Community conversations to gather feedback on the Regional Advisory Council’s advice for the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan continued in Taber yesterday.
This southern Alberta community, well known for its delicious corn, is also home to Alberta’s only sugar factory – the town’s largest employer – processing sugar beets from nearly 400 farmers into sugar products. Access to water through irrigation is an important issue for this agricultural community.
Vulcan is the next stop on the community conversation tour. You are invited to stop by the November 8 public session anytime between 4-8 p.m. at the Vulcan Legion Hall. If you can’t make it in person, feel free to provide your input by completing the online workbook.
Below is a summary of some of the comments shared during the regional land-use planning sessions in Taber.
- Water is a key issue for the regional plan. Some feel it should be included in the regional plan vision statement. Others had concerns that water allocation wasn’t included in the SSRP process and there was some confusion about the relationship with Water for Life.
- Some others felt that agriculture should have the first rights to water in the region, others wondered if it should be “first in line, first in right”.
2. Growth and population
There were a lot of differing ideas when it came to growth and population in the region. Some of the comments were:
- There is a need to protect good agricultural land – urban areas are gobbling up the good agriculture land but there are also concerns that municipalities may not be able to develop out and locking land for conservation areas limits the economic potential.
- Small communities are vital to the region, concern that smaller communities may disappear.
- Access to health care and quality of life in rural communities was also raised.
- What is the management intent for Calgary and how does the Calgary sub-regional plan tie in?
- There is a need for other sub-regional plans.
- A vision for urban centres is missing, some felt large centres have too much say.
- Concern about utility corridors was expressed – transmission lines and other public interest projects fragment agricultural land.
3. Property rights / Alberta Land Stewardship Act
- Respect for private ownership is important.
- Preference was expressed by one person that it should say protect private property instead of respect private property – they would like a definition of respect as it related to property rights.
- A comment was made that ALSA does not protect property rights.
4. Conservation areas, tourism and recreation
- Conservation areas need detailed maps and description of management intent.
- Compensation and other incentives for wetlands should be considered – who pays for conservation management and compensation?
- Local landowners are in the best position to look after conservation areas.
- Do not support the inclusion of private lands in conservation areas.
- How can you conserve land you turn into a recreation area?
- More recreation opportunities need to be created, aging infrastructure must be replaced.
- Who enforces recreation guidelines?
5. Regional planning process
- Some questions were raised about the regional plan review process and the language in the RAC advice document – what does ‘support for industry’ mean? What does ‘consider cultural diversity’ mean?
- The plan should be renamed southern alberta plan.
- How will the regional plan be implemented? Who will be responsible?
- Who/what defines measures and conservation tools?
- Many questions were asked about “who pays” for recreation facilities, trail maintenance, for enforcement, compensation, conservation tools.
- Stakeholders asked for more notice and details about the session format in order to prepare.
Next stop …
Vulcan Legion Hall
240 Sinclair Road
November 8 from 4-8 p.m.