Ownership of Foreshore, Shoreline, and Beyond
Res #: 16-10M
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment
WHEREAS many municipalities are dealing with issues that involve the interpretation of who owns the foreshore, shoreline and/or land up to the high water mark and five meters beyond it;
WHEREAS different ministries within the Provincial Government seem to have different interpretations of who owns the foreshore, shoreline and/or land up to the high water mark and five meters beyond it;
WHEREAS these conflicting ideas are even present amongst employees from within the same ministry and in particular the Ministry of Environment; and
WHEREAS there may be logical explanations or conditions under which different scenarios can occur that allow for these differences in opinions;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Ministry of Environment to clearly define the circumstances under which an individual may own the foreshore, shoreline and/or the land up to the high water mark and five meters beyond.
Response from Honourable Dustin Duncan, Minister of Environment:
All provincial Crown lands, including the bed and bank of all water bodies, are administered by either the Ministry of Agriculture or the Ministry of Environment. Generally, water bodies south of the forest fringe are administered by the Ministry of Agriculture; water bodies within and north of the forest fringe are administered by the Ministry of Environment. However, there are cases where the Ministry of Environment administers lands adjacent to southern water bodies.
When land adjacent to a water body is surveyed, the bed and bank (commonly referred to as the foreshore and shoreline) are retained by the Crown. The ownership of private land is dependent on how the land was subdivided. A check of the land title through Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan is the only way to determine ownership boundaries.
When land is subdivided in resort areas, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs will ensure that the bed of the water body is not privately titled and that there is generally a buffer of either Crown or municipal land between the water front lots and the bank of the water body. Members of the public are permitted to freely access this buffer area and the land to the waters edge and typically no private development is allowed.
Permits are required from the administering ministry for any development that takes place on the bed or bank of a water body, such as a boat dock. The reference to five metres above the high water mark is due to the Ministry of Environment requiring landowners to apply for an Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit for work done near a water body.