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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Comprehensive community planning within B.C. Indian communities : a case study Pecarski, Randall George


This thesis investigates the role and nature of comprehensive community planning (CCP) within B.C. Indian communities, and analyzes the outcomes of a specific CCP experience where an outside consultant and an Indian community concentrated on planning the nature, rather than the product, of the process. The approach used is a literature review of CCP in B.C. Indian communities and theoretical concepts relevant to this type of planning. The thesis develops a normative definition of CCP which proposes use of five process characteristics that should enhance Indian planning capabilities. These are: a comprehensive scope and approach; a formal/systematic method; a developmental approach; a participatory application; and mutuality of insider/outsider relationships. A case study method is applied to the Similkameen Indian Bands' Comprehensive Community Plan. Analysis of the case uses the CCP definition to identify the nature and outcomes of the process. Indian experiences and perspectives of community planning indicate control over the process, learning from the process, and communicating in the process are difficult to achieve when outsiders are involved. This thesis argues this is due to a lack of attention to planning the nature of the process itself. For Indian communities preparing for self-government CCP may be an important developmental tool if it: improves their planning process skills and self-management capabilities; and, uses outsiders to facilitate this capacity-building without loss of control over the process. The Similkameen experience indicates that application of the proposed normative characteristics of CCP is possible. The outcomes of this case suggest that increased attention to the planning process, by insiders and outsiders, improves the nature of the process as well as producing substantive outputs. Improvements to the nature of the process include extensive community participation by involving community members in 'planning for planning'. An intensive effort was made to fully engage community members in the planning process before determining specific directions for substantive planning. Community participation allowed formal/systematic planning methods to be applied with sensitivity to Indian culture. Developmental outcomes of this participatory process include improvements in the community's planning process skills and self-management competency. 'Planning for planning' also resulted in a mutuality of insider/outsider relations to develop. This relationship placed insiders and outsiders on equal terms which contributed to mutual learning and provided opportunities for the community to direct outsiders' work in ways that best served their needs. A community plan was produced in the Similkameen case that addressed a comprehensive scope of substantive planning areas such as: Band organization and administration; social development; recreation and culture; economic development; infrastructure; and, land use. This a significant outcome given the low completion rate among other B.C. Bands for this type of plan, and the importance of CCP's in guiding overall community development. Self-direction in the full range of community functions is at the heart of self-government. Use of a -comprehensive approach enabled the community to consider inter-relations between proposed substantive actions and to consciously develop priorities for implementation. Several instances of implementation of the Similkameen Plan were observed and expressed by community members which indicate it is being used to direct action in substantive areas. Case-specific opportunities and constraints faced in preparing the Similkameen Plan are also identified. Constraints included political and organizational complexity, loss of key participants, cultural differences within the community, potential for dependency on the consultant, and time. Opportunities included ease of communication, the Band's desire to improve self-management capabilities, Indian culture, insider/outsider trust, and access to Band planning funds. Implications of this study for similar communities are identified and areas for future research are suggested.

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