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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Collaborating for success? : working together in the Coquitlam watershed Nikolic, Diana

Abstract

Water use planning today necessitates an integrated approach that includes sustainability considerations. We rely upon our water resources to satisfy a lengthy list of needs yet we often mistreat this irreplaceable, vital resource. Members of society are acknowledging the situation and are increasingly expressing their interest in being involved in processes to address these issues. It is the planner's responsibility to respond with a method that is capable of involving the public in complex planning issues such water use planning. The identification and application of a suitable methodology can commence with the articulation of indicators of success. By being conscious of desired goals, the process necessary for their attainment is more readily identified. A study of existing literature indicates empowerment, fairness, trust and efficiency are regular indicators of success. Communicative facilitation, the product of unifying the fundamentals of communicative planning and effective facilitation, is a means of working toward the realization of these success indicators. These process components are both complemented and promoted through a collaborative effort. Both the process methodology and its application influence the likelihood of achieving the identified process success indicators. Analysis of a case study, in this instance the Coquitlam Buntzen Water Use Planning process, allows extrication of recommendations and caveats that are applicable not only to collaborative water use planning but also to complex planning processes in general. • A process should focus on reaching the best agreement possible. Allowing a range of levels of agreement while documenting points of disagreement is recommended. • A process's potential to contribute to the development of a positive precedent should be recognized. Every effort should be invested to maximize opportunities to improve levels of trust and perceptions of fairness since current processes affect future efforts. • Process facilitators should be adept in the role of facilitator, analyst, mediator and negotiator while practicing the principles of communicative planning. • It is difficult for a process to manage its schedule and budget to the satisfaction of all participants; however, the evaluation of efficiency is critical to assessment of overall process success. • To avoid confusion and frustration, it should be clearly established prior to process commencement whether a process involves the public generally, stakeholders or representatives. • Scope should be as broadly defined as possible. Although the level of complexity can be expected to increase, the benefits of an integrated approach as well as the frustrations associated with scope limitation support its expansion. Once boundaries are set, they should be explicitly articulated. As the world becomes in increasingly complex place, the planner is faced with the task of facilitating efforts for interests to work together to make good decisions through quality processes.

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