Environmental planning

Kelowna's natural environment is a priority, and we protect it by requiring permits for activities in sensitive areas. If your property is in a natural environment, wildfire or hazardous condition development permit area, and you want to alter the land through activities such as grading, soil deposit, tree removal or construction, you may need to apply for a permit.

Know your role in protecting BC's archaeological sites. If you are planning on developing your property, please review our City of Kelowna Bulletin on Archaeological Sites. Feel free to visit the Province of BC's Archaeology Branch website and review the Property Owner Brochure to learn your responsibilities as a property owner.


Environmental development permits
Natural environment development permit

If you’re proposing any work in a natural environment development permit area, you may need to apply for a natural environment development permit to address environmentally significant features including the lakeshore, creeks, wetlands and rare habitats. Before submitting your application, please review the following for guidance on the application:

Application form & requirements

Hillside and hazardous area development permit

If you’re proposing any work in a wildfire or hazardous condition development permit area, development permits require that those works address dangerous conditions such as flooding, rock fall, erosion and land slip.

Before submitting your application, please review the following for guidance on the application requirements:

The community wildfire protection plan is also a helpful document if your project is in a wildfire risk area. 


Kelowna’s Official Community Plan  encourages sustainable hillside development by:

  • Supporting development in appropriate hillside locations to respect and protect natural topography
  • Maintaining and enhancing the quality of hillside flora and fauna
  • Encouraging cluster housing that responds to the natural environment and reduces  site disturbance
  • Encouraging the creation of green spaces between development nodes
  • Minimizing site disturbance by allowing shared driveways, parking and open space areas

To learn about protecting your property from flooding and wave erosion review the Okanagan Lakeshore Living Resource from the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program (OCCP). This guide summarizes provincial, federal and local government land development regulations for building on property near water. It offers tips to protect the shore, including plant recommendations, so you can enjoy the Okanagan’s natural beauty

Top 6 actions property owners can take to protect our water
six tips for property owners to protect the lakeshore
Image provided by the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program (OCCP)


Read this overview on the development process
Tree removal permit

If you want to remove a protected tree on your property, you must apply for a tree removal permit as per the process outlined in Tree Protection Bylaw No. 8041. Trees removed under this bylaw must be replaced within one growing season and/or insured to be replaced by a Performance Security (bond)

Learn more

The permit process is summarized below, or see this printable factsheet: Tree Cutting Permit Bulletin

Generally, a tree removal permit is required for trees that are over 100mm in diameter and are:

  • Within a riparian management area, which is usually between five and 30 metres from the edge of a creek, pond, lake or wetland; or
  • On a hillside with a slope of 30 per cent or greater

A tree removal permit is typically not required for:

  • Pruning or removal of a dead, diseased or damaged branches (less than 30% of the canopy)
  • Trees on private property outside of the Natural Environment Development Permit Area
  • Removal of invasive trees like Siberian Elm, Russian Olive, or Tree of Heaven

A tree assessment and replacement plan must be included with all permit applications. This report must be completed by an ISA Certified Arborist. The arborist must recommend that at least one of the replacement trees be of a similar type of tree (coniferous or deciduous). Replacement trees are determined by the size of the tree removed:

  • 1 tree at 0 mm - 151 mm (6") DBH = 2 replacements 
  • 1 tree at 152 mm - 304 mm (12") DBH = 3 replacement trees
  • 1 tree at 305 mm - 456 mm (15") DBH = 4 replacement trees
  • 1 tree at 457 mm - 609 mm (24") DBH) = 6 replacement trees
  • 1 tree at 610 mm and larger (36") DBH = 8 replacement trees

Emergency removal of a dangerous or hazardous tree may be done prior to permit approval if there is an imminent threat posed by the tree. A permit application must be submitted as soon as possible after removal – please contact the Planning Department to ensure staff are aware the application is coming: 250-469-8626 / planninginfo@kelowna.ca.

In emergency situations, the permit ensures that replacement trees are planted to recover the lost services of the removed tree (e.g. shading and extreme heat moderation, stormwater absorption, bird/wildlife/pollinator habitat).

Questions about trees on public property, such as boulevard trees? Please contact Urban Forestry: parks@kelowna.ca

Soil deposit or removal permit

Soil Deposit Bylaw 9612 regulates the removal and deposit of soil, sand, gravel and rock within Kelowna. If you want to remove or deposit soil, you first need to apply for a soil deposit or removal permit. Review the application form and requirements, and submit your completed application to the Application Centre on the second floor of City Hall.

In highly sensitive areas, environmental or geotechnical reporting may be required.

Activities not requiring a soil deposit or removal permit
  • Valid nursery operations
  • Soil deposit and removal on golf courses
  • Road and utility corridor maintenance
  • Soil deposit or removal activities being addressed through another development application such as a development permit, subdivision, or building permit application
  • Moving existing soil within the boundaries of a single property
  • Soil deposits or removals for less than 50 cubic metres of soil per property per calendar year
  • Soil deposits or removal on a highway right-of-way, future highway or forest service road that is needed for the construction or maintenance of the highway
Penalties for not complying

Any person or business that doesn’t comply with Soil Deposit Bylaw 9612 or conditions of a soil deposit or removal permit is liable to a penalty of up to $10,000 for each offence. Businesses that are repeat offenders will have their business license reviewed and potentially suspended.

Agricultural properties must follow any Agricultural Land Commission regulations and may be subject to additional penalties for non-compliance.