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The Conservation Districts Act
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This version is current as of May 24, 2016.
It has been in effect since May 1, 2014.

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C.C.S.M. c. C175

The Conservation Districts Act

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

Definitions

1           In this Act,

"board" means the authority having jurisdiction in respect of a district as provided in section 8; (« conseil »)

"commission" means The Conservation Districts Commission established under section 3; (« Commission »)

"committee" means the authority having duties and responsibilities in respect of a sub-district of a conservation district as provided in section 9; (« comité »)

"co-ordinator" means a civil servant designated by the minister for the purpose of co-ordinating all services and administrative assistance to conservation districts; (« coordonnateur »)

"department" means the department having responsibility for the administration of the Act; (« ministère »)

"district" means a conservation district which may include part or all of a watershed established under section 7; (« district »)

"included area" means the area of a municipality that is included in a district, a proposed district, a sub-district, or a proposed sub-district; (« partie incluse »)

"included municipality" means a municipality of which the whole or any part is included in a district, a proposed district, a sub-district, or a proposed sub-district; (« municipalité incluse »)

"minister" means the member of the Executive Council charged by the Lieutenant Governor in Council with the administration of the Act; (« ministre »)

"municipality" means a city, town, village, rural municipality or local government district; (« municipalité »)

"proposal" means a plan for the establishment of a district; (« projet »)

"protected area" means an area that has been designated in the regulations as a "protected area" and managed primarily for its beneficial effects for resource conservation; (« zone protégée »)

"public representative" means a person who

(a) is not employed by the province, a municipality, a district, the Association of Manitoba Municipalities or the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association, and

(b) is not a member of

(i) a council of a municipality, or

(ii) a board of a district; (« représentant du public »)

"rateable land" means land, apart from buildings thereon, liable to taxation by a municipality under The Municipal Assessment Act, or subject to a grant in lieu of taxes under The Municipal Act; (« biens-fonds taxables »)

"resource" means the lands and waters within or available to a district, whether used for wildlife, recreation, agriculture, forest production or any other use; (« ressources »)

"schedule" means an Order in Council setting out

(a) the upper and lower limits of the amount of money that a board may annually assess an included municipality, and

(b) the limitations of the borrowing powers of the board; (« tarif »)

"scheme" means a program developed by or for a district in accordance with the purposes of the Act; (« schéma d'aménagement »)

"sub-district" means an administrative division of a conservation district as set out in the Order in Council establishing a district; (« sous-district »)

"works" means any structure and physical undertaking developed for the purposes of maintaining, conserving, developing, controlling, protecting, rehabilitating or using the resources available to a district. (« ouvrage »)

S.M. 2006, c. 7, s. 2.

Purposes of Act

2           The purposes of the Act are

(a) to provide for the conservation, control and prudent use of resources through the establishment of conservation districts; and

(b) to protect the correlative rights of owners.

Commission continued

3(1)        The Conservation Districts Commission is continued.

Members and chair

3(2)        The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall appoint at least nine members to the commission, of whom two or more must be public representatives, and shall designate one member as the chair.

Factors to be considered in appointing members of the commission

3(3)        In appointing the members of the commission other than public representatives, the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall consider

(a) those departments of the provincial government having direct concern;

(b) the Association of Manitoba Municipalities; and

(c) the conservation district boards.

Appointing public representatives

3(4)        The persons appointed to the commission as public representatives must, in the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, be knowledgeable about the principles of conservation and sustainable development.

S.M. 1999, c. 33, s. 14; S.M. 2006, c. 7, s. 3.

Rules of procedure

4(1)        The commission may make rules governing its own procedure.

Remuneration of members

4(2)        The members of the commission, who are not members of the civil service, may be paid and may accept remuneration and expenses as may be approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Duties of commission

5           The commission shall

(a) advise the minister at his request in all matters relating to the Act and the administration and operation thereof;

(b) give such advice and guidance to a board as may be requested by the board or as the commission deems advisable; and

(c) review in any year, the scheme, operations and budget of a board and make recommendations thereon to the minister.

