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Cottaging and related support services Plotnikoff, James Peter

Abstract

The increasingly popular recreational activity of cottaging has a marked spatial impact. In the past, planners have foregone the opportunity to guide and direct cottage development, other than by traditional zoning and subdivision techniques. The provision of public sercices or utilities is a valid method of development control which has been largely overlooked. This investigation of cottaging in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District examines the potential of this technique, concentrating on those strategic public services which can be provided by the government to individual lots (road, water, sewer and electricity). The study was based on 117 questionnaire returns. It was found that the majority of cottagers in the study area have low levels of the public services under discussion. However, many cottagers indicated dissatisfaction with existing low service levels. When these individuals were included with those who had high levels of services, this combined sub-sample constituted a majority of the population. The discrepancy between existing and preferred levels of services for many cottagers is a function of several factors. For example, infrequent use of the cottage apparently results in a tradeoff between the desire for the convenience offered by high levels of services and a variety of other factors, including the economics of providing the services, and certain aspects of the cottager's life style. A trend indicating that more frequent use of the cottage is accompanied by higher service preferences, supports this conclusion. The study reveals that cottages offer relaxation, isolation, and peace and quiet, and that the cottage is used as a base for outdoor recreational activity. Most cottagers in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District feel that their cottage area is currently at an optimum density and want neither higher levels of services nor more people. Planners can now utilize these findings to determine the levels of services that should be offered, weighing the cottagers' preferences against considerations of environmental quality and density. In addition, it is suggested that the provision of either high or low levels of services will attract different kinds of people, thus segregating the cottage population.

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