Big Lakes County MDP/LUB Update

Project Overview

Big Lakes County has engaged ISL, a local consultant, to support the County to complete a targeted update of the County’s current Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and Land Use Bylaw (LUB) to reduce red tape and better meet community needs.

What is the purpose of a Municipal Development Plan and Land Use Bylaw?


Why is the County Updating its MDP and LUB?

The current MDP and LUB were adopted in 2017, and updates to some sections are needed to improve the clarity and usability of the documents, reduce red tape for residents and businesses, consider new land development trends, align with current policy documents, and better reflect community needs to support the growth and development of the County.

What are the issues that are driving the MDP and LUB update?

The County is proposing that the following items be reviewed and updated:

  • Simplifying the permit approval process in the LUB by increasing the number of permitted uses and expanding the number of developments that do not require permits.
  • Making policies and regulations for commercial and industrial development and their impacts on agricultural land clearer.
  • Adding policies and regulations for alternative energy projects (e.g., wind farms, solar collectors).
  • Making the regulations for recreational vehicle storage and use in hamlets clearer.
  • Making standards for industrial camps clearer and reviewing permitted uses of industrial wellsite trailers.

You can learn about and review the current MDP and LUB here:

Municipal Development Plan (MDP)

Land Use Bylaw (LUB)

Updating Sections of the MDP and LUB

The County and consultant team will be completing the following steps to update the MDP and LUB:

  • Reviewing the content and structure of the current MDP and LUB, focusing on the issues outlined above.
  • Conducting best practices research to learn from other similar municipalities in Alberta.
  • Gathering feedback from County Administration, residents and interested parties on the proposed updates and validating issues and gaps identified through the review and best practices research.
  • Updating sections of the MDP and LUB based on best practices and County and public feedback.
  • Presenting the updated sections to the public and interested parties to gather feedback to help refine and finalize the updates.
  • Updating MDP and LUB for the final draft.
  • Presenting the draft updates to Council for consideration and adoption.

Project Timeline

The project kicked off in May 2023 and is expected to be completed by early 2024.

Public Engagement

Public feedback is an important part of the MDP and LUB updating process. Residents and interested parties will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed section updates this summer. Feedback received will be considered in the development of the draft and final MDP and LUB updates.

You’re Invited!

Now, we are inviting the public to participate in the first phase of engagement for the project. We want to know what you think about the proposed updated sections of the County’s MDP and LUB.

You can learn more about the project and provide your feedback by:

  • Participating in our upcoming open house on Wednesday, August 23, at the County Office from 4 – 7 pm.

Take the online survey open from June 22 – August 30th, 2023.

Amending the Municipal Development Plan or Land Use Bylaw

The Land Use Bylaw (LUB) contains rules and regulations for development on private land. An application to amend the LUB is required if you wish to develop a site in a manner that is not allowed in the current land use district or development regulations. A LUB amendment requires three readings by Council and a public hearing.

A Municipal Development Plan (MDP) is a high-level plan that establishes land use patterns and development policies for the entire County. All other statutory and non-statutory plans must be consistent with the MDP. Amendments are required if a landowner wants to deviate from the existing land use concept or policies. MDP amendments require three readings by Council and a public hearing.

Before submitting an application, the applicant should meet with Planning & Development Department staff to discuss their proposal, the purpose of the amendment, and the amendment process. Please arrange a meeting by calling 780-523-5955.

The Land Use Bylaw regulates the acceptable land uses within the County. Uses can be either permitted or discretionary under a district. Permitted Uses refers to the use of a piece of land or a building for which a development permit must be issued with or without conditions once the application is made and which conforms to the Land Use Bylaw. Discretionary Uses are the use of a piece of land or a building for which a development permit may or may not be issued with or without conditions.