SSRP: Cochrane

TPR Minister Cusanelli at Cochrane session

Minister Cusanelli in Cochrane
(photo credit: twitter.com/cc4currie)

Conservation, forestry and recreation were strong themes during the land-use planning discussion in Cochrane where residents shared their feedback on the Regional Advisory Council’s advice to government

Tourism, Parks and Recreation Minister Christine Cusanelli, and Banff-Cochrane MLA Ron Casey also stopped by to hear what residents had to say about the future South Saskatchewan Regional Plan.

Cochrane

In attendance: 84

Vision and Principles

  • Water was a leading topic, with several participants noting the need to protect and conserve water sources, especially headwaters.
  • Enforcement and accountability was another leading theme, with several posts noting the success of the regional plan will depend on those two points.
  • Another prominent topic was multiple-use versus single-use, with a roughly equal number of people supporting each side of that divide.

Other notable comments:

  • the vision and principles reflect how complex the region is
  • principles are too broad, need specifics
  • thresholds and limits need to be spelled out
  • private land focus is unacceptable for water protection
  • it’s important to respect private property rights
  • recreation is missing from the vision
  • want to know who decides what final plan will be, and by what  measures

Healthy economy

  • A direct link was drawn between ecological health and economic health in the region, with multiple attendees saying the environment should have top priority for that reason.
  • A second major theme was the need to upgrade and support recreation and tourism; this sector was seen as the best bet for a healthy economy for the region, or at least this portion of the region.
  • A third point was that user fees or pay as you go systems for recreational use and access could be used to support the economy, including by being diverted into a specific fund to support outdoor associations.

Other notable comments:

  • need to recognize and address pressures on agriculture, particularly urbanization pressures
  • resource development and grazing are compatible on shared land bases if property done
  • limit grazing in forestlands
  • protect watersheds for agriculture, including limiting logging activity
  • need to protect riparian areas first
  • stewardship should be a priority in the region’s economy
  • permit ecology-based forestry only, not for commercial purposes
  • do not degrade the area’s natural amenities for economic purposes
  • forestry has too many conflicts with recreation and water to be supported
  • forestry has no future on this landscape
  • need to recognize that people move to the area for its recreation and outdoor opportunities first
  • less beef, more water (reference to the volume of water used to produce one pound of steak)
  • distribute tourism more broadly across the region; not MORE tourism  per se
  • retain multiple use areas to respect historic land uses
  • West Bragg Creek should be designated a tourism corridor
  • designate Castle and CrowsnestPass as protected areas, for tourism potential
  • designate Elbow and Ghost as protected areas
  • more certainty/clarity needed on development constraints
  • place a higher priority on recreation – protect and maintain critical areas

Healthy environment

  • Conservation and protection of new areas was a leading theme, as were the need to protect water quality and promote forest diversity, improve air quality and protect surface water.
  • Other prominent topics included the need to connect conservation management areas and protected areas, to better support biodiversity, and support for expanded and improved recreational trails throughout the region.

Other notable comments:

  • define best management practices and explain who they would be applied
  • respect multiple-use areas in traditional recreational/industrial zones
  • better and more enforcement is needed for land users and uses
  • scale back industrial activities in recreation and tourism areas
  • promote forest diversity
  • restore, not just protect, biodiversity
  • limit logging in headwaters areas
  • climate change needs to be addressed
  • do not sterilize habitat areas for other uses
  • protect the Ghost, Elbow and Bow areas
  • enlarge Elbow and Kananaskis Country area protection based on water
  • provide payment to private land owners to promote land stewardship, and to protect water sources
  • charge fees for recreational users

Healthy communities

  • As with the above category areas, a majority of comments linked healthy communities with a healthy environment, defined as more protected areas and more zones where single land-uses prevailed over multiple uses.
  • A second key theme was the need for stepped up enforcement action to promote sustainable recreational and other land uses.

Other notable comments:

  • motorized recreation should be accepted as a permitted use
  • need to recognize the impacts of tourism on healthy communities (not  noted as either good or bad)
  • tourism is not compatible with mixed use, especially forestry
  • support for affordable recreation
  • expand conservation areas to include ‘iconic’ destinations
  • designate wildlife corridors before development proceeds
  • diversity of recreation users, not number, equals greater impacts on recreation areas
  • more parks needed on Eastern Slopes
  • urban areas should contribute to the upkeep of rural recreation  opportunities and facilities
  • healthy communities depend on healthy ecosystems
  • balance industry and recreational uses
  • more designated trails needed; recreation should be where it is the  highest and best use of the lands
  • recreation and tourism should take priority over industry

Land-use direction and management intent

  • multiple users should be encouraged
  • compensate industry for lost income where uses denied or changed
  • compensate landowners for voluntary stewardship
  • ‘all or nothing’ is unacceptable
  • the entire Eastern Slopes should be one conservation management area
  • the Castle-Waterton conservation management area is too large
  • too much ‘protection’ leads to too many conflicts
  • mixed-use forestry does not protect recreation assets
  • no random camping – instead, designate unserviced campground areas
  • Kananaskis Country should be recreation only, no mixed used

Upcoming sessions

Tuesday, November 27
Claresholm
Claresholm Community Centre, North Hall
5940 – 59 Avenue W

Wednesday, November 28
Okotoks
Foothills Community Centre
4, 204 Community Way

Thursday, November 29
Strathmore
Strathmore Centennial Civic Centre
120 Brent Boulevard

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