We are so fortunate to live in Dufferin County. We are spoiled by having access to beautiful recreational land at our doorstep while still having quick access to all the big city amenities. Let’s be honest, many of our inhabitants have come to Dufferin County in search of a slower paced lifestyle. To have a little piece of heaven, some space to raise their families, in some cases some land. Well, the government wants to protect some of that land, namely the land that is part of our watershed. With Dufferin being in the heart of the Headwaters region, many of our properties fall under the jurisdiction of conservation authorities. A conservation authority’s main objective is to promote and continually strengthen the watershed.
Ontario has a total of 36 Conservation Authorities. Here in Dufferin County we predominantly deal with The Credit Valley Conservation Authority, The Grand River Conservation Authority and The Nottawasaga Conservation Authority but there are a couple of areas where The Toronto and Saugeen Conservation Authorities do come into play (see map here). What does this mean for you, the land owner?
In simple terms it means that if your land is in or within close proximity to the watershed it will be affected by the regulations pertaining to the local conservation authority. In short, you need permission to make changes to any part of the property. Not just the land itself, but anything you do on or near that land. In addition to the land itself it also includes any changes to any buildings or structures. This includes homes, sheds, shops, barns, fences, swimming pools, ponds, trees and the like. If in doubt, always err on the side of caution.
As always, it’s best to speak with a professional. We here at The Mullin Group can put you in touch with the right authorities to help get your questions answered. It’s always best to do your due diligence in advance. Make sure all of your questions and concerns are addressed before you dive in. You want to ensure your intended use is permissible well in advance of purchasing.
In addition to enjoying the beauty of conservation lands, there are tax incentives available on eligible conservation lands. There is a process which you can find here. If eligible, you must apply annually to receive the rebate to your annual property taxes. This can be quite attractive but does come with responsibility to the land owner.
Being a responsible land owner is key to protecting this beautiful planet we are so fortunate to occupy. Conservation Authorities do their part to ensure we all do our part and enable future generations the same privilege.