The AAMDC is participating within a working group that is reviewing the current provincial requirements pertaining to landfill setbacks and the variance process outlined in the Subdivision and Development Regulation and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development’s (ESRD) interim variance review process.

The working group is tasked to review and provide recommendations for any potential updates or changes to the current Subdivision and Development Regulation around landfill setbacks and the variance process for consideration by ESRD and Municipal Affairs. To complete this, the group requires feedback from our member municipalities to assist with this process.

At this time the group is looking for any issues, technical or process considerations or insights members may have working with landfill setback requirements during development or that may have arisen during landfill operations that are adjacent to existing or proposed development.  Areas of interest certainly include planning abilities for lands, operational challenges for landfills and variance requests to Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.

Please email any questions or items for consideration to Tasha Blumenthal at by November 23, 2012.

A backgrounder including a description of the working group and current working status is attached for more information.


Enquiries may be directed to:


Tasha Blumenthal
Policy Analyst

Kim Heyman
Director of Advocacy & Communications






Setback Variance Working Group Meeting



October 24 2012


Executive Summary of First Meeting (October 16th, 2012 Edmonton)


The landfill setback variance review arose following Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development’s operational policy on setback variances.  The policy was developed out of the need to maintain consistency on granting variances across regional boundaries, and to impose limits on variance considerations.  On October 16th, 2012 the first meeting for the Inter-governmental working group for landfill setback variance review was held in Edmonton.  There was representation from Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, Alberta Health Services, Environmental Services Association of Alberta, Urban Development Institute, Municipal Affairs (MA), Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD), City of Calgary, and the City of Edmonton.

The objective of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for working group members to meet and for ESRD and MA to provide some background about the purpose of the working group.  Presentations were made on the Subdivisions Development Regulation, ESRD’s Interim policy on setback variances, and the history of the setback distances.  The Terms of Reference for the inter-governmental working group was also reviewed at the meeting.  The primary purpose of the working group is to provide recommendations for changes and/or improvements to the handling of setback variances to the Assistant Deputy Ministers of ESRD and MA.  The working group will be tasked with a review of all options for issuing variances, tracking, and monitoring. A final report will be delivered to decision makers by spring 2013.

ESRD’s setback variance policy has been implemented as an interim policy until a review of the issue is complete.  It is the goal of this working group to discuss current issues, and identify changes that can improve the current process of issuing setback variances.   The group has preliminarily identified a few key issues that the new system must address, these are; efficiency, applicability of setbacks to commercial/industrial sites, long term liability, long term monitoring, one setback distance does not fit all, responsible land use, compliance, and keeping an inventory of variances issued.

The working group will continue to meet on a regular basis via in-person meetings and conference calls over the next 5 – 6 months.  The Chair of the meeting has requested that participant bring forward questions or current issues to be recorded and discussed at subsequent meetings.


Steve Madden - Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC)

Janet Whitesell - Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA)

Brigette Noren - Alberta Health Services (AHS)

Renee White - Environmental Services Association (ESAA)

Paul Boskovich - Urban Development Institute (UDI)

Joe Petrie - Municipal Affairs (MA)

Haley Wasserman - MA

Rob Burland - Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD)

Donna Chaw - ESRD

Carol Nelson - ESRD

Diane Shearer - City of Calgary

Darrell Sargent - City of Calgary

Nicole Shaefer - City of Calgary

Bwale Bwalya - City of Edmonton


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