This month’s “Ask a Planner” column is the first article in a series of questions about municipal reserves. These questions will help you discover what legislation says about how these lands are created, how they may be used and managed, how municipal policy and zoning can encourage the use of municipal reserves, and how money can be spent from the dedicated lands account.
Additional information on this topic and others can be found by visiting Community Planning, Land Use and Development.
“What are dedicated lands and municipal reserves?”
Dedicated lands are intended for public use and are administered by municipalities. There are several types of dedicated lands in Saskatchewan: buffer strips, environmental reserves, municipal reserves, public reserves, and walkways.
Municipal reserves are governed by The Planning and Development Act, 2007 (PDA) and The Dedicated Lands Regulations, 2009. They are intended for parks, recreation, open space, schools, and public amenities. Only activities outlined in legislation may occur on them. A council which has been designated as an approving authority may permit additional uses.
Historically, municipal reserves were created for public health and recreation purposes, designated as “public reserves”, and titled to the province. In 1991 almost all of these public reserve parcels were transferred to municipalities. A few public reserves remain titled to the province. However, like all dedicated lands, these parcels remain the responsibility of the municipality to administer and maintain (sec 202, PDA).
For new subdivisions, legislation requires land owners to provide part of the land as municipal reserve. This can be done via the land itself or money in lieu of land. (Information about calculating the appropriate amount of municipal reserve will be discussed in a future column.) When cash in lieu of land is provided, the municipality must deposit the funds into a municipal dedicated lands account. The account must be separate from the general revenue account, and expenditures can be made only on uses permitted in the legislation.
If you would like to see a specific issue about municipal reserves discussed in a future column, or included in information handouts to developers or municipalities, please contact the Community Planning branch.