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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Landscape aesthetics and surface mine reclamation : establishing the efficacy of linking ethics, aesthetic preference, ecological health and the concept of sustainable development within the context of a reclamation of an open pit mine Roberts, Stephen Alexander

Abstract

The field of mine reclamation has traditionally been dominated by engineers and biologists. With a few notable exceptions, landscape architects in North America have not shown a willingness to participate in reclamation activities. This unwillingness was primarily the result of the perception that the contribution of landscape architects as place-makers was irrelevant due to the often remote location of these mine sites. With advances in transportation, communications, and a rapidly expanding human population, areas that were once considered remote are now accessible. With the rise in social activism resulting from the public's desire for more sustainable forms of economic development, the government has responded by placing ever-increasing restrictions on where mines can be developed in the province of British Columbia. In response to these actions, mine operators have begun to realize that past mine management practices must now give way to new approaches if the industry is to prosper in Canada. This change has lead to a reappraisal of the role landscape architects can play in mine reclamation. For reasons based on their understanding of ethics, aesthetics, and issues of ecology, the profession appears capable of making important contributions to how mine reclamation should be practiced. Having the ability to effectively link all three themes into a coherent whole, landscape architects can move the direction of mine reclamation toward a set of goals that effectively addresses both human and ecologically-based objectives. As an important first step in this process, mine owners must be willing to accept the consequences of ever increasing public participation in all phases of mine development. Building upon the existing concept of design for closure, this participation would require that members of the affected community be involved in the planning and implementation of the mine closure plan. As a consequence of this long-term involvement, it is envisioned that the mining company and local community will develop a foundation of trust that will form the basis of a more sustainable mining industry. With their commitment to the value of public process, landscape architects can be important facilitators in bringing about this change. Key Works: Aesthetic Preference, Acid Rock Drainage, Biodiversity, Environmental Ethics, Ecological Health, Landscape Architecture, Mine Reclamation, Restoration, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Mining, Telkwa Coal Mine.

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