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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Village Lake Louise : a study of public planning O'Brien, John Joseph

Abstract

Public participation is one of the most insistent pressures facing planners as they attempt to draw into their plans the values and perceptions of their clients. In recognition of the desirability of the public playing a role in the planning and management of the National Parks, the Minister introduced the public hearings programme in 1970. While the public hearing was originally used as a forum for public review of the Provisional Master Plans developed for each park as a whole, it was also the mechanism available when it was decided to give the public an opportunity to comment on the master plan for Village Lake Louise. Subsequent to that hearing, the Minister rejected the Village proposal. The methodology pursued in this study has been to postulate a set of criteria upon which one might wish to base a public participation programme. The role of the public in the planning of Village Lake Louise was then analyzed from the perspective of adherence to these criteria. The arguments raised at the Provisional Master Plan hearings about the Village as well as those put forward during the Village Lake Louise hearing were reviewed as a basis upon which this analysis could proceed. The rejection of Village Lake Louise was a negative victory for public participation in that an unacceptable plan was stopped but the mechanism of participation was incapable of producing any alternative solution. The hearing was a confrontation situation between opponents and proponents of the development. The former were faced with accepting, rejecting or proposing modifications to a solution, rather than reviewing a number of alternatives from which they might develop an acceptable resolution to the problem confronted. Only by forcing such a confrontation could the opponents expect alternatives to be considered. A public hearing must be supplemented by other techniques of public participation which would allow for testing plans as they develop from the objectives-setting stage onward. Indeed, problem identification itself is a task to be shared by affected interests and planners. A multi-faceted programme which would allow for a progressively more refined interaction between the public and the planners, rather than a single effort approach is necessary. Such a programme would include a mix of techniques adapted to the particular planning stage, for example, advisory committee(s), workshop/seminars and continuous information flows.

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