Inquiries

6           For the purposes of any inquiry, investigation, or survey, made by it the commission has like protection and powers as are conferred upon commissioners appointed under Part V of The Manitoba Evidence Act.

Establishment of Conservation Districts

7(1)        A municipality, may apply in writing to the minister for a proposal for the establishment of a district after the application has been authorized by resolution of the council of the applicant.

Submission of proposal to commission

7(2)        Upon receipt of the application, the minister shall prepare a proposal and submit it to the commission for its recommendation.

Submission of proposal to included municipalities

7(3)        Upon receipt of the recommendation of the commission the minister may forward a proposal to all included municipalities.

By-laws approving or disapproving proposal

7(4)        Each municipality to which a proposal has been submitted shall consider it, and may, by by-law, approve or disapprove it within 60 days after it has been received and the council shall promptly notify the minister of its decision by copy of the by-law.

Submission of proposal to Lieutenant Governor in Council

7(5)        Upon receipt of certified copies of by-laws under subsection (4) the minister may submit the matter of the establishment of the district to the Lieutenant Governor in Council who may establish the district.

Minister may initiate proposal

7(6)        Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), but subject to subsections (3), (4) and (5) the minister may on his own motion submit a proposal for the establishment of a district.

Matters to be shown in Order in Council

7(7)        An Order in Council establishing a district shall set out

(a) the boundaries of the district;

(b) where applicable the boundaries of sub-districts into which the district may be divided;

(c) the name of the district which shall be substantially in the words "The           Conservation District";

(d) the works to be excluded from the jurisdiction, authority or control of the board;

(e) the co-ordinator;

(f) the schedule;

(g) the effective date of the formation of the district; and

(h) such other matters relating to the district as may be appropriate.

7(8)        [Repealed] S.M. 2013, c. 39, Sch. A, s. 41.

Notice to municipalities

7(9)        When an Order in Council establishing a district is made, the minister shall give written notice thereof to the council of each included municipality.

S.M. 2013, c. 39, Sch. A, s. 41.

District boards

8(1)        There shall be a board for each district.

Composition of board

8(2)        The board of a district shall consist of

(a) the chairman of each sub-district committee appointed in accordance with section 9 or where the district involves a single municipality, four persons appointed by the council of that municipality not more than two of whom shall be councillors thereof; and

(b) a person appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Chairman

8(3)        The board shall elect one of its members as chairman thereof.

Appointment of additional member

8(4)        Where a chairman of a sub-district is elected chairman of the board, an additional member shall be appointed from that sub-district.

First meeting of board

8(5)        The co-ordinator shall convene the first meeting of the board.

Co-ordinator as chairman

8(6)        The board may appoint the co-ordinator as chairman and he may hold office for a period not exceeding two years from the date on which the district was established.

Sub-district committee

9(1)        Subject to subsections (2) and (3), where a district is divided into sub-districts, there shall be a committee for each sub-district consisting of two ratepayers appointed by each included municipality, only one of whom may be a member of the council of each included municipality.

Ratepayer appointee for area 5 to 15 sq. miles

9(2)        Where the included area exceeds five square miles but does not exceed 15 square miles the council of the included municipality shall appoint only one ratepayer of the municipality to the sub-district committee.

Ratepayer appointee for area less than 5 sq. miles

9(3)        Where the included area does not exceed five square miles no appointment shall be made unless that area is the only area within that municipality included in the district, in which case the council thereof may appoint one ratepayer of the municipality to the sub-district committee.

Failure to appoint committees

9(4)        Where an included municipality for any reason fails to appoint members of the committee as provided under subsections (1), (2) and (3), the minister, after 60 days from the date of notice under subsection 7(9), may appoint one or more members to the committee who shall act until such time as the included municipality appoints the required members to the sub-district committee.

