Water Matters is concerned with the impacts of land-use change on water. We work to ensure provincial land-use policy addresses water issues.
Alberta's Land-use Framework (LUF) is aimed at addressing growing land-use pressures. As the pressures of increasing land use affect a limited land base, they also affect our water resources. Water Matters is working to ensure water challenges are addressed in the LUF.
The Land-use Framework was the result of extensive public and stakeholder consultation. It is a good first step toward the fundamental changes that are needed to fix Alberta's badly outdated system for land and resource management. Implementation of the LUF will begin later in 2008 with the release of the government's final policy and implementation plan and the launch of the Northeast and Southern regional plans.
The LUF is intended to bring about fundamental changes to the way that the Government of Alberta makes decisions about land and resource use. The Government of Alberta has stated that the LUF "will provide a vision for land use in Alberta and the overall direction needed to manage growth and activities on Alberta's landscape." In particular, it is intended to address the following challenges:
- managing growth, mounting land use pressures and cumulative effects
- reconciling competing demands for land
- ensuring sustainability of land use for ourselves and for future generations
- integrating land-use policies
One of the six strategies within the Draft LUF states that: "Cumulative effects management will be the instrument used at the regional level to manage the impacts of development on land, water and air." The Draft LUF recognizes that the cumulative of effect of multiple activities can place too much pressure on our watersheds, airsheds, and landscapes. The Draft LUF also indicates that the Government of Alberta will develop a process to identify appropriate limits for different types of development at regional levels and where appropriate at local levels. Limits can be in many different forms including limits to pollution to rivers, decisions to limit certain types of development in ecologically sensitive areas, or the adoption of best practices that mitigate development impacts.
Land-use planning will operate within these defined limits.
Under the LUF the province will be divided into six planning regions based largely on major watersheds. Each region will have its own Regional Plan that will act as the legal backbone for most land-use decisions in the region.
For more information on the Land-use Framework and important perspectives from other citizen-based organizations:
- Visit www.albertabydesign.ca to learn more about the Land-use Framework and the efforts of a number of organizations involved in its process.
- Government of Alberta, Draft Land-use Framework, May 21, 2008.
- Kennett, Steven A., and Schneider, Richard R. October 2008. Making It Real: Implementing Alberta's Land-Use Framework. The Pembina Institute and Canada Parks and Wilderness Association (CPAWS) - Northern Alberta.