SSRP: What you said in Cardston and Red Deer

Regional planning process

Regional planning process

Our work on a land-use plan for southern Alberta revved up yesterday with the launch of a new round of consultation.

Over the next month, we will visit 20 Alberta communities to gather your input on the recommendations made by the regional advisory council (RAC).  This input will form the draft South Saskatchewan Regional Plan.

If you’re not able to make one of the 20 community conversations, we encourage you to complete the workbook online before December 21.

Yesterday, we were in Cardston and Red Deer where we had a good, productive conversation with Albertans.

Below is a snapshot of who was there and what we heard.


Attendance: 38
Top issues:

1. Water

  • Praise was given for the attention to water issues in the RAC advice document.  Concerns were heard about water use, including the need for headwater, source protection, supply, access, storage, allocation, carrying capacity and irrigation.
  • Water and climate change was also raised.

2. Growth and population

  • More emphasis needed on population growth, the pressures of city growth and making rural development a priority.

3. Property rights / Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA)

  • Protecting property rights is paramount – this was a common sentiment.
  • Some expressed confusion between ALSA and other land-use bills related to issues like transmission lines.
  • Many acknowledged that some concerns were addressed by the amendments to ALSA.

4. Conservation areas / tourism / recreation

  • There is a need for recreation development and infrastructure though there were concerns about the impact of recreationists on the landscape and timber harvesting.
  • Interest in the plan having more detail on conservation areas, especially specific to the Castle region which was heard from both the special places proponents and Castle Mountain Resort.

Red Deer

Attendance: 40
Top issues:

1.      Economic

  • Need for a better understanding of iconic tourism destination along with the infrastructure required to support not only iconic tourism but also tourism, agriculture, energy and forestry.  This needs to be integrated on the same land-use plan.
  • Water mitigates economics but water conservation needs to be clarified.
  • Small scale agriculture should be addressed in the plan.
  • All industries are looking for regulation clarity in the regional plan.
  • A suggestion was made that energy / population centres need direction to clarify surface and subsurface conflict.

2.      Ecosystems

  • Water; wetlands, headwaters, watersheds, groundwater need to deal with the whole system – a monitoring system/ management system needed.
  • Biodiversity; a full system concept is needed.
  • Conservation areas; need greater clarity on management of areas – use existing knowledge/ best practices and pressure areas.
  • Development of tools to help private landowners deal with biodiversity.

3.      Healthy Communities

  • The idea is strongly supported but needs enforcement (existing legislation) and clarity on the recreation audience (residents or visitors) and specific landscape or value.
  • Municipalities need better tools to manage and fulfill their roles.
  • Better integration between government and industry on different recreation opportunities – trails and water based.

4.      Land-use classification

  • Need clarity on energy use in the classification, the plan needs to consider all lands that contribute to different land objectives.
  • Need recognition of valued landscapes on private lands and protected from resource development.
  • Stewardship opportunities need to be increased.
Input during Red Deer sessions

Lots of great input during the Red Deer session.

2 thoughts on “SSRP: What you said in Cardston and Red Deer

  1. With all of the public outcry defending Recreation and Tourism in the Elbow Valley, why does the proposed SSRP land designation not reserve any area in the Elbow Valley for Recreation and Tourism only? The entire Elbow Valley remains a mixed use area allowing clear cut logging to continue to destroy the closest wilderness area next to 1.2 million residents. This SSRP is going to be yet another plan that ignores public input. It will be pushed through in order to allow logging to continue in the busiest wilderness recreation area in the SSRP. When will consultation involve public input that results in changes to the ESRD plans?

  2. Hi Billy,

    Regional plans under Alberta’s Land-use Framework are developed through 10 steps and three phases of consultation and with input from the regional advisory council, municipalities, stakeholders, the public and aboriginal peoples.

    The South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) has not been drafted. We are currently in Step 5 of the regional planning process (as shown in the photo at the top of the page).

    Three consultation phases:

    1. The first phase of the consultation process is to gather input on the regional issues.
    • This was completed in December 2009. Community meetings were held across the region and 1019 workbooks were submitted.
    • The Regional Advisory Council (made up of 19 individuals with experience and expertise about the region) took this information along with many other forms of research and used it to provide advice to the government on what should be included in the regional plan.

    2. The second phase is to go out to the regions to ask for their input on RAC’s advice – what they like, what they don’t, what should be included, or taken out, etc… This is the phase we’re in right now.
    • The input received during these consultations will help inform the draft SSRP.

    3. During the third phase, we’ll ask Albertans for their feedback on the draft SSRP plan. That is expected to happen next year.

    If you’re not able to attend one of the 20 sessions, we encourage you to read the RAC advice document, understanding this is their advice, not the government’s, and provide your feedback by completing the online workbook on


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