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Nature and Effect of Regional Plans


  

Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA)

Established the legal basis for the development of regional plans under the Land-use Framework.

Alberta Land Stewardship Regulation

Provides clear rules for Albertans concerning the implementation of regional plans under the Land-use Framework.

 

 

The Land-use Framework and Alberta Land Stewardship Act both call for a regional plan for each of seven watershed-based regions to balance economic, environmental and social objectives. The boundaries between planning regions have been legally defined and come into force when regional plans are approved. Regional plans will manage the environmental and community effects of development within the combined impact of all activities. Regional plans also will support conservation and stewardship, and address Albertans’ community, infrastructure and recreational needs.

 

- Excerpt from Government of Alberta Information Bulletin (August 2011) -

 

Authority of Regional Plans

 

Through ALSA, the Lieutenant Governor in Council can establish planning regions and amend boundaries, make or amend plans, and make regulations related to regional plans. Before a plan is made or amended, the Stewardship Minister must ensure appropriate public consultation and present a report of findings to Executive Council. The Stewardship Minister will also lay before the Legislative Assembly the proposed plan or amendment.

 

 

Legal Nature of Regional Plans

 

ALSA states that:

 

13(1) A regional plan is an expression of the public policy of the Government and therefore the Lieutenant Governor in Council has exclusive and final jurisdiction over its contents.

 

(2) Regional plans are legislative instruments and, for the purposes of any other enactment, are considered to be regulations.

- Excerpt from Alberta Land Stewardship Act (current as of 2011) -

 

 

Regional plans are legal and binding once they have been publicly consulted on and approved by Cabinet.

 

If there is a conflict or inconsistency between a regional plan and a regulation under any Act, the regional plan prevails. If there is a conflict between an Act and a regional plan, the Act prevails. If there is a conflict between ALSA and any other Act, ALSA prevails.

 

  

Binding Effect of Regional Plans

 

Approved regional plans have a binding effect:

  • Regional plans bind the Crown, local government bodies, decision-makers, and others;
  • Related business and affairs must comply with regional plan objectives;
  • Actions to respond to an emergency do not contravene a regional plan;
  • Regional plans can provide for exceptions and exemptions. 

 

 

Access to the Courts

 

ALSA respects all rights to appeal and due process. Albertans are protected by a strong and accessible court system. ALSA also provides additional, efficient processes for Albertans to request compensation, a review or a variance in relation to a regional plan.

 

 

Request for Review, Variance or Compensation

 

Regional plans will be public policy and take effect through processes allowed by the law. All decisions that implement regional plans will be made through existing laws – the Municipal Government Act, the Forest Act, the Surface Rights Act, and so on. All rights to appeal, requirements for due process and compensation that Albertans enjoy under those laws remain in effect.

 

Through the Alberta Land Stewardship Regulation, clear rules are in place under which Albertans can ask for a review (Form LUS-01, 4 pages) of a regional plan, request a variance to a plan and apply for compensation (Form LUS-03, 3 pages) in appropriate cases.

The regulation supports regional planning under Alberta’s Land-use Framework and its legislation, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act, formerly Bill 36. The Act was amended (in) spring to clarify government’s respect for property rights, including rights to appeal decisions and to fair compensation when land is needed for a public purpose.

 

Any Albertan who feels directly and adversely affected may request a mandatory review of a regional plan. Title holders who face unnecessary hardship may apply for a variance (Form LUS-02, 5 pages) from one or more provisions in a regional plan. In some circumstances, they may apply for compensation from the Crown, such as in the case of conservation directives (Form LUS-04, 3 pages) placed on land they still own.

 

Landowners can apply for compensation if they believe they have been the subject of a compensable taking. That is, if landowners believe that a regional plan has taken away a property right, title or interest for which they should be compensated. If agreement on compensation cannot be reached, the landowner can apply to the compensation board or the courts.

 

Under the regulation, the Minister may appoint panels from a roster of existing boards, the private sector and government to provide arm’s-length, expert reviews of regional plans, variances and compensation applications. This flexible approach allows experts on different subjects to be appointed as may be required. A title holder may appeal decisions to the Land Compensation Board, the courts, or, in the case of Métis Settlement land, to the Métis Settlement Appeal Tribunal Land Access Panel.

 

- Excerpt from Government of Alberta Information Bulletin (August 2011) -

 

 

Refer directly to the Alberta Land Stewardship Act and the Alberta Land Stewardship Regulation for important rules, deadlines, procedures and more.

  

 

Compliance Declarations

 

ALSA, Section 20 regarding local government bodies and Section 21 regarding decision-making bodies state that:

 

When a regional plan is made, every local government body/decision-making body affected by the regional plan must

 

(a) review its regulatory instruments, and

(b) decide what, if any, new regulatory instruments or changes to regulatory instruments are required for compliance with the regional plan.

 

Every local government body/decision-making body affected by the regional plan must, within the time set in or under, or in accordance with the regional plan,

 

(a) make any necessary changes or implement new initiatives to comply with the regional plan, and

(b) file a statutory declaration with the secretariat that the review required by this section is complete and that the local government body is in compliance with the regional plan.

- Excerpt from Alberta Land Stewardship Act (current to 2011) -

 

Any person may make a written complaint if they believe a regional plan is not being complied with. Those wishing to make a written complaint must complete theComplaint of Non-compliance with a Regional Plan form and submit it by mail, email or fax to:

 

Land Use Secretariat

9th floor, Centre West Building

10035 - 108 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 3E1

Email: LUF@gov.ab.ca

Fax: (780) 644-1034

 

For additional information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the submission of a Complaint of Non-compliance with a Regional Plan.