The next steps for Lower Athabasca municipalities after the compliance declaration
As the first regional plan developed and implemented in Alberta, the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan has pioneered the way for the province. It also serves as an indicator for what the other region can expect from their current or upcoming regional plans.
The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan came into effect in September 2012 and municipalities had until September 2017 to review their planning documents and declare compliance. Considering the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan was the first of its kind, the compliance deadline for some municipalities was extended past 2017. In the South Saskatchewan region, municipalities are preparing for compliance and have a deadline of September 2019.
Timeline of existing regional plans
|Regional Plan||Came into Effect||Compliance Deadline for Municipalities|
|Lower Athabasca||September 2012||September 2017|
|South Saskatchewan||September 2014||September 2019|
|North Saskatchewan||Under development|
In Lac La Biche County, a challenge in meeting compliance came from ensuring staff and elected officials understood the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan.
Clayton Kittlitz, senior manager for planning and development, said the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan is a “policy direction on how municipalities can craft their local policy documents to put policies and regulations in place that are consistent with the guiding principles or visions of the regional plan.”
For municipalities preparing to comply or implement a regional plan, Kittlitz recommended to not underestimate the process of educating staff and officials.
“It is a big commitment and understanding. Your elected officials and staff need to understand it and how it works and how we can implement it,” said Kittlitz.
“It takes a little work to get there for sure.”