Environmental Reserves and Environmental Reserve Easements


Environmental Reserves and Environmental Reserve Easements

A discussion of regulatory context and application

The Issue / Idea

Environmental Reserves and Environmental Reserve Easements are regulatory tools used during subdivision for various environmental and safety purposes. How the legislation is framed and interpreted by municipalities will direct how ER and ERE are used.

The Project

Alberta’s Municipal Government Act sets out a variety of powers for municipalities to safely and sustainably plan and develop land. Among these is the power to reserve lands. This report takes an in-depth look at one such reserve, the Environmental Reserve (ER), along with its counterpart the Environmental Reserve Easement (ERE).

An ER is land that is transferred from the landowner to the municipality in the subdivision process, for one or more applicable reasons. An ERE is another form of ER that gives an interest in the land to the municipality while permitting ownership to stay with the landowner. Both ER and ERE are important planning tools that can help municipalities “foster the well-being of the environment” by preserving natural features of land and preventing water pollution, as well as permit public access to water bodies and prevent development in unsafe or unstable areas. This report aims to promote the effective use of ER and ERE by explaining when they apply, how they are implemented and how they are enforced.

Report: Municipal Management of Industrial Development


This project was undertaken by

The Environmental Law Centre


Completed in

April 2021


Max Bell Foundation

Anonymous Foundation