Our Region Our Future - Managing Cumulative Environmental Impacts in the Heartland and Capital Region

Managing Land

Introduction

Municipalities, industry, government and other stakeholders are working together to manage growth and the effects of industrial, agriculture and municipal activities. The Capital Region Board, composed of the City of Edmonton and surrounding 23 municipalities, developed the Capital Region Growth Plan: Growing Forward. The Growth Plan includes implementation strategies in four component areas: Land Use, Intermunicipal Transit, Social and Market Affordable Housing, and Regional Geographic Information Services. Municipalities, industry, government and environmental stakeholders have also developed a series of environmental management frameworks and implementation actions for the Capital Region.

Land use planning is a key strategy for managing growth and the impact of development on, air, water, groundwater, and landscapes. The Capital Region Growth Plan, is one of a number of land use plans throughout Alberta that reflect the vision, principles and outcomes of the Alberta Land Use Framework. The Capital Region Growth Plan is based on sound planning principles that will allow the Region to: manage growth while minimizing the development footprint; strengthen communities; focus on transit-oriented development; and ensure a strong economy in the future.

Key to the implementation of the Growth Plan is the Regional Evaluation Framework. The Framework requires submission of proposed new municipal statutory plans and statutory plan amendments by member municipalities to the Capital Region Board for approval to confirm the plans are consistent with the Capital Region Growth Plan.

Land Pressures

What We Do Know

  • In 2008, a new soil monitoring site was established based on results of modeling and monitoring. Soil sensitivity maps in the Industrial Heartland have also been refined using modeling and monitoring.
  • There is a shared understanding of the concerns and status of sulphur production and management in the Heartland.
  • In 2009, an Elemental Sulphur Management Framework for the Industrial Heartland was completed by stakeholders. It envisions world-class elemental sulphur management that is sustainable in terms of the environmental, economic and social aspects of development.
  • A wetlands inventory and wetland field assessment has been conducted in the Industrial Heartland.

Land Use Management Framework

Alberta’s Land Use Framework is part of the provincial government’s cumulative effects management approach. It was developed to foster smart growth and support a sustainable economy. It is premised on the following seven strategies for improving land use decision-making in the province:

  • Develop regional land use plans for each of the seven regions that the province has been divided into for the purpose of land use planning that respects the unique needs and characteristics of each region.
  • Create a Land Use Secretariat and establish a Regional Advisory Council for each region.
  • Use a cumulative effects management approach at the regional level for managing the impacts of development on land, water and air.
  • Develop a strategy for conservation and stewardship of public and private lands.
  • Promote the efficient use of land for reducing our environmental footprint on provincial landscapes.
  • Establish an information, monitoring and knowledge system for contributing to continuous improvement in land use planning and decision-making.
  • Include Aboriginal people in land use planning.

The air, water and land initiatives by stakeholders in the Capital Region support the framework. Land initiatives include parameters for soil acidification monitoring, guidance for the management of elemental sulphur (in the form of a Sulphur Management Framework) to minimize human health and environmental risks, the conservation and restoration of wetlands as well as the promotion of biodiversity.

Strathcona County City of Edmonton City of Fort Saskatchewan Lamont County Government of Alberta Environment NCIA - Northeast Capital Industry North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance Strathcona Industrial Association Alberta's Industrial Heartland