Land Use - General Commercial Uses

Crown land is available for commercial development by way of application, public competition, or direct offer.

In many areas of the province Crown land can meet a certain need where private land is either not available or is not suited to the required use.

The investment and jobs linked to development of Crown land contribute significantly to the economy of the region.

Many rural communities across the province are interested in diversifying their economies.

The Province of British Columbia (the Province) offers both upland and aquatic Crown land for commercial use.

Commercial development can include the selling, storing or servicing of goods and commodities. Examples of potential commercial developments are:

  • Office buildings
  • Shopping malls
  • Warehouses
  • Wharves
  • Golf courses

Application Documents

In addition to reading the information on this webpage, the following documents should be reviewed prior to submitting your application:

The following documents must be completed prior to submitting your application:

Who May Apply?

Crown land can be purchased or leased for Commercial use by:

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are at least 19 years of age, and/or
  • partnerships and corporations registered in B.C., and/or
  • non-Canadians, provided the tenure is on aquatic land and the applicant owns the adjacent upland.

Crown land can be purchased for Commercial use at market price. Aquatic lands, including foreshore, cannot be sold in British Columbia under the Land Act. Tenures, however, may be available to commercial operators.

Types of Tenures

Depending on the intended use, the services and access available, and the required tenure term, a lease, licence of occupation or temporary licence may be issued by the Province.

  • A Lease is issued where substantial improvements to the land are to be made, or where boundaries are necessary to avoid conflicts with neighbouring operators. A lease is issued for up to 30 years and thus can be adjusted to fit an applicant's needs.
  • A Licence of Occupation is available in remote areas or where the lands are needed for uses that are not permanent or where there are specific restrictions or management objectives. A licence is normally issued for a term of 10 years.
  • A Temporary Licence of Occupation can be issued for up to two years to authorize a temporary use. A temporary licence of occupation may also be issued to allow an applicant to investigate a potential location.

Fees & Costs

You will be required to pay an application fee when you submit your application, as identified in the Crown Land Fees schedule (PDF).

The following lease and rent combinations are available:

  • A commercial lease is available at an annual rent of 8% of the land value in urban areas or where the use of the lands is full time. A lease in remote location or used seasonally is available at an annual rent of 5% of the land value. A minimum annual rental rate is $500 plus GST.
  • An annual rental for a commercial licence in urban areas or where the use is continuous is calculated at 7.5% of the land value. Licences located in remote areas or used seasonally are available at an annual rent of 4.5% of the land value. A minimum annual rental rate is $500 plus tax.

Special Requirements

Do I Need Authorization to Use Foreshore or Aquatic Land?

  • Individuals cannot build on or develop aquatic Crown land, including Crown foreshore, without the Province's authorization, even if they own the adjacent property or "upland." Permission to use Crown land is obtained by application to the Province.
  • The upland owner's consent is required if the tenure will affect access to deep water from his or her property.
  • The tenure holder will be required to meet all applicable regulations imposed by government agencies, federal, provincial and local. Common examples are compliance with Health Regulations or obtaining a building permit before construction.
  • The most common reason for delay is submission of an incomplete application, which is then returned to the applicant.

If your application is accepted, you will be notified if Advertising is required. Please wait for confirmation before advertising.

If you have questions regarding any aspect of the application process, a specific file or a proposal about a specific area, please contact FrontCounter BC.