On October 18, 2012, the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities announced the introduction of amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. The AAMDC had been advocating for these changes for a number of years and is pleased that the Federal Government has taken the initiative to improve the regulatory process for projects on waterways. To date, municipalities have continually struggled with lengthy delays in obtaining federal approval on maintenance and construction works on water crossings. In many cases, municipalities have been required to incur excessive costs to ensure a waterway remains navigable by water despite not being a significant navigation route.
As part of the changes, the Navigable Waters Protection Act will now be renamed to the Navigation Protection Act. The proposed amendments now clearly list the major waterways for which regulatory approval is required prior to the placement or construction of a work. As well, the amendments will include an expansion of the list of low risk works (i.e. minor repairs on bridges) that can be pre-approved due to little or no impact on safe navigation.
The Federal Government has developed a proposed scheduled of waters that would still require federal regulatory approval for any work is done. For Alberta this would include:
- Lake Athabasca
- Bow River
- Peace River
- Athabasca River
- North Saskatchewan River
- South Saskatchewan River
For more information on the amendments and the official news release from Transport Canada, please visit http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/releases-2012-h110e-6908.htm.
Enquiries may be directed to: