Provincial land use plans to be watershed-based

Oct. 1 may have come and gone with little attention from Albertans. But a piece of provincial legislation proclaimed into force that day could have a profound impact on future land use here.

Oct. 1 may have come and gone with little attention from Albertans. But a piece of provincial legislation proclaimed into force that day could have a profound impact on future land use here.

The Alberta Land Stewardship Act opened the door for implementation of the Land-use Framework, which was developed to manage growth in the province. It identifies seven regions that correspond with major Alberta watersheds, and calls for the creation of a land-use plan for each.

Morris Seiferling, the assistant deputy minister leading the implementation of the Land-use Framework, described the process during a presentation at the Synergy Alberta conference in Red Deer on Wednesday.

He said the framework was created to allow the province to take on a leadership role in development, and to better align policy, planning and decision-making across government departments, municipalities and boards.

Each plan will provide a single document that outlines government policy for that region, addressing issues like air, water and biodiversity.

“What they’re intended to do is integrate and align all those provincial polices at the regional level.”

The Red Deer Region encompasses Mountain View, Red Deer, Lacombe, Ponoka, Stettler, Paintearth, Kneehill and Starland counties, and extends east to the Saskatchewan boundary.

Regional advisory councils will spearhead the development of each plan. These will consist of representatives from the provincial and federal governments, urban and rural municipalities, First Nations groups, the public and other stakeholders like industry, environment and watershed groups.

“In addition to the regional advisory council, we also will have formal public stakeholder and aboriginal consultation in the development of all these plans,” said Seiferling.

A plan for the Lower Athabasca region is already being developed. It will contain details like maximum allowable bitumen production levels, the percentage of land to be set aside for conservation purposes, and thresholds with respect to air and water quality, and water consumption.

“These are not going to be guidelines,” stressed Seiferling. “These are going to be lines in the sand that government’s going to draw by law and that decision-makers will have to respect.”

He described the regional plans as “super regulations” that will override the regulations under any other provincial act.

Municipalities will still have the authority to make decisions concerning land within plan areas, as long as these don’t contravene the plans. For instance, said Seiferling, a municipality won’t be able to approve a subdivision within an area designated as conservation land.

The plans for the Lower Athabasca and South Saskatchewan regions are expected to be completed next year, with the North Saskatchewan and Upper Athabasca region plans slated for completion in 2011, and the Red Deer, Upper Peace and Lower Peace region plans to wrap up by 2012. Work on the Red Deer Region plan won’t begin until 2011.

Each plan will ultimately be approved by cabinet, at which time it will become provincial policy. After five years, a committee will be appointed to report on how each plan is working, with a formal review of each plan required every 10 years.

Additional information about the Alberta Land Stewardship Act and Land-use Framework can be found online at www.landuse.alberta.ca.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Red Deer officials will allow Calgary to trial alcohol in parks

The result could determine if local rules are relaxed

Red Deer city council could provide more clarity around closed-door meetings, says review

Confidential matters were found to be handled appropriately by city

Special lift improves Lacombe patients’ therapy

A new mobility lift is helping physical therapy patients at Lacombe Hospital… Continue reading

Red Deer group is pushing to create a local ‘international village’ to promote unity

A city made up of immigrants has no place for intolerance, say group members

Orchestra plays ‘rousing’ Scottish tunes to celebrate Robbie Burns Day

Violinist Kai Gleusteen will solo at the Jan. 26 show at RDC Arts Centre

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Judge denies requests from Calgary couple charged in son’s death

David and Collet Stephan wanted $4 million to pay for past and future legal bills

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

Unruly passenger forces B.C.-bound flight to divert to Calgary

Police say charges are pending against a woman in her 40s

Inflation rises as higher airfares, veggie prices offset cheaper gas

Statistics Canada says inflation accelerated to two per cent in December

Canadian tattoo artist inks Toronto skyline on Blue Jays pitcher Stroman

Marcus Stroman found a way to show his appreciation for Toronto when… Continue reading

Team World sweeps opening day against Team North America at Continental Cup

LAS VEGAS — Team North America has some serious ground to make… Continue reading

SXSW to screen ‘Run This Town,’ which includes Rob Ford character

TORONTO — A drama that features a portrayal of the late Toronto… Continue reading

Most Read