WHEREAS the shore areas of the lakes in the Province of Alberta are environmentally sensitive, and vulnerable to damage and destruction; andWHEREAS Provincial legislation is necessary to protect these sensitive areas. However, when more than one legislative act has authority over these environmentally sensitive areas, it is imperative that these legislative acts coordinate their authorities; andWHEREAS the municipalities have adjoining environmental reserves designed to buffer the lakes from subdivision development. The municipalities are charged with legislated responsibility to preserve them in a natural state; andWHEREAS some of the Provincial authorities do not enforce the legislation from the acts that empower them; andWHEREAS the Provincial employees empowered to authorize these individual acts seem to be unaware of the other legislative acts authorized to protect the lake shores as well; andWHEREAS these overlapping and often conflicting legislative authorities make it impossible for the average ratepayer to understand the boundaries of these areas. Most Albertans don’t understand the boundaries of these areas, and where one legislative act ends and the other begins;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Provincial Government to not only coordinate the legislative acts that are attempting to protect lake shore areas, but to also include Municipal Environmental Reserves under their authorization in order to directly enforce the protection of these environmentally sensitive areas.
There is no doubt that our lakes are a precious resource, however the management of the environmentally sensitive shore area surrounding the lakes is a constant source of frustration for local municipalities as well as ratepayers that live by or regularly access the lake shores. Municipalities only have authority on the Environmental Reserve areas that are typically designated at the time of subdivision.These Environmental Reserves are almost always adjacent to Public Lands under the jurisdiction of SRD. However there is also some jurisdiction by the Ministry of Environment and of course Department of Fisheries and Oceans may also have a say if there is any proof that a fish ever passed by.Over the past several years the County of St. Paul has found itself in the unenviable position of between our ratepayers and the Provincial Government in particular the Ministry of Sustainable Resources. This usually occurs when trying to manage ATV traffic which tends to harm the natural fauna on the Environmental Reserves.Our ratepayers are very well informed and those who ride their ATV’s around these sensitive areas know that the municipalities have no authority on Public Lands, and vice versa. However the other segment of the population who want to see the lakeshores better managed have expectations of municipalities and the Province to protect these areas. If the Province would take over the management of all the lakeshore areas including Environmental Reserve there would be a single and hopefully unified source of information and management of these areas and the municipalities would not be caught in the middle of a no win situation.
Resolution 11-05F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta to coordinate the legislation so as to allow both of the levels of government to meet their statutory duties without taking on undue costs through the need for excessive manpower and/or legal fees, and to assist municipalities in the managing these reserves.
In response to this resolution, the Government of Alberta acknowledged that coordination and enforcement are problematic. However, it did not propose any substantive ideas on how to address the issue. Therefore, the association will include this issue in the formal ministerial meeting submission for Alberta Environment, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development and any other relevant ministries. In addition, the AAMDC has requested participation from the AUMA on a joint request to meet with ministry representatives from Municipal Affairs, Sustainable Resource Development, and Environment to explore the issue of improved legislative coordination further. No response to this request has been received from the AUMA.