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South Saskatchewan Regional Plan Summary


By Allison Rudzitis and Jennifer Davis

Consultations on the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan ("SSRP") came to a close in February 2014 after starting in November of 2009. This region is comprised of the South Saskatchewan River Basin, the Milk River Basin and the Alberta portion of the Cypress Hills. The result of the consultations is the Government of Alberta's release of the final version of the SSRP, which is a policy planning tool in an effort to align economic, environmental, and social goals. These goals include protection of the environment and conservation, while ensuring recreation and community development and economic growth. The SSRP comes into effect on September 1, 2014.

Public and stakeholder consultation meetings took place over the course of developing the SSRP. During the consultations, over 111 groups representing agriculture, electrical and utilities, environmental non-governmental organizations, mining and oil and gas operators, and the tourism and recreation industry shared their thoughts and opinions.

Primary Areas of Note

  • Eight new/expanded conservation areas, as well as two new and six expanded provincial parks and recreation areas. There will also be new recreation areas for camping and trails.
  • Baselines for Air and Water Quality frameworks.
  • A concerted effort to consult First Nations peoples on uses of land that may impact their treaty rights and treaty uses.
  • Sustainable farming and ranching, energy, and forest management, as well as extension of grazing leases from 10-20 years.
  • Development of sustainable and responsible methods for seeking and extracting energy resources.
  • Maintenance and diversification of the forestry industry.
  • Responsible development of aggregates on public land.
  • Focus on developing and protecting the biodiversity and ecosystems of Regional, Crown land and Private land. This development and protection notably includes the maintenance of Native grasslands on public land.
  • The management and development of healthy watershed systems.
  • The creation and maintenance of safe, responsible transportation systems that can facilitate the future growth of the Province.

Awareness and familiarity with the SSRP may be beneficial to the planning and development of future business operations in the South Saskatchewan region. For questions concerning how the SSRP may affect you and your business, please contact Gavin Fitch.

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