Reserves and Money-In-Lieu

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When subdividing, the Province of Alberta will often require municipalities to reserve a portion of the land for public use or environmental conservation.  This land is known as an environmental reserve or a municipal reserve.  In certain situations, the County will require money paid by the subdivision applicant instead of land for municipal reserve.  Before finalizing a subdivision application, the County will determine if reserves are required, and how reserve land will be handled. 

Read more about environmental reserves, municipal reserves, and money-in-lieu below!

Or, click here for a more detailed information sheet.


When are reserves not required?

There are some specific circumstances where reserves will not be required, such as:
  • When subdividing the first parcel out of a quarter section
  • When subdividing agricultural land into parcels greater than 16.0 hectares (40 acres)
  • When subdividing land into parcels less than 0.8 hectares (2 acres)
  • When reserves have already been provided for the parcel

Environmental Reserve

Portions of a parcel may be designated environmental reserve (ER) if they consist of the following:
  • A swamp, gully, ravine, coulee, or natural drainage course
  • Land that is unstable or subject to flooding
  • A strip of land that borders the bed and shore of any major watercourse
    • (for the purpose of preventing pollution or providing public access to bed and shore).

Municipal Reserve

Lands designated as municipal reserve (MR) are typically used for:
  • Public parks
  • Sports fields
  • Other public recreation purposes

When subdividing, the total area of land designated for municipal reserve can be up to 10% of the original area, not including land required for environmental reserve.

   For example:
          If the area of parcel to be subdivided is 20.0 acres,
          And land designated for ER is 4.5 acres,
          Then, the area of parcel to be considered for MR would be 15.5 acres.

          In this case, the total maximum municipal reserve dedication (10%) would be 1.55 acres


In certain situations, the County will require subdivision applicants to pay money to the County in place of municipal reserve land. This is referred to as "money-in-lieu” of reserves.  Money-in-lieu is most often required when subdividing agricultural parcels, where public parks would not be widely beneficial. Instead, this money is received and used for projects on public lands elsewhere in the County. 

If money-in-lieu is to be collected, the County will request a market value appraisal for the parcel of land, at the cost of the applicant.  The total amount of money-in-lieu will equal the assessed market value per acre, multiplied by the total acres designated for municipal reserve.  

    For example: If money-in-lieu was required for the MR example above:
          The total land dedicated for municipal reserve was 1.55 acres.
          If the County receives a land appraisal of $1,350.00 per acre,

          Then the County would require $2,092.50 as money-in-lieu of municipal reserve.

If money-in-lieu of municipal reserve is to be provided to the County, the amount will be specified as a condition of approval for the subdivision application.
(Note: money-in-lieu is not an option for environmental reserves.)