N.S. to fast-track handoff of unwanted Crown land

The Nova Scotia government plans to step up the release of up to a quarter-million acres of “unacknowledged and ungranted” Crown land to private owners.

The province on Tuesday introduced an amendment to its Court and Administrative Reform Act will give authority to the natural resources minister to sign certificates of release for parcels of area less than 200 hectares (494 acres).

Nova Scotia’s natural resources department said it has identified 28,000 parcels, totalling more than 250,000 acres, as “unacknowledged, ungranted lands,” meaning the land has never been surveyed or managed as Crown land.

A “focused effort” is underway to make recommendations on the Crown’s ownership of those parcels by March 31, 2013, the province said.

Certificates of release can be issued once it’s determined that through historic and current use, the province has “lost interest” in the ungranted lands, the government said.

“This amendment will not only provide efficiencies and reduce red tape, but also free up resources for the department,” Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker said in the province’s release.

The streamlined process is expected to prove “beneficial” to residents of rural areas, where most of the land is located, the province said.

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