Facilitating Conservation: Private Conservancy Law Reform


  • Arlene J. Kwasniak




Recognizing increasing pressure to protect wildlife areas and natural habitats, the author examines mechanisms available to private landowners who wish to set land aside far conservation purposes. Under existing law, it is very difficult to dispose of interests in land in ways assuring that conservation objectives will be fostered. The author surveys available common law and statutory mechanisms, arguing that none of these fulfils the objectives of private land conservancy. The common law of easements and restrictive covenants is not sufficiently changed by statute, leaving private landowners who wish conservation groups to care for their land with few alternatives. The author concludes by highlighting the benefits of law reform to facilitate such transfers. She proposes amendments to existing legislation which allow landowners to enter covenants with provincial ministers, municipal councils, and conservation groups. Such interests would be registrable at the Land Titles Office, and would run with the land without the need of a dominant tenement. These covenants would be enforceable by the organization with which the landowner entered the covenant, would be assignable, and would be able to exist in perpetuity.