Local government parkland ownership and disposal

Last updated on January 9, 2023

Municipalities and regional districts have the authority to acquire and dispose of parkland to meet the current and future recreational needs of their residents.

Parkland acquisition

Access to parkland is one of the critical components of creating a liveable community, and one of the main drivers for new parkland is new development because a growing population places an increased demand on local governments for more green space.

To meet a community's parkland needs, developers must dedicate five percent of their subdivided land (or provide an equivalent cash-in-lieu of dedication) for community parks. In addition, many local governments collect parkland development cost charges.

Parkland dedication and cash-in-lieu may be applied separately, or used in combination with one another. In keeping with the principles of fairness and equity, local governments that choose to combine development cost charges with five percent parkland dedication must avoid charging developers twice for the same subdivision.

Parkland disposal

Local governments have the authority to acquire and dispose of real property. However, due to the significance of parks to community values, there are two limitations on local governments' ability to dispose of parkland:

  • Disposal of parkland dedicated on subdivision: Elector approval is required for disposal of these parklands. All proceeds from sale must be placed in a parkland acquisition reserve fund.
  • Removing parkland dedicated by bylaw: Elector approval is required to remove the dedication. Once a dedication is removed, the local government can dispose of the property under regular land disposal rules.