On-Site Magazine

Bridge and shoreline construction law changes proposed

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October 18, 2012 by On-Site staff

The Government of Canada introduced amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act designed to reduce “red tape” for bridge work, a move that is music to the ears of the Canadian Construction Association (CCA).

The CCA stated that the amendments would streamline processes and increase predictability and certainty for the construction industry.

“This new legislation will certainly help construction companies better predict their own requirements on future construction projects,” said Atkinson. “We believe this strikes the right balance between the regulatory oversight Canadians expect and the needs of the business community for greater regulatory efficiency.”

Project delays and halts often result in significant increases in operating costs for construction companies in Canada. The CCA stated that these delays create challenges for construction firms to predict costs and mobilize appropriate workforces for projects.

The Navigable Waters Protection Act was enacted in 1882 and was created to ensure safe and efficient movement of marine traffic, by regulating the extent to which bridge and shoreline construction can interfere with that traffic.

The proposed amendments to the law include:

– Changing the name of the law to the Navigation Protection Act.

– Listing major waterways that require regulatory approval prior to the placement or construction of a work.

– Allow proponents of works in unlisted waters to opt-in and seek approval of their proposed work to give them additional legal certainty by allowing them to choose.

– Expanding the list of low-risk works that can be pre-approved because they pose very little impact on safe navigation.

Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities announced the amendments on Oct. 18.

Sources: Canadian Construction Association and the Government of Canada.

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