Transfer of Development Credits

 

Transfer of Development Credits

A tool to help communities deal with rapid conversion of their valued landscapes, while simultaneously promoting appropriate landscape development

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities deal with the rapid conversion of their valued landscapes, while simultaneously promoting appropriate landscape development?

The Project

The Transfer of Development Credits (TDC) tool is designed to help communities deal with the rapid conversion of their valued landscapes, while simultaneously promoting appropriate landscape development. The tool allows for the transfer of development potential from areas less suited to development (based on a community desire to see its character and function maintained), to areas more suited to increased development (based on their capacity to accept greater development activity).

The TDC website was developed as a resource for Alberta communities, to assist them in better understanding what a TDC program is, and how it can be used to conserve valued landscapes.


A Practical Guide to Transfer of Development Credits (TDCs) in Alberta

 

Organization

This project was undertaken by

Miistakis Institute

Status

Completed in

2013

Supporters

Alberta Real Estate Foundation

Anonymous Donor

Managing Recreation on Public Land: How Does Alberta Compare?

 

Managing Recreation on Public Land: How Does Alberta Compare?

This review by the Environmental Law Centre (ELC) compares the legal framework for recreation management in Alberta to other Canadian provinces and US jurisdictions

The Issue / Idea

How does Alberta regulate recreational impacts on the landscape? How does it compare to other jurisdictions? What challenges does it face in regulating recreational impacts on land and how might we go about it in the future?

The Project

Recreational use of public land in Alberta is creating significant management challenges as the demands for recreational opportunities and the impacts of recreational activity are increasing together. These challenges are shared by many western jurisdictions and have intensified in recent decades due to increases in motorized recreation. This review by the Environmental Law Centre (ELC) compares the legal framework for recreation management in Alberta to other Canadian provinces and US jurisdictions. These comparisons include the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, the US Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, and the States of Colorado, Utah and Oregon. The original report is expanded to consider Quebec and New Brunswick in the Addendum published in 2016.

The comparisons focus on three legal barriers to on-the-ground management actions in Alberta that were identified in advance of the research. These are:

    • mandates to manage recreation on public lands;
    • funding for recreation management programs; and,
    • liability for injuries on recreation trails.

The review also explores two questions relevant to recreation policy development in Alberta:

    • how motorized recreation is typically managed as compared to non-motorized recreation; and,
    • how options for improving recreation management under existing legislation compare to the option of legislative reform.

Managing Recreation on Public Land: How Does Alberta Compare?

Managing Recreation on Public Land: How Does Alberta Compare? Addendum

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Environmental Law Centre

Status

Completed in

2016

Supporters

Alberta Law Foundation

The Calgary Foundation

Glen and Lois Mumey

Good Riddance: Waste Management Law in Alberta

 

Good Riddance: Waste Management Law in Alberta

A primer on the waste management system in Alberta

The Issue / Idea

Waste management poses a challenge across jurisdictions. What is the regulatory framework around waste management in Alberta?

The Project

Garbage is often considered to be the stuff we no longer need or want. We put it out of sight. We bury it, we burn it, we dump it, we hide it. Garbage is a nuisance and a bother. Unfortunately, the truth is that garbage can be much worse than a nuisance. A general term for garbage, and the term that will be used throughout this report, is “waste”. Waste is defined by what we do with it and how we choose to handle it and the definition can be contentious – as you will read in a later section. If we have no use for certain materials other than to dispose of them, then these materials are often considered to be waste, with the rules for their safe disposal set out in our laws and regulations. Waste can also be defined by type, or where it comes from. For example, separate laws in Alberta deal with biomedical waste or agricultural waste. There is also a differentiation between waste and recycling. This report is designed to provide an overview of the law that applies to waste management in Alberta, including a summary of the governing statutes and regulations.

This report is a primer on the waste management system in Alberta and as such some areas are not dealt with in the repot including sewage treatment; air and water emissions; intensive livestock operations; contaminated sites; and specific municipal waste bylaws.


Good Riddance: Waste Management Law in Alberta, 3rd Edition

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Environmental Law Centre

Status

Completed in

2020

Supporters

Alberta Law Foundation

Agricultural Lands Law and Policy in Alberta

 

Agricultural Lands Law and Policy in Alberta

Highlighting and describing the legislative context for agricultural land uses in the province

The Issue / Idea

Agricultural lands and agricultural uses can provide a large suite of social, economic, and environmental benefits. What are laws and regulations that impact agricultural lands?

