Mountain View County is considering whether to take the lead in establishing a land trust.
The trusts are usually run by non-profit charitable organizations and are focused on identifying lands of ecological interest for conservation. Often, the trusts preserve land featuring unique features or water bodies.
County council approved on Wednesday spending $30,000 to hire Mancroft Research Group to determine the viability of a land trust in the county or region. The Olds-based company will talk to other municipalities and landowners and then report to council about whether it’s worth going ahead with a trust.
Also studied will be whether a new land trust should be set up or whether one of the existing dozen or so trusts should be used.
County chief administrative officer Tony Martens said the purpose of land trusts is to put land aside so it is not developed. Land is donated or sold by property owners to protect it.
“We do want to talk to our neighbours to see if there is any interest in doing it on a regional basis,” said Martens.
The Alberta Land Trust Alliance lists a dozen private trusts run by organizations such as Alberta Conservation Association, Alberta Fish and Game Association, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Southern Alberta Land Trust Society. Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation runs a public land trust.
Martens said if the land concept idea goes ahead, the county’s role will be to provide administrative help in setting it up and establishing the rules before turning it over to someone else to run.
“It wouldn’t be the county that governs this thing. There would be a special body established to govern it,” he said.