Albertan residents are invited to provide input on land use in the North Saskatchewan Region, which will directly impact watershed management in the province.
The provincial government is seeking public feedback to help develop the final North Saskatchewan Regional Plan (NSRP), which will enshrine government policies that guide environmental protections, traditional Indigenous land use, natural resource development, local economic growth, and recreation opportunities.
“The North Saskatchewan Region is home to about 1.5 million Albertans, as well as Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, some of the best farmland in the world, foothills and mountains with immense recreation opportunities, and prized headwaters that supply drinking water to many communities,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks. “It is important that Albertans are engaged in building a plan for the region that is good for the environment, good for the economy and good for Albertans.”
NSRP will be the third regional plan developed under Alberta’s Land-use Framework. The North Saskatchewan Region holds the headwaters that supply drinking water to Edmonton and surrounding communities, such as Red Deer. Banff is also included in the North Saskatchewan Region to ensure that the key headwaters for the region are within the geographical boundary. The regional boundaries were based on major watersheds and adjusted to align with municipal boundaries.
To help develop the draft plan, a regional advisory council made up of 27 Albertans was appointed in 2014 to provide independent, strategic advice, analysis, and options to government. The council provided 69 recommendations to government in six topic areas.
Council recommendations were focused on:
- Managing wetlands and lakes as part of watershed management.
- Supporting biodiversity in the region.
- Inclusion of Indigenous peoples in land-use planning.
- Community growth and community land-use planning.
- Management of outdoor recreation.
- Economic development.
The council’s report and recommendations provide important perspectives for Albertans to consider. The government encourages all interested parties, including Indigenous communities, stakeholders and the public, to provide their input and ideas for development of this plan.
The consultation period runs from March 7th to May 4th, 2018. To read the North Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council’s recommendations and provide feedback online, visit: https://www.landuse.alberta.ca.