Week two of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan community conversations continued in Calgary. The turnout was great, especially from the recreation community. Rock climbers, off-road vehicle users and trail enthusiasts let us know that they want continued access and support for recreational activities on the landscape to ensure all Albertans continue to enjoy the many outdoor opportunities in southern Alberta.
We definitely appreciate southern Albertans coming out to let us know what they think of the advice given to government by the Regional Advisory Council. Their input and ideas will help shape the draft land-use plan for the South Saskatchewan region.
Overall, there was a lot of feedback – here’s a small snapshot of what we heard.
- Some felt the vision statement focused too much on individual freedoms over the environment; others felt the vision statement was too long and lacked a clear theme.
- We heard support for the inclusion of property rights in the vision statement and support for enhancing Alberta’s regulatory process; however, we did hear some concerns about this streamlining.
- Some felt the vision statement had a good balance between economic and environmental principles.
- A few things were identified as missing from the vision statement, including:
- a lack of focus on environmental protection and urban development; and
- how the vision will be implemented.
- Many people were looking for more clarification on this section. Some questioned what certain words or statements meant. For example:
- What does “support” mean? Financial? Something else?
- What does “healthy economy” mean?
- Some people felt this section ignored urban recreation and tourism opportunities and indicated that there was a need to emphasize other options.
- Some felt the economic importance of water wasn’t stressed enough.
- There was support for the inclusion of ecological goods and services; in fact, some felt it should have more weight.
- A main theme emerging from the healthy ecosystems discussions was the importance of water and water protection – it was felt that a water management framework will be critical for the region.
- Some noted that a finalized wetlands policy is not yet in place.
- Others felt air quality was not fully acknowledged.
- It was suggested that the federal government needs to take part in the biodiversity discussion.
- Many concerns were raised on how these recommendations will be implemented.
Healthy Communities / Social and Recreation
- Once again, people expressed general support for the high-level outcomes of the RAC advice but were concerned about the details and timing around implementation.
- Infrastructure needs of the region were raised – concerns were expressed on how these needs would be met.
- Some concerns raised about new legislation / regulation enforcement. It was felt that this is something that needs to be addressed.
- Some felt there was a heavy focus on outdoor recreation, but cultural heritage was missing.
Land-use Direction / Management Intent
- Several comments were made on the integrated conservation management plans (ICMPs):
- Who will be managing?
- ICMP versus special place – which takes precedence?
- A number of points were felt to be missing from the RAC advice, including:
- Maps in the RAC report reflect existing conditions; what about the future?
- What will the province do to support municipalities?
- Also, some people felt there is a need for tools like transfer of credits.
- There were many comments on the importance of compensation to landowners.
- For this discussion, there was another good mix of comments in a number of areas.
Conversations continue in Edmonton on Thursday, November 15, 2012. If you’re not able to make it to a session in person, we encourage you to have your say by completing the online workbook.
Ramada Conference Centre
11834 Kingsway Avenue
Thursday, November 15
4 p.m. to 8 p.m.