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Lower Athabasca Regional Advisory Council


Status: RAC advice provided. Mandate fulfilled. 


Lower Athabasca Regional Advisory Council Advice to the Government (2010)



At the end of March 2010 the Lower Athabasca RAC concluded its work by presenting its advice to government. This advice document, which is not a Government of Alberta document, is highlighted below.


Terms of Reference for Developing the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (2009)


The government asked the RAC for advice through the Terms of Reference on four key areas for the Lower Athabasca Region: economic growth and development; land conservation; regional air and water thresholds; and human development.


Lower Athabasca Regional Advisory Council Members (2009)


Seventeen people from industry, agriculture, environmental interests, aboriginal and other groups were on the Regional Advisory Council. Members were expected to provide their advice, insight and perspective.

Lower Athabasca Regional Advisory Council Team Charter (2009)


RAC's Team Charter outlines the purpose, philosophy and guiding principles, roles and responsibilities, code of conduct, operating protocols and more to facilitate development of strategic advice and recommendations to the Government of Alberta.  



The Lower Athabasca Regional Advisory Council (RAC) was established on December 16, 2008. It completed its mandate in March 2010 by providing its advice to government. The RAC met 13 times in communities across the region and in Edmonton. The 17-member RAC included a cross-section of interests, including municipal, industry (forestry, energy), aboriginal and environmental. Members from Treaty 6, Treaty 8 and the Métis Settlements also sat on the RAC.



Lower Athabasca Regional Advisory Council Advice


Advice to the Government of Alberta Regarding a Vision for the Lower Athabasca Region (2010) provides recommendations on economic growth, land conservation, air and water thresholds, and human development needs in the region; as guided by a terms of reference. Recognizing the oil sands are a primary industry for this region, the terms of reference directed the council to consider options for addressing industry growth while also looking to increase conservation areas, and develop options for enhanced recreation and tourism.


The vision is based on 18 months of discussion and more than 100 stakeholder submissions. It also reflects the broad expertise of the Regional Advisory Council, whose 17 members included representatives from agriculture, municipalities, environmental interests, energy, forestry, First Nations and Métis communities.


- Excerpt from Government of Alberta News Release (August 26, 2010) -


Lower Athabasca RAC’s Vision Statement


    The Lower Athabasca Region is an exceptional mosaic of peoples, communities, forests, rivers, wetlands, lakes and grasslands that are cared for and respected. It is a vibrant, dynamic region that is a major driver of the Canadian economy supported by strong, healthy, prosperous and safe communities. Sustainable economic, social and environmental outcomes are balanced through the use of aboriginal, traditional and community knowledge, sound science, innovative thinking, and accommodation of rights and interests of all Albertans.



Highlights of RAC's Advice


RAC's advice outlines four key areas that government asked RAC to provide advice on:


  • Economic growth and development
  • Land conservation objectives
  • Regional air and water thresholds
  • Human development considerations.


    Terms of Reference

    Highlights of Regional Advisory Council Advice

    Economic growth and development

    • Consider three oil sands development scenarios within desired cumulative environmental thresholds
    • resource development the primary, not only, priority
    • explore strategies to address potential timber shortfalls from oil sands expansion
    • Suggested five new land-use classifications to guide land-use decisions: agriculture; conservation; mixed-use resource; population centres; and recreation and tourism
    • Minimize the land disturbance of industry through better coordination
    • More aggressive reclamation and reforestation
    • Mitigate timber shortfalls through strategies that include enhanced forest management
    • Plan infrastructure for anticipated growth

    Land conservation objectives

    • Identify lands to meet conservation objectives of 20 per cent of the region, considering areas;
    • with little or no industrial activity
    • that support Aboriginal traditional use
    • that represent biodiversity in the region
    • that are of sufficient size and connectivity
    • Feasibility of conserving more than 20 per cent while achieving economic objectives
    • Identified landscapes that contribute to the 20 per cent conservation objective
    • Identified landscapes to contribute to the
      greater than 20 per cent conservation objective
    • Use management plans in conservation areas to optimize ecosystem integrity

    Regional air and water thresholds

    • Establish regional air and water thresholds for;

          - surface and groundwater

          - nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide  


    • Develop management plans for NOX and SO2 within six months of approving the regional plan, that include triggers, thresholds and critical loads
    • Improve regional monitoring and reporting

    Human development considerations

    • Options for tourism development with emphasis on Lakeland Country
    • Options for recreational development, including activities on public land
    • General location of major transportation and utility corridors and planning considerations for specific locations
    • Economic development impact on population growth and labour needs
    • Impact on Aboriginal communities, including treaty and constitutional rights
    • Identified potential new recreation and tourism lands
    • Better management of public access to public lands
    • Suggested general locations of corridors
    • Plan proactively for population growth as a result of new resource developments
    • Develop formal roles and responsibilities for Aboriginal peoples in land-use planning and to achieve regional objectives



     - Excerpt from Government of Alberta News Release (August 26, 2010) -



    Lower Athabasca RAC's recommended Land-use Classification Map (2010) as well as a series of land-use and resource maps are available for viewing and downloading from Maps and Shapefiles under the category: Lower Athabasca Regional Plan - RAC Advice. ESRI shapefiles are also available for detailed spatial analysis and custom mapping. 



    Outcomes and Objectives


    The RAC advice document discusses eight broad outcomes, based on the terms of reference, which support the province-wide outcomes in the Land-use Framework. For each outcome, a number of objectives are set, along with strategies for reaching each objective. These outcomes and objectives reflect a balance of economic, environmental and social needs.

    1. the economy of the region grows and diversifies
    2. infrastructure and community development needs are anticipated, planned and provided effectively and efficiently
    3. economic growth is achieved through integrity and respect for management systems
    4. land uses are responsible and sustainable to conserve ecosystems and biodiversity
    5. the integrity of air and water are managed through responsible stewardship
    6. people-friendly communities are created throughout the region
    7. aboriginal peoples rights, traditional uses and values are respected and reflected in planning
    8. a variety of recreation opportunities are available.



    LARP RAC advice to the Government of Alberta, as a response to the terms of reference developed for the region, informed the second phase of public, stakeholder and aboriginal consultation and the development of the draft regional plan. 

    - Excerpt from Government of Alberta News Release (August 26, 2010) -



    Lower Athabasca RAC Meeting Notes and Agendas



    March 3-4, 2010

    Notes 13 – Working session - no notes were produced

    February 10-11, 2010

    Notes 12 – Working session - no notes were produced

    January 6-7, 2010


    December 2-3, 2009


    November 4-5, 2009


    October 7-8, 2009


    September 2-3, 2009


    August 4-6, 2009


    July 8-9, 2009 

     LARP-RAC Notes 5: Recommendations on preferred LARP objectives  - (5 pages)  

    June 2-4, 2009 

     LARP-RAC Notes 4: Vision and Outcomes, identify social considerations  - (6 pages)  

    May 6-7, 2009

     March 4-5, 2009    

    January 28-29, 2009