Development and Building Applications
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
1. What is considered development?
- the construction of a new building or structure, or an addition to, or replacement of, or major renovation or repair of a building and the placement in, on, over or under land of any of these;
- the repainting or refinishing of a building to a substantially different colour or finish;
- the relocation or demolition of a building or other structure;
- a change of use of land or a building, or an act done in relation to land or a building, that results in or is likely to result in a change in the use of the land and or building, or;
- a change in the intensity of use of land or a building, or an act done in relation to land or a building, that results in or is likely to result in a change in the intensity of use of the land or building;
- the cutting or removal of trees in whole or part;
- an excavation or stockpile and the creation of either of these;
- the erection of a physical, temporary facility and structure;
- the erection and modification of signage and/or fences;
- landscaping, including terrain manipulation other than routine care and maintenance;
- temporary testing or uses causing land disturbance; or
- structures for photography or filming purposes;
- the construction of ski runs, trails, ski run clearing, terrain modification or similar activity; and
- the placement, alteration or removal of water, sewer, gas, electrical or fibre optic service lines.
2. What is the Development Review Process?
As per the community plans and other guiding documents, all development or redevelopment in the Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay Field Unit (LLYK) is subject to the Development Review Process. This is a comprehensive process made up of several permit applications each requiring its own review period. The review process has three main stages:
- Development Permit
- Building Permit (and/or Demolition Permit)
- Occupancy Permit
Ecological integrity will be the first priority for all development projects in LLYK. Development projects must aim to facilitate greater awareness and connection to natural and historical spaces, while conserving the qualities that make these places worthy for future generations.
3. What is a Development Permit?
The Development Permit application review allows Parks Canada to consider and assess the proposed development against the policies and objectives of the relevant Community Plan; Land Use Directives (as applicable); relevant Park Management Plan; other national park regulations, policies, plans, guidelines; leases and licences of occupation. (See Schedule ‘A’: List of Guidelines, Directives, Acts and Regulations).
This Development Permit application review is designed to give general guidance and direction on the project. The focus is on the:
- architectural design (form and character);
- site layout;
- social and environmental effects;
- infrastructure servicing considerations;
- impact to culturally significant features or elements;
- and, other related factors.
The review process considers and comments on:
- exterior building design;
- on-site and off-site landscaping;
- building siting;
- building finishes;
- lighting, etc.
Variances to the guidelines in the guiding documents may only be considered if they are considered by Parks Canada to be minor in nature (i.e. would not unduly interfere with the amenities of the area or materially interfere with, or affect the use, enjoyment, safety, aesthetics, or value of neighbouring properties while conforming to the use permitted on the site).
4. What is a Building Permit?
The primary purpose for issuing a Building Permit is to ensure that all buildings and structures, as well as the site area, comply with safety, health, building and zoning requirements of Parks Canada legislation, regulations and other guiding documents.
5. How can I make a Building Permit application?
A Building Permit application requires a completed application form and the following supporting information:
- a written project rationale (the who, what, when, why and how of the project);
- a completed Environmental Assessment Project Description;
- and a site plan.
Parks Canada can send you the application form and a list of supporting items that may be applicable to your project. Please note you will also need to engage a Third Party Inspection Agency to complete building code reviews and building inspections. A Building Permit fee is required prior to the issuance of the permit.
6. How long does it take to obtain a Building or Development Permit?
On average, after a complete application has been received, Development Permits require 6 to 8 months to process and Building Permits require 14 to 35 business days to process. Timelines vary depending on the complexity of the project, the estimated cost of construction, the time of year and the volume of applications being processed. Parks Canada Building Permits are valid for one year from date of issuance. Parks Canada Development Permits are valid for two years from date of issuance.
Submitting an application early is an effective way to manage your schedule.
7. How can I can download an application?
Parks Canada Building Permit Application forms are not currently available online. We encourage applicants to contact the LLYK Development Office to discuss the project and what information may initially be required. We can send you an application form and information package or you can email us with your request.
8. Do I have to hire an architect to make my drawings?
It depends on the complexity of the project. For example, a deck or simple renovation may not require professional involvement for the drawings while other projects not only require an architect but also an engineer. Please contact the LLYK Development Office for clarification.
9. Do I need a survey?
Most exterior projects require a site plan to indicate where the buildings are located on the site, how much site coverage currently exists and where and how much parking is provided. A survey easily and completely provides us the information we need to approve your project. Please contact the LLYK Development Office for a chat about your project.
10. How much does it cost?
The building permit fee in Banff National Park is $7 per $1000 of the estimated cost of the project. The building permit fee in Yoho and Kootenay national parks is $5 per $1000 of the estimated cost of the project. All building permit fees will have GST added to the amount.
11. What type of projects require a Building Permit?
- All new construction;
- Altering or adding onto an existing building or structure;
- The construction of an ancillary building or temporary building or structure (tent) larger than 10 square meters (107 square feet);
- Whenever you enlarge or relocate any windows and/or door;
- Making any structural change (renovations) or repairs to the interior or exterior of a building, including a deck;
- Changing the occupancy use (from commercial to residential for example) (from mechanical to living space);
- Relocating or removing (demolishing) any building or structure;
- Undertaking excavation of any kind; or
- Increasing or changing the “footprint” of a building.
12. Why do I need to provide the Project Description form if I’m just building a garage?
All development projects impact the environment, therefore a completed Environmental Assessment Project Description is a requirement of the Building Permit Application Package. This includes where projects disturb the ground with excavation, tree removal or placement of gravel. A garage, for example, has the potential to have all or any of those impacts.
13. What do I need to submit if I only want to build a deck on my house in Field, B.C.?
Deck construction or repair will require a Parks Canada Building Permit Application submission including drawings, site plan and Environmental Assessment project description form. Decks require building code review and inspection from a third party inspector. Please submit an application package and we will review it and begin processing your permit application.
14. Do I need a Building Permit if I’m renovating my bathroom?
It depends on the extent of the renovation. Cosmetic changes, such as painting or replacing bathroom fixtures (sink, toilet and tubs) do not require a building permit. Structural changes (moving walls, adding walls or relocating doorways) as well as changes to the electrical wiring, relocating plumbing or work on the ventilation system do require a Parks Canada Building Permit. It is best to check with the development office.
Lake Louise Yoho Kootenay Field Unit
Parks Canada / Government of Canada
email@example.com / Tel: 403-522-1186
For administrative purposes, Parks Canada is organized into field units which may contain one or more national parks. The Lake Louise Yoho Kootenay (LLYK) Field Unit includes all of Yoho and Kootenay national parks. It also includes portions of Banff National Park north of Castle Junction including the Lake Louise area and the south end of Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 North).