Developments Bill 29

Developments Bill 29
January 15, 2014 Webmaster

Note: Why is the “out-dated” info below still shown?  Well, historically the government has attempted to push this bill through in various reincarnations.  I am leaving this thread here as a reminder of what has happened in the past, and of what may happen again in the future.

The Alberta government is proposing major changes in the way our parkland is managed. The proposed Bill 29 was halted in November after public outcry with the promise of listening to what Albertans have to say. The Bill is a major concern because it has shifted the rules governing parks ; from legislation where the  ecosystem is protected to regulation where the government can make decisions without public consultation. Please take the time to inform yourself and consider  writing a letter. If you do decide to write – send it to as many in the political circle as you can –  your MLA, Minister Ady and Premier Ed Stelmach.

1) January 12th 2011 – Save the Parks Workshop Review

About 30 people braved the cold weather last night to attend a workshop sponsored by the Sierra club and CPAWS to discuss how to save Alberta’s Parks, given the high likelihood that Minister Ady’s Bill 29 will be resurrected in the next legislative session. MLA Harry Chase attended, and provided some very useful background insights into the workings of the Alberta legislature. The meeting was led by Dianne of the Sierra Club who provided us with a useful summary of the complications of Alberta legislation and in particular the complicated parks regulations that exist today. The emphasis was on the problems that are obvious with the proposed emphasis in Bill 29 on recreation instead of conservation. Bill 29 would reduce the variety of types of parks in Alberta to just two types. No matter what the size of the park and many of them are very small in size, there would be an attempt to install a variety of facilities to accommodate both recreational users as well as those who just want to leave it as it was intended to be. Another major problem in the proposed Bill is that decisions regarding new developments, etc with respect to any park would be left up to the discretion of the minister, via regulations. These are non-debatable, behind-the-scenes decisions, subject to the whims and influences of the day of any appointed minister. Of course, this could lead to monstrous changes in any Alberta Park; even our precious K-Country would be left unprotected.

Although many opinions were heard as to how to proceed, Dianne emphasized the importance of writing letters to the media, our political representatives and leaders, and our fellow outdoors enthusiasts. The rep from MEC thought that a YouTube video clip would be extremely useful, but no one stepped forward to produce such a video. This may still be in the works however, as more meetings are planned in the near future. In short, we can be sure that Bill 29 will again be tabled in the legislature in the spring session perhaps with some cosmetic changes, but essentially the same document that we were fighting in the fall session. Personally, I think we need to influence Premier Stelmach with our letters of dismay and righteous indignation for what he and his cabinet are proposing for our wilderness areas. The Sierra Club has produced a list of ridings that are vulnerable in the next election to change in party representation. If we get a copy of this listing, I will distribute it to you, and if you know individuals in those ridings who may be influential, then maybe we can get them to communicate their concerns to the riding incumbent in order to promote severe changes to Bill 29 or to get it to be dropped altogether. Perhaps on an encouraging note, Mr Chase suggested that there may be modest cabinet shuffle in the near future in which Minister Ady might be shuffled off to another portfolio. If she is the main proponent of Bill 29, then the bill may die because of her departure. However, many think that the Premier has encouraged her to promote this bill, and so we do need to try to influence the premier’s office.

2) November 25, 2010 – Bulletin from the government of Alberta
Minister to further engage Albertans and park users on proposed parks legislation
Debate on Bill 29 suspended

Edmonton… The government will continue to work with Albertans on proposed legislation to guide the management of the Alberta parks system before further debate on Bill 29, the Alberta Parks Act.
“What I have heard throughout debate on Bill 29 is that people are passionate about parks and I respect that passion,” said Cindy Ady, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation. “We will continue our important work to ensure that parks protect our province’s unique natural heritage while also providing Albertans with access to ample outdoor recreation opportunities.”

The intent of Bill 29 was to help to make it easier for Albertans to understand what kinds of activities are allowed in parks. Aligned with Alberta’s Plan for Parks and Land-use Framework, Bill 29 proposed to simplify the parks classification system into two categories, provincial parks and heritage rangelands. Subsequent zoning regulations in provincial parks would have specified how visitors use various areas of each park, whether for conservation, recreation or a combination of both.

“I believe we all want the same thing, an Alberta parks system that protects the ecological integrity of our landscapes and provides spaces for our families to enjoy the outdoors,” added Ady. “I look forward to continuing work with Albertans and respected conservation experts to achieve this, and bring back parks legislation next year.”

Bill 29 proposed to consolidate and modernize three pieces of parks legislation, the Provincial Parks Act, the Wilderness Areas, Ecological Reserves, Natural Areas, and Heritage Rangelands Act, and the Black Creek Heritage Rangeland Trails Actinto one simplified Act. Bill 29 also introduced a requirement for mandatory advance public notice of changes to provincial parks and heritage rangelands, and allowed for the creation of a Parks Advisory Council and a Parks Conservation Foundation.

More information on Alberta’s parks system is available at

Nov 14 2010 – Provincial Parks Under Threat – Alberta Wilderness Associations’s Call for Action


Around 4.5 percent of Alberta is protected by the provincial government. These include some of the most precious and environmentally sensitive lands in the province.
‘Parks’ can mean anything from the 1 million-acre Willmore Wilderness down to small campsites and parking lots protected as Provincial Recreation Areas. For this reason, Alberta’s parks system is complex, and necessarily so, with eight different parks designations. Again and again, surveys have found that Albertans love our parks.

The Issue

New legislation – Bill 29, the draft Alberta Parks Act – proposes to throw out all of the existing legislation (with the exception of the Willmore Wilderness Act). In future, all parks and protected areas will be classified as either Heritage Rangelands (for grazing) or Provincial Parks (for a ‘balance’ of conservation and recreation). The huge 445 White Goat Wildernes Area would have the same level of protections as the parking lot and trails at Elbow Falls. Within the Provincial Park designation, it is suggested that there may be four ‘zones’. These zones may allow for differing focus on conservation or recreation, though this is not specified in the legislation.

The proposed legislation also makes it easier for the government to changes park designations in future. Currently this can only be done with changes in legislation; in future, Cabinet will makes changes on its own. Public comment may be required, but not public consultation.
AWA believes that this proposed legislation is so bad, and so fundamentally flawed that it must not go ahead as it currently stands. The vagueness of the legislation is staggering.
AWA has written more detailed comments about the substantial flaws in the proposed legislation. Click here to see AWA’s comments (use


Updated April 14, 2013

Consider communicating your concerns to the following people.

The Hon. Alison Redford
Premier of Alberta
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800 – 97th Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6

Honourable Dr. Richard Starke
Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation
#229 Legislature Building
10800?97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T5K 2B6

To find contact information for your MLA:

Opposition parties:

Alberta Liberal Party leader
Dr. Raj Sherman
201 Legislature Annex
9718 – 107 Street
Edmonton, AB T5K 1E4
Phone: 780 427-2292
Fax: 780 427-3697

Alberta NDP Party leader
Brian Mason
#501 Legislature Annex, 9718 107 Street
Edmonton, AB T5K 1E4
Phone: (780) 415-0944
Fax: (780) 415-0701

Wild Rose Alliance Party leader
Danielle Smith
501 Legislature Annex
9718 107 Street
Edmonton, AB T5K 1E4
Phone: (780) 643-9110
Fax: (780) 638-3506


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