SSRP: Foremost

alberta_caveSecond to last day of consultations on the Regional Advisory Council’s advice to government on the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan saw us in County of 40 Mile and the Town of Foremost.Agriculture and ranching play huge roles in this community, with property rights being top-of-mind. Residents here are proud of their work being good stewards of the land and believe property rights should be protected, not just respected.

Here’s a summary of what they had to say.

Foremost

In attendance: 33

Vision and Principles

  • Property rights need to be protected, not just respected
  • Property rights and differences between public and private need to be better defined
  • There are too many differences between urban and rural; concerned the cities will out-shout the rural population
  • Municipal voice must be heard above all others – brings it local
  • Vision is too vague
  • Saw 50 years as too far out to plan
  • Concerned there isn’t enough enforcement for what’s already in place – how to guarantee money is there for enforcement of new rules?
  • Landowners already demonstrate good stewardship
  • Tools and incentives are needed to better manage land

Healthy economy

  • Alberta already leads in innovation
  • Farmers have implemented innovative techniques and are very open to advancing technology and innovation
  • Believe innovation will come on its own and doesn’t need government regulation
  • Tourism has pros/cons – good for economy, but could negatively impact land and environment
  • If tourism is encouraged, need to evaluate net benefit of losing oil and gas, agriculture to protected areas for tourism
  • Do people pay what water is really worth?
  • Need more clarity on the definition of market-based incentives
  • Need clarification on compensation plans and financial incentives
  • Need more security of tenure on crown land leases to promote investment in agriculture
  • Government programs need to assist, not dictate, management options that landowners should/could explore
  • “Book regulations” won’t be applicable to landowners because they are already more adaptable to changes on landscape than government

Healthy ecosystems

  • Aquifers must be protected
  • Better watershed management required
  • Cougar population is alarming
  • Trust of government and conservation groups is limited
  • Oil and gas development environmental concerns (general)
  • How much more managed can these lands be than they already are?
  • CMAs should not have exclusive agenda – should incorporate local knowledge, especially if contrary to “science”
  • CMAs are too big
  • Private landowners could be squeezed out if surrounded by CMAs
  • What trade-offs should be considered for CMAs?
  • Clarify if landowners/leaseholders will be compensated if oil and gas cancelled for CMAs
  • If tenures are cancelled for CMAs, need to compensate at market-value
  • Management should not extend to private land
  • No loss of native prairie – easements could be used if necessary
  • Stop running excess irrigation
  • RAC advice conflicts with Parks advice
  • Government should sell some of the private lands to local stewards
  • Add carbon credits to private grasslands
  • Support streamlining regulation system (Bill 2)

Healthy communities

  • No need for tourism in southeast area of plan
  • If you want to preserve land, don’t promote tourism
  • Areas such as the MilkRiver recreation area is identified as high tourism value, yet infrastructure is insufficient
  • Communities dying because of lack of infrastructure
  • Area from Foremost east-ward are lacking schools, health care, etc., so the region is very unbalanced in terms of infrastructure
  • Quality of life is not equal across region
  • Recreation needs to be appropriate based on land
  • Concern that recreation access may explode and be unmanageable
  • Must be clear about what is meant by ‘improved access’ – what kind of access?
  • Increased tourism should parallel increased emergency services and health care
  • What makes this region unique is that it is isolated
  • Healthy communities must include healthcare and education
  • If access is developed, must come with resources to enforce, protect and manage the area

Land-use direction/management intent

  • You need all land uses to be viable – they just need to be managed
  • “Land-use” is too vague – compatible uses can’t be in every land use – needs clarity
  • Calgary growth needs to be contained
  • Consider intensive livestock and irrigation as ‘other classes’
  • On private lands, stewardship should be voluntary not mandatory
  • Grazing used as important management tool must be emphasized
  • Define market-based incentives
  • Acreages are taking good land away from agriculture use
  • Management tools are already in place, they just aren’t implemented -should be sub-zones within the SSRP
  • Don’t want current Agriculture land taken out of Agriculture for conservation
  • Longer term leases would increase conservation
  • Conservation on public land needs more local input
  • No umbrella plans – allow landowners to be stewards with assistance/support from government
  • Objection to intention to extend existing natural areas vs. extending protection and connectivity of grasslands – please clarify
  • Reward stewardship by providing longer-term tenure

There is only one more opportunity to get involved in the community conversations.  If you’re unable to attend the Lethbridge session in person, we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to provide feedback through the online workbook until December 21.

Upcoming sessions

Thursday, December 6
Lethbridge
Coast Lethbridge Hotel
526 Magrath Drive S

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