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A brownfield property is a commercial or industrial property which is, or possibly is, contaminated; is vacant, derelict or underutilized; and is suitable for development or redevelopment (Municipal Government Act, 2018).

Why is brownfield redevelopment important?

Brownfields can be found in rural municipalities to large cities. The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association’s (AUMA) Brownfield Impact Assessment Report (2014) states the most common location of brownfields is downtown or on main streets, which means they are highly visible and detract from community appeal and economic development. Brownfields can also be found in other business areas, such as industrial zones, manufacturing districts and even residential areas. This can drive away other activities, constrain development options and reduce the value of surrounding properties.

What are the benefits of brownfield redevelopment?

Brownfield redevelopment provides numerous environmental, economic and social benefits for Albertans. Cleaning up contaminated sites reduces risks to human health and the environment. Using existing developed spaces curbs urban sprawl and protects farmlands and green spaces. Community revitalization increases neighbourhood pride and enhances quality of life for residents. Redevelopment boosts the economy through new business opportunities, job creation, remediation technology innovation and increased property values and tax revenues.

What is Alberta’s strategy to promote brownfield redevelopment?

The Alberta Government is committed to working with industry and municipalities to clean up contaminated sites and encourage brownfield redevelopment through supportive economic and regulatory measures. The Alberta Government, municipalities and industry worked together to write the Brownfield Redevelopment Working Group Report (2012) to provide strategic recommendations on brownfield redevelopment.

The following has been accomplished to implement those recommendations:

  1. City charters were signed with Edmonton and Calgary, encouraging sustainable land use and brownfield redevelopment.
  2. Tax and bylaw changes to encourage brownfield redevelopment are being implemented through the Municipal Government Act in effect as of October 26, 2017. These changes provide municipalities with the ability to implement tax deferrals and exemptions as an incentive for redevelopment.
  3. Alberta Environment and Parks hired a Brownfield Coordinator in November 2016.
  4. A Risk Management Plan Guide was released October 31, 2017. This builds on the Contaminated Sites Policy Framework (October 2014) and the updated Alberta Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guidelines (February 2016).
  5. Engagement took place with stakeholders to review the Remediation Certificate Regulation from May to September 2017.

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Updated: Apr 18, 2018