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Alberta pilot project creates new industrial zone

DCN-JOC News Services
Alberta pilot project creates new industrial zone
PROVINCE OF ALBERTA — Crews work on an oil project near Fort McMurray, Alta. The province has started a new pilot project to create a special Designated Industrial Zone.

CALGARY, ALTA. — Alberta is looking to create a new zone to boost investment.

Officials explained the pilot project in Alberta’s industrial heartland will reduce red tape and streamline regulatory approvals to help attract new investment and create jobs.

The Designated Industrial Zone, or DIZ, aims to make industry more competitive by addressing application backlogs, increasing efficiency and transparency and supporting economic development, while achieving environmental outcomes.

The province stated the DIZ has the potential to help attract billions of dollars in capital investment and support thousands of direct and indirect jobs by 2030.

The Industrial Heartland Designated Industrial Zone framework is on track to be formally implemented on Oct. 1. Following the end of the pilot phase in September 2024, the government will assess lessons learned and best practices to determine how they could be applied to other potential designated industrial zones in Alberta.

“By designating the heartland an industrial zone, the region emerges as a competitive force through regulatory efficiency and scaled infrastructure, unlocking Alberta’s potential to be a world leader in responsible energy,” said Dean Setoguchi, president and CEO of Keyera, in a statement. “This aligns with Keyera’s plans to leverage our pipeline infrastructure and nearly 1,300 acres of undeveloped land in the region for a low carbon vision that will position us as a significant player in Alberta’s energy future. A sustainable and competitive energy future cannot be realized in isolation and today’s announcement is a significant achievement as it furthers collaboration between industry, our regulators and the Government of Alberta in finding responsibly produced clean energy solutions.”

The following initiatives are already underway in the DIZ:

  • a streamlined renewal process for Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act approvals, reducing timelines from an average of 18 months to six months;
  • an applicant advisory service to help proponents of major new projects navigate the unique and streamlined processes that apply in Alberta’s industrial heartland;
  • identifying opportunities to improve baseline environmental knowledge and address data gaps through improved monitoring and enhanced environmental modelling;
  • increasing standards for air pollution abatement equipment; and
  • a $1.5 million grant to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association to fund “regulatory ready” designs for up to three new water intakes will provide additional assurance to investors that water will be available for industrial processes.

The province stated it has repeatedly heard from industry stakeholders that Alberta’s environmental regulatory process was outdated and complex, and that clearer expectations up front will improve application quality and their own planning.

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