The Land Titles Act provides for the registration of survey plans. These plans must be prepared by an Alberta Land Surveyor. Plans registered under other acts, such as the Navigable Waters Protection Act need not by prepared by an Alberta Land Surveyor. Plans submitted for registration are examined to ensure compliance with associated land related statutes and office procedures. The common types of plans registered are outlined below.
An owner wishing to subdivide his land may, with the approval of the subdivision authority, have the land surveyed by an Alberta Land Surveyor and register a subdivision plan. The plan may also contain reserve land, roads and public utility parcels as required by the Municipal Government Act. The plan must show all information as required by the applicable act, to define the boundaries of the new parcels. Upon the registration of the plan, the current title(s) are cancelled in full or as to part and the new title(s) are issued to the registered owners. Titles to the reserves and public utility parcels are issued to the municipality, while no titles are issued for the roads. Subdivision plans do not affect the ownership of mines and mineral rights.
The Condominium Property Act provides for the separate ownership of space located within a building or bare land within a parcel, which is designated as a unit on a condominium plan. In the case of a building, the boundaries of the units are defined by reference to the floors, walls or ceilings. In the case of bare land units, for which a building is not needed, the boundaries are defined by reference to monuments placed in accordance with the Surveys Act. The act also provides for common property which is that part of the parcel shown in a condominium plan not comprised in a unit.
The common property is held by the owners of all the units as tenants in common in shares proportional to the unit factors for their respective units. There is no separate title issued for the common property created by the registration of a condominium plan.
The registration of a condominium plan, which for the purposes of the Municipal Government Act and the Land Titles Act is a plan of subdivision, has the effect of cancelling the certificate of title to the parcel described in the plan except as to the mines and minerals, and causing the issuance of a separate certificate of title for each unit described in the plan.
The registration of a condominium plan also has the effect of creating a condominium corporation. The corporation consists of all unit owners or those persons entitled to ownership on the termination of the condominium status. The powers and duties of the condominium corporation are exercised and performed by an elected board of managers. The corporation is regulated by its by-laws which provide for control, management and administration of the units, the real and personal property of the corporation and the common property. If no Change of By-laws are registered, then the by-laws as prescribed by the Condominium Property Act applies.
The primary and preferred method of creating new parcels is by way of plan of survey based on actual monuments placed in the ground. However, the Alberta land registration system has historically allowed exceptions in limited circumstances through the creation of parcels by way of metes and bounds description. A provision to authorize descriptive plans was proclaimed in 1988, with the intention of largely replacing the use of metes and bounds descriptions with plans showing graphic representations of the parcels.
While a descriptive plan, like a metes and bounds description, is not based on an actual survey of the new parcel, it does describe boundaries by reference either to sections in the surveyed Alberta Township System or to registered surveyed plans. In addition to giving the Registrar discretion to accept descriptive plans for the creation of new parcels, the Land Titles Act also authorizes the Registrar to prepare descriptive plans to replace existing metes and bounds descriptions.
A plan subdividing volumetric space, other than mines and minerals lying on or under the surface of land, into strata spaces may be registered. Unlike a condominium plan which, except for bare land condominium, requires the boundaries of units to be shown in relation to an existing physical structure, strata space boundaries are independent of physical structures and are determined by planes or curved surfaces having defined geodetic elevation.
Right of Way and Related Site Plans
The Land Titles Act provides for the registration of a plan of survey where land is required for an easement or right of way, a purpose incidental to the undertaking for which a right of way is required, a purpose with respect to a railway or another purpose approved by the Registrar and not provided for in the Land Titles Act. Some examples of these other purposes are:
a) Plan showing area required for a road closure by-law, lease or a restrictive covenant
b) Plan showing a lake, river, stream or other body of water for the purpose of amending the legal description in a certificate of title due to a change in the natural boundary
The registration of this type of plan does not affect the certificate of title to the land shown on the plan or convey any interest or right to any person. A further instrument, such as a utility right of way, a transfer, a road closure by-law, a lease or an application under section 76 or 90 of the Land Titles Act, must be registered to effect any change to the certificate of title.
Surveys of areas acquired for public purposes such as new roads, road widening, diversion and drainage ditches are undertaken by the provincial government under the authority of the Public Works Act or by the municipality under the authority of the Municipal Government Act.
When a municipality or the Crown acquires land for a road or other public work by an agreement with the owner, title to the land is vested in the city, or in the case of any other municipality, the Crown in right of Alberta by filing a plan of survey at the Land Titles Office. A transfer of land is not required.
As neither a municipality nor the Crown is entitled to the mines and minerals, the titles to mines and minerals are not affected by the registration of the plan.