Some properties have already had investigations done and have marked archeological sites on them. Understanding the implications of these sites is important, as an owner, or potential owner, needs to know what can and can't be done with the property. A small site can simply mean making sure you do not disturb it when creating development plans, while a large site can mean further action is required.
You can first determine if there are any known sites on the property by contacting the provincial government through their Archaeology Branch. This is something that we at BC Oceanfront, a part of the Royal LePage Advance Realty team, do on most of our listings. We have found the Arch. Branch to be very easy to deal with, and the forms required are straight forward to fill out. We submit directly from online.
If you wish to build on a property or make major alterations to a property, then an archeological assessment is generally required. Most municipalities and regional districts will require an assessment during the permitting process. These are done by private companies, and there are often many steps involved in the process, which the company should be able to facilitate.
From the Archaeology Branch's FAQ document, these are two things they see as important to property owners: "The current use of the property is seldom affected unless the use involves significant land alteration. A house on a fully developed lot is not affected by overlapping with an archaeological site. An active gravel pit is a concern, because this current use will damage or destroy a site.
New development, such as changing the building footprint, major landscaping, or installation of an in ground swimming pool, will be a concern, because the new activity may damage the archaeological site. When planning for land use change, ensure that a professional consulting archaeologist is part of the planning process. They can determine if the new development will have an effect on the archaeological site.
In many cases, the archaeological site is not within the development zone. As an example, sites on waterfront properties are usually close to the water and are often contained within zoning setbacks set up to protect other environmental values."
Owning property on the BC Coast is a dream for many, and it is important to have all the information on hand when making those dreams reality.
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