The Alberta government released its Land Use Framework in its final form on December 3, 2008 after an extensive period of public comment and consultation. It includes 7 strategies for improving the use and planning of Alberta's landscapes. These are:
- To develop seven regional land-use plans based on seven new land-use regions.
- To create a Land-Use Secretariat and establish a Regional Advisory Council for each region.
- To implement a cumulative effects management system on a regional basis that will manage impacts of development on air, water and land.
- To develop a strategy for conservation and stewardship on private and public lands.
- To promote efficient use of land to reduce the footprint of human activities on Alberta's landscape.
- To establish an information, monitoring and knowledge system to contribute to continuous improvement of land-use planning and decision making.
- To include aboriginal peoples in land-use planning.
One of the key changes that the Land-Use Framework seeks to implement is the movement away from a project-by-project cumulative effects assessment to an assessment of such effects on a regional basis. This could result in key changes to project approvals in the Province depending on the type of project and how heavily the particular region is already being developed.
The Province has expressed its intention to immediately address five priorities to ensure swift implementation of the new Land-Use Framework. This includes the creation of legislation to support the framework, metropolitan plans for the Capital and Calgary regions, the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, and the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. The Province has also changed the names of the regions to correspond with the major watersheds in the areas to express their intention to reflect the integration of the land-use strategies with the Alberta Water for Life water management approach.
To read a full copy of the Land-Use Framework and the news release of the Alberta Department of Sustainable Resource Development, you can access it at: http://www.landuse.alberta.ca/