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Development Permit Areas for Climate Action


Under sections 919.1 of the Local Government Act (LGA), local governments may designate development permit areas (DPAs) in an official community plan (OCP) for one or more purposes. In 2008, the provincial government amended the LGA to include three DPA purposes for climate action: establishing objectives to promote energy conservation; water conservation; and, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction.  

For DPA purposes related to energy conservation, water conservation and GHG emissions reduction, local governments can make requirements related to:

  • landscaping (e.g. requiring drought tolerant plantings);
  • siting of buildings and other structures (e.g. building orientation to capture solar energy);
  • form and exterior design of buildings and other structures (e.g. provisions of deep overhangs for shade)
  • specific features in the development (e.g. naturalized ponds that capture and store rainwater runoff); and,
  • machinery, equipment and systems external to buildings and other structures (e.g. rainwater collection systems, geothermal systems).

The expanded DPA authority in the LGA is intended to apply to elements that are exterior to buildings.


Development Permit Areas for Climate Action: A Guide for Energy Conservation, Water Conservation and GHG Emissions Reduction was created to help local governments in British Columbia make strategic choices about how to effectively use DPAs for climate action and to help achieve their GHG emission reduction targets.



Other provincial publications relating to planning for climate change:


A Guide to Green Choices: Ideas and Practical Climate Action Plan



Climate Action Plan



Climate Action Planning Framework


Climate Change Resources for BC Planners


Integrated Resource Recovery


Living Water Smart


Local Government (Green Communities) Legislative Amendments
Information Resources


Planting Our Future: A Tree Toolkit for Communities


Stormwater Planning: A Guide for British Columbia


Development permit areas for climate action at work:

Local governments in B.C. are already using DPAs and DPA guidelines to achieve their climate action goals of conserving energy, conserving water and reducing GHG emissions. Here are some examples:


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