Overview

A road authority, such as a municipality, county, town, village or hamlet prepares a bylaw to legally close all types of roads.

The most commonly closed road types include, but are not limited to:

  • road plans
  • roads within subdivision plans
  • laneways or alleys
  • statutory road allowances
  • trails
  • bridges or culverts

Legislation

Municipal Government Act (MGA):

  • Section 22 Road closure (bylaw)
  • Section 230 Public Hearings
  • Section 187 to 190 Passing a Bylaw
  • Section 606 Advertising

Preparing the road closure package

The MGA grants the municipality (or other road authority) the ability to request the closure of a ‘road’ that they have determined is no longer needed for public travel.

Before initiating work on the closure package and prior to third party referrals, it is recommended that the municipality contact the Alberta Transportation District Office.

Discussing the closure at this stage gives Alberta Transportation an opportunity to review the proposal to:

  • ensure that access to adjacent lands will not be affected
  • determine whether current and future land owners have legal access to the provincial transportation network
  • determine whether the road is required as part of the provincial transportation network
  • determine whether the road closure will be supported by Alberta Transportation

Bylaw

The municipality will draft the road closure bylaw.

Required information in the bylaw includes:

  • bylaw number
  • name of the road authority (municipality, county, town or village)
  • purpose of the closure: create title, disposal (sale) and lease
  • advertising: including the name of the publication(s) and dates published (see Section 606 of the MGA)
  • description of the proposed road closure
    • Before drafting the closure bylaw, the municipality will require a description of the closure area that will be accepted by Alberta Land Titles (unless closure is for lease). While some descriptions are clear from the plan or title, an Alberta Land Surveyor may be required to prepare the sketch/plan and description for the closure area. A metes and bounds description is required for partial closures, roads within subdivision plans and unsurveyed roads (that is, road allowance).
  • lines for signatures, dates, and readings

Council must give the first reading of the bylaw prior to submitting the signed and dated original bylaw proposing closure to Alberta Transportation for approval.

Note: Bylaws must receive third reading within 2 years of the first reading (MGA).

Third party referrals

It is the responsibility of the municipality to ensure all third party interests are protected by an easement or (utility) right-of-way agreement when the vacant land created by the road closure is disposed of (sold, consolidated and titled). This is not a requirement if the closure is for lease, although rights and responsibilities must be addressed in the lease agreement if there is any infrastructure that may require inspection or maintenance.

Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta, as represented by the Minister of Transportation must be the grantor of all easement or (utility) right-of-way agreements.

Include a list of all third parties who received letters and whether right-of-way agreements are required.

Include all copies of the right-of-way agreement(s) in the package submitted to Alberta Transportation for signature.

Advertising

The purpose of advertising the proposed road closure is to create public awareness and gives residents time to consider the consequences of loss of legal road access.

Road closure bylaws are advertised under section 606, MGA with publication in the local newspaper (usually a weekly) in 2 consecutive issues.

The advertisement includes:

  • purpose of the closure (that is, to public travel, lease or disposal)
  • description of the closure area (that is, plan number, legal description)
  • sketch of the closure area
  • time and place for the public hearing (generally the date for the first reading of the bylaw)
  • deadline for written submissions objecting to the closure

Copies of the advertisement must be included in the package submitted to Alberta Transportation.

If the community no longer has a local newspaper, other advertising methods are described in Section 606(1) of MGA. Please advise Alberta Transportation and include a screen print if the closure was advertised electronically and the date range the notice was available to the public.

Objections

If objections to the proposed closure were submitted in writing or raised at the public hearing, Council must determine whether the objections are valid and need to be addressed or whether they wish to continue with the closure process.

Copies of the objections must be included in the package submitted to Alberta Transportation. It is advisable that objections are dealt with before the proposed closure is submitted to Alberta Transportation for consideration.

Cover letter

The rationale for the closure must be included in the cover letter to Alberta Transportation. If objection(s) to the closure were received, the cover letter will provide information on how the objection(s) were addressed.

Submission package

The package for the proposed closure is submitted to the District Office, Alberta Transportation and must include the following:

  • cover letter requesting the closure, and the rationale for closure
  • original copy of the bylaw, with the first reading signed and dated
  • sketch/plan for the closure
  • list of referral letters sent
  • all original copies of each easement or utility right-of-way agreement (if required)
  • copies of objections (written or from the public hearing)

After third reading of bylaw

The Road Closure Coordinator with Alberta Transportation must be notified

  • when the bylaw receives third and final reading by Council
  • when the municipality receives the registration number from Alberta Land Titles when the closure is registered

Note: Bylaws closing road for lease are not registered at Alberta Land Titles because ownership of the land is not transferred.

Registration rejected

If the Land Titles Office rejects the description of the closure area used in the bylaw, the municipality will prepare an amending bylaw following the same process as amending other municipal bylaws.

As the rejection is to the description and not the closure in principle, no advertising or review by Alberta Transportation is required. However, a copy of the signed amending bylaw must be emailed to trans.edm-rdclosures@gov.ab.ca or mailed to:

Road Closure Coordinator
Environmental Regulation
Alberta Transportation
2nd Floor, Twin Atria Building
4999 98 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta  T6B 2X3