Take part in the SSRP discussions
I would like to inform readers of the present opportunity to contribute to the discussion on the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP), which will affect the entire southern portion of Alberta from the Saskatchewan to B.C. borders.
The Alberta government will conduct public and stakeholder consultations through Nov. 28 at 18 locations.
For a full list, of meetings, see landuse.alberta.ca.
The Wildrose Official Opposition believes in responsible land use planning, local autonomy, protecting the environment, and enhancing property rights.
Unfortunately, the SSRP significantly reduces the autonomy of local municipalities and centralizes decision-making around the provincial cabinet table.
SSRP will force municipalities to conform to the plan once it’s passed, with the province taking enforcement measures should municipalities not comply.
SSRP moves in lock step with the initial version of Bill 28, which proposed to override municipal independence and impose forced regionalization.
While our strong opposition forced a retreat on Bill 28, land-use plans like the SSRP are still moving forward.
Municipalities deserve local autonomy to make their own land-use decisions without the imposition of provincially created centralized planning models.
Another concern that I’ve heard raised is that the SSRP will limit oil and gas development and economic opportunities along the Eastern Slopes, as conservation areas are proposed to increase from 11 to 33 per cent.
While conservation is important, the economic effect of this proposal could present revenue challenges for local municipalities as well as create provincial liabilities to provide compensation to industry.
SSRP may also affect recreation areas and traditional hunting, fishing, camping and as well as ATV trails.
I encourage recreationists to attend a consultation to find out more about how the plan could affect traditional recreation land uses, and residents to attend to have their voices heard and verify how their interests may be affected by the SSRP.
MLA Pat Stier, Livingstone-Macleod
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