SSRP: Lethbridge

The City of Lethbridge has a population of about 88,000 people.  Bisected by the OldmanRiver, the city boasts valley parkland with scenic coulees and kilometres of running and hiking trails.

Lethbridge’s steady sustainable growth speaks to the economic strength of the region, thanks to the diversity of their industries.  The traditional agriculture and manufacturing sectors provide the base, while emerging high-tech and renewable energy sectors add strength and vitality to the business landscape.

There was a large turnout at the final community conversation.  Nearly 200 residents came out to share their opinions on the Regional Advisory Council’s advice to government.  We sincerely thank all of the Albertans who have taken the time to help shape the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan

If you were unable to attend the sessions in person, we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to provide feedback through the online workbook until December 21.

Photo of participants at the Lethbridge SSRP session

A great turnout in Lethbridge


In attendance: 198

Vision and principles

  • The statement is too vague and long – the wording needs to be clear, identify basic outcomes, and address the broad public interest
  • Biodiversity and environmental protection should guiding principles
  • A clear statement on how resources will be managed is missing
  • Issues/needs of large urban centres, like Calgary, could dwarf all other concerns – they should not be included in the regional plan
  • Water should be the first priority to protect headwaters and deal with drainage and water allocations
  • With high level of private land ownership in the area, there is a need to:
    • Clarify surface and sub-surface rights
    • Establish economic tools for private land stewardship
    • Strengthen ownership rights
  • Environmental impacts of population growth need to be recognized
  • Develop urban and rural areas plans together – where is the growth in the region and what’s driving it?
  • Conservation easements need to be defined

Healthy economy

  • Energy development is supported if done is a sustainable way without loss of highly productive agriculture land or areas identified for dense residential development
  • Intensive livestock operations have a negative impact on water quality; there should be a recommendation to address this issue
  • Farm land fragmentation may be supported for transportation corridors or urban development – a soft approach is recommended
  • Agricultural land is needed for economic growth and jobs
  • Better relationships and consultation is needed between industry and private land owners
  • Multi-use corridors are supported if they respect property rights
  • Clarify the desired outcomes in order to integrate the various issues and balance conflicting interests
  • Water is widely used by cities and irrigation users – plan for water storage and locations

Healthy environment

  • Focus actions on priorities, achieving all the objectives is impossible
  • Enforcement needs to be increased – more conservation officers are needed
  • Backcountry users should pay a fee directed to an enforcement fund
  • Headwaters are a primary resource and should be a priority
  • Wetland protection principles are supported, identified as very important
  • Waterways need to be protected from livestock and ATVs – control access
  • Irrigation systems need incentives and regulations for management
  • Access to water is needed for agriculture
  • Landfill and solid waste disposal is not addressed – should concentrate regional landfills
  • Albertans need to be educated on recreation restrictions and guidelines
  • Government should provide direction and oversight to municipalities on expanding subdivisions – especially in the Castle, Waterton, and Porcupine Hills areas
  • Intent of conservation management areas and the impact on landowners needs to be clarified
  • Biodiversity decisions, policies and management plans need to be based on sound science
  • Comprehensive plan is needed for invasive and out-of-control species; i.e., rabbits, cougars
  • Air quality regulations and penalties need to be enforces – more monitoring is required
  • Sustainable regional and local transportation systems is needed to improve air quality

Healthy communities

  • Direct population growth to less productive land to protect high value agricultural land
  • Regulations sometimes inhibit ability to build dense family housing to deal with population growth – tend to build out, not up
  • Community design should not be addressed in the regional plan – smaller communities have limited resources so integration/collaboration with all involved is needed
  • More consultation with industry is needed
  • Cooperation and collaboration is important to utilize local knowledge
  • Continuity and consistency are needed in planning approaches
  • Trail systems should be emphasized and support commuters
  • Accommodate for future types of recreation users
  • Solidify understanding and agreements with aboriginal people and First Nations

Land-use direction and management intent

  • Specifics and clarity is needed for modified harvesting practices
    • Selective harvesting rather than clear cutting should be used
    • Existing forest is too small for development – leave it along
  • Calgary should pay a levy to address resident’s recreation use in other parts of the region
  • Sound science and data should be the bottom-line determinant
  • Cluster urban development to promote agriculture
  • Native grasslands should be developed in some areas to support economic goals
  • CMAs should prohibit damaging activities
  • Enforce good land-use practices on public land and encourage conservation on private land
  • Maximize tourism promotion
  • Increase emphasis on recreation and tourism in Foothills, however, a comment was also made to decrease recreation activity in the Foothills
  • Limit motorized activities to suitable lands and institute a levy or user fee to support enforcement
  • OldmanRiver basin should be its own regional area.
  • Irrigation needs should be the top water priority 

2 thoughts on “SSRP: Lethbridge

  1. As a landowner who was present at the Lethbridge “stakeholders” session, I would like to point out that this meeting and previous meetings were poorly advertised to us. Of the 6 people at my workshop table, the few “landowners” there had learned of the stakeholder segment by going to previous flow-through information sessions which had followed other stakeholder workshops.
    This fact was acknowledged to me in Lethbridge but hasn’t been mentioned on this blog and I feel it’s important to point out that important stakeholders didn’t get an invitation to provide input.

    • Thank you for your feedback, Mary. This concern has been raised and acknowledged by the team. They are working to fix it for the next round.

      In the meantime, the Land Use Secretariat maintains a database of nearly 7,000 interested stakeholders. If you are not already receiving updates from them, I encourage you to contact their office toll-free at 310-4455 to be added to the list.

      Thanks again for your feedback.

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