Action Alert: LARP 10-Year Review
October 14, 2022
October 14, 2022
Dear valued AWA members,
I am reaching out to advise you about a public engagement opportunity to provide comments on the 10-Year Review of the Lower Athabasca Regional [Land Use] Plan (LARP). This is important because regional land-use plans (such as LARP) are developed with the intention that they will guide the direction of desired economic, environmental, and social objectives on a long-term basis in a manner that recognizes the cumulative impacts of human activities in a given region. These plans must convey a vision on the future direction of the region, and objectives that would help attain that vision.
This review is required under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) and intends “to assess the ongoing relevancy and effectiveness of the existing plan in supporting the long-term vision for social and environmental needs in the region.”
Alberta’s Regional Planning process (as set out in ALSA) contains a provision that allows for individuals or groups who are directly and adversely affected to request a review of a land-use plan. In 2015 a Report was published by a LARP Review Panel which was commissioned on behalf of six directly and adversely affected First Nations in the lower Athabasca Region – Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN), Cold Lake First Nation (CLFN), Fort McKay First nation and Fort McKay Metis Community Association (FMFN), and Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation (CPDFN).
The primary findings of the 2015 LARP Review Panel Report highlighted that the cumulative effects of rapid industrial development in the lower Athabasca region were negatively impacting First Nations, and that the Government of Alberta did not adequately address the arguments put forward by First Nations, or the written evidence they provided. LARP is intended to balance the interests of all stakeholders within the region through a cumulative effects perspective, but the Review Panel Report found that the interest of First nations were not incorporated into LARP in any meaningful way. Cumulative effects of industrial development in the lower Athabasca region were found to be negatively impacting the Constitutional Rights of First Nations and their traditional land uses.
This Review Panel Report outlined three recommendations and suggested that the Government of Alberta revise LARP to incorporate these recommendations. The three recommendations were as follows:
Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) echoes the recommendations made by the 2015 Review Panel, and we are planning to complete the public engagement survey put out by Alberta’s Land Use Secretariat. Alongside the 2015 Review Panel Report, we are planning to highlight some of our other concerns for the lower Athabasca region which need to be incorporated into a revised LARP, which we have listed below to aid others in their attempts to complete the survey.
The LARP survey is extremely lengthy, and we recognize that not everyone will have the time or capacity to complete any (or all) of the questions. However, we are encouraging our members and all concerned citizens to take part in the survey to at least some extent by providing feedback in support of First Nations and Alberta’s wilderness ecosystems in the lower Athabasca region. From the information available online the survey currently has no discernable end-date, but we would encourage interested parties to submit their feedback before the end of October.
Please contact AWA Conservation Specialist Phillip Meintzer with any questions or concerns about this request.