ALSA Q&A – How are Council Members chosen?

ALSA Q&A – How are Council Members chosen?

By: Cindy Chiasson

Question
How will the members of regional advisory councils be chosen?

Answer
Section 51 of the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) provides for the appointment of a regional advisory council for a planning region, including the appointment of members to the council.  Cabinet has the power to appoint the council, although that power can be delegated to the “Stewardship Minister”, which is currently Sustainable Resource Development Minister Ted Morton.  ALSA provides no further detail about the appointment process or the desired qualifications of council members.

The provincial government directly invited a range of stakeholder groups and interests to provide nominations for the councils of the Lower Athabasca and South Saskatchewan regions and selected council members from among those nominees.  There was no public call for nominations.  The council for the Lower Athabasca region was announced in December 2008 and the South Saskatchewan regional advisory council was announced in May 2009.

In the letter inviting nominations for the Lower Athabasca council, the criteria listed for council member selection were:

  • An understanding of the complexity of land and natural resource use in Northeast Alberta.
  • A regional and provincial perspective.
  • Demonstrated expertise (e.g. education, volunteer or work experience) in land use, stewardship and conservation, or resource management.
  • Experience in a sector or community of interest affected by land use issues and experience in strategies to address these issues.
  • Creative and innovative thinking.
  • Have the interest and the time to commit to an intensive, but highly rewarding process.
  • Ability to work collaboratively, in an advisory capacity and under tight timelines.

At a presentation on ALSA and regional land use plans made in October 2009, Morris Seiferling, assistant deputy minister for the Land Use Secretariat, indicated that there would be 15-18 members of the future regional advisory councils.  He said that there would be guaranteed seats for the following interests:

  • Rural municipalities;
  • Urban municipalities;
  • Agriculture;
  • First Nations; and
  • The federal government.

All other seats would be open to be filled by interests relevant to the particular region.

Bottom line, ALSA leaves the details of appointment of regional advisory councils to be determined by Cabinet and so far no specific process that would apply to all regions has been made public.

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