+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 15-10F

Provincial Strategy for Aggregate Resources Management

January 1, 2010
Expiry Date:
November 30, 2013
Active Status:
Brazeau County
3 - Pembina River
Industry and Resource Development
Intent Not Met
Vote Results:

WHEREAS aggregate is a non-renewable resource necessary for continued development and maintenance of infrastructure in municipalities throughout the Province of Alberta; and

WHEREAS aggregate resources continue to be widely consumed without consideration of municipal infrastructure priorities; and

WHEREAS the cumulative effect of aggregate resource extraction across the Province of Alberta without a provincial strategy is not sustainable; and

WHEREAS the Province of Alberta does not have a province wide strategy in place for aggregate resource management;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC encourage the Province of Alberta to develop a province wide strategy for the management of aggregate resources through the Provincial Land Use Framework; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that municipalities where the resource is located be given first priority when the Province of Alberta reviews applications for a Surface Material Exploration (SME) or Surface Material Lease (SML) on Crown Land.

Member Background:

Aggregate resources exist within Brazeau County as well as other areas of the province.   Brazeau County has identified a priority to secure access to a long term supply of aggregate for development and maintenance of infrastructure within the County.  Through our search for access to a long term supply, we have learned that the Province of Alberta does not have a province wide strategy in place for the management of aggregate resources.  Further, when Alberta SRD gives consideration to applications for an SME or SML on Crown land, municipalities should be given first priority over industry.

According to the Alberta Geological Survey; “by 2010 over half of the most useful gravel supplies in the current area of supply (Edmonton Region) may be consumed.  Although predictions need refinement by means of additional scientific and economic input they nonetheless confirm that aggregate resources are dwindling rapidly.”

We suggest that there is a need for the wise stewardship of natural resources in the Province, including protection for valuable aggregate deposits.  When we review the provincial priorities cited within the proposed Land Use Framework (LUF), it is noted that this topic is non-existent.   It is our position that the LUF should give consideration, as a priority, to a province wide strategy for the management of aggregate resources.

RMA Background:

Resolution 24-08F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Province of Alberta to establish an Aggregate Payment Levy Review Committee to evaluate and consider changes to the maximum levy rate provided in section 5(2) of Community Aggregate Payment Levy Regulation 263/2005.

The AAMDC’s Municipal Guide to the Sand and Gravel Operations in Alberta was developed to provide a reference on the sand and gravel industry in Alberta for municipalities. The guide compliments and draws from existing documents and resources, specifically sample municipal bylaws, policies and agreements, the Guide to the Code of Practice for Pits, the Guide for Gravel Pit Operators and the Sand and Gravel Resources Process Checklist. The information includes general background and reference information to more specific information on relevant legislation and roles and responsibilities of the municipality and other stakeholders.

Government Response:

Sustainable Resource Development:
When Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) receives an aggregate exploration application under its new Allocation Policy for Commercial Use on Public Land, SRD notifies the associated municipality and gives it an opportunity to comment on the application and indicate whether it wants to reserve part or all of the aggregate for public works.  Under the Municipal Government Act, a development permit is required from the municipality before the start of any operations.
The policy requires SRD to work with the Ministries of Infrastructure and Transportation and local municipalities to ensure public works needs are considered prior to major allocation decisions (applications greater than 80 acres).  Municipalities, as well as the ministries of Infrastructure and Transportation, may identify aggregate sources for public works and may apply for and be issued appropriate dispositions.  Once it is determined that sufficient aggregate is available for both public works and commercial use, an application for commercial use will proceed through a bonus bid process.
The Ministry of Environment administers gravel pits on private land in accordance with the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.  All gravel pits on private land require development permit approval from local municipalities prior to construction.
Under the Land-use Framework, part of the advice provided to government by the Lower Athabasca Regional Advisory Council involved diversifying the economy in northeastern Alberta.  The council listed a strategy to identify and protect high-quality aggregate and mineral resources.  The Government of Alberta is currently reviewing and summarizing the advice and input received on the council’s vision and land-use classification map.
Contact:   Jeff Reynolds, Executive Director, Lands Division, 780-644 1752

Resolution 15-10F calls for the development of a provincewide strategy for aggregate resource management.  Alberta Environment has completed the Surface Water Body Aggregate Policy that provides guidance on where aggregate may be extracted in the province, which fits well with the proposed broader strategy.
New aggregate extraction operations proposed within the active channel of a surface water body will not be authorized by Alberta Environment or Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, with the possible limited exception of preventative and mitigative measures.  New aggregate extraction operations proposed within the non-active area of a surface water body will only be considered for authorization when the proponent implements recognized best management practices including buffer zones and siltation control.  A risk assessment may be required for key issues identified during the review process of a conceptual plan application.  Guidance principles involve existing approved operations, undeveloped operations, and emergency situations.
The Surface Water Body Aggregate Policy was developed through active participation of a review committee consisting of, but not limited to, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta Environment, Alberta Transportation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and representatives of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties and industry.
Contact:   Augustus Archampong, Legislation and Regulation Specialist
Provincial Policy Coordination, 780-644-1123


In responding to this resolution, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development noted that it offers municipalities the opportunity to request aggregate reserves for public works.  In addition, Alberta Environment made strides towards the management of aggregate as it relates to water.  However, the response lacked any indication that a province-wide strategy for the management of aggregate resources would be undertaken.  After meeting with multiple government ministries since this resolution was endorsed in 2010, it became apparent that this is not a current area of priority. 

The AAMDC is undergoing a study which will outline existing legislation and policy, identify existing aggregate resource locations in Alberta and outline current management and allocation process and identify potential solutions to promote a system of more equitable access. The study is scheduled for completion in early Fall 2013 and will be shared with members and applicable stakeholders.  Until such time that the Government of Alberta formally develops a provincial strategy for the management of aggregate resources, the status of this resolution will remain Unsatisfactory. 

Provincial Ministries:
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development,
Treasury Board and Finance
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