There are several provincial documents and pieces of legislation that are relevant to planning and development in Foothills County. The principal ones are as follows:
The Municipal Government Act
In Alberta, the Municipal Government Act (MGA) outlines the purposes, powers and capacity of Municipalities and how they may be formed, dissolved or amalgamated. The MGA also describes in general how municipalities are to be organized administrated and governed and lays out specific powers such as assessment and taxation.
Part 17 of the Municipal Government Act (sections 616-697) contains most of the provisions relating to land use planning.
A copy of the Municipal Government Act can be viewed on the Government of Alberta Queen's Printer website.
The Provincial Land Use Framework
The Land Use Framework was published on December 3, 2008. The purpose of the Framework is to assist Alberta municipalities in better managing public and private lands and natural resources, enabling them to sustain growing economies, balanced with social and environmental goals. It consists of seven strategies designed to improve land-use decision-making in Alberta.
Highlights of the Framework:
The highlights of the plan include: The creation of seven land-use regions congruent with Alberta's major watersheds and rural municipal boundaries each of which will develop a regional plan; The introduction of the implementation of cumulative effects management; The notion that there should be a strategy for conservation and stewardship on private and public lands and; The establishment of an information, monitoring and knowledge system to contribute to continuous improvement of land-use planning and decision making.
A copy of Alberta's Land Use Framework can be viewed on the Alberta Government website or you can find it here.
Alberta Land Stewardship Act
The Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) was proclaimed on October 1st, 2009. It created the legal authority necessary to implement the Land Use Framework. The ALSA allows the Alberta Cabinet, through integrated regional plans, to set objectives for each of the seven regions and then to provide the necessary leadership and direction to meet these objectives.
In addition, the ALSA allows for the establishment of the Land Use Secretariat, whose purpose will be to support the development and implementation of the framework.
A copy of the Alberta Land Stewardship Act can be viewed on the Alberta Government Queen's Printer website.
Subdivision and Development Regulation
The Subdivision and Development Regulation was instituted under the Municipal Government Act. This regulation dictates how municipalities administer the subdivision and development processes. It outlines the agencies that subdivision and development applications must be referred to, relevant considerations for approvals of applications, and conditions that may be imposed on landowners who make applications for development or subdivision.
A copy of the Subdivision and Development Regulation can be viewed on the Alberta Government Queen's Printer website.
Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act
The Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, proclaimed in 1993, supports and promotes the protection, enhancement and wise use of Alberta's natural capital. Specifically, the Act empowers Alberta Environment to develop regulations, standards, and guidelines to protect Alberta's air, land and water.
Section 2 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act outlines the purpose of the Act as supporting and promoting the protection, enhancement and wise use of the environment while recognizing the following:
- the protection of the environment is essential to the integrity of ecosystems and human health and to the well-being of society;
- the need for Alberta's economic growth and prosperity in an environmentally responsible manner and the need to integrate environmental protection and economic decisions in the earliest stages of planning;
- the principle of sustainable development, which ensures that the use of resources and the environment today does not impair prospects for their use by future generations;
- the importance of preventing and mitigating the environmental impact of development and of government policies, programs and decisions;
- the need for Government leadership in areas of environmental research, technology and protection standards;
- the shared responsibility of all Alberta citizens for ensuring the protection, enhancement and wise use of the environment through individual actions;
- the opportunities made available through this Act for citizens to provide advice on decisions affecting the environment;
- the responsibility to work co-operatively with governments of other jurisdictions to prevent and minimize transboundary environmental impacts;
- the responsibility of polluters to pay for the costs of their actions;
- the important role of comprehensive and responsive action in administering this Act.
1992 cE-13.3 s2;1994 c15 s3
A copy of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act can be viewed on the Alberta Government Queen's Printer website.
The Provincial Water Act
Alberta's Water Act is a provincial law that focuses on managing and protecting Alberta's water.
The Purpose of the Water Act
The purpose of the Water Act is outlined in Section 2 as follows:
To support and promote the conservation and management of water, including the wise allocation and use of water, while recognizing:
- The need to manage and conserve water resources to sustain our environment and to ensure a healthy environment and high quality of life in the present and the future;
- The need for Alberta's economic growth and prosperity;
- The need for an integrated approach and comprehensive, flexible administration and management systems based on sound planning, regulatory actions and market forces;
- The shared responsibility of all residents of Alberta for the conservation and wise use of water and their role in providing advice with respect to water management planning and decision-making;
- The importance of working co-operatively with the governments of other jurisdictions with respect to trans-boundary water management;
- The important role of comprehensive and responsive action in administering this Act.
A copy of the Water Act can be viewed on the Government of Alberta Queen's Printer website.