Bill 28, introduced by Alberta Municipal Affairs, formally legislates the Capital Region Board (CRB) and enables the creation of other growth management boards. There have been concerns regarding an appropriate appeal system, flexibility, and ensuring a voluntary model.
During the November 26 Regular Council discussion, Thorsby Mayor Barry Rasch, who attended the recent CRB meeting, said Bill 28 did not receive quite as much mention as he would have liked to have heard.
Interim CAO for Thorsby Kevin Robins then said there is now a special time-limited opportunity for smaller municipalities to be represented in the CRB.
“The Premier has delayed Bill 28,” stated Robins, “to provide an opportunity for more consultation with municipalities.” As Bill 28 stands, both the Capital Region Board and CRB Regulation will be rolled into Bill 28. In place of the Capital Region Board, it will be referred to as a growth management board.
Robins went on to say, “Bill 28 specifically presents a great opportunity for your 39/20 Alliance to identify themselves as a Growth Management Board. It’s an opportunity for Thorsby to become a part of what you want to become rather than what you will be forced to become.”
Robins further urged Council to pay very close attention to what’s happening with Bill 28 (and Administration will pay close attention on their behalf) because there might be an opportunity to position themselves where they wish to be positioned.
The difference between Bill 28 and the CRB, said Robins, is that CRB invites your participation, Bill 28 does not. The new legislation compels you to participate. And if you fail to participate, there are very substantial fines. Rasch replied there was a lengthy discussion about that.
According to the November 28, 2013 announcement on the Alberta.ca website entitled “Alberta improves Bill 28 for municipalities”: ”If two or more municipalities agree to come together to form a Growth Management Board, the role of the boards will be to ensure that planning and development in high growth areas occurs seamlessly and collaboratively, and that necessary infrastructure is developed when and where it is needed.” Bill 28 is now renamed the Enabling Regional Growth Boards Act.
The Capital Region Board was established by the Province in 2008 and consists of mayors from 25 municipalities in the Alberta Capital Region. The regional plan is required to manage four priority areas: Regional land-use planning, Inter-municipal transit, Geographic information, and Affordable and attainable housing.