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

Call of the Wetland

 

Call of the Wetland

A citizen science amphibian monitoring project to understand the health of Calgary’s wetlands and to engage Calgarians in urban wildlife and wetland awareness

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities learn about their urban wetlands’ health while engaging residents in wetland awareness?

The Project

To better understand the health of Calgary’s wetlands, Miistakis Institute, Enbridge, Parks Foundation Calgary, Alberta Conservation Association and the Calgary Zoo developed “Call of the Wetland”, a citizen science program that enabled the public to monitor amphibians as an important indicator of wetland health. There were 6 amphibian species that have historically been found in Calgary, however, prior to Call of the Wetland, it was unknown which still persist in our urban environment.

Call of the Wetland engaged Calgarians in understanding the health of wetlands through monitoring of amphibians and enabling a connection to nature in the City. The long term outcome of Call of the Wetland is to build off of the knowledge gained on amphibian presence to understand the health of wetlands within the City of Calgary, as well as to continue to foster a community of knowledgeable citizens to champion wetland protection and restoration.


Call of the Wetland Story Map

Call of the Wetland Participant Update: Program Reporting

Call of the Wetland Website

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

Miistakis Institute

City of Calgary

Calgary Zoo

Alberta Conservation Association

Status

Completed in

2020

Supporters

Enbridge

Parks Foundation Calgary

The Calgary Foundation

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation

Alberta Innovates

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation

Bow River Basin Council

Mount Royal University

Mount Royal University, Institute of Environmental Sustainability

STAR EcoWorks

World Wildlife Fund Canada

Urban Wildlife Monitoring

 

Urban Wildlife Monitoring

A citizen science monitoring project to understand how wildlife responds to the urban environment, and to engage Calgarians in urban wildlife awareness

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities learn about their urban wildlife populations while engaging residents in wildlife awareness?

The Project

Calgary Captured is a multi-year urban wildlife monitoring program that was launched in 2017 focused on medium to large mammals. Through citizen science, the program involved Calgarians in biodiversity monitoring through the classification of camera-trap images to species. The objectives of the program are to build a dataset of species presence in Calgary, engage Calgarians in urban wildlife awareness, and to improve our understanding of how wildlife responds to the urban environment.


Calgary Captured Year One Analysis: Technical Report

Calgary Captured Year Results

Calgary Captured Year One Results: Maps

I’m A Calgarian


(example of one of six wildlife awareness cards produced)

Calgary Captured Information Card


(example of one of five Calgary Captured awareness cards produced)

City of Calgary: Wildlife Camera Monitoring

 

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The City of Calgary

The Miistakis Institute

Alberta Environment and Parks

Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society

Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society

Status

Began in 2017 and is

On-going

Supporters

The Calgary Foundation

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation

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

Community Visioning – Priddis Millarville Residents Association

 

Community Visioning – Priddis Millarville Residents Association

Communities can struggle to see their vision for the future reflected in local government decisions, largely because it is difficult to articulate. One way to craft this vision is through a facilitated community workshop.

The Issue / Idea

The Priddis Millarville Residents Association (PMRA) needed to articulate a comprehensive vision for their community that they could use to communicate with their municipal council.

The Project

Situated in the scenic foothills of Alberta, and directly south of the city of Calgary, the Priddis Millarville area is experiencing tremendous growth pressure, and has seen an accelerated rate of change over the last several years. This has translated into a more rapid pace of activity, but challenges in understanding what the community is progressing towards, and what are desirable versus undesirable changes.

In this light, the Priddis Millarville Residents Association (PMRA) approached the Miistakis Institute to facilitate a meeting with the local community to articulate the character of the community as they hope to see it 30-50 years (two generations) from now.

The report below presents the results of that visioning exercise, identifying some initial value-based and collective elements of how the community views itself in the future. Although this report is not intended to be a blue print to the future, it does propose further steps (Recommendations) to be taken to create a shared vision for the community amongst the residents of the Priddis Millarville area.


Report: Developing a Community Vision for the Priddis-Millarville Area

 

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

This report was released in

2007

Supporters

Priddis Millarville Residents Association

Conservation Easement Guide for Municipalities

 

A Conservation Easement Guide for Municipalities

A practical how-to guide for municipalities considering holding conservation easements or establishing a conservation easement program

The Issue / Idea

Municipalities are eligible holders of conservation easements, but have very little information on how – and why – municipalities might go about using this tool.

The Project

To respond to the issue, the Miistakis Institute developed a ‘How To’ guide that informs municipalities about what conservation easements are, the municipal considerations for using this tool, details on what a conservation easement includes, and direction on how to create and administer a conservation easement program. The guide also comes with several Alberta-based resources and templates.

The sections of the guide are:

  • The Basics (What is a conservation easement?)
  • Conservation Easements and Municipalities (policy, planning, financial, and special considerations
  • Administration (preparing, creating, and stewarding a conservation easement and/or program)

Municipal Conservation Easement Guide

Municipal Conservation Easement Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet 1
10 Things Municipalities Should Know About CEs
Fact Sheet 2
Comparison of 3 Municipal Conservation Tools
Fact Sheet 3
Conservation Easement Sequence of Events
Fact Sheet 4
Overview of a Municipality’s Potential Costs Related to CEs

 

Municipal Conservation Easement Program Resources

(Click on any item to go to it!)

Conservation Easement Web Resources

Templates and Drafting Resources

Example Plans and Policies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Provincial Legislation

Support Organizations

(Did we miss something important? Let us know!)

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

This guide was released in

October 2017

Supporters

Max Bell Foundation

Anonymous Foundation