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WHEREAS municipalities have the authority, responsibility and obligation to manage public road allowances and rights of way prudently in the best interests of the community; and WHEREAS there is an increased demand for use of underground space within public road allowances and right of ways to install buried facilities to provide goods and services essential to today’s society; and WHEREAS it is recognized that regulation establishing procedures for ground disturbances near buried facilities is an appropriate mechanism through which the protection of persons, property, the environment and the community may be promoted; and WHEREAS Alberta One-Call is a non-profit organization of over 635 buried facility operators that facilitates communications between those persons who propose to disturb the ground and its potentially affected members;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge all member municipalities to require that all buried facilities within public road allowances and rights of ways be registered with Alberta One-Call;AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties encourage the provincial government to cooperate with, collaborate with and support the stakeholders in the damage prevention process toward the development of a regulatory encompassing of the buried facility damage prevention process as promulgated in the Multi-Stakeholder Damage Prevention Legislation Task Force Position Paper Issue #6 of 23 July 2001.
As a result of an initiative by the Federation of Alberta Gas Co-ops Ltd., the province formed a multi-stakeholder Task Force to look into the issue of infrastructure protection and prevention of damage to buried facilities. In 2001, the Task Force presented its Multi- Stakeholder Damage Prevention Legislation Task Force Position Paper identifying the interests of worker safety, public safety, the protection of the environment, the preservation of the integrity of essential services and putting forward recommendations that included:- Defining fair, reasonable and practicable best practices with regard to the responsibilities of all stakeholders in the prevention of damages to buried facilities and infrastructure protection.- Establishing one set of rules that are fair, reasonable and practicable, and based on best practices, that apply to and can be followed by everyone owning buried facilities or disturbing the ground.The Task Force recommended that the most appropriate way to address and satisfy all stakeholder needs would be the recognition of the one-call system as the interface between the digging community and the owners of buried facilities with all owners of buried facilities registering with and participating in the one-call system and all members of the digging community one-call system for the requesting of buried facility locates. The Task Force also recommended that the most appropriate means to address this matter would be through a provincially enacted regulation.The Executive Summary of the Multi- Stakeholder Damage Prevention Legislation Task Force Position Paper has now been adopted as policy by the Alberta Chambers of Commerce. In May 2005 the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) revised the Alberta Pipeline Regulation by making it mandatory, by May 2006, for all EUB licensees to register with Alberta One-Call.According to Alberta One-Call, in customer satisfaction surveys, the most requested improvement in the damage prevention process is for all buried facility operators to belong to the one-call centre. This is a growing issue with rural municipalities. At the 1999 Fall Convention the AAMDC membership endorsed a resolution from the Municipal District of Clear Hills calling for mandatory participation in Alberta One-Call on the part of all owners of buried facilities. The Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) Board of Directors also provided a letter of support for the Multi-Stakeholder Damage Prevention Legislation Task Force Position Paper.
The AAMDC has no current resolutions or background pertaining to this issue.
Since this resolution was brought forward, activity has happened in this area. Most notably, a court case was filed by Wheatland County on their requirement for Shaw Cable to register their lines with Alberta One-Call. The case was lost by Wheatland and appealed with the support of the AAMDC membership, the FCM and a number of other stakeholders. Unfortunately, the appeal was also lost, legitimizing the CRTC’s power to govern a municipality’s rights-of-way. Though this issue goes deeper than simply telecommunications buried facilities, this court case provides support to the cause that municipalities and provinces do not have the ability to dictate where a company registers their lines. While the AAMDC acknowledges that overarching legislation to this end is not being pursued at this time, this court case puts forward legal impossibilities to achieving this resolution. The AAMDC has done all that it can to support municipalities’ rights in requiring registration with Alberta One-Call and has no avenues left to pursue this cause. Acknowledging the work that has been done, this resolution is deemed to be accepted in principle.