Mackenzie County is governed by the regulations set forth in the Alberta Municipal Government Act (MGA) and subsequently, all planning matters are regulated in accordance with the Municipal Development Plan, Inter-Municipal Development Plan, and the Mackenzie County Land Use Bylaw. These documents are adopted by the Council to reflect the orderly developmental goals of the municipality.

Economic Development Strategy

Our Economic Development Strategy is framed by the desire to provide a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future for all residents, enterprises, organizations, and communities within the County through the pursuit of realistic and ambitious initiatives.

The economic development strategy strives for a future where our County:

  • is recognized as a great place to live, work and visit;
  • offers a high quality of life; is pleasant and safe, and seen as vibrant and inclusive;
  • offers all residents, communities, and businesses an opportunity to prosper.

Mackenzie County’s Strategic Plan is intended to identify the goals and priorities set by Council as a directive to administration, and will influence future development projects.

Municipal Development Plan (MDP)

The Municipal Development Plan (MDP) is a long-range, statutory document that is required to be adopted by Bylaw for all municipalities. The MDP communicates the long-term desired land use for the municipality and serves as a high-level blueprint showing how the municipality is expected to change over time and the shape it will take in the future. The purpose of this Plan is to provide clear direction for Mackenzie County’s Council and Administration, and is intended to guide the growth and development of the County up to 2031, and to accommodate a population of 17,237.

The MDP guides future development by defining the vision, principles, objectives, and policies of the County with respect to planning matters. The MDP, in addition to applicable Provincial legislation, provides a foundation for the preparation of more detailed land use plans; is intended to be used in conjunction with Mackenzie County’s Land Use Bylaw to implement the policies of the Plan, and to inform residents and developers of Mackenzie County’s future land use strategy.

The Municipal Development Plan is designed to address, but is not limited to, the following:

  • future land use within the municipality,
  • the manner of, and proposals for, future development in the municipality,
  • coordination of land use, future growth patterns, and other infrastructure with adjacent municipalities if there is no inter-municipal development plan, with respect to those matters in those municipalities,
  • provision of required transportation systems, either generally or specifically, within the municipality and in relation to adjacent municipalities, and
  • provision of municipal services and facilities either generally or specifically.

Community Sustainability Plan

Mackenzie County’s four step Community Sustainability Plan is a specific type of strategic plan. It outlines the strategies necessary to build a strong economy that protects environmental integrity and contributes to the strong social cohesion in our culturally diverse municipal jurisdiction. The strength of these variables is considered a fundamental component of a sustainable community. This document is a source of long-term planning for the County and is referenced in all municipal decisions.

The primary challenge facing the County is the question of whether it needs or even wants to change. If so, what needs to change and how? These questions are at the heart of “community sustainability” and will be fully explored in the plan. The benefit of such a plan is that it seeks to ensure that incremental decisions about the allocation of resources are linked and contemplate the County’s long-term viability and sustainability.

Other Statutory Documents

Municipalities must compile and keep updated a list of any policies that may be considered in making planning decisions (decisions made under Part 17 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA)). This includes policies that have been approved by Council by Bylaw or Resolution or Policies that have been made by a person or body to whom powers, duties, or functions have been delegated by Council or the Chief Administrative Officer (ie. Development Officer or Municipal Planning Commission)

Municipalities are required to publish on their website the list of their Policies, the Policy itself, a summary of the Policies and how they relate to each other, and to any Statutory Plan or Bylaw passed in accordance with Part 17 of the MGA. s. 638.2(2).

A Development Authority, Subdivision Authority, Subdivision and Development Appeal board, the Municipal Government Board, or a court shall not have regard to any policy unless the policy is listed and published by the municipality.

The Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) authorizes the provincial cabinet to establish planning regions and adopt a statutory plan for each region

The Alberta Land Use Framework is empowered through the Alberta Land Stewardship Act. The Land Use Framework specific for our region is the Lower Peace Regional Plan (LPRP); the intention is to set an approach to managing public and private lands and natural resources to achieve Alberta’s long-term economic, environmental and social goals. The Lower Peace Regional Plan has not been started yet.

An Area Structure Plan (ASP) proposes a sequence of development for a specific area which includes the future land uses, the density of population, and the general location of transportation and utilities. Area Structure Plans are approved by Council and adopted by Bylaw. There are several ASPs in place for future sequenced development.