Inaugural meeting

9(5)        The co-ordinator shall convene the inaugural meeting of the sub-district committee at which time the sub-district committee shall appoint a chairman from among themselves.

Minister may appoint committee chairman

9(6)        Where the subcommittee fails to appoint a chairman the minister may appoint a chairman who shall act until the subcommittee appoints a chairman from among themselves.

Incorporation

10          Upon establishment of a district the members of the board of the district and their successors in office are a body corporate and politic under the name of the board as set out in the order establishing the district.

Seal

11          The board shall at its first meeting adopt a corporate seal.

Remuneration for board

12          Except for a member of the board who may be a member of the civil service of the province; or who is in the regular employment of a municipality, the members of a board may be paid and accept remuneration for the time spent, and expenses incurred, in attending to the business of the district if a by-law of the board so provides.

Appointment of staff

13(1)       A secretary and a treasurer or a secretary-treasurer shall be appointed for each board.

Appointment of staff

13(2)       The board may employ such employees as may be required by it to perform its duties and fix and pay their remuneration.

Implementation of scheme

14          Subject to compliance with The Water Rights Act, The Land Rehabilitation Act and The Planning Act, the board shall develop and with the written approval of the minister, implement a scheme in respect of a district.

Resolution of conflict with other Acts

15          In the event of a conflict between the provisions of this Act and those of any other Act of the Legislature, except those Acts mentioned in section 14, respecting a scheme the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall determine which Act shall prevail; and his determination thereon is final and not subject to appeal.

Duties of sub-district committee

16          A sub-district committee shall

(a) study the conservation requirements of a sub-district and make recommendations to the board;

(b) promote and encourage the purposes of this Act; and

(c) act as a liaison between the councils of included municipalities and the board.

Annual budget

17          Subject to sections 25 and 26 the board shall prepare an annual budget with respect to a scheme.

Rights of board relative to the supply of potable water

18          Subject to The Water Rights Act and where, under The Water Supply Districts Act or The Municipal Act, a water district or a municipality is about to, or proposes to construct works for impounding water for the primary purpose of supplying potable water, the board has the prior right to develop, construct, and operate, at its expense the impounding works and to sell water for potable use to the water district as established under The Water Districts Act, or to the municipality, or to authorize the construction and operation of impounding works by the water district or the municipality in compliance with the scheme.

Termination of municipal authority

19          Subject to clause 7(7)(d), where on the establishment of a district, any right, jurisdiction, authority, or control is vested in a municipality with respect to

(a) the reclamation and use of lands; or

(b) the construction, operation or maintenance of works; or

(c) the use and development of land in any way that relates to, or affects, the rehabilitation of any area within the district;

that right, jurisdiction, authority or control within a district shall terminate and vest in the board.

Transfer of authority

20          Subject to The Municipal Act or any other Act of the Legislature a municipality may, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, delegate to the board any power or authority respecting the conservation of resources within a district.

Powers of board

21          A board may

(a) study and investigate, or cause to be studied and investigated such resources of the district as may be necessary to prepare a scheme;

(b) implement a scheme;

(c) transfer, for the purposes of maintenance and operation, to an included municipality or other person, jurisdiction, authority, or control, over any works in the district;

(d) enter into an agreement with the owner of any land for the carrying out of any works considered necessary for the implementation and operation of a scheme;

(e) issue, subject to provisions of The Forest Act, permits for cutting of forest from protected areas;

(f) issue, subject to provisions of The Water Rights Act, permits to alter surface water courses;

(g) recommend the acquisition by the Crown, of any real or personal property necessary for a scheme;

(h) sell, subject to the provisions of The Water Rights Act, water from reservoirs constructed or operated by the board;

(i) require the municipality to furnish to the board information pertinent to a scheme.

Right of entry

22          A board or any member thereof or any person authorized by the board

(a) with the consent of the owner may for the purpose of a scheme enter in or upon any lands in a district; and

(b) where right of entry is denied under clause (a) may, subject to the provisions of the right of entry provided in The Water Resources Administration Act, mutatis mutandis, enter in or upon any land in the district.

