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SSRP needs work and review to meet environmental and economic goals for southern Alberta

EDMONTON, AB (July 23, 2014): The final copy of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) released today remains too complex, too intrusive into the property rights of landowners and will be rigorously reviewed by the Wildrose to ensure Alberta is meeting the increasing conservation and economic growth for the region, Wildrose Environment Critic Shayne Saskiw said today.

The SSRP is the second of seven regional land-use plans now approved 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.

Saskiw said the focus on environmental protection of the eastern slopes and water management is long overdue, however, the PC government’s return to a flawed centralized approach failed to address the unique and diverse interests throughout the region from the beginning.

“Having a centralized land use plan for an area covering 84,000 square kilometres and bulldozing the rights of landowners and local authorities in the process was a misguided approach,” Saskiw said.  “What this region needs is a plan that looked to protect the environment and secure economic prosperity by respecting property rights and strengthening the role and voice of municipalities.  Albertans can be assured the Wildrose will be poring over the SSRP to make sure their concerns are heard.”

Under the Wildrose Moving Alberta Forward plan, a Wildrose government would work with local residents and stakeholders to preserve and protect Alberta’s eastern slopes, implement a water use strategy, promote water conservation, protect property rights, develop an Agricultural Land Preservation Strategy and give farmers and ranchers better clarity regarding their access and use of land, water and private property.             

Saskiw said that Albertans can be assured that a future Wildrose government would implement these positive forward looking policies to protect Alberta’s environment and long-term economic prosperity.

“We need to do land use planning that respects the voice of landowners and municipalities while ensuring environmental and economic concerns are properly addressed,” Saskiw said. “Albertans can be assured the SSRP will be closely scrutinized.”