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An SRPR is a highly informative document typically used in real estate transactions involving residential properties, but also used for apartment buildings, commercial, industrial and rural property transactions. Called a Building Location Survey if prepared 20 years ago, today’s SRPR has become the most common type of survey used for showing the precise location of property boundaries, buildings, fences and other structures situated on the property. An SRPR is prepared for a single client and includes ownership (title) information necessary for real estate transactions. While an SRPR references the underlying information defined in other plans (e.g., Township Plans, Plans of Subdivision, Reference Plans) they are not filed with the Land Registry Office but rather remain with the surveyor who retains the copyright on the plan.
A Reference Plan designates different sections of a property as "Parts," enabling a specific legal interest associated with each particular portion of the parcel to be highlighted and described. For example, a parcel of land could be shown as a four-part Reference Plan prepared to fulfill a condition of consent to sever a building lot from a larger urban plot of land. The parts might be used to describe the severed lands, remainder lands, easement lands and road widenings. Rather than describing all of the above in the deeds using ponderous legal language, a Reference Plan makes everything much easier to understand. Reference Plans are available to the public at the Land Registry Office.
A Topographic Plan is a map of the physical features of a property, showing “planimetric” land features, ground elevations and (sometimes) surface contours. It can show underground utility locations, including sewer culverts, pipes and manhole inverts. Generally these plans are used by engineers, architects and planners as an electronic base for their designs when developing property and may be similarly useful to a homeowner who wants to build outdoor structures, additions or new landscape features.
A topographic plan is not considered a legal survey plan unless certified by a land surveyor. Without the surveyor certification - which confirms that extensive boundary research has been conducted, boundary corners have been marked with iron survey bars, and the boundary has been added to the plan - the topographic plan's usefulness to a homeowner is limited and may require additional input from a surveyor.
A Plan of Survey is a catchall phrase describing many different types of plans depicting legal boundaries. As noted above, both Reference Plans and Plans of Subdivision are considered to be plans of survey that are officially deposited with the Land Registry Office, and can be viewed or purchased by the public. Survey plans (e.g., an SRPR) also can be prepared for the private use of an individual or corporation and are not required to be registered/deposited with the Land Registry Office. Survey plans can represent small residential properties or larger 100-acre properties. Other kinds of survey plans include Expropriation plans, Boundaries Act plans, Certification of Title plans and more—all beyond simple explanation, but enormously useful for land information professionals.
A Plan of Subdivision enables the development and construction of future neighbourhoods, residential, commercial and industrial. These plans typically include land blocks reserved for community and commercial buildings, including schools, commercial plazas, churches, and other special blocks. Roads included on the plan are dedicated for public transportation use. Individual parcels of land (lots and blocks) are newly created when a Plan of Subdivision is officially registered, supplanting a previous vacant field or farm. Plans of Subdivision are available to the public at the Land Registry Office.
A Site Plan is a drawing, or set of drawings, illustrating the physical arrangement of existing property improvements such as buildings, driveways, parking areas, pedestrian sidewalks, fences, municipal services, etc. as well as any proposed improvements. Site plan approval must normally be completed before the issuance of a building permit.
A Site Plan is a requirement for development under Section 41 of the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990 Ch.P.13. as amended March 21, 2001. Under this section, municipalities may establish a site plan control area in their Zoning By-laws and then designate specific site plan control areas. Applications are required for commercial, institutional, industrial and residential development.
To clear conditions of site plan control or to file a successful site plan under the legislation, detailed drawings must accompany an application for development through approvals and registration of documents in the Land Registry Office. One of the drawings should be a plan of the property prepared by a licensed Ontario Land Surveyor.
A Condominium Plan is also a plan of subdivision, which creates new parcels of land called Units. The major difference is that, except in the case of a vacant land condominium, the units are three-dimensional, with the boundaries being the physical surfaces of the buildings themselves. Since units may be located above and below each other, the legal description of the parcel must specify the Unit Number, Level Number and Plan Number. Unit owners share the ownership and the cost of maintaining the parts of the condominium that are not units. Condominium Plans must be prepared by a licensed Ontario Land Surveyor.
GIS is not just an improved, digital version of the traditional paper map, it is much more. GIS involves the collection and analyzing of spatial and other data as they relate to specific geographic entities, rather than simply displaying them on a map. The data related to a property might include the lot area, address, owner’s name, type of house, number, age and gender of occupants, school support, assessment value, type of soil and so on. Intelligent use of this data makes GIS a very powerful tool.
Since 1874, Canada Lands Surveyors have been closely involved in developing national resources, and are now reaching for a new level of maturity in their relationships with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Today, ACLS members are expected to study Native Government Issues as a prerequisite for qualification, and many CLS’s make additional efforts to blend a relationship between traditional Indigenous beliefs and contemporary land management practices. With a complete appreciation of the clients’ land administration environment and unique requirements, the Canada Lands Surveyor can offer solutions that meet immediate needs as well as long-term goals.
The ACLS and its members are a dedicated resource to national indigenous organizations, regional tribal councils, local band councils and their land, resource, and housing managers, GIS departments, and individual property owners. The CLS can integrate survey services with other professionals, including engineers, lawyers, environmental consultants, resource managers, land developers, and officials from local, provincial, and national government agencies.
The Association has shown leadership in this area by helping the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association (NALMA) to set up its certification program for indigenous land managers. The ACLS has also established working relationships with the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Land Management Resource Centre Inc.
For more information on surveys on indigenous lands click here.
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