Seasonal Docks Survey

Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) is considering a proposed disturbance standard under the Public Lands Administration Regulation. A disturbance standard is a flexible tool that can allow an activity to occur on public land, subject to certain requirements. This disturbance standard would create a general permission for users to place and use a temporary seasonal dock, boat lift and associated mooring structures on the Crown-owned bed and shore without obtaining individual authorization. It allows AEP to better manage the placement of temporary seasonal docks and other mooring structures on the beds and shores of Crown-owned water bodies that are subject to the Public Lands Act.

Since 2011, it has been a requirement under the Public Lands Administration Regulation to obtain an authorization for all docks, boat lifts and other mooring structures placed onto and occupying the beds and shores of a river or lake for more than 14 days. The proposed disturbance standard should improve the regulatory oversight over the use of docks, while at the same time streamlining the administrative process for “waterfront holders”, “semi-waterfront holders” and “municipal waterfront holders” by eliminating the requirement to apply for an authorization. A transition period for owners of these docks is also under consideration to allow sufficient time for owners to comply with requirements or apply for an authorization if they do not meet the disturbance standard.

AEP engaged with stakeholders and some affected landowners on the proposed draft disturbance standard in May 2020, and received a lot of valuable input. The first round of engagement provided comments on setback requirements, terminal platform size, boat lift limitations, and the use of accessories on a dock. We have addressed these in the revised proposed draft disturbance standard as follows:

Allowed size of terminal platforms and allowed recreation fixtures

Addressed by – removing the terminal platform size limit and replacing it with a provision limiting the footprint to a maximum size that does not exceed 50% of lot width and allowing all temporary accessories as long as they are not an attached covered structure (e.g. gazebo).

Number of boat lifts

Addressed by – removed limit however combined with dock, cannot exceed 50% of lot width

5 meter setback

Addressed by – reduced setback to 3 meters

Dock length equal to the user’s boat length or to a maximum of 1.2 meter water depth

Addressed by – simplifying the maximum dock length to a water depth of 1.5 meters.

In addition, we heard questions about how the proposed disturbance standard would affect shared docks and back lot owners.

We are now seeking additional input from Albertans on a revised draft disturbance standard. You can review the revised draft disturbance standard and provide input through our online survey. In addition, fact sheets for back lot owners and shared docks have been developed.

Visit to learn more. This survey is open to input until December 14, 2020.