Moving Past the Tipping Point – Alberta’s new land use system

Moving Past the Tipping Point – Alberta’s new land use system

Moving Past the Tipping Point – Alberta’s new land use system


By: Cindy Chiasson

Alberta’s lands have been subject to ever-increasing pressures by population growth, industrial expansion and competition for multiple uses on the same pieces of land.

In its Land Use Framework, the province stated: “What worked for us when our population was only one or two million will not get the job done with four, and soon five million. We have reached a tipping point, where sticking with the old rules will not produce the quality of life we have come to expect. If we want our children to enjoy the same quality of life that current generations have, we need a new land-use system.”

While the new system offers significant potential for improved decision-making and land use in Alberta, it also reserves vast amounts of discretion for provincial cabinet and has left many of the details still to be developed. On December 9, 2009, Cindy Chiasson, Executive Director of the Environmental Law Centre (ELC), reviewed this system and discussed the Land Use Framework, the new Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA), and development of regional land use plans.

Download the Power Point.

There were several questions asked by session participants, which Cindy will be answering on this blog in the coming days. In the meantime, do you have questions? Comments? Concerns? How do you think the Alberta Government did with ALSA?




The Environmental Law Centre (ELC) has been seeking strong and effective environmental laws since it was founded in 1982. The ELC is dedicated to providing credible, comprehensive and objective legal information regarding natural resources, energy and environmental law, policy and regulation in Alberta. The ELC’s mission is to educate and champion for strong laws and rights so all Albertans can enjoy clean water, clean air and a healthy environment. Our vision is a society where laws secure an environment that sustains current and future generations.

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  • Leah
    Posted at 10:27h, 05 January Reply

    I should also mention that Cindy Chiasson has been making quite a number of presentations on the LUF/ALSA around the province, so if anyone’s interested in potentially bringing her in to speak to your community/organization, drop me a line at and we’ll see what we can arrange. I can also put people on our mailing list for future webinars and other public events.


  • Leah
    Posted at 10:13h, 05 January Reply

    This post is getting quite a bit of traffic, and I got to thinking it might be helpful to let people know that the ELC has put out numerous documents that provide much more detailed comments and analysis on the ALSA. To name a few:

    Alberta’s Changing Land-Use Planning System – (Wildlands Advocate, Nov 2009)

    Vast Control: New land use apparatus blankets Alberta and concentrates power in the provincial cabinet – (Alberta Oil Magazine, Aug-Sept 2009)

    New Legislation Continues Changes to Alberta’s Land Use Planning System – (News Brief, Aug 2009)

    Vol. 23 No. 2 of News Brief (Aug 2008) was themed around land-use planning and is available in PDF format at

    As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, etc. you are very much welcome to post them here or drop us a line at or 1-800-661-4238.


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