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Albertans invited to provide input on next regional plan

posted Oct 26, 2012, 4:38 PM by Action for Agriculture

Consultation for South Saskatchewan region begins next month 
Work on a land-use plan for southern Alberta will focus on water, economic development and conservation needs. A new round of consultations in the South Saskatchewan region starts November 6. 

The Alberta government invites the public, stakeholders and municipalities to offer input on recommendations made by an advisory council for development of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. This is the second of seven regional plans that will be developed based on the province’s major watersheds. The Alberta government approved the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, for Alberta’s oil sands region, in August. It came into effect September 1.

“We must make smart choices about the way we grow to maintain all the advantages Albertans have - abundant resources, jobs and a beautiful and diverse natural landscape,” said Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Diana McQueen. “We know that water and population growth are key issues that will drive change in southern Alberta. It’s time to hear what Albertans think about the advice we received from the advisory council for the regional plan. This is what long-term planning is about - making sure that we consult with all Albertans, including Aboriginal people and municipalities, at each stage in the development of a regional plan.”

Public and stakeholder sessions will be held across the South Saskatchewan region, from Calgary to Cardston to Medicine Hat, from November 6 to December 6. Sessions will also be held outside the region in Edmonton, Red Deer and Drumheller.

The 19-member South Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council met 13 times across the region, between 2009 and 2011, participated in public information, stakeholder and municipality sessions and received more than 100 stakeholder submissions.

Council members were selected for their broad experience and knowledge of the region and included landowners, business people and municipal officials. Other members of the advisory council brought a range of experience and knowledge including industrial, environmental, agricultural, recreation and aboriginal.

The council provided its advice to the government in 2011, based on a government-supplied terms of reference that asked the council to explore the relationship between water, population growth, economic development and land conservation. Water, demand, access and infrastructure needs are critical to the development of southern Alberta and will inform the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. The region comprises about 12 per cent of Alberta’s land base - some 83,774 square kilometres. About 45 per cent of Albertans live in the region which includes Calgary, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Airdrie.

Albertans can also provide their input for the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan through an online workbook, available until December 21. The workbook will also be available in hardcopy at all sessions. The workbook, the Regional Advisory Council’s advice document, council meeting agendas and notes, along with other material concerning the development of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan and the Land-use Framework are available at www.landuse.alberta.ca

Pre-planning for the remaining five regional plans is already underway. These plans will cover the North Saskatchewan, Upper and Lower Peace, Upper Athabasca and Red Deer regions.


Backgrounder: Consultation schedule for the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Wayne Wood 
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

Neal Watson 
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.

The following document has been posted to the Government of Alberta website to view this document online and/or additional information/backgrounder http://www.alberta.ca//acn/201210/331859D8E45A7-AA0A-B36E-1D2EB24F9CB37D0D.html

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