+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 12-15F

Survey Requirements for Recreation Lease Renewals

November 26, 2015
Expiry Date:
November 30, 2018
Active Status:
MD of Willow Creek
1 - Foothills-Little Bow
Vote Results:
Carried as Amended

WHEREAS Alberta Environment and Parks requires that municipalities bear the cost of a survey of provincially owned recreation areas when renewing recreational leases; and

WHEREAS the cost of surveying of recreation areas, located on public lands ranges from $6,000 to $16,000; and

WHEREAS recreation leases are typically for public use such as parks, campgrounds and picnic areas; and

WHEREAS the boundaries of recreation leases are typically not subject to change;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties lobby the Government of Alberta to remove the requirement for municipalities to provide surveys of provincially owned land in order to renew recreational leases and to streamline the process for renewing recreational leases for municipalities.

Member Background:

Recreational leases are an instrument that municipalities and non-profit organizations, such as Girl Scouts of Canada, enter into with the provincial government to operate recreational areas.  In order to obtain a twenty five year lease the province requires municipalities to pay large sums of money to provide a survey of lands that they do not own.  Municipalities have asked why these surveys are needed when the use can only be recreational in nature.  No answer has been provided other than the directive that if the municipality wants to renew the lease then they must incur the cost of a survey.

RMA Background:

The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Government Response:

Environment and Parks: Alberta Environment and Parks (EP) is responsible for ensuring that public land is administered to the benefit of Albertans. When municipalities and counties request the department to lease a particular area, EP requires a land survey to ensure the proper boundaries and location of the lease are recorded to prevent potential conflict between leaseholders.

EP is looking at ways to reduce the cost of surveys and will continue to work with municipalities to make informed decisions on public lands.

Surveys on public lands are legislated, requiring the disposition holder to pay for the surveys. Public land is surveyed pursuant to Section 23 of the Public Lands Act. The Act stipulates the ‘holder’ (renewals) or ‘applicant’ (new dispositions) to pay for the cost of the survey. Municipalities therefore cannot be exempted from these survey requirements.


The AAMDC appreciates that that Alberta Environment and Parks will examine ways to reduce the costs of recreation lease surveys. However, the resolution requests a change to the legislation that requires the lease holder or applicant to pay for a survey. As the government has not expressed interest in reviewing this legislative requirement, this resolution is assigned a status of Intent Not Met, and will continue to be advocated on by the AAMDC.

Provincial Ministries:
Environment and Parks
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