+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 7-20F

Amendments to Municipal Government Act Section 619

Date:
November 1, 2020
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2023
Active Status:
Active
Sponsors:
MD of Willow Creek
District:
1 - Foothills-Little Bow
Year:
2020
Convention:
Fall
Category:
Planning and Development
Status:
Sent to Government
Vote Results:
Carried
Preamble:

WHEREAS the Municipal Government Act (MGA) provides for the preparation and adoption of planning documents such as intermunicipal development plans, 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 MGA allows a license, permit, approval or other authorization granted by the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB), the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (AEUB) or the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to supersede municipal authority over land use planning; 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 NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB or AUC, the municipality must approve the application thereby restricting or removing the municipality’s decision-making authority regarding land use matters; and

WHEREAS the NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB or AUC are not legislatively required to consider municipal land use planning bylaws when these Boards approve confined feeding operations, electrical generation or transmission projects; and

WHEREAS the NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB or AUC have approved projects on productive agricultural lands resulting in fragmentation and permanent loss of production; and

WHEREAS section 8 of the South Saskatchewan Implementation Plan for Agriculture requires municipalities to: identify areas where agricultural activities – including extensive agriculture and associated activities should be the primary land use in the region, limit fragmentation of agricultural lands and their premature conversion to other non-agricultural uses, employ appropriate tools to direct nonagricultural subdivision and development to areas where development will not constrain agricultural activities and to minimize conflicts between intensive agricultural operations and incompatible land uses; and

WHEREAS the protection of productive agricultural land for agricultural purposes is a principle stated within many rural municipalities’ municipal development plans and land use bylaws; and

WHEREAS the NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB and AUC repeatedly and consistently approve licenses, permits, approvals and other authorizations without consideration of local land use bylaws and without consideration of the preservation of productive agricultural land;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta urge the Government of Alberta to amend Section 619 of the Municipal Government Act to clearly state that the Natural Resources Conservation Board, the Energy Resources Conservation Board, the Alberta Energy Regulator, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board or the Alberta Utilities Commission must consider municipal statutory land use planning related to the protection of productive agricultural lands when making decisions on licenses, permits, approvals and other authorizations under their jurisdiction.

Member Background:

Section 619 of the Municipal Government Act allows a allows a license, permit, approval or other authorization granted by the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB), the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (AEUB) or the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to supersede municipal authority over land use planning, including 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.

When these provincial agencies consider the issuance of licenses, permits, approvals and other authorizations there are few requirements which statutorily require them to consider municipal planning documents which outline land use priorities and plans – particularly those which include the protection of agricultural land including fragmentation and conversion to non-agricultural uses.

This resolution is intended to initiate a discussion on the amendment of the Municipal Government Act to require the consideration of municipal planning documents with respect to the protection of agricultural land when considering applications for licenses, permits, approvals or other authorizations by the NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB or AUC.

The relevant legislation is below:

Municipal Government Act Section 619 Chapter M-26 RSA 2000

Division 1

Other Authorizations, Compensation

NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB or AUC authorizations

619(1) A licence, permit, approval or other authorization granted by the NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB or AUC prevails, in accordance with this section, 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.

(2) When an application is received by a municipality for a statutory plan amendment, land use bylaw amendment, subdivision approval, development permit or other authorization under this Part and the application is consistent with a licence, permit, approval or other authorization granted by the NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB or AUC, the municipality must approve the application to the extent that it complies with the licence, permit, approval or other authorization granted under subsection (1).

(3) An approval of a statutory plan amendment or land use bylaw amendment under subsection (2)

(a) must be granted within 90 days after the application or a longer time agreed on by the applicant and the municipality, and

(b) is not subject to the requirements of section 692 unless, in the opinion of the municipality, the statutory plan amendment or land use bylaw amendment relates to matters not included in the licence, permit, approval or other authorization granted by the NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB or AUC.

(4) If a municipality that is considering an application under subsection (2) holds a hearing, the hearing may not address matters already decided by the NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB or AUC except as necessary to determine whether an amendment to a statutory plan or land use bylaw is required.

(5) If a municipality does not approve an application under subsection (2) to amend a statutory plan or land use bylaw or the municipality does not comply with subsection (3), the applicant may appeal to the Municipal Government Board by filing with the Board

(a) a notice of appeal, and

(b) a statutory declaration stating why mediation was unsuccessful or why the applicant believes that the municipality was unwilling to attempt to use mediation.

(6) The Municipal Government Board, on receiving a notice of appeal and statutory declaration under subsection (5),

(a) must commence a hearing within 60 days after receiving the notice of appeal and statutory declaration and give a written decision within 30 days after concluding the hearing, and

(b) is not required to notify or hear from any person other than the applicant and the municipality against whom the appeal is launched.

(7) The Municipal Government Board, in hearing an appeal under subsection (6), may only hear matters relating to whether the proposed statutory plan or land use bylaw amendment is consistent with the licence, permit, approval or other authorization granted under subsection (1).

(8) In an appeal under this section, the Municipal Government Board may

(a) order the municipality to amend the statutory plan or land use bylaw in order to comply with a licence, permit, approval or other authorization granted by the NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB or AUC, or

(b) dismiss the appeal.

(9) Section 692 does not apply when the statutory plan or land use bylaw is amended pursuant to a decision of the Municipal Government Board under subsection (8)(a).

(10) A decision under subsection (8) is final but may be appealed by the applicant or the municipality in accordance with section 688.

(11) In this section, “NRCB, ERCB, AER, AEUB or AUC” means the Natural Resources Conservation Board, Energy Resources Conservation Board, Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Energy and Utilities Board or Alberta Utilities Commission.

(12) Despite any other provision of this section, every decision referred to or made and every instrument issued under this section must comply with any applicable ALSA regional plan. RSA 2000 cM-26 s619;2007 cA-37.2 s82(14); 2009 cA-26.8 s83;2012 cR-17.3 s95

RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Provincial Ministries:
Municipal Affairs
Back to Resolutions Database