Transfer of Responsibility for Right of Ways

Res #: 21-13M
Number: 21
Year: 2013
Midterm: Yes
Expired: No
Responses Received: No

WHEREAS Saskatchewan Highways has a large road system within Saskatchewan and at times decides to decommission the road right of way and/or transfer the road to the municipality in which the road is located; and

WHEREAS municipalities are experiencing increasing costs to maintain and upgrade the road systems that they have presently;

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure to provide information and the ability for RMs to decline accepting any right of way that the Provincial Government is planning to add to the RM road system.

Response from Honourable Don McMorris, Minister of Highways and Infrastructure

This Resolution requests the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure provide information regarding the jurisdictional transfer of provincial right of way (ROW) to local government(s) and empower local governments with the authority to decline the transfer of ROW to the local government.

The authority to manage the provincial ROW is found in The Highways and Transportation Act, 1997.  Periodically, the Ministry does find it necessary to exercise the authority to temporarily or permanently close a public highway, or transfer the jurisdiction of highway ROW to the local authorities.  The province, at this time, is not considering devolving that authority to the local level.

Having said that, the Ministry rarely uses statutory authority when transferring ROW to a local government; commonly this is accomplished through an agreement with the local government.  These transferred ROW's often provide land access to local producers, residents and commercial interests.  My preference would be that Ministry officials continue the practice of working collaboratively with local authorities in reaching a mutual resolve.

View updated response dated August 17, 2017 from the Ministry of Highways