Resource Extraction Regulatory Review (RERR)

Council started the Resource Extraction Regulatory Review (RERR) to balance the economic benefits of sand and gravel (aggregate) extraction with protecting the environment and residents’ quality of life.

Resource extraction operations are important for the local economy. They create jobs, provide critical resources to build infrastructure, and generate tax revenue that keeps taxes low and funds community services. However, they can also impact residents’ quality of life. We heard concerns from residents about noise, hours of operation, water quality, traffic impacts and proximity to residential properties.

We are proposing changes to our resource extraction rules – which are more than 30 years old – that consider industry input balanced with protecting residents’ interests.

Where we’re at

Following a multi-year review and significant public engagement, Council is considering new rules for resource extraction.

Sturgeon County held two public hearings – one for each proposed bylaw – on March 15. These public hearings allowed the community to provide feedback on the proposed changes. Watch a video recording of the public hearings and read written submissions.

Council is considering public input, and the proposed bylaws (with possible changes) will go to Council for further consideration and possible approval at a later date.

What is being proposed

Council is considering two bylaws related to sand and gravel extraction.

Bylaw 1607/22  would change the Land Use Bylaw to…

Add new operator requirements, but keep existing setbacks in the “resource extraction” land use district.

  • Operators would need to have plans for traffic management, hauling, and water/groundwater management.
  • Operations would have to be at least 400 metres from residences and 800 metres from multi-lot subdivisions. This is the same as our existing setbacks

Create a new “direct control” land use district that allows site-specific regulations – including reduced setbacks – and add new operator requirements.

  • A new resource extraction district would allow regulations to be customized to suit the land and its specific characteristics, such as topography, shelter belts, roadways and more. Setbacks could be the same or less than in the resource extraction district, if appropriate and supported by science-based analysis
  • Council could also add new operator requirements to approvals to address traffic management, noise, hours of operation, air quality, hauling, and water/groundwater management. These measures would be site-specific and would protect the environment and neighbour quality of life.

Improve communication and public input.

Operators would need to consult the community before submitting a resource extraction application. If approved, they’d have to communicate quarterly to the public and County for the duration of the operation. We’d also hold a public hearing for each redistricting application to give residents a chance to share input with Council.

Put a five-year expiry date on permit approvals, and enhance enforcement.

Resource extraction permit approvals would be valid for five years. If an operator wants to renew, we’d assess their compliance with regulations. Throughout the operation, the County would also monitor operations and enforce bylaws, as needed.

Bylaw 1608/22 would repeal the Calahoo-Villeneuve Sand and Gravel Area Structure Plan.

This plan is more than 20 years old and the policy contained within it has been implemented.

Note: existing operations in the resource extraction land use district would not be impacted by these changes, unless they need permit renewal. At that time, these changes would apply.

Other Actions

In addition to proposing bylaw amendments, administration will prepare a staged implementation plan for other recommendations in the RERR Final Report – such as reviewing committee governance, the Community Aggregate Payment (CAP) Levy, communication and enforcement supports – by Sept. 30, 2023.

Common questions

The Resource Extraction Regulatory Review does not focus on a specific project or extraction area. It is a review of the rules applied to resource extraction operations throughout the County. These rules would apply to new sand and gravel extraction sites or if there is an application by an operator to change/expand operations.

This map shows the existing deposit areas within Sturgeon County.

Note: it is not possible to know where all deposits are until exploration is conducted on-site. Some deposits may exist outside of the areas shown, and some areas on the map may have small deposits. Many areas with deposits are not feasible to develop.

Sturgeon County monitors groundwater levels and quality surrounding gravel extraction activities each year. The proposed bylaw changes include new operator requirements, including for water and groundwater management.

View the existing operations report.

What we’ve done

We started the Resource Extraction Regulatory Review in early 2020. This review included more than two years of expert analysis and public engagement, where we listened to resident, landowner and operator input. We conducted public surveys, interviews with industry members, several online and in-person open houses, and more.

View our what we heard report for a summary of the feedback we heard.
The RERR Final Report was accepted in March 2021. Its goal is to open up access to more sand and gravel deposits while maintaining or improving our natural environment and the human health, safety and quality of life of residents living near new pits.


May to June 2020: phase one of public engagement

August 2020: Council accepted the best practices report and What We Heard Report from public engagement (phase one)

Oct. 19 to Nov. 6, 2020: phase two of public engagement

January 2021: Council accepted the What We Heard Report from public engagement (phase two)

Early 2021: Final reports and recommendations were presented to Council

March 23, 2021: Council accepted the RERR Final Report

May 3 to 20, 2022: Phase three of public engagement

Oct. 25, 2022: Council accepted the consolidated What We Heard Report

Jan. 24, 2023: Council gave first reading to a pair of bylaws related to resource extraction

March 15, 2023: Sturgeon County held two public hearings, allowing the community to provide feedback. Watch a video recording of the public hearings and read written submissions.


If you have any questions about the proposed resource extraction changes, please contact Planning and Development at 780-939-8275 or by email .