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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.