As landowners and concerned Southeast Alberta residents pore over the latest updates in the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, it is important that before they contribute any sort of feedback on what will become a legally binding document within the Alberta Land Use Framework, they educate themselves on the Framework itself and its history, as well as its accompanying legal document, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act.
The ALSA was first proclaimed into law in October, 2009, but after public outcry regarding property rights, the right to compensation, the right to appeal, and the often vague and confusing wording of many of the bills in the document, amendments were grudgingly made by the provincial government in May, 2011.
These amendments to the ALSA are as follows:
-Consultation: “Under ALSA consultation with Albertans is a legal requirement during the drafting of regional plans. Government must also present regional plans to the Legislature before Cabinet can approve them.”
-Respect for Existing Property: “Amendments to ALSA clarified the original intent of the legislation – to respect the property rights of individuals. ALSA is a clear statement that government must respect the property and other rights of individuals.”
-Compensation: “ALSA does not limit any existing rights to compensation.”
-Access to Courts: “ALSA respects all common law rights to appeal to the courts. ALSA also provides additional ways or Albertans to request compensation, a review of variance in relation to a regional plan.”
-Conservation Directive: ALSA respects all existing rights or land owners. Under ALSA, the only new tool which enables a regional plan to declare permanent protection on private land for environmental or agricultural values is a conservation directive. A conservation directive allows Albertans to retain ownership of their land.”
While improvements have been made with the ‘legalese’ of the ALSA, anybody with a vested interest in the Framework (which according to the LUF is everybody in the province) or in contributing feedback on the most recent SSRP information sessions needs to first educate themselves on the legislation that accompanies it. Once the regional plan is passed in Legislature, it will become law. If your livelihood depends on the land, your future and that of your family will depend on it.