Overview

Starting November 1, 2019, tourism and commercial recreation operators may apply to access longer leases on public land in Alberta to a maximum of up to 60 years.

This change will help boost tourism growth by making it easier for tourism and commercial recreation operators to secure financing.

The Alberta government recognizes that commercial recreation public lands contribute to job growth and economic diversification.

Under the Public Lands Act, the Public Lands Administration Regulation (PLAR) includes a formal disposition for tourism and commercial recreation leases (TCLs). TCLs include accommodations or activities that are:

  • provided or arranged for payment to members of the public for their pleasure or leisure, and
  • intended to produce economic benefit.

For more information on activities included for a TCL disposition, refer to:

If you are an existing disposition holder of a:

  • Miscellaneous Disposition (DML)
  • Recreational Disposition (REC)

you may apply for a new TCL in place of your existing disposition. Steps for applying for a new TCL are outlined on this page. This would be considered a new application.

Existing disposition holders may also choose to renew or amend their existing disposition.

For information on how to amend a disposition visit:

For information on how to renew a disposition, visit:

Before you apply for a new TCL

Tourism Business Planning Support

Applicants are encouraged to connect with Economic Development, Trade and Tourism to discuss their proposed tourism development activity and get business planning coaching and support prior to preparing an application. To connect with Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, contact tcr.info@gov.ab.ca.

How to apply for a new TCL

Follow the steps below to apply for a TCL.

Step 1: Pre-application planning

Before submitting an application, applicants must complete all of the steps in the Pre-Application Requirements for Formal Dispositions document.

Some considerations that the applicant should be aware of in preparing proposal.

  • When constructing trail related infrastructure joining the activity authorized under the TCL to an adjacent public land trail network, review the Trail Development Guidelines for Alberta Public Land for construction and design guidelines.
  • Consider your project’s secondary or associated activities and prepare to mitigate impacts to traditional lands used by Indigenous Peoples, and fish and wildlife habitat or travel.
  • Be aware that development could require a buffer between the activity authorized under TCL and the boundary of the disposition to mitigate impacts for adjacent trail activities and the travel of wildlife.
  • Be aware that accommodations may be limited to overnight rentals only, meaning overnight stays no longer than 6 consecutive months in one calendar year, for year round facilities to prevent primary and secondary residences on public land (that is, vacation homes).
  • Be aware that you could require setbacks of the boundary of the disposition to be at minimum 10 m from the high point of shoreline or bank, when location is near a waterbody.
  • Applicants are also encouraged to work with land agents or qualified professionals (for example, engineering consultant, surveyor) to assist them with the application process.
  • Before starting the application process, it is also recommended that potential applicants:
    • Contact Environment and Parks to discuss the project.
    • Contact the local municipality for information on municipal planning processes and requirements (example: development permit requirements).
    • Expect to submit annual report(s) to monitor compliance and intense use of an area. This could include but not be limited to:
    1. construction progress
    2. detailed visitor count

Step 2: Prepare your application

Once the pre-planning process is complete, the applicant must review and complete all requirements in the Public Lands Formal Disposition Application Process document before submitting their application.

The applicant’s Tourism and Commercial Recreation Business Plan must also be completed prior to submitting the application.

When an application is submitted for a single tourism or commercial recreation activity or service not all the sections in the Business Plan are mandatory. However, the department may request this information as part of the application review.

For multiple tourism or commercial recreation, activities or services within a single facility or site (for example, Camping Resort, Golf Course, Accommodation Facility, Ski Resort, etcetera) completing all of the requirements in the Business Plan is mandatory.

The Tourism Business Planning Guide is designed to assist prospective and current tourism entrepreneurs in developing a successful business.

If the application is found to be deficient or missing required information, this may lead to the rejection or refusal of the application.

Additional resources

An application checklist is available at:

Step 3: Submit your TCL application

The application and supporting documents must be submitted through the Electronic Disposition System. To access the system or for more information, see:

After you apply

Application review

Once an application is submitted, Environment and Parks staff review the application to ensure it is complete. Upon submission of an application, a copy of the completed application form and a disposition tracking number are emailed to the applicant.

The notice of acceptance or rejection of an application will be sent to the applicant within 30 days of receipt of the application. This time period may be extended for an additional 90 days (120 days).

If the application has been accepted, a “merit” review will then be conducted. Environment and Parks will evaluate the application in its entirety and refer the application to internal and external agencies for recommendations or input as needed. This includes the Tourism and Commercial Recreation Business Plan which will be sent to Economic, Development Trade and Tourism for review as part of this process.

In environmentally sensitive areas and/or areas with multiple use activities, more detailed information may be requested from the applicant.

Based on all the information gathered and assessments made during the application review stages, Environment and Parks determines whether to issue or refuse to issue the disposition applied for and notifies the applicant.

Other permits and approvals

Development on a TCL may require other permits or approvals from other provincial government departments, orders of government or regulatory bodies.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all applicable laws, regulations and policies from all orders of government are followed.

For information on actions that may need to be taken after a disposition has been approved, such as site entry, disposition renewal, amendment and cancellation or mortgages, assignments, transfers and subleases, please visit:

Contact

For information on dispositions, contact the Environment and Parks Information Centre:
Email: aep.info-centre@gov.ab.ca

Connect with Economic Development, Trade and Tourism on Business Plan requirements:
Email: tcr.info@gov.ab.ca