Acquisition of land

23          A board or the Crown for the purpose of a scheme, may acquire lands by purchase, lease, expropriation or otherwise.

Variation, abolition or abandonment of districts or works

24          The Lieutenant Governor in Council may

(a) authorize a board to abandon in part or in whole any works or operations of a district; or

(b) authorize or require a board to repair, maintain or operate any additional works of a district; or

(c) abolish or amend the boundaries of any district; or

(d) consolidate two or more districts; or

(e) make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any abolition or amendment.

FINANCIAL

Determination of annual levy

25(1)       A board, subject to the limits set out in the schedule, shall determine the amount of money required in the forthcoming year to carry on a scheme, but that amount shall exclude the payment of interest and principal due in respect of borrowed money.

Amount required to pay loans

25(2)       A board shall, subject to the limits set out in the schedule, determine the amount of money required in the forthcoming year to pay the interest and principal due in respect of borrowed moneys.

Amount to be raised

25(3)       Upon the determination by a board of the amounts required under subsections (1) and (2) the board shall then determine the amount of money to be raised by a municipality in accordance with the following formulas:

1.

Sub-district Program.

Money to be raised by a municipality = (A / B) x C

In this formula

A = the value of the part of the total municipal assessment that pertains to rateable land that is in the municipality and in the subdistrict,

B = the value of the part of the total municipal assessment that pertains to rateable land in the subdistrict,

C = total cost of the sub-district program.

2.

District Program.

Money to be raised by municipality = (A / B) x C

In this formula

A = the value of the part of the total municipal assessment that pertains to rateable land that is in the municipality and in the district,

B = the value of the part of the total municipal assessment that pertains to rateable land in the district,

C = total cost of the district program.

S.M. 1989-90, c. 24, s. 74.

Levy of taxes

26(1)       A board shall not later than the last day of February in each year, forward to each included municipality a statement of the amount to be raised by the municipality in respect of that year; and the municipality shall thereupon levy and collect a tax,

(a) on the value of the part of the total municipal assessment that pertains to all the rateable land or rateable land and buildings in the included area; or

(b) in accordance with a by-law of the municipality based on the value of the part of the total municipal assessment that pertains to rateable land or rateable land and buildings within the municipality.

Municipality to levy costs

26(2)       Where a municipality chooses to levy and collect its share of the costs of board programs and operations under clause (1)(b) and where that municipality has lands in more than one district, that municipality shall levy its share of the cost of operating all districts in accordance with that clause.

Appeal of Municipal Board's determination of cost to municipality

26(3)       Twenty per cent of the ratepayers of a sub-district may appeal the determination made under subsection 25(3) to the Municipal Board and the Municipal Board shall either confirm the determination or make a new one; and its decision thereon is final and not subject to any appeal.

S.M. 1989-90, c. 24, s. 74.

Special levy

27          Where an included area does not comprise the whole of a municipality, and in any year the amount collected under section 26 is not sufficient to pay the amount required to be paid by the municipality in respect of the included area, and the difference is paid by the municipality from its general funds, the municipality may, in any subsequent year, levy and collect an additional tax on the value of the part of the total municipal assessment that pertains to the rateable land or rateable lands and buildings of the municipality

(a) within the included area; or

(b) within the municipality;

for the purpose of reimbursing the municipality of the amounts paid by it from its general funds.

S.M. 1989-90, c. 24, s. 74.

Borrowing

28          Subject to the limitations set out in the schedule, and subject to the approval of the Municipal Board, a board may borrow money for purposes of a scheme or for repaying, redeeming or refunding the whole or part of the money borrowed by it and secured by debentures.

Crediting of sundry receipts

29          Subject to subsection 32(1), any moneys collected pursuant to clause 21(h) shall be credited to the account of the board.

