The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is North America's largest municipalities by land area. Spread over 63,400 square kilometres, the Municipality encompasses a number of smaller hamlets and the Urban Service Area – Fort McMurray. The economy and population of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has grown significantly with the development of oil sands.
The purpose of the Fringe Area Development Assessment - Urban Service Area was to outline areas suitable for future urban expansion of the Urban Service Area. Although the Fort McMurray Area Planning Study was conducted in 1986 by Alberta Municipal Affairs, a new updated Study was needed to confirm areas suitable for urban expansion and establish a logical sequence for development.
The study attained the following objectives:
- Identified areas suitable for future urban development
- Determined environmental and geotechnical constraints to development
- Integrated new development areas with existing and future transportation, servicing and other infrastructure
- Identified significant environmental features for protection/preservation and to minimize impacts on terrestrial and aquatic habitats
- Identified areas that could be included in expansion planning that were not suitable for development
- Updated the Fringe Area Planning Study that was conducted in 1986
- Prioritized expansion areas by suitability for development and cost for servicing and infrastructure (transportation) including population projections for each area.