Under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act, the Land Use Secretariat is required “At least once every 5 years, to appoint a committee under section 63(3)(b) to evaluate the objectives and audit the policies of regional plans for the purpose of determining whether either or both are meeting the purposes of this Act, and to make a public report to the Stewardship Minister on the evaluation and audit.”
The purposes of the Act are to provide a means:
a) for government to give direction in identifying economic, environmental and social objectives;
b) to plan for the future, recognizing the need to meet the needs of current and future generations including Indigenous peoples;
c) for coordination of decisions concerning land, species, human settlement, natural resources and the environment; and
d) to create legislation and policy that enable sustainable development by responding to the cumulative effect of human endeavours and other events.
The government, through a competitive Request For Proposal bid process, selected Elevate Consulting as the committee to conduct the LARP 5-year Evaluation.
In its 5-year evaluation of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, the evaluation committee determined the objectives and strategies fully meet purposes a, c and d of the act (see above), and mostly met purpose b.
While no inconsistencies were found, the committee identified a minor misalignment between the plan strategic directions and regional outcomes where “decision-makers are not best positioned to make future plans, either at a regional or sub-regional” level. The committee identified that clearer alignment of all elements in future plans would be of benefit, and the report is clear that this is not a substantive issue.