Is it illegal to have a concrete dock?

By Jackie DavisJackie Davis

Concrete dock

1 comment

The Question

Is it illegal to pour concrete in the water to have a dock made out of concrete?

—Jarred Ashby, Kingston, Ont.

The Answer

Well, under the federal Fisheries Act, anything that disrupts, alters, or destroys a lake’s fish habitat is prohibited—so potentially, yes! If you don’t get approval for your project, and your work is deemed harmful, you could be fined, imprisoned, or both.

Before you do any kind of work in or near the water, you should always check with your local governing authorities as to whether or not you need permits or approvals. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), it may be hard to get the go-ahead for a concrete dock because these docks are the most environmentally destructive of them all. Putting a solid hunk of anything into the water takes up areas where fish and aquatic creatures live, feed, and hide, and unlike some other dock materials, concrete doesn’t provide any kind of alternative living habitat. For these reasons, the DFO suggests that dock builders avoid concrete unless it’s the only option.

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Jun. 26, 2014

10:52 am

I run a dock company on the West Coast of BC, and wanted to note a few points not covered in this reply to this question. You should never pour concrete in or around water unless proper measure are taken to avoid any concrete getting in the water. The lime in the concrete when it is in its unset up form burns fish gills and this makes it so they cannot breath so to say and die. A concrete dock produced on land and delivered to the water once cured if properly done is more environmentally sound then other docks due to their life span of 40+ years and the fact there is nothing to break off and float away to make a mess of beaches. All docks shade the ground under them, this can be problematic if placed over plant life that requires the sun to grow. All docks will supply the same shade for fish that look for it, but if done properly are far from the most environmentally destructive.

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