The Planning and Development Act (1979) led to the creation of MRCs throughout Quebec. The latter were created to respond to the need for consultation and regional collaboration in order to solve planning problems that went beyond the administrative boundaries and areas of jurisdiction of local municipalities. One of the main mandates and one of the primary responsibilities of the MRC Council is the development and adoption of a Land Use Plan that plans the spatial organization of the territory from the elements that make up the natural and built environment. That Plan also defines the guidelines for the organization of elements that may be considered of intermunicipal or regional interest, according to the objectives pursued by the municipalities.
While the first-ever Land Use Plan came into effect on October 7, 1987, a revision began in 1992. The review was part of major provincial legislative changes that had a clear impact on the planning and the development of the territory of our region (municipal mergers and amendments to the Act respecting the protection of the land and agricultural activities, also called the "Right to Produce Act"). This first revision of the development plan is characterized by the protection and development of the territory with strong agricultural potential, the recognition of the function of the hamlets (in agricultural territory), the encouragement of the development of the industry both by the protection of the territory and by strengthening commercial and industrial concentrations, the development of tourism, notably in the agro-forestry sector, and improving the quality of life of citizens through better management of spaces and especially urbanized areas .
As provided in the Act Respecting Land Use Planning And Development, the plan must be revised every five years following the date of its coming into force. The next plan will incorporate a strategic vision statement of cultural, economic, environmental and social development aimed at orchestrating all the skills of the MRC. The third generation of plan will allow elected officials to better plan and develop the territory using several tools. This experience will foster the emergence of better-quality living environments for the citizens of the Haut-Saint-Laurent.