Land Use Planning Process forum delegates gained a better understanding of their job ahead after spending an hour trying to create a mini-plan last Friday, Heidi Bevington writes.
The group divided into four teams, and advisor Stuart Gale assigned each a base map of the Lillooet area and five transparent maps illustrating different interests: archeology sites, mine sites, mountain goat and spotted owl ranges, timber stands and wilderness. Just to mix things up a little, people were assigned to argue on behalf of an interest they don’t usually represent, so for instance Vince Collison, who represents tourism, got to argue on behalf of timber while Bob Brash, who represents timber companies, got to speak on behalf of spotted owls.
Each team settled down to familiarize itself with the maps, and quickly realized these five values could not be easily reconciled.
“This is really hard,” exclaimed Deborah Mantic as she moved the maps around, laying them over and under each other, trying to figure out how to make it all work. And her sentiment was shared by many as they grappled with how to set priorities when mountain goats want to raise kids on the same stretch of rock that miners want to drill holes in, and loggers want to cut down the trees eco-tourists pay good money to visit.
Where to start and how to set priorities?
Methods varied from group to group and from individual to individual, commented Old Massett representative Arnie Bellis, who was standing in for Marlene Liddle, but some values cannot be compromised, for instance the spotted owls are endangered and need to be protected.
The other things the delegates learned from the process is just how much time land use planning can take. “It took a long time to inform ourselves,” said one delegate.
None of the four groups created a finished plan in the allotted hour. Just figuring out the maps took about half an hour, and then they had to figure out how they were going to negotiate. Some took pen in hand and started dividing up the region. Another group got rid of the maps altogether, deciding that zoning would be pointless when everything was so interconnected anyway, so resource extraction would just have to be done more carefully everywhere.
In the end, the delegates came away more conscious of diversity, not only of the interests that must be reconciled in creating a land use plan, but the diversity of approaches and opinions that they bring to the table.
As well as the mini-plan, delegates confirmed their goals, procedures and principles on Friday. Saturday they learned about the islands’ diverse ecosystems from two points of view from Jim Pojar of the Ministry of Forests and Haida Elder Margaret Edgars.
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