NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the AUMA encourage the Government of Alberta to include Urban and Regional Countryside Parks as an important part of the parks network in Alberta, and to work with AUMA to ensure that Urban and Regional Countryside Parks are further developed, maintained, enhanced and promoted in Alberta.
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Government of Alberta commit to establishing a new Urban and Countryside Parks Program that would support municipalities in parks planning, parkland acquisition, park development, conservation, operations and promotions.
WHEREAS AUMA promotes the importance of taking an integrated approach to community-building and municipal planning, striving for value in all dimensions of sustainability; economic, social, environmental, cultural and governance/leadership;
WHEREAS parks in urban communities have significant economic, environmental, social and cultural value;
WHEREAS the contribution of parks to municipal sustainability depends upon leadership and helps build good governance in municipalities;
WHEREAS AUMA has previously supported urban parks programs through Convention resolutions, and encourages the establishment and maintenance of parks through involvement in partnerships with organizations such as the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association;
WHEREAS the Government of Alberta released a “Plan for Parks” in April 2009 with the following vision statement: “Alberta’s parks inspire people to discover, value, protect and enjoy the natural world and the benefits it provides for current and future generations”;
WHEREAS there are growing evidential concerns regarding the alarming and increasing disconnect of our children with nature;
WHEREAS urban parks enable the protection of key escarpments and natural areas within municipalities; and
WHEREAS 80 per cent of Alberta’s population now lives in urban centres, making urban and regional countryside parks key to discovering, valuing, protecting and enjoying the natural world in Alberta.
Jun 28, 2010 - Tourism, Parks and Recreation
The Urban Parks Program, capital and operating, that was in place in the 1980s and early 1990s, benefited the lives of Albertans and visitors to the province in all the cities where parks and trails were developed under the initiative. The operational grant for the Urban Parks Program was transferred to Alberta Municipal Affairs in 1992 and redefined as an unconditional grant which could be used, among other things, to support the operation and maintenance of the urban park system in each community. Many of Alberta’s cities have continued to use it for that purpose.
While the Alberta Government is prepared to work with Alberta’s municipalities to ensure a natural legacy for Albertans, we are also constrained by our budget in accordance with the province’s fiscal framework. Consequently, there is no funding within my ministry to pursue substantial new initiatives such as a new Urban and Countryside Parks Program at this time. I will, however, continue to discuss these proposals with my colleagues and explore opportunities for their advancement in the event that additional funding becomes available.
AUMA accepts this response; however, we will advocate for the need to increase MSI funding in order to account for increased demands on this funding source.