UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Development of resource-based new towns in British Columbia : a community study of Gold River. Gung, Janice Sui-Ching


New towns is the form of settlement replacing camps and company towns in the resource areas of Canada. Resource companies, still requiring Skilled workers living near the site of its development, are planning and building towns which are incorporated soon after completion. This feature distinguishing new towns from company towns and camps is intended to alleviate the resource company of direct responsibility to the town and its residents. The economic mainstay of the town, though, is still the resource company's operation. Very broadiy, this thesis seeks to discover who is responsible for the development of new towns in resource areas and what programmes they are undertaking. It is important that the large social and financial investments in these new towns not be left to the vagaries of the single resource market, the economic base of the town. Specifically, this thesis examines Gold River, a forest-based new town in British Columbia. Rather than generalizing the findings of this study, this thesis is indicating a method by which such communities can be studied and compared in order to make general statements concerning the growth and development of new towns. By examining the role and relative impact of organizations on the development of the town and by examining the values of the residents through their objectives for their town, it is possible to relate societal values to the direction of development. The British Columbia government has two objectives in the development of its forest resource. One ensures the perpetual yield of the resource through strictly enforced management policies. And the second seeks the perpetuation of prosperous communities for which no policies have been made to ensure its fulfillment. Even though the town is incorporated, the Council tends to be inexperienced. Therefore, with no counterbalancing force, it is hypothesized that, the policy of the resource company will continue to actively determine the future development of the town. To test the hypothesis, the author gleaned the policies of the resource company by examining its activity in the town. Finding little to substantiate the hypothesis the author examined the role and impact of other organizations. The residents are adamant that the responsibility for the future development of the town rest on themselves. The Council, and to a lesser extent, the Chamber of Commerce, are active in promoting new activity in their town. The residents see the development of their town into a more viable and varied community, in terms of the development and growth of the region. Even though there exists a social fabric receptive to further development, the power and the control over the use of the region rests principally with the forest company and the initiative for further development of the region rests with the Provincial Government. If a general statement could be made from this study it would be that, the further development and growth of single enterprise resource-based new towns is an integral part of regional planning and resource development.

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