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

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 Land Use Suitability Tool (MLUST)

 

Municipal Land Use Suitability Tool (MLUST)

A project to help municipalities identify where renewable energy (and other land uses) is most suitable in consideration of high valued

agricultural, ecological, and cultural lands

The Issue / Idea

How do municipalities balance development considerations with high value agricultural, ecological, and cultural lands?

The Project

When municipal governments consider industrial scale solar or wind energy development, it immediately becomes clear that not everywhere is suitable for those activities, and not everywhere is unsuitable. For some areas it is a clear-cut ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but most areas sit somewhere on a continuum between those two extremes.

The Miistakis Institute and the Oldman River Regional Services Commission (ORRSC) developed the Municipal Land Use Suitability Tool (MLUST) to assist the municipalities in identifying where renewable energy development is most suitable in consideration of high valued agricultural, ecological and cultural lands.

The MLUST process has been conducted for the Municipal District of Pincher Creek and the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass. For each municipality, the process took six months to complete and engaged municipal stakeholders, made use of existing spatial datasets, and produced a series of map products to inform planning at the municipal scale.

MLUST engaged the municipal council and staff to identify features they valued on the landscape. Each feature was scored by stakeholders to determine each features conflict with wind and solar energy development. The most suitable areas for renewable energy development coincided with low probable conflict rating of other land uses. Renewable energy development suitability areas were also informed by removing No-Go Areas based on provincial, municipal and organizational regulations and Non-Development Areas based on existing settlement and Infrastructure.

The MLUST process can be adapted to determine the most suitable lands for any type of land use, not just renewable energy.

Prior to the development of the MLUST process, a similar process was used with Wheatland County and the County of Newell called the Least Conflict Lands. This process was later refined to create the MLUST process.


Municipal Land Use Suitability Tool (MLUST) for Municipality of Crowsnest Pass

Executive Summary: Municipal Land Use Suitability Tool (MLUST) for Municipal District of Pincher Creek

Municipal Land Use Suitability Tool (MLUST) for Municipal District of Pincher Creek

Executive Summary: Least Conflict Lands: Municipal Decision Support Tool for Siting Renewable Energy Development

Least Conflict Lands: Municipal Decision Support Tool for Siting Renewable Energy Development

Organization

This project was undertaken by

Miistakis Institute

Oldman River Regional Services Commission

M.D. of Pincher Creek

Wheatland County

County of Newell

Status

MLUST Crowsnest Pass Completed in

2021

MLUST Pincher Creek Completed in

2020

Least Conflict Lands Completed in

2018

Supporters

Energy Efficiency Alberta

Rural Municipalities of Alberta

The INTACT Foundation

Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Community Energy Capacity Building Program

Wheatland County

County of Newell

Modelling Developable Lands in a Municipality

 

Modelling Developable Lands in a Municipality

A Planning tool to inform discussions around future development proposals and conservation planning facing municipalities today

The Issue / Idea

Municipalities are faced with development pressure on a continuous basis. How do they balance development considerations with conservation priorities?

The Project

The Developable Lands Planning tool was created to inform discussion around future development proposals and conservation planning facing the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. The tool overlays a series of user-selected map layers, then models them against ‘development considerations’ and ‘conservation priorities.’ Adjustments were done in real time in a multi-stakeholder workshop environment to help participants understand the consequences of various development strategies.


Developable Lands Planning One Pager

Developable Lands Mapping Tool Final Report

Organization

This project was undertaken by

Miistakis Institute

Status

Completed in

2006

Supporters

Municipality of Crowsnest Pass

Nature Conservancy of Canada

Rural Community Economic Development Program through the Crowsnest Pass Business Development Corporation and the Western Economic Partnership Agreement

Working with Nature

 

Working with Nature

Harnessing the power of natural infrastructure to increase municipalities’ flood and drought resiliency

The Issue / Idea

Every municipality has “natural infrastructure,” but what is it, where is it, and how does it relate to flood and drought risk?

The Project

The Working With Nature toolkit was created to help municipalities catalogue their natural infrastructure, and then develop a prioritized plan for better using it to mitigate flood and drought risk. A Primer document was developed to provide a starting point for municipalities to understand the type of information, data, and programs available to inform and support flood and drought mitigation planning.

This free toolkit provides the materials and directions for a municipality to self-navigate through workshops, worksheets, and ultimately a living Workbook. In the process, a municipality will address Goals and Principles, Risks and Hazards, Natural Infrastructure, Actions, and Policy Development.


Working with Nature Toolkit Website

Working with Nature Webinar Slide Deck

Municipal Flood and Drought Action Planning Primer

Adapting to Flooding: An Adapt-action Summary Report

Adapting to Water Scarcity: An Adapt-action Summary Report

 

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

Project was completed in

2019

Supporters

Government of Alberta’s Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program

Town of Cochrane

Water Survey – Wheatland County

 

Water Survey – Wheatland County

Water resources – perspectives of agricultural producers, a survey report

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities better understand the perspective of agricultural producers regarding water resources?

