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Cottager characteristics and their effects on cottage use and services : implications for regional policy Moritz, Paul Richard

Abstract

The continuing growth in the demand for recreational land for cottaging purposes within a day's drive of major urban centres, together with the increasing scarcity of suitable land, have important environmental and economic implications, particularly for regional governments charged with responsibility for planning land use and settlement density within their jurisdictions. Where cottage developments have been regulated at all, regional authorities have tended to assume that cottagers are uniform in their desires and in their potential impact upon the surrounding areas, and have developed their policies accordingly. This study explores the possibility that, on the contrary, cottagers have different desires that, if recognized, would lead to the adoption of policies designed to foster a variety of cottage areas with distinctive features. Using four cottage areas in the Princeton region of British Columbia as a case study, this thesis investigates whether the cottager population has changed in recent years and then examines the relationship between the characteristics of cottage owners, the intensity of cottage use and recreational activity, and the level of services desired. The data is gathered by means of a survey questionnaire mailed to all the property owners in the four cottage areas. It was found that cottage owners are more occupationally diverse than they were a decade ago, and that certain patterns of summer occupancy and activity level are apparent. However, no significant correlation was found between cottager characteristics and owners' desires for services, although certain trends were evident. In light of these findings, three policy alternatives are advanced for consideration by regional or provincial governments: the large lot approach; the cluster hamlet; and the rental cottage village. The pros and cons of each are assessed in terms of environmental and economic impact, the desires of cottagers as expressed in the questionnaire returns, and the potential for satisfying the growing demand for cottaging. Finally, suggestions are made for further research.

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