In 2008, SASCI launched a public engagement program to better equip the community to participate meaningfully and effectively in regional land use planning for southwest Alberta.
The first phase of SASCI’s program comprised a series of public information sessions providing relevant information necessary to enable meaningful public dialogue about appropriate land and resource management. The first event was a User Fair, which afforded an opportunity for users and the public at large to better understand the range of uses of the Castle-Crowsnest-Livingstone area, and in particular to appreciate common values and interests, so they can take this information into consideration when contributing to the Province’s planning process.
The second event was a public information session at which Darryl Johnson, Land Use Framework Regional Planning Lead for Southern Alberta for Sustainable Resource Development gave a presentation regarding Bill 36, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act.
The second phase of the public engagement program will focus on providing opportunities for community dialogue about land use. SASCI is now planning its next series of events, which are aimed at providing stakeholders with an opportunity to discuss issues, concerns, and ideas about the land use planning process and the plan itself in a focus group setting. SASCI hopes these sessions will lead to improved understanding of the conditions and issues relevant to land and resource management, and enhanced community input into the planning process. The third and final phase of SASCI’s initiative will involve the preparation of a White Paper summarizing the outcomes of the public engagement program for consideration by the Government of Alberta in its ongoing land use planning process.
The goals and objectives of the public engagement process are to:
- contribute to the establishment of a community-driven integrated land use and resource management plan for southwest Alberta that balances protection and conservation of ecosystem services, wilderness, and wildlife habitat with sustainable economic and social activities;
- improve community capacity to understand relevant issues and engage in meaningful collaborative dialogue to identify consensus-based solutions to land use conflicts;
- promote collaborative multi-stakeholder approaches to identifying land and resource use management options; and
- ensure community input is integrated into ongoing provincial government policy development and planning processes.
SASCI's land use planning public engagement program is supported in part by Alberta EcoTrust and Alberta's Rural Community Adaptation Program.