Frequently Asked Questions

The information below is provided for general reference only. The CVRD makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Further, nothing on this page will supersede or relieve any person from compliance with applicable enactments, some of which may change without notice on this page. The CVRD strongly encourages interested persons to raise issues with it and to obtain independent professional advice.  

View All

Frequently Used Terms

Advisory Planning Commission

The Advisory Planning Commission (APC) is an independent body of local residents appointed by the CVRD Board. Each Electoral Area has their own APC. The APCs consider proposed land use development and offer recommendations to the Electoral Area Services Committee. The APC does not have decision making authority.

Agricultural Land Commission

The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) is an independent tribunal dedicated to preserving agricultural land and enabling farming. Farming is encouraged through the Agricultural Land Commission Act and non-agricultural uses are restricted. For more information on the ALC visit here.

Agricultural Land Reserve

The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are restricted.

CVRD Board

The CVRD Board is the governing body of the CVRD. It is comprised of  members of the Electoral Area Services Committee (EASC) as well as representatives from each of the four municipalities within the geographic boundaries of the CVRD, they include; the Town of Lake Cowichan, the Town of Ladysmith, the Municipality of North Cowichan and the City of Duncan. The four municipalities do not vote on development applications. The Board's role is to consider the EASC recommendation and pass a resolution. 

Development Permit Area

Development Permit Area's (DPA's) are specified areas, identified in the Official Community Plan, that need special treatment for certain purposes including the protection of development from hazards, establishing objectives for form and character in specified circumstances, or revitalization of a commercial use area. Local governments may designate areas of land as development permit areas to be used for one or more of the following purposes:

Protection of:

  • The natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity
  • Development from hazardous conditions
  • Farming
  • Revitalization of an area in which a commercial use is permitted

Promotion of:

  • Energy conservation
  • Water conservation
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

Electoral Areas

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is comprised of nine Electoral Areas (see map here). The CVRD is responsible for managing growth and development in the nine Electoral Areas and providing services. Each area is identified separately by letters in the alphabet, and represented by a board comprised of locally elected directors.

Electoral Area Services Committee (EASC)

The Electoral Area Services Committee (EASC) is made up of nine elected officials, representing the nine electoral areas of the CVRD. Development applications are first presented to the EASC for consideration. The role of the EASC is to make a recommendation to the CVRD Board on the development application.

Official Community Plan

The Official Community Plan for the Electoral Areas (OCP) sets objectives and policies for future growth and development in the community. The OCP establishes a variety of land use designations including; residential, industrial, commercial, agricultural and institutional. The OCP outlines when these uses are needed and provides policy direction on how, when and where each land use will be located. To learn more about the OCP for the Electoral Areas visit here.

Zoning Bylaw

Each Electoral Area has its own zoning bylaw, with the exception of Areas A and C who share one. A zoning bylaw regulates how and where land, buildings and other structures may be used. The zoning bylaws divide land into 'zones', including; residential, industrial, commercial, agricultural and institutional. Each zone then defines what uses are permitted. Where a use is not expressly permitted in the Bylaw, it is prohibited. Each zone will also provide 'conditions of use' including setbacks, height limits and permitted density. To learn more about zoning bylaws visit here.