In response to Alberta's remarkable growth over the past years, the Government of Alberta started a comprehensive initiative to develop a new land-use planning system for the province. Introduced in 2008, the Land-use Framework ushers in a new approach to managing lands and natural resources to achieve Alberta's long-term economic, environmental and social goals.
The framework provides a blueprint for land-use management and decision-making to address Alberta's growth pressures. It is about better managing our growth, not stopping it. The framework is designed to ensure good stewardship of Alberta's lands and natural resources so that future generations of Albertans benefit from the province's natural beauty and prosperity, just as we do today.
The purpose of regional planning is to support the numerous policies and strategies that guide natural resource development, support economic growth and protect our environment. Regional plans will integrate these policies and strategies at the regional level and provide the policy direction and clarity for decision makers at the federal, provincial and local levels.
The North Saskatchewan Region is located in central Alberta and has approximately 85,780 square kilometres, or just under 13 per cent of Alberta's total land base. The region is bordered by Saskatchewan to the east, British Columbia to the west, the Upper Athabasca and the Lower Athabasca regions to the north and the South Saskatchewan and Red Deer regions to the south. The region has a large and diverse landscape, which contains the Rocky Mountains, rolling foothills and prairie parkland.
The North Saskatchewan Region is home to a diverse population and a vibrant economy. Opportunities across the region have attracted new residents and businesses from across the country and around the world. Industries driving economic activity across the region continue to grow and include energy, agriculture, tourism, forestry and associated services.
Proposed 50-year vision for the North Saskatchewan Region:
"The North Saskatchewan Region is a dynamic hub with a diverse and prosperous economy. Citizens, industry, governments and aboriginal peoples share responsibility for stewardship of our air, water, biodiversity, land and natural resources in a way that ensures current needs are met without compromising opportunities for future generations. A diverse economy provides enduring employment and contributes to the prosperity of all Albertans.
The region is home to Alberta’s capital city of Edmonton, which includes the Industrial Heartland, a central area housing significant oil sands-related facility (bitumen upgraders and petrochemical facilities), and is also a central hub for the movement of goods and access to markets. The energy, forestry and agriculture sectors are vibrant economic drivers in the region and consistently maintain or expand production of traditional export products, while pursuing additional business opportunities. Featuring the culturally and historically significant North Saskatchewan River and the Rocky Mountains, a strong tourism industry builds on the competitive advantage offered by the diversity of important aboriginal, historical, cultural and natural assets.
The region’s air, water, land and biodiversity are sustained while ecosystems remain healthy and fully functioning. This is supported by integrated approaches to sustainable management with shared stewardship. There are both working landscapes and conservation areas to reflect the values and needs of Albertans. Through their traditional knowledge, aboriginal peoples share their intimate understanding of the environment."