Municipal tools to protect wetlands and riparian lands in Alberta's white zone
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AbstractAlberta municipalities have statutory authority to enact bylaws and land use regulations to protect wetlands and riparian lands in the settled areas of Alberta from the impacts of human activities and development. Wetlands and riparian lands sustain water supply and quality, and perform many essential environmental, economic and social functions. As the economy grows, drawing more people into the White Zone, Alberta's wetland inventory diminishes. As climate change and water scarcity affect Alberta's landscapes, municipal bylaws should be used to balance the bundle of entitlements enjoyed by property owners with conservation of local natural resources necessary for the overall greater public good. The principle of subsidiarity supports municipalities as the best level of government to regulate human activities and development that impact local wetlands and riparian lands. Recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions upheld municipal by laws that addressed local environmental matters as part of a tri-level regulatory regime.
Bibliography: p. 258-272