What is an MDP?

    An MDP is a blueprint on how a region will evolve, thrive, and expand for the next 20 years. The plan’s structure includes a vision statement, goals, and policies that support implementation of the plan.

    Why is an MDP needed?

    The Municipal Government Act of Alberta establishes that every community in Alberta must have a Municipal Development Plan.

    Why does the region need an updated MDP?

    The RMWB is replacing the previous MDP from 2011 due to numerous changes in the local environment including social, cultural, and economic factors. Many things have changed in the region to support an updated MDP including population growth, truth and reconciliation, community priorities, and changes in global oil economy.

    What’s the difference from the 2011 MDP?

    The 2011 MDP had numerous priorities including planning for exponential growth in population, high demand for land development, and singular engine economy. With the many changes to the local environment the updated MDP is different in numerous ways, including: 

    • Gradual population growth, compared to the exponential growth projection from current MDP;
    • Enhancing livability, safe and secure region, community ownership, and health and wellness, inclusive and equitable and diverse community, accessible and safe community;
    • Expansion of economic resources, diversification, balanced resource development, future innovations and technology, research and technology hub;
    • Establishing roots within the region, and accessible social services;
    • Responsible and conscious growth and development, strategic urban, rural and regional development, disaster management, emergency response services, and social infrastructure;
    • Maintaining current infrastructure, transit services, roads, parks, trails, neighborhood land uses, servicing capacity, and public amenities; 
    • Prioritizing Truth and Reconciliation, recognition, partnerships, opportunities, values, traditional land uses and practices;
    • Local and regional tourism, industrial tourism, green and blue network recreational opportunities, winter games, and traditional sports; 
    • Regional connection to nature and water bodies: boat launches, marinas, cottage industry, and forest cabins;
    • Building regional pride through community and culture; festivals, events, public art, community gardens, multicultural participation, facilitating interactions through community services;
    • Emergency management and preparedness: FireSmart community plans, buffers, firehall, and flood management; and
    • Implementation of the MDP: key indicator, timelines, responsibilities for departments, evaluation/review.

    What is a community-based approach?

    The new place and community-based approach to the MDP reflects a people-first focus that considers local values, opportunities, and challenges in an intentional way. This approach is guided by the understanding that development should focus on community and respond to the various social, environmental, and economic contexts that exist throughout the Region. Embracing communities where they are at, will make Wood Buffalo a great place to live.

    What are the goals?

    The goals support the overarching themes that are prioritized to support the region’s future. These include:

    • Home & Belonging: Wood Buffalo strives to be a place for all, a place where people help and support one another, with compassion at the heart of every community. This goal identifies opportunities for Wood Buffalo to reinforce its unique sense of place, improve community safety, and foster belonging by meeting the needs of all.
    • Economic Growth and Innovation: Economic diversification and development bring vibrancy to the local economy and prosperity throughout Wood Buffalo, all while not forgetting the core industry. As a global centre for excellence in oil sands extraction technology and innovation, the Region will grow to serve as a global hub for the exchange of this industry knowledge.
    • Reconciliation: Wood Buffalo’s First Nations and Métis are rich in collaborative spirit and historical, cultural, and economic importance. The Indigenous community call lands throughout Wood Buffalo their ancestral homes and have individual needs and interests as distinct as the region’s many changing landscapes. From Fort McMurray to the most remote communities, continuous dialogue and relationship building with the entire Indigenous community that calls Wood Buffalo home is central to how the MDP must move reconciliation forward. 
    • Celebrating Community and Culture: Brimming with community pride it comes naturally that Wood Buffalo celebrates its unique past, vibrant arts, rich culture, and diverse population. These are things that not only make Wood Buffalo an amazing place to live but also contribute to an everyday vitality rarely found elsewhere. Quality of life for all is enhanced through opportunities to celebrate these unique cultures, while the promotion of and participation in diverse arts and cultural activities provide educational and growth opportunities that bring people together and foster community.
    • Connecting to nature: Wood Buffalo’s cherished wilderness areas, protected ecosystems, parks, and waterfronts are hallmarks of the region. Residents enjoy some of the cleanest air and water in the world, and visitors come from near and far to explore the incredible outdoors. Bold new ideas like the Green and Blue Network can create a necklace of integrated trails and pathways throughout the region with the potential to become the envy of nature-goers around the world, while sustained commitments to acting on climate change and sound environmental stewardship will continue to share Wood Buffalo’s values to the world.
    • Responsible Development: Wood Buffalo’s communities are tenacious, connected, and provide for residents’ daily needs. As a desirable location for all who come to the region, whether temporarily or for a lifetime, Wood Buffalo grows intentionally. With development that makes life better for all, the Municipality will continue to build a continu­ously evolving and thriving Wood Buffalo.

    What are plan policies?

    Policies are the set of directing guidelines/set of principles which guide the Municipality in its course of action. In the MDP the policies are defined to achieve specific objectives and goals for the municipal vision for the future of the RMWB.

    What has been done so far?

    The RMWB has been conducting ongoing engagement with residents, community stakeholders and Indigenous partners since 2020 to prepare the new MDP. Throughout engagement different objectives have supported gaining important feedback from the region.

    In fall 2020, Phase 1 engagement occurred focusing on gaining perspectives on local values, priorities, opportunities, challenges and a vision for the future. Feedback that was provided was thoughtfully collected and considered to provide a direction for the MDP.

    In winter 2021, Phase 2 engagement occurred focusing on presenting the approach, vision, goals, and overarching big moves. The feedback was critical in prioritizing and refining the overall goals and strategic direction of the MDP to define the draft plan.

    Now, we are in the final phase of engagement presenting the draft MDP. Feedback provided in this stage will provide clarity and confirmation we are on the right path for a successful community- based plan. 

    What changes have been made since the last engagement?

    • Included Truth and Reconciliation as a goal;
    • Finalize the vision to reflect the intention of community-based approach;
    • Committing the improved communication and collaboration with rural communities and Indigenous partners;
    • Ensuring the goals are not repetitious, and have clear direction;
    • Emphasizing the green and blue network in the MDP as a priority; and
    • Aligning with existing economic development initiatives, including the Place Brand strategy.

    How will the plan effect people of our region?

    The MDP effects all demographics within our Region, from the youth to our valued seniors.  This statutory plan does relate to all people in the Region. These include:

    • Defines how the region will grow, impacting how residents live, and work; 
    • Understanding priorities for individual communities within the RMWB;
    • Strengthen our current assets from community needs;
    • Allows a sense of community ownership;
    • Provide direction for business and economic opportunities;
    • Supports planning for future development;
    • Policies for retaining economic opportunities;
    • Policies for promoting in-migration;
    • Promoting and encouraging the businesses in the region;
    • Supporting local partnerships and partnerships with Indigenous partners;
    • Attracting and retaining the residents; 
    • Promotes the community well being;
    • Supporting and encouraging the innovative approach based on knowledge and research; and
    • Initiating the multi-level governmental discussions and advocacy for the regional sustainability.

    Can I win a prize?

    Complete the MDP online survey for your chance to win a local gift card. All residents who complete the online survey have an opportunity to win either a $100, or $50 local business gift card. To qualify you must consent to the rules and regulations when completing the online survey and provide your personal contact information.