CALGARY, AB (October 10, 2013): The first draft of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) is too big and too vast to properly protect the complex business and land-owner rights that exist in the region, Wildrose Sustainable Resource Development Critic Pat Stier said today. Stier called on the government to move away from a central planning model and to empowering local authorities before implementing the SSRP. “In the coming months there will be a need for broad consultation into the concerns that will undoubtedly emerge as landowners and Albertans absorb the impacts of this centralized plan,” Stier said. “From the beginning, we have warned of the dangers of central planning. Plans like these are too big and too vast and strip away autonomy from the communities they impact. As a result the rights of landowners are put at risk.” The SSRP is the second of seven regional land-use plans being implemented after the passage of Bill 36, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act, which removed local autonomy from decision making and gives highly centralized ministerial oversight over all land-use frameworks. Stier said he will be holding consultations and town halls throughout communities impacted by the SSRP over the next several weeks to listen to concerns. “The SSRP impacts a vast region with dramatically different needs in different areas. It will have complex impacts on businesses, landowners and municipalities,” Stier said. “We need to ensure their concerns are heard and that this PC government understands it is time to move away from this type of centralized decision making.” The Wildrose has long advocated for an alternative vision for land-use planning. One that protects property rights, restores local autonomy while improving regulatory approvals and makes use of existing tools to respect the environment in the development of lands.
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