Inclement weather didn’t keep some residents from participating in the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan session in Canmore. We’re glad they were able to safely brave the weather to provide their input on the Regional Advisory Council’s advice to government.
As always, we encourage anyone unable to attend the sessions in person, take advantage of the opportunity to provide feedback through the online workbook.
In attendance: 40
Vision and principles
- There was general support for the vision and principles statement; although some felt it did not go into enough detail on how thresholds will be determined.
- They felt climate change needed to be acknowledged as a factor to be accounted for.
- Some felt there was too much emphasis on economic values.
- The reference to respect for property rights was appreciated.
- A prevailing theme is that the economy is already a priority, too much so.
- There are several calls to ‘phase out’ forestry in general, and oil and gas in high-value recreation areas.
- Several commentators noted that a recreation-based economy would be best for local economic strength, but that recreation and tourism need specific defined protected areas to achieve that strength.
- Priority for economic activity should be on a small, sustainable scale and there need to be clearly defined threshholds on ecosystem impacts to support small-scale development.
- Related comments included calls for protecting water quality first, ahead of any economic considerations, to designate the Castle as a park or protected area, and to limit forestry to ecological-based objectives and non-commercial activities.
- wind farms should be allowed on private land only
- water conservation needs to be the highest priority
- conservation agriculture should be a priority
- more open approval processes are needed for energy projects
- forests should be treated first as a tourism attraction
- there should be no-go zones for tourism, where conservation is the prime objective
- energy developments should have to meet requirements for social license
- Water was a prevalent theme here, as were calls to designate Castle as a park or protected area.
- Other themes included calls for setting threshholds to growth itself, as opposed to indicators, and to place a priority on connecting protected areas to avoid stranding ‘islands’ of biodiversity.
- There were several questions about who and what will determine what best practices are, and how threshholds will be monitored and enforced.
- A general summation was that ‘business as usual’ can no longer continue on lands in the region.
- Other general comments included calls to use existing legislative and regulatory tools to protect parks and protected areas, and to apply market-based incentives to private land, and questions about how conservation management areas will be defined and to what purpose, and how values and priorities will be determined.
- there should be specific land-use zones for energy development; no activity outside those zones
- impacts should be assessed on the basis of cumulative effects, especially for water and biodiversity
- Recreation and tourism were portrayed as a vehicle to community health, as a sustainability foundation.
- There were calls for government encouragement of small business recreation opportunities, a regional hiking trail system, all-season trails and protection of existing vehicle access to recreation opportunities.
- There were also calls to encourage and protect more primitive recreation opportunities, to continue to make some places more difficult to access.
- Trail systems should be constructed away from private lands, and there should be recognition that watershed protection and backcountry recreation are compatible uses that should be encouraged in tandem.
- There was support for multiple-use corridors and collaboration between municipalities was encouraged.
Land-use direction and management
- forests are more valuable as tourism and recreation assets
- recreation and forestry are not compatible on the same landbase
- multiple-use is not always possible or desirable; there should be exclusive use zones in some areas
- specifics are needed on tools and intents
- government must show it is committed to realizing this vision; we’ve been here before and there is no guarantee any of this will be followed up in 10 years
Thursday, November 22
4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
101 Ranchehouse Road
Lakeside Leisure Centre – Flexhall
111 – 4th Avenue, West