Water Quality / Water & Sewage
Community governments have primary responsibility for providing safe drinking water to NWT community residents. The GNWT, the federal government, the water boards and all NWT residents also have roles to play. This is an essential service where MACA and other involved GNWT departments strive to work in partnership with community governments to guarantee safe drinking water from source to tap.
MACA provides funding to support community governments in providing water and sewage services through the Water & Sewer Services Funding Policy. Community governments are funded according to a standard cost model. This model assumes a due diligence approach to operations, that community governments will charge consumers for water and sewage services, and recognizes that there is a “fixed” cost of operations, regardless of consumption.
Land Management Responsibilities
While it is understood that Council or the Senior Administrative Officer (SAO) will generally not be involved in the day to day tasks of land administration, an understanding of key land management authorities, responsibilities and administrative processes is important. In order to have a good grasp of land management matters, it is important to understand the following:
Territorial Laws and Policy
A variety of legislation exists to deal with the various types of land ownership in the NWT. The federal government has its own laws to deal with federal crown land, the GNWT has laws dealing with Commissioner’s Land and emerging Aboriginal governments are developing laws to deal with their land. Community governments are governed by the provisions of GNWT legislation and policies in how they acquire and dispose of land.
Community Government Laws
Territorial legislation provides community governments with the opportunity to own, manage and dispose of land. In order to deal in land, councils must adopt a land administration by-law, which outlines the terms and conditions by which the community government will operate. While council has some options in land management, its land administration by-law must follow the general provisions of the GNWT Municipal Lands Policy.
Planning and Development
Decisions on land disposal and land acquisition are made easier when the community government has a ‘plan’. Whether the plan is a legal document adopted under the provisions of the Community Planning and Development Act or a less formal land use plan, the community benefits. More formal approaches include the zoning of land and issuance of permits for all developments. Key in any process is community involvement. Land development practices in the NWT have evolved from a government-funded program to cost-recovery with the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the community government. Roles and responsibilities for community government in the land development process are important to understand, as are the options for financing and pricing land development projects.
Land Administration practices go to the heart of “getting the job done” – that is – what is required for the effective administration of land. A well organized community lands office can be a valuable tool in maintaining and indeed enhancing community satisfaction with land applications and other requests for information. The land administrator of a community needs to have the support of the SAO and needs to be able to explain the requirements and options for land acquisition to the public. He/she also needs to maintain good records, legal plans of survey and inventories of lands in the community, which includes maintaining individual files for each property in the community.
Community Emergency Planning
A new Community Emergency Response Plan Template is currently under development and will be available in April.
Pipeline Readiness / Resource Development
Communities adjacent to resource development, such as those along the proposed Mackenzie Valley Pipeline (MVP) route, will undergo significant impacts. MACA is working to support community governments so that they are poised to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that may arise from this resource development, but also, that they are able to mitigate any potential adverse impacts. A key area where significant impacts are foreseen is community infrastructure, including water and sewer facilities, solid waste sites, municipal lands, roads and granular supply.