The new South Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council (RAC) will look at key issues such as water, land use and population growth as it provides advice to the Alberta government to develop a regional plan under the Land-use Framework.
The South Saskatchewan Region ranges from the town of Crossfield in the north to Montana, and from the B.C. border to Saskatchewan. The region includes Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Approximately half of Alberta’s population lives in this region of the province.
The plan will build on work started with the Water for Life strategy, the Provincial Energy Strategy, the Alberta Plan for Parks, the Rural Development Strategy and the draft Calgary Regional Partnership metropolitan plan.
“Rapid population growth and water use are the key issues before the South Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council,” said Sustainable Resource Development Minister Ted Morton. “We have to be smarter about our future growth. Now is the time to manage the impact on our landscapes and watersheds.”
Eighteen members representing municipal and provincial bodies, industry and environmental perspectives have been appointed so far to the South Saskatchewan RAC. Government is awaiting a member from Treaty 7 First Nations and is holding a seat on the RAC for this member. Rob Penny, an Alberta Environment assistant deputy minister, will chair the council.
The South Saskatchewan RAC is the second council established for the seven land-use planning regions across Alberta. The Lower Athabasca council was announced in December 2008. The remaining five will be phased in by the end of 2011.