UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Explorative study of the public participation program in the development of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park Maedel, Jerry Allen


The public's demands for increased involvement in resource management planning and decision making emphasize the need to understand public participation and the practical aspects of its application. This thesis sets out to analyse the process of public participation in one case study, focusing in on those who participated directly in the public participation program. The effectiveness of this application is examined and compared to the general experience of public participation in Canada. Special emphasis is placed on discovering whether or not effective public participation produces support for resource management strategies. The study takes place within the context of the Kalamalka Lake Public Participation Program developed by the Ministry of Environment and Parks, Province of British Columbia. This research has pointed out the necessity for: knowing what the public feels about management plans, communicating to the public an agency's objectives, pointing out how an agency's management plans are developed to achieve those objectives, opening the process for the public to participate in finalizing management plans, and communicating detailed, final plans to the public within a reasonable timeframe. The purpose of this research is to see how selected components of public participation affect the development of public support for park management strategies. Public participation is a part of the theory of participatory democracy. It can be included in the present system of representative democracy, and result in a stronger, more stable system of government than exists today. The Bargaining Process Model of public participation is preferred to the Upward Forming Consensus Model because it provides the public with access to the administrators on decisions which directly affect the public. Access is provided through pressure groups which are authorized to participate in the decision making process. Connor's New Ladder, modified to include the public at the joint planning team level, is the most complete and integrated set of public participation methodologies available. The public needs to be brought into the initial stages of the planning process as a partner equal to 'experts'. Ongoing, independent evaluation of public participation programing is necessary for an effective process of public participation to develop. The challenge is to determine which issues require inputs from the public, what segments of the public should be consulted, and how the necessary inputs can be obtained most effectively It is this challenge which forms the research base for this paper and which is directly reflected in these three components of the broad objective (discussed in Chapter I); park issues, social-economic characteristics of the local public, and communication methods. The fourth component is 'the attitudes of the public and park personnel towards each other'. In this component, support of park management strategies is considered a part of the attitudes and perceptions of the public and the agency towards each other. Perceptions and attitudes are investigated as indicators of a successful public participation program and of public support for management strategies. Public participation in Canada at the Federal and Provincial Parks level is a part of the Upward Forming Consensus Model of Public Participation. The public was informed and consulted, but not allowed to advise or consent. In the case of Parks Canada's Four Mountain Parks Planning Process, the importance of distributing clear information to the public and identifying where the public input influenced the final decisions was emphasized. Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park is located on the North East shore of Kalamalka Lake and four kilometers South of the City of Vernon in the province of British Columbia. Steep hills covered by grass and rock outcroppings with some pine forests interspersed with a large network of lakes characterize the area. The name Kalamalka is a Polynesian word thought to mean lake of many colors. Many of the original settlers were British and they have had a strong influence on the social and cultural development of this area. When it was learnt that a major resort and residential development was planned for the land which is now Kalamalka Park, an intense public outcry led by the North Okanagan Naturalist Club resulted in the land being purchased from Coldstream Ranch for a provincial park in August of 1975. The preparation of a master plan for Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park was to be guided by the issues, concerns and proposals received through an open planning process. Public meetings were organized and public comments received. The Parks Branch formulated four alternative plans (concept 1 - 4) and the public voiced their choice through concerns sheets, letters, briefs and petitions. Concept one or two was preferred by the majority (78%) of the public. After a five year delay an advisory committee was set up (1983) to approve a plan for park development. The next year the Advisory Committee presented their report and park development began. The park was opened two years later (1986). Respondents were identified and interviewed about the sequence of events surrounding the Kalamalka Lake Public Participation Program. The purpose of using focused interviews in this research is to evaluate what did or did not work and why. This technique is used to explain behavior and is a valuable indicator of what might occur in similar situations. There were 9 personal interviews and 22 telephone interviews for a total of 31. This research has pointed out the necessity for: - knowing what the public feels about management plans - communicating to the public an agency's objectives - explaining how an agency's management plans are developed to achieve those objectives - opening the process for the public to participate in finalizing management plans - communicating detailed, final plans to the public within a reasonable timeframe The benefits of an effective public participation program are: - less controversy - better overall management plans - active public support

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.