Shoreline Development

Shoreline Development

Our Lakes

The City of Greater Sudbury aims to protect surface water quality through management of development on shorelines of lakes, rivers and streams.  Being the interface of land and water, shorelines are particularly important to water quality and fish and wildlife habitat.

New requirements related to shoreline development will come into effect on February 1, 2022.

For current requirements, please see link to the Zoning By-law below.  

Shoreline Buffer Areas

A Shoreline Buffer Area is an area of open land, abutting a shoreline, maintained in a naturally vegetated self-sustaining state including natural rock formations and for purposes of clarity does not include an area which is maintained as a lawn.

  • A shoreline buffer of 20.0 metres will be required for development adjacent to a lake or river.
  • A shoreline buffer of 12.0 metres will be required for development adjacent to a permanently flowing stream.


Why Maintain a Shoreline Buffer?

A shoreline buffer can help filter sediment and other pollutants (such as fertilizers and pesticides) from runoff that flows from the land into waterways, thus protecting the waters from nearby land uses.  The shoreline zone also provides critical habitat for aquatic insects, microorganisms, fish, and other animals, thereby helping to maintain a balance in sensitive aquatic ecosystems.


A Portion Can be Cleared

On a residential lot, a maximum of 25% of the required shoreline buffer area can be cleared of natural vegetation, to a maximum of 276 m2.

The maximum length of the cleared area measured at the high water mark is 25% of the length of the shoreline, but in no case can the length exceed 23 metres. On a commercial lot, 33% of the required shoreline buffer area can be cleared of natural vegetation.


Structures Permitted within the Buffer

Accessory structures that are directly related to shoreline use are permitted within the shoreline buffer area. Gazebos, boathouses, docks, decks, stairs, water pumps and saunas are permitted within the shoreline buffer area.


Development on a Waterfront Lot Outside the Shoreline Buffer Area


Development Setback for Non-Shoreline Structures

Structures that are not directly related to shoreline use (camps/dwelling units, garages, sheds) are required to be located a minimum of 30.0 metres from the high water mark.

  • Residential buildings and accessory structures are required to be set back 30.0 metres from the high water mark of a lake or river.
  • Residential buildings and accessory structures are required to be set back 12.0 metres from the high water mark of a permanently flowing stream.


Setback for Septic Systems (Leaching Bed)

The septic system, including the leaching bed (essentially the pipes in the ground) associated with a septic systems must be setback 30.0 metres from the high water mark of a lake, river or permanently flowing stream.


Sample Shoreline Lot Site Sketch

shoreline diagram

Frequently Asked Questions

What Permits are Needed?


City of Greater Sudbury

The City of Greater Sudbury requires building permits for all buildings and structures greater than 10 sq.m (108 sq.ft). In addition to being compliant with the Ontario Building Code, buildings and structures must comply with the Zoning By-law for the City of Greater Sudbury (e.g. setbacks, height, etc).

Permits under the Ontario Building Code.

Must be in compliance with the Zoning By-law.


Nickel District Conservation Authority

The Nickel District Conservation Authority (NDCA) also known as Conservation Sudbury, regulates development in and along environmentally sensitive areas such as floodplains, steep slopes, wetlands, shorelines and waterway (Ontario Regulation 156/06 – Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses Regulation). Developments within or adjacent to regulated areas may require a permit under Section 28 of Regulation 156/06.

For more information, visit conservationsudbury.ca


Public Health Sudbury & District

Public Health Sudbury and District (PHSD) is responsible for administering Section 8 of the Ontario Building Code which regulates on-site sewage systems (septic systems).

Information related to the application process can be found at www.phsd.ca

Additional Shoreline Information and Resources