• Christina Blanchard

The Process of Purchasing Crown Land

This post outlines the long process of purchasing crown land for our cabin build.

Once we found the ideal piece of rural land for our cabin we checked the availability on our provinces' Crown Lands Registry (more about that to follow). Our piece of land was available! Now... how exactly do we go about purchasing land in Newfoundland and Labrador?

This whole post features information publicly available on the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources website. The process outlined in this post is specific to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and I believe it only applies to residents of the province. If you are looking to purchase rural land in your province or state your first step is visiting your local lands or forestry department website or give them a call. I have tried to make this post as accurate as possible, but always do your own due diligence.

Ice pans, free with the purchase of ocean front land!

Whats Crown Lands?

To understand Crown Lands you need to understand a little history of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • Newfoundland was a British Colony, then a British Dominion, then gave up its Dominion status in 1934, and finally joined Canada in 1949

  • Canada is a member of the British Commonwealth, hence the references to The Crown

  • In 1849 the Crown Lands Registry was created in Newfoundland under the Crown Grants Registration Act and is still in existence today.

  • Basically its an act which allows land to be granted, and a registry for that land.

What does this mean for us today?

If a parcel of land is available in a rural area (no land use conflict exists) in Newfoundland and Labrador, you can apply for a recreational cottage grant. You can apply for a remote cottage grant or a regular recreational cottage grant (depending on the accessibility of the land).

The Public Land Inquires map is the easiest way to determine if you can apply for Crown Lands or if their are any limitations to the type of application that will be accepted. You can check out the interactive map here. The map is a satellite map you can zoom in on and determine the status of the land in question.

Stumps and moss on our walking trail into the cabin land.

The Application Process

Filing the application costs $150.00 and must be filed in person at the Regional Lands Office. Mike filed our application in the fall of 2017. You can expect a document in the mail in about a month stating your application was received. Unfortunately it can take 6 months to several years for your application to be reviewed.

After waiting for about 4 months Mike followed up at the local office and they hadn't reviewed the application yet. After a couple more calls (persistence is key) and months we finally received word that our application was approved for the 1st stage of the grant process.

After your grant is approved you have 12 months to:

  • Have the land surveyed by a licensed land surveyor (a post to come soon)

  • Provide details of the on site water supply and septic design by an approved designer (a post to come soon)

This doesn't sound too difficult until you factor in the lack of access to the piece of land. Land surveyors and approved designers will require some access to land prior to completing tests. In order to clear trees, build a road, or expand an existing trail you require a separate set of permits, from the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources. We were able to secure permits to expand an existing trail and cut access to our block of land.

We started work on the road in May of 2018, and by the fall we were able to take a pickup in to our land. During the summer we had our land surveyed and a septic system designed. Once the survey and septic design were prepared and submitted we had to wait for another review by the Department.

Duke patiently waiting on land approval to start the cabin build.

The final part of the process is to wait for a review of the survey, septic design, and an evaluation of the land. In the spring of 2019 we received word that our application was accepted, and the evaluated purchase price of our land. A trip to the local Land Resources office and several thousand dollars later we had officially purchased the land!

The process took about a year-and-a-half total (but would have likely taken longer if Mike hadn't been so persistent in following up on the application). The cost of the application was $150, the survey can run you $1,000-$3,000, the septic design was $500, and the final purchase price of the land was around $6,000 (this will change based on the evaluation). Not insignificant, but very reasonable for an acre of land on the ocean!

Now that we finally owned the land we could get to work on preparing our land and building a cabin. Things were finally starting to feel real!

Follow along with us as we get to work on building a rural cabin with recycled materials. A great place to start is our series on building our foundation.

About Christina

I'm Christina and I live in the beautiful Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador. We are building a cabin by the ocean in rural Notre Dame Bay. Come along with Mike, Duke and I as we pursue our version of the Islanders dream!

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Disclaimer: The information given on this website is for reference and inspiration only. When starting a building project always consult professionals and follow local laws and regulations. 

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