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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Regional planning in Victoria: is a revival possible? Masterton, Graeme A. A.

Abstract

This thesis studies the history of the Capital Regional District (C.R.D.), the regional authority for the twelve municipalities and two electoral areas called Greater Victoria on Vancouver Island, from the birth of regional planning in the 1950’s to stagnation in the 1980’s and 90’s. It seeks to understand what happened in the CRD and what lessons we can learn from Victoria that will add to the existing knowledge of regional planning. Was it the structure of the CRD, the enabling legislation, the process followed in creating official regional plans, local politics, or a combination of factors that prevented the CRD from fulfilling its promise? By understanding the CRD history we are able to identify problems and suggest changes that could begin the planning process once again. The CRD is studied through personal interviews, newspaper research, secondary sources, and a custom survey of politicians and planners, to determine the political and professional atmosphere surrounding the CRD over its entire history. Other examples of regional planning or, more specifically, urban-centred regional planning, are studied to set the CRD within the spectrum of types of regional authorities. From the beginning there has been little municipal support, either politically or professionally, for regional planning in the Capital Region. In addition there is the continuing lack of trained professional planning staff in many of the regional municipalities. Thus, the CRD’s calls for planning merely fall upon deaf ears. The final problem has been with the regional authorities themselves. The early CRPB planners may have demonstrated elitism since they were the only planners in the region and worked for what they thought was the ‘higher authority’. This apparent arrogance in pursuit of regional goals may have sown the seeds of the mistrust which the municipalities came to regard the regional planning efforts of the CRD. Municipal support withered and was weak in 1983 when the Province stripped Regional Districts of their regional planning powers; however, Saanich has demonstrated an increase in support for regional planning in recent years. However, the municipalities within the region still lack a proper forum and process to resolve regional land issues. Only the Province of BC can restore this through legislation.

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