Alberta’s Land and Resource Management System Broken

New report lays out blueprint for land use framework

Pembina InstituteCanadian Parks and Wilderness Society

Feb 21, 2008 — The Government of Alberta’s approach to land and resource management has led the province down a path of unsustainable development. A new report by the Pembina Institute and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) proposes a blueprint for improving Albertans’ quality of life and ensuring environmental sustainability.

“There is overwhelming evidence that Alberta’s system for land and resource management is badly broken,” says Steve Kennett, Senior Policy Analyst with the Pembina Institute. “The cumulative impacts of resource development and other activities across Alberta’s landscapes cannot be managed effectively within this system. We need a new land use framework to correct these serious deficiencies.”

The report sets out guiding principles for a new, effective land use framework. The detailed blueprint has three key elements:

  • A new policy foundation for land and resource management: Implement outcome-based land and resource management that focuses on long-term sustainability and improvements in quality of life.
  • A new planning process enshrined in legislation: Establish the rules of the game for land-use planning in new legislation that makes integrated regional planning the centerpiece of the land use framework.
  • Tools to manage cumulative impacts: Give planners the tools they need to achieve landscape-scale environmental objectives, including limits on cumulative impacts.

“Many Albertans feel the province is losing ground in terms of true prosperity – economically, socially and environmentally – and they are worried about the legacy being created for their children and grandchildren,” says Rick Schneider, Senior Policy Analyst for the Northern Alberta Chapter of CPAWS. “Alberta’s decisions about land and resource use should be directed to achieving long-term environmental sustainability and improved overall quality of life. We need a new way of defining success that goes beyond maximizing short-term economic growth and recognizes that gross domestic product doesn’t represent quality of life.”


For more information:

Alberta by Design: Blueprint for an Effective Land-Use Framework can be downloaded from or

Steve Kennett, The Pembina Institute (Calgary)
403-269-3344 ext. 115
[email protected]

Rick Schneider, CPAWS (Edmonton)
[email protected]