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.


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.


Learn more at 

Retaining Wall Regulations - Adopted March 15, 2023.


The Municipality of North Cowichan has adopted new retaining wall regulations, effective March 15, 2023. The changes to zoning and building bylaws are intended to make it easier to install low retaining walls without permits or other Municipal approvals while also establishing regulations for taller retaining walls that could impact privacy and safety.


The new regulations encompass:


• height restrictions in line with fence height regulations

• measurement criteria

• regulations for retaining walls combined with fences

• building permits and engineering required for walls taller than 1.2 metres

• specifications for terraced retaining walls and guard rails


Check out the Retaining Wall Handbook for more information.


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.


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


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

Agent Authorization Form (to act on behalf of propery owners)


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


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. Please note we are currently not set up to accept payments by Credit Card.

Site Disclosure Statement Form

A completed Site Disclosure Statement (effective February 1, 2021) 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. 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.

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


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.  Planning Staff can help you determine your best option before submitting your application. Please refer to the Board of Variance webpage 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.