Use of Undeveloped Road Allowances

Road closures in Alberta are regulated under Division 2 of the Municipal Government Act. In particular, road closures must follow procedures provided in Section 22 of the Act:

  1. No road in a municipality that is subject to the direction, control and management of the municipality may be closed except by bylaw.

  2. A bylaw closing a road must be advertised.

  3. A bylaw closing a road made by the council of a municipality that is not a city has no effect unless it is approved by the Minister of Infrastructure before the bylaw receives second reading.

  4. Before passing a bylaw closing a road, a person who claims to be affected prejudicially by the bylaw or that person’s agent must be given an opportunity to be heard by the council.

An undeveloped road allowance is land dedicated for the purpose of a public road right of way.  A road can be built on this land should it be required by the municipality.  This right of way may or may not be shown as a road on a plan of survey.

Road allowances are owned by the Provincial Government but are administered by the Municipal Government.

You could be. Road allowances that run north-south are spaced at one-mile intervals. East-west road allowances are spaced at two-mile intervals.  Road allowances are sometimes farmed or grazed with the adjacent quarter.   No development, including irrigation, can happen on an open road allowance.  Any road allowances that are being used for a purpose other than a public roadway need to be closed.  An open road allowance can be accessed by the general public at any time.

A road allowance must be closed through the formal bylaw approval process, while a surveyed road plan can be closed by resolution

The closure process by bylaw includes a public hearing, three readings of Council and approval from the Provincial Minister of Transportation. 

Closure by resolution requires written consent from adjacent landowners and a Council resolution. 

Once approved for closure, a sale or lease agreement is finalized with the applicant.

To apply for a road closure, it is recommended that you first discuss with County staff.   Click here for the Road Allowance Closure Process Policy and Application Form.

The County typically leases the road allowance for a period of ten years. Fees associated with a road closure can be found in the Schedule of Fees Bylaw.