WHEREAS Alberta Sustainable Resource Development is promoting the Open Spaces Alberta (OSA) as a pilot program that suggests it will improve and expand public hunting by providing for increased access, increased habitat and increased wildlife populations; and
WHEREAS local and provincial Fish and Wildlife Associations are in complete opposition to the proposed program being implemented in Southwest Alberta, namely, Wildlife Management Units 108 and 300; and
WHEREAS Sustainable Resource Development has presented the OSA to provincial caucus without advance notice to the general public and without consulting with local municipalities; and
WHEREAS the OSA program appears to promote paid hunting and commercialization of public wildlife within the boundaries of Alberta, which in the past has been unlawful under Section 49 of the Wildlife Act of Alberta; and
WHEREAS the cost of implementing the OSA will become a financial burden to the province by paying landowners for access to their lands;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to immediately stop the implementation of the Open Spaces Alberta program as promoted by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.
The County of Warner No. 5 became aware of many concerns relating to Open Spaces Alberta program on February 22, 2008, and therefore we feel this should be considered an Emergent Resolution.
The County of Warner No. 5 and Cardston County have received numerous ratepayer concerns over the proposed Open Spaces Alberta program being considered for implementation by the Province of Alberta in southwest Alberta. When SRD was approached to clarify the program, most questions could not be answered due to the details of the program not being developed yet. Other concerns expressed issues over the lack of public notification about the program and lack of input from those most affected. There appeared to be more questions than answers.
This program appears to most as paid hunting. It is viewed as an effort to privatize wildlife. The program suggest there was lack of access to lands from private landowners but landowners were not given an opportunity to express whether they felt access was a problem. No analytical assessment has been made available or possibly not conducted to determine whether paid hunting was a proper alternative. Again no data was made available that proves that increased hunting will occur when paid hunting is permitted.
The County of Warner No. 5 and Cardston County support the Past Presidents of the Alberta Fish and Game Association concept that wildlife is a public trust that must be managed in the public interest, however in the Open Spaces Alberta program, it appears that wildlife becomes a private property issue managed by the private sector for a profit motive.
Additional information has been attached and includes a letter from Honorable Premier Ed Stelmach and from the Alberta Fish and Game Association.