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Lands for Parks, Public Amenities and Municipal Reserves

Dedicated lands are for parks, open spaces and other public amenities.

Types of dedicated land:
•    buffer strips;
•    environmental reserves;
•     municipal reserves; and
•    walkways.

 The need for dedicated lands and their location are determined during the review of subdivision applications.  In certain cases dedication may be deferred or a monetary settlement arranged in lieu of dedication.

1. Provision and Ownership

Any person subdividing land must provide without compensation, dedicated lands to the municipality in which the land is located.

The provision, ownership, use and sale of dedicated lands is governed by The Planning and Development Act, 2007 (PDA) and The Dedicated Land Regulations, 2009 (Regulations) which must be consulted for details.

During the review of a subdivision application the type and location of dedicated lands are determined by the Director of Community Planning and the municipality in which the land is located.  For subdivisions under the jurisdiction of a council or authority that has been declared an approving authority pursuant to section 13 of the PDA, this determination is made without the involvement of the Director of Community Planning.

Upon registration of title all dedicated lands become the property of the municipality in which they are located.

2. Permitted Uses, Leases and Easements

All dedicated lands except walkways may be leased to any person or incorporated organization for the uses permitted within the Regulations. Lessees may be responsible for maintenance, liability and other items negotiated with the municipal council subject to compliance with the PDA and the Regulations.

Power, gas, telephone, water and sewer facilities may be located on any dedicated land if the land can still be used for its original purpose. Easement agreements may be registered on the title.


3. Sale or Exchange

A council may propose selling municipal reserve land that is no longer needed or exchanging for land of equal or greater value. Both the sale and exchange involve passing a bylaw and obtaining ministerial approval.

Before it may adopt a bylaw a council must advertise and hold a public hearing. The approved bylaw and related documents must be registered in the Land Registry to complete a sale or exchange.

4. Dedicated Lands Account

A municipality must post all financial dealings related to dedicated lands to a Dedicated Lands Account in the municipal ledger. The account must record all proceeds from sales or leases and all payments made in lieu of municipal reserve dedication. A council may authorize expenditures from the account only to develop, buy or maintain dedicated lands which may be in another municipality.
Dedicated lands have special designations on survey plans and titles. Each type should be consecutively numbered on each plan and adjoining plans.

 (e.g. Buffer Strip MB1, Buffer Strip MB2, Buffer Strip MB3, and so on)

6. Buffer Strips

These parcels are used for separating different land uses such as residential and commercial areas or residential lots and major roadways. New buffer strips are identified in subdivision plans as Buffer Strip MB#.

Buffer strips may be landscaped as a council requires or leased for horticultural or agricultural purposes.

7. Environmental Reserves

These parcels may contain:
•    ravines;
•    coulees;
•    swamps;
•    water courses;
•    land that is flood prone or unstable; and/or
•    land needed to help prevent pollution;
•    land needed to preserve river;
•    land needed to preserve creek banks;
•    land needed to preserve lake shores; or
•    land needed to help protect against floods.

Before 1983, such land was surveyed as public reserve (see section 10). New plans must show environmental reserves as Environmental Reserve ER#.

An environmental reserve may be left in its natural state or developed as a public park while having regard as to why the land is environmental reserve.

8. Municipal Reserves

Municipal reserves may be used for:
•    open space;
•     parks;
•     recreation facilities;
•     public buildings;
•    schools;
•    natural areas;
•     horticultural uses; and
•     agricultural uses.

The land may be leased for any of the permitted uses or for buildings or facilities owned by charitable corporations. Municipalities and school divisions may negotiate agreements for the joint use and maintenance of municipal reserves.

The location and suitability of land to be dedicated as municipal reserve is subject to the approval of the Director of Community Planning or any council or authority that has been declared an approving authority pursuant to the PDA.

New municipal reserves are to be identified on survey plans as Municipal Reserve MR#. Every subdivision for residential purposes must designate 10 per cent of its gross area as municipal reserve; for other subdivisions the designation is five per cent. The gross area includes all the proposed lots, parcels, streets and lanes and the remainder of the land being subdivided if it cannot be further subdivided.

Exemptions from the municipal reserve requirement are made for:
•    single agricultural lots;
•     parcels for utilities;
•     public use; and
•     re-subdivisions.
Sometimes dedication may be met by a monetary settlement such as cash-in-lieu or deferred to a future subdivision proposal.

Cash-in-Lieu for Municipal Reserve

A monetary settlement requires the subdivision applicant to pay the municipality in lieu of providing land for municipal reserve. The payment must equal the market value of the required land in a subdivided, unserviced state.

One way the payment for residential land might be calculated:

Average residential lot price in the area ...........$10,000
Minus average per lot servicing costs ............... - 8,000
Un-serviced lot market value............................. $2,000
Municipal reserve requirement........................... x 10%
Requirement (per new lot)................................... $200
Multiplied by number of new lots.......................... x #
Amount paid to Dedicated Lands Account ........ $Total

Other methods may use some form of area calculation. There is no prescribed formula so a subdivision applicant and council may negotiate the final amount. Disputed land values are resolved by an independent appraiser hired by the municipality.

A payment must be made or put in a trust before a subdivision is approved. All payments must be posted to the municipality’s Dedicated Lands Account and used only to develop or maintain dedicated land in accordance with the Regulations.

Deferral of the Municipal Reserve Requirement

The dedication of municipal reserve may be deferred if the subdivision application includes land to be further subdivided. This might be an area to be subdivided in stages or a new parcel to be subdivided into lots later.
Dedication may be deferred until new parcels are sold for a monetary settlement is made.

When dedication is deferred the subdivision approving authority must register an interest on the title to the land from which the reserve will be provided. The interest formerly called a caveat informs future owners of the commitment. It may be withdrawn once the municipal reserve is provided or a monetary settlement is arranged.

An interest can be registered on the title to a parcel being created or on the title to other land to be subdivided.

9. Walkways

These parcels are required for pedestrian paths through long blocks, at the end of cul-de-sacs or between crescents. New walkways are identified on survey plans as Walkway W#.

Walkways created before April 17, 1984 were surveyed like streets or roads and do not have identifiers on plans. These walkways are owned by the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure.

10. Public Reserves

The Province of Saskatchewan owned all dedicated land until January 1, 1991 when The Planning and Development Act, 1983 was amended to transfer existing dedicated lands to municipalities. The amendment eliminated the need to reissue the titles. The province kept ownership of some dedicated lands in which a provincial interest existed by issuing a Minister’s Order that exempted certain lands from this transfer. Dedicated lands still owned by the Province are called public reserves and more information can be obtained from the Community Planning branch.

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