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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Regional conservation planning strategies for British Columbia: the case of the Sunshine coast McMullen, McMullen, Mark Edward Mark Edward


The thesis takes a normative, yet pragmatic approach, in examining how the protection of habitat and ecological functions can be improved through changing current uncoordinated, sectoral decision-making processes into a holistic, cooperative approach to guide planning at the local level. In rapidly growing regions on the urban/rural fringe such as the Sunshine Coast, towns, rural areas and large wildernesses form a complex matrix of land uses across the landscape which require the integration of provincial and local government planning. Thus, a case is made for a decision-making process that generates a conservation strategy, integrating local and provincial planning at the scale of regional districts in British Columbia. The literature is reviewed to identify principles for a conservation strategy approach to decision-making which include: a consensus-based process, cross-sectoral government coordination, broad-based public involvement, and non-governmental partnerships for implementation. Secondly, the literature pertaining to several regional approaches to conservation planning is reviewed including: parks system planning, landscape ecology and bioregional theory. From these two sources of literature, a hybrid model of the regional conservation planning strategy is formed. Using criteria derived from this hybrid model to evaluate the effectiveness of planning processes, the provincial conservation planning framework is evaluated. The policies of the Commission on Resources and Environment, the provincial government’s Land and Resource Management Planning process and the Protected Areas Strategy are evaluated according to the criteria. Fourthly, conservation planning on the Sunshine Coast is examined, and a case study of the Sechelt Inlets Coastal Strategy is evaluated against the criteria. By evaluating both the provincial planning framework and the local case study, conclusions can be drawn on the need for regional conservation planning strategy processes in rapidly developing areas at the urban/rural fringe. Finally, recommendations are made for changes to provincial and regional district policies to facilitate more effective conservation planning for the Sunshine Coast Regional District and other regions in British Columbia.

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