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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Negotiating restoration : integrating knowledges on the Alouette River, British Columbia Vanderwal, Jim Henry

Abstract

Multi-stakeholder based planning processes have been used extensively in British Columbia for land-use planning, and have now begun to be applied to water through the new Water Use Planning (WUP) Program. The WUP Program is designed to create a better balance between the multiple uses of water (power generation, fisheries, flood control, recreation, etc.) at BC Hydro's water control facilities around the province. A pilot process was carried out to develop the Alouette Water Use Plan (AWUP) before the Program was established. The AWUP process combined public involvement tools such as facilitation, education, and group decision making, with decision analysis tools for structuring the problem. While the AWUP process has been widely regarded as successful, it is valuable to examine the lessons learned in the Alouette experience before developing Water Use Plans at other facilities. The goal of this thesis is to evaluate the Alouette Water Use Planning process from the perspective of its participants. A framework is developed for assessing multistakeholder processes, in terms of their ability to involve participants in both policy making and knowledge generation. This framework is applied to the AWUP process, using interviews with participants as the primary source of data. The results provide insight into the merits of structure and participant control in the development of multistakeholder processes, and into the factors that affect the public's understanding of technical information. Key strengths of the AWUP process include involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, sharing of key information, implementation of the plan after agreement was reached, and an adaptive approach to ongoing management. Key weaknesses include the failure to recognize pre-existing community organizations, resistance to involving the public in technical studies, inadequate sensitivity to cultural differences, and limited means for remaining accountable to the broader public. Recommendations are made for improving individual water use planning processes, information development processes, and the overall water use planning policy.

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