Land use - communication sites

Last updated on January 31, 2024

Permitting access to Crown land for communication sites ensures that British Columbia continues to benefit from the development of communication services and encourages business investment.

On this page

The communication industry makes a significant contribution to the economy of the province. Crown land for communication sites is available by application to the Province of British Columbia (the Province).

A communication site is a small land area, usually located on a mountain top, used to situate infrastructure to enable the provision of communication services.

Services may include transmission and receiving of signals for:

  • Radio
  • Television
  • Microwave
  • Satellite
  • Cellular phones

The use of Crown land for communication sites ensures that residents of British Columbia have access to a variety of communications services that are essential to the information age.

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:

Complete Application Package:

Who may apply?

The following persons and groups are eligible to seek tenures under the Communication Sites Program:

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada aged 19 years or older
  • corporations registered in British Columbia or incorporated under the laws of Canada
  • provincial and federal government agencies requiring Crown land for communication site purposes

Types of tenures

Crown land for communication sites is usually available for a 30-year term through the following tenure options:

  • A licence of occupation is the normal form of tenure for communication sites
  • Lease or fee simple arrangements are offered for non-mountain-top sites in populated areas, provided they are within a municipality and border on privately owned land
  • A Statutory Right of Way may be offered for mountain-top sites at the request of a client where there are significant improvements on the land and where a document registrable in the Land Title office is required for financing and/or security reasons
  • Land Act Reserves or withdrawals are the standard means to reserve land for provincial and federal government communication purposes
  • Land Act Transfers are the typical way for a non-government user to obtain use of a reserved site by consent of the government agency holding the reserve. Users use this method when they are unable to find an alternate site. The agency receiving the transfer of administration assumes the responsibility for management of the site, including collecting rents under the Communication Sites Policy (PDF, 172KB)

Sub-tenuring and assignment

Sharing of established communication sites is encouraged to maximize the efficient use of Crown land in British Columbia.

Subtenuring may be undertaken by the authorized user without consent provided that the changes proposed do not affect the civil infrastructure on the site.

If proposed changes affect civil infrastructure, prior consent must be sought.

Fees and costs

Mountain tops which possess strategic value for communication purposes may be designated as a communication site.

This can streamline the tenure approval process for new sites on those designated locations.

You will be required to pay an application fee when you submit your application, as identified in the Crown Land Fees schedule (PDF, 49KB).

If you receive a tenure, you will be required to pay rent.

Rent for the use of Crown land for communication sites purposes is based on a site zone rate divided into three categories:

  • Urban areas
  • Semi-urban areas
  • Remote areas

The tenure holders pay rent for the coming year annually for each communication user on a site, based on an established pricing formula. Rent is adjusted annually to reflect the change in the Consumer Price Index for the Province. 

Crown land sold for communication use is priced at full-market value of the land.

Special requirements

  • Tenure holders are required to provide an up-to-date Communication Site Inventory. The inventory is the basis for rental calculation
  • Random site inspections may be undertaken to confirm the inventory information
  • 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 part of the application process, a specific file or a proposal about a specific area, please contact FrontCounter BC.

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