WHEREAS there are multiple orphaned and abandoned sites across the province of Alberta; and
WHEREAS in many instances, pits established prior to 1978 have been able to operate with development permits that have no expiry and therefore require no plan for reclamation, thereby indefinitely diminishing nearby residents’ quality of life; and
WHEREAS the Government of Alberta collects surface material royalties on gravel and combinations of sand and gravel at a rate of $1.20 per cubic yard;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties encourage the Government of Alberta, in reviewing the Community Aggregate Payment Levy Regulation, to explore opportunities to allocate a portion of future provincial funds received from the levy towards reclamation of orphaned and abandoned sites, should the current levy amount be adjusted to reflect current conditions and should provincial legislation be revised to better enforce the reclamation of gravel pits.
Sturgeon County values the benefits the aggregate industry provides to the Province of Alberta, and wishes to continue working with the industry to provide value to residents and community.
Although the industry brings value to the Province and aggregate is a required resource for infrastructure and the prosperity of Alberta residents and businesses, the location and operations of gravel pits oftentimes place constraints on nearby residents’ quality of life.
Most industrial partners work to ensure residents’ quality of life remains intact to the fullest extent possible, but there are some circumstances, permissible through gaps within the Code of Practice for Pits where such concerns can be ignored, specifically reclamation requirements, for pits established prior to August 15, 1978.
Such operations exist in Sturgeon County and elsewhere in rural Alberta, where a municipality may wish to amend conditions on a development permit governing the operations of a gravel pit in specific regards to when a site must be reclaimed by, but cannot since the pit was established pre-1978. There is often times no incentive for the pit owner to reclaim the site, and much of the impacts on residents’ quality of life is able to continue indefinitely.
Through applying the same rules that pertain to post-1978 gravel pits to such sites, Sturgeon County believes these concerns can be addressed.
As the Provincial Government reviews the regulations associated with the Municipal Government Act later in 2016, exploring funding models within the Community Aggregate Payment Levy Regulation may be an opportunity to better enforce and provide funding for the reclamation of orphaned and abandoned gravel pit sites.
17-15F: Community Aggregate Payment Levy Rate Amendment
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta to renew the Community Aggregate Payment Levy Regulation and to update the maximum levy rate to reflect inflation and the increased cost of infrastructure upgrading and maintenance.
DEVELOPMENTS: The Government of Alberta is currently in the process of reviewing the Aggregate Payment Levy (CAPL) though the direction of the review and whether the maximum rate will be increased is unknown. As such, this review will remain as Intent Not Met. The AAMDC will continue use this resolution to frame its input into the CAPL review and will revisit the status of this resolution upon the completion of the review and update. .
Municipal Affairs: There is no established funding program to reclaim orphan pits and poorly reclaimed pits established prior to August 15, 1978. Alberta Municipal Affairs (MA) is currently reviewing the Community Aggregate Payment Levy Regulation as part of the overall review of the Municipal Government Act (MGA). The Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties has been an active participant in this review, and the province appreciates the association’s input relative to the regulation’s purpose, funding model, and related accountability requirements. This input, along with input from other stakeholders, will be taken into consideration as amendments are drafted.
Additionally, the Sand and Gravel Working Group, under Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), is working with stakeholders to examine a variety of issues relating to aggregate approvals, including the reclamation of these sites.
Environment and Parks: The Community Aggregate Payment Levy Regulation is empowered under the MGA and falls under the jurisdiction of MA, which recently held stakeholder discussions related to the program. MA will continue to review the levy throughout spring 2017, and will consider options moving forward. AEP does not administer this regulation or program.
In response to the Office of the Auditor General’s recommendations, Environment and Parks established the Sand and Gravel Working Group and associated task groups in 2014 to work on key issues and develop options and recommendations for improvement of the Sand and Gravel programs.
The Sand and Gravel Working Group is committed to analyzing and implementing their top priorities, including recommendations of the Office of the Auditor General, but may also
RMA is pleased by the Government of Alberta’s willingness to improve aggregate management and regulations through the release of the revised Community Aggregate Payment Levy Regulation. However, the government has not addressed the possibility of increasing provincial funding to municipalities to address reclamation of abandoned pits. Therefore, this resolution is assigned a status of Intent Not Met and RMA will continue to advocate on the need for funding to support reclamation of abandoned and orphaned pits.