The Inter-Municipal Development Plan (IDP) is a statutory document designed to address those lands that fringe upon two municipal boundaries. It also provides guidelines for development within the fringe area. These include how to work together, the development of joint or bordering lands, and how to coordinate parks, open space, recreation, transportation, water, services, and utilities across boundaries. The IDP must be adopted by Bylaw. An Inter-Municipal Development Plan has been established for the High Level County fringe area.

The Land Use Bylaw (LUB) is used to implement the statutory plans and is adopted by Council and can only be amended by Council. The LUB divides the municipality into land use districts and establishes procedures for processing and deciding upon development permits and subdivisions. This is the document most consulted by the administration and the public when starting the development process.

The Municipal Government Act (MGA) is the law under which Alberta municipalities are empowered to shape their communities.

Other Non-Statutory Documents

The following are non-statutory plans that are consulted and used as guiding documents when making development decisions:

Planning and Development Policies are adopted by Council to help guide the actions of the County by providing a guideline for employees to follow in making decisions on behalf of the municipality. It provides a framework for the delegation of decision-making, eliminates misunderstandings, reduces uncertainties, and enables goals and objectives to be met. Some latitude is allowed in decision making, dependent upon circumstances, otherwise, it would be considered a rule or procedure. However, in making decisions, the intent of the policy must be followed.

DEV001: Urban Development Standards

  • This Policy is used to establish urban development standards to ensure consistent development is maintained within the hamlets of Mackenzie County in conjunction with the General Municipal Improvement Standard.

DEV002: Subdivision Refund & Revisions

  • This Policy is used to ensure consistency in dealing with subdivision refunds and revisions.

DEV003: Multi-Lot/Urban Subdivision Construction and Registration

  • This Policy will ensure consistency and clarity in how both urban and multi-lot subdivisions will be constructed and registered. This Policy is used in conjunction with the Municipal Government Act, General Municipal Improvement Standards, and the Land Use Bylaw.

DEV004: Minimum Construction Value for Safety Code Permits

  • This Policy is used to establish guidelines for calculating the minimum construction value of commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential building projects.

DEV005: Municipal Reserve

  • The County receives various requests for subdivisions, both within the hamlets and in the rural areas. As per the Municipal Government Act and the Land Use Bylaw, the County may receive municipal reserve, in the form of land or money, or a combination thereof, for the provision of future services. This Policy will ensure consistency and clarity on how municipal reserve is collected and managed.

DEV006: Antenna System Siting

  • This Policy is for the installation, placement, and consultation requirements of antenna systems (telecommunication towers) within Mackenzie County. This is used in conjunction with federal legislation, the Municipal Government Act, and the Land Use Bylaw.

DEV007: Rural Development Standards

  • This Policy is used to establish rural development standards to ensure consistent development is maintained within the rural areas of the County. This is used in conjunction with the Municipal Government Act and the Land Use Bylaw.

DEV008: General Municipal Improvement Standards

  • The General Municipal Improvement Standards are intended to serve as minimum standards that are to be followed by the County, developers, engineering consultants, contractors, and others during all aspects of municipal improvement installations, including design, preparation, and submission of plans and drawings, and construction operations. This is used in conjunction with Policy PW039 Rural Road, Access Construction, and Surface Water Management.

DEV009: Subdivision Affidavits

  • This Policy is in place to define a formal process when allowing the registration of a rural subdivision prior to completion of required conditions specific to road/access construction. This Policy is used in conjunction with the Municipal Government Act.

DEV011: Floodplain Development Restrictions

  • The purpose of this policy is to clearly delineate the scope of repairs and rebuilding that is allowable to properties within the flood-affected areas from the 2020 Peace River Ice Jam Flood.

An Infrastructure Master Plan is a document that provides a framework for planning the future development of a hamlet. The document recognizes the existing infrastructure and the future capacity within a hamlet. These documents are currently under review.

Council has implemented Streetscape Design Plans for the hamlets of Fort Vermilion and La Crete in the Main Street and Downtown areas. The intention is to promote economic development and hamlet beautification. Within the document are minimum design standards for buildings, setback regulations, and green space requirements.