11/13/2013 01:53 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:56 EST

Doug Griffiths Apologizes For Alberta Regional Planning Bill Fiasco

CP/Bill Graveland

EDMONTON - Alberta's municipal affairs minister has apologized publicly to rural politicians for the fiasco around a bill to reorganize regional planning.

Doug Griffiths says the bill was so rushed when it was brought forward two weeks ago that detractors were able to spread fear before he could explain what the proposal was all about.

The bill proposed adjoining municipalities come together on growth boards to address shared infrastructure needs.

Opposition critics said the move was a naked power grab by the province, giving it the authority to dictate planning to local leaders and jail those who didn't comply.

The bill is on hold and Griffiths says there will be changes to make it clear that no municipality or district would be forced onto a growth board.

He also says the province will delete a line directing that elected leaders who didn't comply with the boards could be jailed for up to a year.

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