Gifts to board

30          A board may receive, accept, hold, possess, and enjoy such grants, devises, gifts, and bequests as are made for the use and benefit of the board by any government, corporation, or person.

Investment of funds

31          Every board is trustee of the funds in its possession or control, and it shall manage and administer them as herein provided; and it shall pay to the Minister of Finance to invest on its behalf its surplus funds and any funds granted, given, or bequeathed to it that it is required or permitted to invest under the terms of the grant, gift, or bequest; and those funds shall be invested in bonds or debentures issued or guaranteed by the Government of Canada or by the government of any province of Canada, or issued by a municipality, a school district, a school area, or a school division, in Manitoba, and in no other security or form of investment.

Accounting records

32(1)       A board shall maintain accounting records, which shall be in a form satisfactory to the Auditor General.

Audit

32(2)       A board shall cause its accounts to be audited, annually at the expense of the board by an auditor approved by the Auditor General and at a fee approved in advance by him and the auditor shall file a copy of his report with the Auditor General.

S.M. 2001, c. 39, s. 31.

Fiscal year

33          The fiscal year of a board commences on April 1 in any year and ends on March 31 next following.

GENERAL

Appeal from decision of board

34(1)       Any 10 or more ratepayers within a district may by notice in writing, appeal a decision, determination or action of the board of that district, except a determination under subsection 25(3), within 30 days of the decision, determination or action, to the commission in accordance with the procedure set out in the regulations.

Notice of hearing to interested parties

34(2)       Upon receipt of a notice under subsection (1), the commission shall give the appellant, the board and each included municipality notice in writing of the time, date and place fixed for the hearing of the appeal.

Disposition of appeal

34(3)       Upon consideration of such evidence as may be adduced before it and upon hearing the appellant and such other parties as may appear on the appeal the commission may

(a) confirm the decision, determination, or action of the board; or

(b) deny the appeal; or

(c) make such decision, determination or order with respect to the appeal as it considers just.

Decision of commission final unless appealed

34(4)       The decision of an appeal by the commission under subsection (3), unless it is appealed under section 35, is final and binding and not subject to any further appeal.

Further appeal to Municipal Board

35(1)       Any person who is aggrieved by a decision of the commission under subsection 34(3) may, within 30 days of the making thereof, appeal the decision to the Municipal Board in accordance with the procedure set out in the regulations.

Disposition of appeal by Municipal Board

35(2)       Upon receipt of an appeal under subsection (1) the Municipal Board shall in writing notify the parties concerned of the time, date and place fixed for the hearing of the appeal and after completion of the hearing thereof the Municipal Board may

(a) confirm the decision of the commission; or

(b) deny the appeal; or

(c) render such decision as it considers just.

Effect of Municipal Board's decision

35(3)       A decision of the Municipal Board under subsection (2) is final and not subject to any further appeal.

36          

[Repealed]

S.M. 1989-90, c. 24, s. 74.

Restriction on sales of land by municipality

37          No land in a district owned by a municipality, other than by a city, town, or village shall be sold, leased, or otherwise disposed of, without prior written approval of the board.

Responsibility respecting bridges

38          A board is not responsible for the construction, maintenance or repair of any bridge or crossing over any natural water channel or lake within a district or sub-district.

Limitation on actions for compensation

39          Where a board

(a) acquires any land by expropriation, purchase or lease or enters on any land for the purpose of this Act; or

(b) constructs, repairs, restores, acquires, or operates, any works; or

(c) impounds, releases, stores, dams, or alters the flow or course of the water in any river, stream, watercourse, lake, or other body of water for a scheme;

if compensation or damages for the land so acquired or land affected or injured by the action of the board, satisfactory to the owner or person having an interest in the land, has not been paid and accepted in full settlement, the owner or person having an interest may bring action in the Court of Queen's Bench against the board for the amount claimed, whether his claim is under a contract or for an alleged tort, within two years from the date on which the notice of expropriation is served or the purchase or lease or the entry was made, or the work done by the board was completed and thereafter he shall not bring any such action and his right to compensation and damages in respect of the land is terminated.

