Terms of Conservation Easements
Res #: 12-06M
Responses Received: No
Resolution No. 12-06M
WHEREAS, the main purpose of non-profit corporations such as Ducks Unlimited Canada and Nature Conservancy Canada is to ensure that the present natural habitat on land is preserved in perpetuity by restricting certain developments such as clearing and cultivating land, and restricting the construction of additional buildings, structures, roads or facilities other than replacement of existing structures; and
WHEREAS, in order to fulfill this mandate, these organizations sign and register conservation easements with landowners in exchange for a monetary settlement; and
WHEREAS, these conservation easements are perpetual in nature and are registered on the Certificate of Title and remain with the land and any subsequent owner of the land forever; and
WHEREAS, there are no safeguards in place to correct errors later found in perpetual agreements; and
WHEREAS, if a large area is forever restricted from building, or new development, it will lower the value of surrounding land, and the survival of the social infrastructure will be at risk; and
WHEREAS, there are presently no limits as to the number of conservation easements that may be registered in a municipality;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that in regard to a time frame, the words “exist for a fixed term or for perpetuity” be removed from Clause 3(2)(a) of The Conservation Easements Act and be replaced with “exist for a maximum time period of 30 years.”
Response from Honourable Mark Wartman, Minister of Agriculture and Food:
CEs were developed as a tool to protect ecological attributes such as native grassland, native aspen, endangered species areas, wetlands, and special breeding habitats.
It provides an additional tool over and above the actual ownership of the land for conservation purposes. A CE can protect the ecological attributes while allowing other economic activity to occur on the land.
SAF places CEs on sensitive lands at the request of Saskatchewan Environment under the authority of The Conservation Easements Act and Regulations, enacted in 1997. If you would like further information on the terms, restrictions and regulations of conservation easements, I encourage you to contact Saskatchewan Environment directly.
Response from Honourable John T. Nilson, Minister of Environment:
Conservation easement agreements are negotiated on a willing grantor (landowner), willing holder (conservation organization) basis with the local municipality provided with a notice of intent prior to finalizing any conservation easement agreement. Although legislation does not provide for variable terms, most conservation organizations favour perpetual agreements to ensure the natural values are protected indefinitely. Furthermore, conservation easement agreements relate to natural lands only, and those lands that are currently cultivated are not usually subject to development restrictions.
The Province is committed to protecting ecologically important landscapes through e number of initiatives, including the Representative Areas Network, the Saskatchewan Biodiversity Action Plan, Saskatchewan’s Source Water Protection Program and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The Province also supports willing agreements between landowners and conservation organizations that provide mutual long-term benefits. Therefore, the Province is not considering emending The Conservation Easements Act unless there are additional provisions to ensure the long-term, protection of lands that are considered ecologically important.