WHEREAS Part 17 of the Municipal Government Act provides for the preparation and adoption of planning documents such as municipal development plans, land use bylaws and area structure plans to ensure orderly, economical and beneficial development and use of land;AND WHEREAS Section 619 of the Municipal Government Act allows the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (AEUB) to supersede municipal authority over land use planning, by stating that a licence, permit, approval or other authorization granted by the AEUB prevails over any statutory plan, land use bylaw, subdivision decision or development decision by a subdivision authority, development authority, subdivision and development appeal board or the Municipal Government Board or any other authorization under this Part;AND WHEREAS Section 619 further states that if an application is received by a municipality for an amendment to a statutory plan, land use bylaw, subdivision approval, development permit or other authorization under this Part, and the requested amendment is consistent with the licence, permit, approval or other authorization granted by the AEUB, the municipality must approve the application thereby restricting or removing the municipalitys decision making authority regarding land use matters;AND WHEREAS there does not seem to be any legislative requirement for municipal development approval or for the AEUB to take municipal interests into consideration when making decisions on energy producing projects;AND WHEREAS land use issues are best decided by locally elected municipal councils, as they know the unique situations of their municipality;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to amend Section 619 of the Municipal Government Act to clearly state that local municipal governments have authority over land use decisions regarding energy producing projects, specifically wind energy projects.
The Province of Alberta has long been known for our natural resources such as oil and gas, fossil fuel and hydro generated energy. With the continually increasing demand for energy, the wind power industry is quickly gaining ground as a viable alternative for fossil based and hydro energy.The Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 has long been an active supporter of the development of wind energy in an orderly and planned manner as an alternate energy source. Council has ensured their land use bylaw deals specifically with this kind of development in order to encourage the industry to establish within our municipality. Wind energy development is not restricted to the Municipal District of Pincher Creek. With the growing demand for power in general, and power produced by wind energy in particular, developers are turning their attention to other jurisdictions to capitalize on their natural resource — wind energy. Under Section 619 of the Municipal Government Act, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board licences, permits or approvals supersede municipal planning approvals. Whether or not the municipality approves the wind energy developments, the AEUB can approve it and the developer can proceed without municipal approval. While the AEUB maintains that they do not operate in this manner, the legislation authorizes them to do so if they choose.Section 619 effectively removes land use issues from the control of the locally elected municipal government. Municipalities need to retain authority over land use issues to ensure wind energy developments occur in the best interest of the municipality from a land use planning perspective.
Resolution 13-99F, approved by delegates to the Fall 1999 Convention, calls for amendments to the MGA which would allow municipalities to exercise development controls over resource industry facilities, in conjunction with the AEUB.AAMDC members also expressed their support for the general principle that municipal governments should retain authority over land use planning decisions when they endorsed Resolution 4-00F (on regulation of intensive livestock operations) at the Fall 2000 Convention.