Province asks for input on the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan
The Alberta government is asking residents and municipalities to provide input on recommendations made by an advisory council for development of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP).
From Nov. 6 to Dec. 6, the Province is hosting a number of public and stakeholder sessions across the South Saskatchewan region, which includes about 45 per cent of Albertans living in the cities of Calgary, Airdrie and Lethbridge, as well as a number of municipalities including Rocky View County. The region comprises about 12 per cent of Alberta’s land base - 83,774 square kilometres.
Sessions will also be held outside the region in Edmonton, Red Deer and Drumheller.
The SSRP is the second of seven regional plans that will be developed based on Alberta’s major watersheds. The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, for Alberta’s oilsands region, came into effect Sept. 1. Work on the other plans is already underway.
Rocky View County Reeve Rolly Ashdown encourages residents to make their voice heard.
“Residential input is always desired,” said Ashdown. “It’s the individual opinion that makes the difference. Let all the people that are asking you know how you feel.”
Ashdown said the document will provide a framework to give guidance to municipalities.
“We don’t see it as a governing body or a governing document, we see it as guiding document,” said Ashdown. “We are happy to have input into it. We see the initiative is intended to have good long-term planning, to give a framework. We don’t see it as a tool that is going to change anyone’s autonomy.”
According to a press release issued by the Province, work on a land-use plan for southern Alberta will focus on water, economic development and conservation needs.
“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.”
Between 2009 and 2011, the 19-member South Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council met 13 times across the region. The group 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. Membership included several Rocky View-area residents such as former chair of the Reeve’s Task Force on Growth Planning Stan Church; Lisa Maria Fox, executive director of Sustainability Resources; former Airdrie mayor Linda Bruce and Gord Lehn, of Spray Lake Sawmills.
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.
Area sessions will take place at the following locations between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
At Calgary’s Raddisson Hotel Calgary Airport, located at 2120 16 Ave. NE on Nov. 13. In Airdrie at the Best Western Regency Inn, located at 121 Edmontrail SE on Nov. 20. IN Cocrhane on Nov. 22 at The Ranchehouse, located at 101 Ranchehouse Road. In Okotoks at Foothills Community Centre, located at 4 204 Community way on Nov. 28.
In Strathmore on Nov. 29 at the Strathmore Centennial Civic Centre, located at 120 Brent Blvd.
Albertans can provide their input online until Dec. 21.
For more information or to provide input online, visit www.landuse.alberta.ca