14 Jan ALSA Q&A – Differences in regional plans?
By Cindy Chiasson
Is there a sense that regional plans would be allowed some significant differences depending on the region or is the government of Alberta more intent on streamlining planning across the province?
So far, it appears that the regional plans will differ depending on the particular region. Plan development for the and South Saskatchewan regions is ongoing. The terms of reference for each region’s plan indicate differences in what the plans may ultimately contain. For example, the primary focus in the Lower Athabasca terms of reference is on economic development through oil sands and timber recovery, while the main focus in the South Saskatchewan terms of reference is on balancing population growth and water supply and demand. Similarly, the Lower Athabasca document directs the Regional Advisory Council to consider a specific target of conserving 20% of the boreal forest in the region, while the South Saskatchewan document makes reference to landscape conservation but does not direct any specific targets. Approval of the final content of the regional land use plans rests with Cabinet. Since Cabinet approves the terms of reference for each region before public release, it is likely that they strongly reflect what will finally be seen in the regional plan.