Status: South Saskatchewan Regional Plan amendment consultation completed
South Saskatchewan Regional Plan Consultation
The Government of Alberta consulted Albertans about enhancing the protection of the Castle area in 2016. Based on this input, the Government moved forward on amending the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. For information on a Castle Parks Management Plan to help govern these newly established or expanded parks in southern Alberta, contact Alberta Environment and Parks.
Consultation on South Saskatchewan Regional Plan
Public information sessions and stakeholder workshops were held in various locations from November 5 through November 28, 2013 to gather feedback on the Draft South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. Workbooks were also completed and submitted by Albertans on or before February 28, 2014. All input during the three phases of consultation was considered in the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, which was released in July 2014.
Contributions from the South Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council, First Nations and Métis communities, stakeholders, municipalities and Albertans informed the development of a plan for the South Saskatchewan Region.
Phase 1: Input on Issues in the South Saskatchewan Region (SSR)
During November and December 2009, public and stakeholder awareness and information sessions were conducted in 16 locations across the region. The purpose of the input sessions was to:
- provide the public and stakeholders with information about the South Saskatchewan regional planning process; and
- gather input on the topics that have been raised in the SSRP terms of reference.
To support these objectives, the Terms of Reference for Developing the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (2009) and the Profile of the South Saskatchewan Region (2009) provided key social, economic and environmental factors in the region to be considered in developing a regional plan.
Approximately 500 people attended the 16 public information and input sessions. The numbers varied from a high of 100 in Calgary to a dozen or fewer in several rural communities. Participants represented a diverse range of interests including: farmers, landowners and residents (comprising approximately half of total attendees); parks and recreation interests, industry (including oil and gas, agriculture, forestry and tourism); various stakeholder organizations (such as environmental, Aboriginal and citizens’ groups); elected officials and staff from federal agencies and municipalities.
The SSRP workbook was designed to gather public opinion on the questions posed in the SSRP terms of reference. The workbook instrument focused on five key areas, namely: priorities for the SSR, economic growth in the SSR, the balance between public benefits and private property rights; landscapes in the SSRP to be conserved, and high value tourism and recreation lands.
The SSRP workbook was undertaken from early December 2009 through to mid-January 2010 as part of the first phase of the public and stakeholder consultation. A total of 1,019 workbooks were completed.
Three Phase 1 documents (provided above) summarize input gathered from completed workbooks and from public and stakeholders consultation sessions. Results informed the South Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council advice to government.
Phase 2: Feedback on SSRP Regional Advisory Council Advice
This second phase of consultation focused on receiving input and comments on the South Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council Advice to Government (2011) by holding a series of open houses, workshops and meetings with the public, stakeholders and municipalities. Public input sessions on the Regional Advisory Council’s advice were completed on December 21, 2012.
SSRP Phase 2 consultations had two key objectives:
- Review the Regional Advisory Council's advice with representatives of key stakeholder groups throughout 17 communities in the region and in Edmonton, Red Deer and Drumheller;
- Seek input and feedback on RAC's advice according to the following questions for the five key topic areas:
1. Vision/Strategic Land-use Principles
2. Healthy Economy
3. Healthy Ecosystems and Environment
4. Healthy Communities
5. Land-use Direction/Management Intent
In total, 682 people participated in 20 community conversations. Turnout was particularly high in the three cities in the region: Lethbridge (118), Calgary (105) and Medicine Hat (61). Many participants identified their affiliation with stakeholder groups when they signed in. These groups included municipal government and administration, industry, environmental organizations, non-government organizations, irrigation districts, agricultural organizations, economic development authorities and landowners. In addition, 295 people provided a written response.
As part of this phase of consultations, the Government of Alberta also offered an online workbook and hardcopy workbook, where people could provide feedback on the Regional Advisory Council's advice. In total, 1,302 completed workbooks were received with the majority submitted electronically. Summary documents capturing input received through these completed workbooks and from all consultation sessions are now available (provided above).
Phase 3: Feedback on Draft Plan for South Saskatchewan
This third phase of consultation focused on receiving input and comments on the Government of Alberta's draft plan through a series of open houses, workshops and meetings with the public, stakeholders and municipalities. Albertans also provided feedback on the draft plan through an online workbook and by attending one of 21 information sessions across the region. All input was gathered by February 28, 2014.
Feedback contributed to the development of the final South Saskatchewan Regional Plan.
Amendment 1: Input on Enhancing Protection of the Castle Area
Albertans were asked to provide input on enhancing protection of the Castle area, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the South Saskatchewan Region. Frequently Asked Questions, an Information Brochure and maps of the Current State and Proposed State as well as shapefiles were available to everyone as input was collected in 2016. Input contributed to the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan amended February 2017.
Amendment 2: The Livingstone and Porcupine Hills Public Land Use Zones and Land Footprint and Recreation Management Plans
Consultation opportunities to provide feedback on the draft plans began in spring 2018 for stakeholders and indigenous communities. A number of participants provided feedback through online surveys open between Tuesday March 27 and Thursday April 26, as well as in meetings with indigenous communities. The information gathered was used to inform the approval of final plans.