Quick update on Municipal Government Act Review Update

Quick update on Municipal Government Act Review Update

Earlier in the year, prior to the provincial election, several amendments to the Municipal Government Act (MGA) were passed with a stated intention that additional amendments would follow this fall. However, given the change in government, the introduction of additional MGA amendments is being postponed to the Spring of 2016.
An update on the MGA Review can be found on the government’s Next Steps website. The government has indicated that its priorities for the updated MGA are:

 

  • strengthened provincial-municipal relations;
  • greater regional collaboration;
  • more sustainable and inclusive development;
  • further responsibility for land use and environmental conservation; and
  • increased fairness and consistency for Alberta taxpayers.

 

We are encouraged that the government has chosen sustainable and inclusive development and increased municipal responsibility for land use and environmental conservation as two of their priority areas.

 

Municipalities play a key role in the management and protection of Alberta’s environment. In our written submissions in the MGA review process, we recommend the following:

 

  1. Protection and management of the environment is a valid municipal planning purpose and, as such, should be expressly recognized in the MGA.
  2. The MGA should incorporate by-law purposes specific to protection and management of the environment.
  3. The MGA should expand the enforcement tools available to municipalities for the purposes of environmental protection and management.
  4. The MGA should expand the revenue generation options available to municipalities to enable environmental stewardship and, particularly, land conservation.
  5. The MGA should enhance opportunities for public participation in municipal planning processes.

 

The MGA should be amended to require and empower municipalities to manage and protect Alberta’s environment at a local level. Accordingly, we will continue to work to have our recommendations for a strengthened MGA reflected in the forthcoming amendment bill.

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