All public roads (including lanes, streets and original road allowances) are owned by the Crown. Other than provincial highways, municipalities are given the authority to direct, control and manage all streets and roads within their municipality.
A municipality has discretion over where and when roads may be built depending on its budget, and over the construction and maintenance standards. No law exists that requires a municipality to build any road. Each situation is unique and subject to a municipality's discretion.
Closing a road
Section 13 of The Municipalities Act sets out the procedure to close a street or road owned by the Crown and under the direction of the municipality. A municipality may close a street or road in order to:
- lease the land for any purpose
- sell it
- close it
When closing a street or road in order to be sold, the title will be transferred from the Crown to the purchaser. As well, the street or road is no longer under the municipality's direction and is no longer available for public travel.
The municipality is required to provide public notice in accordance with its public notice policy stating that council is considering enacting a bylaw to close a road allowance. The notice must state:
- the legal description of the road allowance (consult the Controller of Surveys at the Information Services Corporation or a Saskatchewan Land Surveyor);
- the reason for the proposed closure; and
- information regarding the opportunity for persons who feels negatively impacted by the proposed closure to address council.
Additional notice may be required where the proposed closure requires the approval of the Minister of Highways. Before considering a bylaw to close a street or road, council will provide persons who claim to be negatively impacted an opportunity to be heard.
Any lease or sale of a roadway must not eliminate access to land, and the lease or sale is subject to any existing easements or public right of way for public utility services. Leases of closed roadways are required to contain a provision which enables the municipality to prematurely terminate the lease or to request public access. Copies of lease agreements, along with the bylaw, are to be filed with the Minister of Highways.
Applicable fees to municipalities
The Ministry of Highways must review the following requests for consent:
- certain types of road closures
- encroachment agreements
- title transfers
- registration of new road plans
Effective April 1, 2019, municipalities must pay service fees for any of the following land transactions:
- $300 - executing an encroachment agreement
- $300 - issuing a consent to temporarily close a road
- $650 - issuing a consent to permanently close a road
- $650 - issuing a title transfer document
- $650 per kilometre or part thereof - registering a road plan
Road maintenance agreements
Section 22 of The Municipalities Act provides authority for municipalities to enter into a Road Maintenance Agreement (RMA) with haulers, shippers or receivers of delivered goods. Municipalities often use RMAs in cases where there is concentrated heavy hauling from an identifiable source or there is heavy haul traffic that routes through a municipality where the hauler, shipper or receiver does not have a property tax base. RMAs are intended to address the incremental costs associated with heavy hauling and not the full cost of maintenance, construction and repair of municipal roads. Rates for RMAs and other regulations are set by the province and these can be found starting in section 9 of The Municipalities Regulations. The Government of Saskatchewan amended The Municipalities Regulations related to RMAs, which came into effect on January 1, 2022.
The updated regulations create a more consistent, transparent and clear process for all involved. Key changes include:
- Clarifying the definition of a bulk haul and who RMAs are to be applied to;
- Establishing a new rate structure based on verifiable data to replace the minimum and maximum rate ranges with a single per tonne per KM rate;
- Applying the new rate structure to regions based on Area Transportation Planning Committees;
- Determining that RMA rates are updated with refreshed data every two years; and
- Outlining the process for cancellation and suspension of agreements.
The published RMA rates are based on data for 2021. In order to get information out to users as soon as possible, the rates will be refreshed by the end of 2023 and be effective for the years 2024 and 2025.
Gravel extraction licence maximum fee rates
Municipalities have the authority to pass a bylaw to charge gravel crushers and extractors a gravel extraction licence fee. Formulas found in Section 8.1 of The Municipalities Regulations set out the maximum fee a municipality may establish. The formula was implemented in 2008 and is used to update the maximum fee every two years.
2022 and 2023 Rates
Effective January 1, 2022, the maximum gravel extraction rates for 2022 and 2023 will be:
- $0.175 per cubic metre
- $0.134 per cubic yard
- $0.094 per tonne
- $0.088 per ton
The maximum fee is increased based on the annual percentage changes for the "all-items" Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Saskatchewan for the two years before the first year the new rates are to come into effect. The rate increase for 2022 and 2023 represents a CPI inflation rate of 1.75 per cent in 2019 and 0.57 per cent in 2020.
Questions or concerns about gravel extraction maximum fees can be directed to a municipal advisor at 306-787-2680.