Docks, Barges, and Private Moorages

Summer docks image by Justa Jeskova

All privately owned docks and barges on Whistler lakes require provincial authorization.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) encourages all property owners with these facilities to get the required provincial permits and understand the federal regulations.

The Province of B.C. will be conducting a compliance review of docks and non-moorage structures in Whistler during 2022 to bring all private moorage facilities into compliance.

Regulated by the B.C. Land Act

The construction, placement and use of docks, barges and other private moorage facilities on freshwater foreshore requires authorization from the Province of British Columbia. 

All freshwater foreshore throughout British Columbia is Crown land. It is regulated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development through the Land Act.

Freshwater foreshore is defined as the land between the high and low watermarks of streams, rivers and lakes. Land adjacent to foreshore may be privately owned, but the public retain the privilege to access the foreshore.

How does this impact Whistler residents?

Many current residential docks, barges and associated buildings do not meet the provincial and federal regulations.

The construction, placement and use of private moorage facilities on Crown land must not obstruct public access along the foreshore, and requires authorization from the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. 

Private moorage facilities include docks, boat ways/ramps or boat lifts that are used for private residential use.

Non-moorage structures are structures such as hot tubs, slides, picnic tables, and saunas, built within the foreshore or on the dock and are not permitted.

How to bring your dock into compliance

Property owners in Whistler need to acquire Land Act authorization for all existing or new docks from the Province of BC. 

This can be provided through granting of a tenure, which requires an application. Whistler is in a specific permission application-only area.

A complete application package for specific permission includes:

  1. Crown Land Application Form
  2. Private Moorage Requirements List
  3. Ensure compliance with local government bylaws and zoning requirements.
  • A one-time $250 application fee is required.
  • If the applicant of the proposed dock is not the upland owner, written consent of the upland owner will be required.

Please visit the Province of British Columbia’s website for full application details.

If you require additional assistance, please contact FrontCounter BC toll free at 1-877-855-3222 or visit FrontCounterBC to find your local office.

Docks on municipal park land

To move into compliance with provincial regulations, the RMOW will remove any private docks constructed on municipal park land. Over the years, several unauthorized docks have been built on Alta Lake Park and other municipal park foreshore in the valley.

The RMOW will make attempts to contact the owners of these docks and work with them to have all docks removed.


Bylaw Services​

Print Friendly, PDF & Email