department for Subdivision Applications.

Please refer to the Other Useful Resources section for additional development process information and helpful links.