British Columbia Parks and The Indo-Canadian Community : Implications and Policy Recommendations Stamnes, Tara
With high immigrant populations, park use has been seen to decrease overall. It is important that policy makers bolster immigrant and ethnic populations’ park use, as it can provide societal and individual benefits, along with supporting the Green Party of British Columbia’s 6 Core Principles that focus on diversity, inclusion, and environmental mindedness. Providing adequate and accessible opportunities is fair and equitable, and follows the structure of good policy under the Green Party of British Columbia. Informed by a lengthy literature review, results from an online survey, and guidelines provided by the study partner, the Green Party of British Columbia, the policy recommendations for this study are threefold as stated below: 1. The creation and distribution of a program plan aimed at the Indo-Canadian community that would target family inclusion in parks and outdoor recreation. Of the three, this recommendation is informed most in depth by the literature and survey results, which focus on family, relevant activities, and ethnic awareness. 2. The suggested subsidization of pre-existing and future programs for immigrant and ethnic populations in parks. Funding is the major challenge for those programs that already exist, and subsidization through the form of grants or otherwise could help alleviate this issue, and allow for the insured longevity of such programs for the future. 3. Further research. As this is a complex, and sensitive topic, it is naturally impossible to include all the relevant information and sub-information in a single study, calling for the deepened understanding in topics such as the difference of age demographics, and their effects on park use, along with a more substantive survey which could help in generating more holistic data results for the Indo-Canadian population. The study methods used included a literature review and online survey. The literature opened up information regarding under-representation theory, allowing reads and policy makers to understand the deep importance of cultural context in framing perspectives around nature, outdoor recreation, and parks. The study exemplifies how one’s religion, location of origin/ancestry, and other cultural factors can shape understandings of outdoor activity and environmental awareness. It is important to have a multi-faceted understanding of why different cultural groups may use parks differently than seen in the typical North American pattern, which allows for more suitable policies, along with greater cultural awareness. The online survey conducted illuminated some key trends in Indo-Canadian park use and value bases in British Columbia. The importance of family in outdoors recreation, particular barriers (particularly lack of knowledge), and commonly participated-in activity types were all illuminated through the survey’s resultant data. Each of these points and more were considered in the creation of policy recommendations, and are important for deeper understanding in the topic of changing ethnic demographics in British Columbia and park use.
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