The Project

Agricultural lands support numerous social, economic and environmental benefits. In addition to making up an invaluable aspect of Alberta’s heritage and culture, social benefits of agricultural lands include food security and valued viewscapes. This project is set out in two phases. Phase 1 (2019) provides a review of the relevant statute and regulation relevant to agricultural lands and their operations. Phase 2 (forthcoming in 2021) outlines approaches (and recommendations) to move toward better conservation of high valued agricultural lands.

This report highlights and describes the legislative context for agricultural land uses in the province.


Agricultural Lands Law and Policy in Alberta

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Environmental Law Centre

Status

Phase 1 Completed in

2019

Phase 2 is

on-going

Supporters

Alberta Real Estate Foundation

Municipal Powers, Land Use Planning, and the Environment: Understanding the Public’s Role

 

Municipal Powers, Land Use Planning, and the Environment: Understanding the Public’s Role

Exploring the nature of citizens’ rights to participate in municipal decisions related to the environment

The Issue / Idea

What is the nature of citizens’ rights to participate in municipal decisions related to the environment?

The Project

Municipalities exercise a broad range of powers that have significant direct and indirect impacts on the environment. Alberta’s cities, towns, and rural municipalities are already key players in waste management, water and wastewater treatment, and land use planning and development. They have the authority to assume a greater role in the regulation and management of natural areas including wetlands, air and water quality, toxic substances, redevelopment of contaminated lands, water conservation, wildlife, and other aspects of the environment within the municipality.

This Guide outlines the legal rights of citizens to participate in decision making on issues related to the environment. The Guide also provides approaches citizens can take in participating in municipal decisions.

It is important to note that there have been some amendments to the Municipal Government Act since this guide was published in 2005. These amendments may have implications for certain aspects of public participation. See the ELC website for further updates on the Municipal Government Act changes.


Municipal Powers, Land Use Planning, and the Environment: Understanding the Public’s Role

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Environmental Law Centre

Status

Completed in

2005

Supporters

Alberta Law Foundation

Renewable Energy for Rural Municipalities

 

Renewable Energy for Rural Municipalities

A project to help municipalities municipalities understand their environmental, social, economic concerns and opportunities, and what support tools they may need to process applications for large scale (over 1MW) solar and wind development in their municipality

The Issue / Idea

What tools do municipalities need to balance development considerations with high value agricultural, ecological, and cultural lands?

The Project

“By 2030, renewable sources like wind and solar will account for up to 30 per cent of electricity generation,” says Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan.

To achieve this goal, large scale wind and solar developments are being proposed and are likely to have direct impacts in rural jurisdictions that have the land base to support them. In discussions with several municipal staff, it has become apparent they are uncertain how renewable electricity regulations and development will affect them. What is their role in the regulatory and approvals process? How do they balance competing interests between agriculture, ecology and renewable development? What do they need to know to make informed decisions?

Miistakis is working with municipalities to understand their environmental, social, economic concerns and opportunities, and what support tools they may need to process applications for large scale (over 1MW) solar and wind development in their municipality. Miistakis will then collaborate with stakeholders to develop the support tools required to inform decision making at the local level.


Renewable Energy Development: Ecological Fact Sheet for Municipalities

Renewable Energy Development: Regulatory Resources for Municipalities

Rural Municipal Wind and Solar Decision Support Tools: Regulatory Context Background Paper

Survey Report: Large Scale Wind & Solar Decision Support Tools for Rural Municipalities Project

Rural Municipalities and Renewable Energy Development: Education Session (January 23, 2018, Brooks, AB)


Rural Decision Support Tools for Renewable Energy Development: Progress Update (Miistakis Institute)

Organization

This project was undertaken by

Miistakis Institute

Status

Completed in

2018

Supporters

Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties

Wheatland County

Municipal Environmental Purpose

 

Municipal Environmental Purpose

A white paper to catalyze discussion on the new municipal purpose ‘to foster the well-being of the environment’, introduced in Alberta’s revised Municipal Government Act of 2017

The Issue / Idea

How do municipalities consider the revised Municipal Government Act’s (2017) added a new purpose for municipalities: to foster the well-being of the environment?

The Project

The well-being of Alberta’s natural environment is heavily dependent on decisions made at the municipal level. The overhaul of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) recognized this with a new purpose for municipalities: “ to foster the well-being of the environment.” However, there was no accompanying policy direction as had been the case with other revised elements of the Act.

Since that time, several municipalities have begun trying to interpret this new purpose in varied ways, risking the creation of isolated and inconsistent approaches. This paper is intended to be an initial step to better understanding the implications of this significant change in the MGA.

