The long awaited review of Alberta’s Municipal Government Act (MGA) has entered the public consultation phase.
In what will be a phased rollout of the new MGA document, the first group of 10 regulatory changes drafted has been produced for Albertans to provide feedback on.
The draft regulations include new rules that will require all municipalities to annually adopt three-year operating plans and five-year capital plans. These plans must now meet minimum standards for content — including showing figures for total revenues and expenses by major category, annual surplus or deficit and accumulated surplus or deficit as well as planned capital property additions and allocated or anticipated funding sources.
It also includes an exemption for Crown land in the municipal planning process and sets a list of consistent standards — such as content and public notice of policies, how and under what circumstances to engage stakeholders and that the policies be reviewed every three years — for public participation in municipal government processes.
The draft regulations also deal with extending the expiry date on regulations concerning municipal gas system marketing, municipal employee retirement investment funds, land use planning exemptions and land assessor qualification regulations. There are also changes to the specifications on what kinds of developments are acceptable in the areas surrounding Alberta’s two major international airports.
The public is encouraged to head to the website — www.mgareview.alberta.ca — in order to learn more about the specifics of the regulatory changes proposed that are hoped to strengthen the job that cities, towns and counties do. Details about the current MGA and the draft changes are available as well as the process are available on the website.
Shaye Anderson, the recently installed Municipal Affairs minister, is hoping as many Albertans as possible take the time to look at the draft regulations and provide some thoughts on what will work best.
“The MGA impacts every single person in our province, so it’s important that we continue to engage Albertans every step of the way,” Anderson said, who took on the portfolio in a cabinet shuffle on Jan. 19.
“I am picking up where Minister (Danielle) Larivee left off and posting the regulations to ensure that All Albertans have time to review them and provide their input.”
The public feedback process will be up until the end of March and another set of MGA draft regulations is scheduled to be released for public consultation later this month.