Exemption of board from certain damages

40(1)       The board is not liable for damages caused to any person by any neglect or failure on its part to maintain or keep in repair any works or any part thereof, unless the person complaining of the alleged damage serves upon or sends, by registered mail to the board a notice in writing setting forth the details of, or a clear description of, the damage alleged.

Notice of complainant

40(2)       The board shall within three months of the receipt of the notice under subsection (1) notify that person, by registered mail, whether or not it proposes to undertake the work required to make good the alleged neglect or failure and, if it proposes to undertake the work, the time when it will commence the work.

Time for bringing action

40(3)       Where the board does not propose to undertake the work, or where the board proposes to undertake the work but does not commence the work within the time set out in the notice, the person complaining of the alleged damage may bring action in a court having jurisdiction in the matter against the board for the amount claimed within two years from the date on which he served the notice on the board.

Conditions arising from natural causes

40(4)       Conditions arising from natural causes shall be deemed not to be caused by any lack of maintenance, protection, or repair of works under the jurisdiction, authority, or control of the board.

Personal liability of members of board

41          No member of a board is personally liable for anything lawfully done by him in the course of his duties under this Act.

Board member not to contract with board

42(1)       Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no member of a board shall, directly or indirectly, alone or with another, by himself or by the interposition of any trustee or third party, enter into a contract with the board for which moneys of the board are to be paid.

Exception respecting salary and expenses

42(2)       Subsection (1) does not prohibit a member of the board from receiving any remuneration or expenses in the performance of his duties as a member of the board.

General

42(3)       Nothing in this Act prevents a member of a board from entering into a contract or agreement with the board if the aggregate of the moneys and value of consideration to be paid by the board to the member under the contract or agreement does not exceed $500. in any year.

Exception with respect to shares in company

42(4)       Nothing in this Act prevents a member of a board from holding not more than 10% of the issued shares of a company that enters into a contract or agreement with the board.

Application of Act to Hydro Board, etc.

43          Nothing in this Act applies to, or affects, The Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board or The Manitoba Water Services Board, or the powers, rights, and duties, of either of them under The Manitoba Hydro Act or The Manitoba Water Services Board Act, or under any other Act or law applicable to them or either of them.

Offence and penalty

44          Any person who contravenes, disobeys, or refuses, fails, omits or neglects to comply with, any provision of this Act, or fails to observe or carry out, or acts in breach of, an agreement made under section 21, is guilty of an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $500., or to imprisonment for not more than six months, or to both.

Regulations

45          For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act according to their intent, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make such regulations not inconsistent therewith; and every regulation has the force of law; and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations respecting

(a) procedures for establishing the boundaries of a district;

(b) fixing the term of office for members of the Commission, board and subcommittee;

(c) the procedure of meetings by the board and subcommittees;

(d) prescribing the procedure, manner of giving notices and other relevant matters with respect to appeals under sections 34 and 35;

(e) the designation of protected areas;

(f) the procedures for the development of a scheme;

(g) the methods and procedures of hiring and paying staff;

(h) the determination of the schedule;

(i) the form of and procedure for issuing of debentures;

(j) the procedure for carrying out investigations by the commission;

(k) the procedures of the board with respect to contracts and maintaining records thereof;

(l) the duties of the secretary, treasurer and secretary-treasurer;

(m) the procedures for the development of estimates, budgets and annual works programs;

(n) the bonding of officials of the board;

(o) procedures for the transfer of responsibilities between a municipality and a board;

(p) the form of annual reports;

(q) such other matters not inconsistent with the purposes of this Act.

Annual report

46          The Minister shall make an annual report respecting the operations of the districts subsequent to the end of the period to which his latest previous report relates, and the Minister shall lay the report before the Legislative Assembly, forthwith if it is then in session, and, if not, within 15 days of the beginning of the next following session thereof.