The Project

Wheatland County, located in the grassland natural region of Alberta, has a diverse agricultural community. The county places a high value on conserving its natural capital and has developed extension programming focused on promoting and supporting best management practices within the agricultural community for maintaining and restoring water resources. To guide program development, educational outreach and policies relating to water resources, Wheatland County wishes to better understand the perspective of agricultural producers regarding water resources.

In order to understand the current knowledge, attitude, behaviour and needs of producers and acreage owners toward sustainable water management, Wheatland County requested the Miistakis Institute conduct a county-wide survey of agricultural producers.


 A Survey of Public Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Water in Wheatland County (2009)

Wheatland County Water Resources – Perspectives of the Agricultural Producers (2015)

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

Project was completed twice:

2009 and 2015

Supporters

Wheatland County

Urban Wetland Connectivity

 

Urban Wetland Connectivity

A project to help maintain amphibian diversity and increase amphibian abundance in the urban environment

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities support urban amphibian populations?

The Project

The goal of this project was to provide information to The City of Calgary to help maintain amphibian diversity and increase amphibian abundance in the urban environment. Three amphibian species, wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus), boreal chorus frog (Pseudacris maculata) and tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium) currently make Calgary their home. Key concerns for amphibians in Calgary are the impacts of wetland loss, wetland degradation, and fragmentation of the wetland network. We sought to understand which wetlands support amphibians and where amphibians are moving between wetlands in Calgary.

The modelling products include habitat suitability indices, connectivity models, and centrality and barrier maps designed to inform planning, management and restoration of the wetland network to support amphibians in Calgary. For this project, natural wetlands, modified wetlands and stormwater ponds were all included in modelling and are referred to in this report generically as wetlands.


Amphibians at Risk: An analysis of wetland habitat and corridors needed to secure amphibian populations in Calgary

Amphibians At Risk In Calgary: Infographic

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

The City of Calgary

The Calgary Zoo

The University of Saskatchewan

Status

Completed in

July 2020

Supporters

Alberta Innovates

Urban Ecoroofs

 

Urban Ecoroofs

Exploring the impacts ecoroofs may have on climate change resilience in Alberta municipalities

The Issue / Idea

What impacts can ecoroofs have on climate change resilience in Alberta municipalities?

The Project

As cities develop, vegetation is typically replaced with non-permeable, non-vegetated surfaces. Ecoroofs are one way to provide some of the lost ecosystem services in urban centres including improved stormwater management (both quantity and quality), better regulation of building temperatures, reduced urban heat island effects, improved air quality, and increased urban wildlife habitat and biodiversity (Oberndorfer et al., 2007). Some jurisdictions refer to ecoroofs as a ‘no-regrets’ climate adaptation measure (Mees, Driessen, Runhaar, & Stamatelos, 2013) because they serve multiple societal goals.

Between 2017 and 2019, the Miistakis Institute partnered with the City of Edmonton, Environmental Strategies team to explore the impacts ecoroofs may have on climate change resilience in the city.


Ecoroof Guide for Municipalities

Ecoroof Fact Sheet

Edmonton Ecoroof Initiative for Climate Change Resiliency: Ecoroof Function Research

Jurisdictional Review

Edmonton Ecoroof Case Studies

Edmonton Ecoroof Website

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

City of Edmonton, Environmental Strategies

Status

This project was

 completed in 2019

Supporters

City of Edmonton

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation

Edmonton Community Foundation

Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Rural Residential Expansion Research

 

Rural Residential Expansion Research

Understanding and mapping rural residential expansion in southwestern Alberta

The Issue / Idea

What is the extent of rural residential expansion in southwestern Alberta?

The Project

In 2003, Miistakis published Spatial Analysis of Rural Residential Expansion in Southwestern Alberta. The report summarizes what we learned from analyzing half a century’s worth of municipal tax assessment data, and describes the patterns and possible drivers of exurban expansion in southwestern Alberta. The data and maps this project produced are some of our most frequently requested resources. In 2006, we revisited the original data in attempt to better understand the spatial distribution of this type of development. Our analysis suggests that rural residences are more likely to occur on sites with scenic views, and with close proximity to golf courses and urban centres. In 2011, Miistakis collaborated with Dr. Michael Quinn at the University of Calgary in an effort to update and expand the Rural Residential Data Set. Work was completed in early 2012, and we now have a complete historical record of more than a century of rural residential expansion for 12 Municipal Districts and Counties in southern and central Alberta.


Spatial Analysis of Rural Residential Expansion in Southwestern Alberta

Rural Residential Expansion in Southern Alberta

Mapping the Exurban Explosion: Rural Residential Expansion in Southwestern Alberta

Rural Residences Map Animation

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

Development of this report and dataset began in 2003 and was

updated and completed in 2012

Supporters

Alberta Ecotrust

Alberta Environment

Henry P. Kendall Foundation

University of Calgary

Alberta Summer Temporary Employment Program