Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Alberta Land-Use Regulations Coming

Meanwhile, California isn't the only area with recreational concerns. Sustainable Resource Development Minister Ted Morton has been making the rounds to local business leaders, discussing the government's new land-use framework. He's been pleasantly letting everyone know that "almost no one will be completely happy". Wink-wink.

Morton Sees Backlash Over Land-Use -- Calgary Herald

As he's preparing oil and gas for more paperwork, more costs and more regulations, word is the new regulations will make some things easier for the government's pals in the Alberta government. Others say the energy sector -- used to having its say with the government -- might be in for a shock.

Government Minister Expects Many Albertan Will Be Upset With New Land Policy -- Canadian Press

Certain areas will be more protected from development and there will be new regulations for everything from agriculture to ATVs to resource extraction, with a heavy look at the latter.

The reality is, Alberta is in desperate need of a new land-use policy. Between the rapid development of the oil sands up north to the increase of recreational users of the Kananaskis area thanks to Calgary's population explosion, land-use issues were out of control. Recreationalists might not want to hear it, but our fingerprint on Kananaskis has become very large indeed, from trashed campgrounds during the May long weekend, to the burned out cars left at MacLean Creek (a popular ATV area) to the sheer number of people using the area (try to find parking at the Powderface Ridge trailhead on a summer weekend).

I don't envy the government's task in trying to set regulations that have to take into consideration resource development, the environment, urbanization, agriculture, conservation, recreation, and all of the layers of issues within each one -- I just hope the government has its priorities straight.

This article: Critics Say Clearcutting in Alberta Won't Stop Pine Beetle (CBC News) tells me Morton doesn't quite get it yet.

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