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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Social impacts of large scale development projects case study : Hugh Keenleyside dam construction Backerman, Stuart Bruce


This thesis reports the results of an empirical research, conducted for the displaced communities located on the Arrow Lakes in British Columbia. Emphasis was given to that part of the displaced population that relocated away from the Arrow Lakes region. Ethnographic, data, including community-dynamics, culture and history, and intensive personal interviews with formerly displaced people was collected in order to assess the effects relocation had upon the displaced population. The rationale for the study stems from the fact that to date the planning process has not given due regard to the comprehensive identification of social impacts resulting from construction and operation of large scale development projects. Some impacts have been expected; however, other impacts, which were given little consideration in planning stages and which have come about in a completely unexpected manner, may be documented for virtually every large development project. Any contribution towards ensuring identification of impacts which might otherwise occur unexpectedly should serve to improve the planning process. Ideally, it would be valuable to be able to recognize previously unanticipated effects during the pre-operational planning period. In this particular research recognition of secondary effects during the preplanning period have not explicitly been studied, however, identifying impacts "after the fact" (as a follow-up) has certain validity. It can serve in a nominal way as an indicator for predicting the range of probable consequences of subsequent development projects. It is also necessary as a feed-back or checking mechanism. Often times predictions are proven wrong and secondary effects go undetected, thus a follow-up component within the process is a necessary requisite. Post relocation addresses and whereabouts have been traced for twenty-three households or approximately eighteen per cent of the total displaced population that did not relocate within the Arrow Lakes region. Thus, the following conclusion has been formulated regarding displacement from the large scale power development project in the Arrow Lakes region of British Columbia: Individuals that have commitments to a community and are displaced from communities that display a strong sense of identity and cohesion are more adversely affected than those with no commitments and from communities that lack a strong sense of identity. And finally, a step-by-step approach for relocation planning was identified and discussed.

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