Regional Land Use Planning: Guidelines on what to expect from the Government of the Northwest Territories – 2016

Executive Summary

Regional land use planning is an ongoing process in the Northwest Territories (NWT). The Government of the Northwest Territories (the GNWT) considers regional land use plans to be the primary instruments to define where and how certain land use activities can take place.

Why is land use planning important?

The purpose of land use planning is to protect and promote the existing and future well- being of NWT residents and communities, having regard for the interests of all Canadians.

The GNWT has demonstrated its commitment to land use planning in the Land Use and Sustainability Framework. The GNWT also created a unit within the GNWT dedicated to land use planning, the Department of Lands’ Land Use Planning Unit.

Land use plans allow us to better and more effectively manage our lands and resources. Plans help create certainty for where and how development can take place.

Purpose of the Guidelines

Our planning partners for Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act land use plans are the main audience for these Guidelines. The Guidelines specify the GNWT’s criteria and decision-making processes for land use plans, so they are also applicable to any land use planning process where the GNWT’s input is sought as either a reviewer or approver.

Many aspects of land use planning in the NWT remain under negotiation. The Guidelines do not provide guidance on related negotiation issues like boundaries for a regional land use plan, financial commitments to develop and implement plans, the sequence in which land use plans are completed, or who leads planning processes. The Guidelines are written with the understanding that plans are authored by a planning board or other body and that the GNWT acts as a planning partner, approval authority, and implementer.

The Guidelines have three parts:

1.0   Introduction: Provides context for regional land use planning in the Mackenzie Valley, a background on the process of land use planning, and a summary of existing plans and processes.

2.0   Review and approval of land use plans: Explains the role of the GNWT in plan approvals, departmental roles and responsibilities, communications, and the list of criteria for review.

3.0   Implementing approved land use plans: Describes the GNWT role in implementation, departmental roles and responsibilities, and communications.

The development of the GNWT’s land use planning program is an ongoing process. The Guidelines will be updated as the program evolves, and as the GNWT participates in land use planning processes and plan implementation. As changes are made to the Guidelines, the GNWT will provide an updated version on our website and will inform planning partners.