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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Recreation planning for mountain resort communities Melville, Lauren Marianne


Recreation planners at mountain resort communities must decide what types of recreation facilities and activities to provide in order to meet the diverse needs of the community. This thesis attempts to answer this question specifically for the Resort Municipality of Whistler. Determinants of participation in recreation are highly psychological. Thus, description of potential client groups must rely heavily upon attitudes, perceptions, and behavior. Theories of recreation serve as a useful planning tool helping planners understand peoples' recreation desires. A clear understanding of what people want recreation to accomplish for them is crucial when deciding what type of recreation facilities and activities to provide. However, as discovered when examining resort communities, it is not enough for planners just to take into account functional considerations when planning recreation facilities. Planners must be aware of the resort's image. People typically visit a resort community because they identify with its image. Images are based upon peoples' impressions of the entire resort community, including the facilities offered and both the natural and built environment. The challenge for the planner is to translate peoples' recreation desires into facilities that serve as concrete expressions of the resort's image. This thesis develops as framework to consider such a challenge. This is achieved by: a review of recreation theory and resort planning literature; review of resort communities similar to Whistler; informal interviews, and by a survey of Whistler property owners administered by the author. There are three main findings. First, recreation theory is an invaluable planning tool in helping planners decide what type of recreation facilities to provide. Second, recreation planners can help create a particular type of resort by providing facilities; however, the market eventually determines the resort's status. Third, more substantial market research is required to determine what type of resort the Municipality of Whistler should strive to become.

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