While the literature offers little insight into the concept of “well-being of the environment”, there was clearly an intent behind this phrasing, so it is therefore worthwhile understanding the three critical elements – foster, well-being, and environment – informed by definitions, common usage, and associated legislation.

It is significant that the inclusion of ‘well-being of the environment’ in the Municipal Government Act was codified as a municipal purpose inserted immediately after the “good government” purpose, suggesting it should be interpreted more pervasively than the specific ‘service, facility, safety, and viability’ purposes.

Even with definitional clarity, municipalities are still challenged with understanding how decision-making processes would be affected. The authors suggest a common set of process characteristics be clearly reflected in municipal policy or decision rationale: Due Consideration, ‘Two Roads’ Assessment, Proactive Approach, Measured and Evaluated, and Liability Mitigation. Undertaking this approach would have the benefits of reinforcing current efforts, supporting regulatory alignment, enabling innovation, and increasing clarity and accountability.

Recognizing it would not be possible to comprehensively describe all discrete decision making circumstances, but that greater direction is needed, the authors suggest ‘categories’ based on the wellbeing of the environment powers in the Big City Charters.

Implementation of the well-being of the environment purpose will need to be embedded in municipal governance and regulatory frameworks, including bylaws, plans, policies, strategies, and measurements, with tool choice dependent on the specific environmental application or media.

More work is now needed to clarify the environmental decision-making areas affected (or created) by this new purpose, and to offer pragmatic direction for municipalities with regard to implementation. That work prerequires a broader conversation amongst municipalities to come to some consensus, and high level policy direction from Municipal Affairs.


BRIEF: ‘TO FOSTER THE WELL-BEING OF
THE ENVIRONMENT’:
INTERPRETING ALBERTA
MUNICIPALITIES’ NEW PURPOSE

‘TO FOSTER THE WELL-BEING OF
THE ENVIRONMENT’:
INTERPRETING ALBERTA
MUNICIPALITIES’ NEW PURPOSE

 

Organization

These assessments were undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

The Environmental Law Centre

Status

Completed in

2019

Supporters

The Miistakis Institute

Municipalities and Brownfields

 

Municipalities and Brownfields

Part 4 of the Municipalities and Environmental Law Series

The Issue / Idea

Municipalities need to better understand what authority they have to regulate brownfields within their boundaries.

The Project

Brownfields are located throughout Alberta and can contaminate the environment, detract from the appeal of communities, and hinder economic and social development. Meanwhile, brownfield redevelopment can provide environmental, economic and social benefits for Albertans. The fourth and final publication in the Environmental Law Centre’s Municipalities and Environmental Law Series explores when and how municipalities can manage and regulate brownfields and their redevelopment.


Report: Municipalities and Brownfields

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Environmental Law Centre

Status

Development of this publication began with the Municipalities and Environmental Law information series in Fall of 2016, and was completed in

June 2018

Supporters

Max Bell Foundation

Anonymous Foundation

Municipal Management of Industrial Development

 

Municipal Management of Industrial Development

Part 4 of the Municipalities and Environmental Law Series

The Issue / Idea

Municipalities need to better understand what they have to regulate industrial development within their boundaries.

The Project

The interface of municipal planning and industrial development poses a challenge for municipalities. The third publication in the Environmental Law Centre’s Municipalities and Environmental Law Series explores the sources of, and challenges to, municipal authority to regulate industrial development within its boundaries.


Report: Municipal Management of Industrial Development

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Environmental Law Centre

Status

Development of this publication began with the Municipalities and Environmental Law information series in Fall of 2016, and was completed in

May 2018

Supporters

Max Bell Foundation

Anonymous Foundation

Municipal Management of Water Bodies

 

Municipal Management of Water Bodies

Part 2 of the Municipalities and Environmental Law Series

The Issue / Idea

Municipalities need to better understand what authority they have to regulate the water bodies within their boundaries.

The Project

Alberta’s water bodies are a precious resource, and their regulation and proper management is essential for, among other things, safe drinking water, healthy aquatic ecosystems, and watershed resiliency. This second publication in the Environmental Law Centre’s Municipalities and Environmental Law Series explores when and how municipalities can regulate the water bodies within their boundaries.


Report: Municipal Management of Water Bodies

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Environmental Law Centre

Status

Development of this publication began with the Municipalities and Environmental Law information series in Fall of 2016, and was completed in

April 2018

Supporters

Max Bell Foundation

Anonymous Foundation