Tourism industry prespectives on the Cariboo-Chilcotin CORE process: shared decision making?
The province of British Columbia (BC) has long enjoyed a reputation of being "Supernatural" in the eyes of outdoor enthusiasts and tourists from around the world. Given the beauty and natural diversity of the province, it is no wonder that tourism and outdoor recreation have emerged as two of its fastest growing industries (BC Tourism, 1995). However, in recent years public lands and natural resources in western North America in general (Runyan, 1997) and British Columbia in particular have come under ever increasing pressure from competing forms of large-scale development (Sewell, 1989). Such bitter and often protracted disputes have created an unstable and uncertain environment for many communities and businesses that are dependent on the pristine quality of the natural resource base for their tourism attractions (Council of Tourism Associations, 1993).
Against this backdrop of escalating environmental and economic stress, the BC government responded in 1992 by embarking on a comprehensive land use planning process. This program was unprecedented both in terms of its scale and its level of involvement of citizens in decision-making. To facilitate this process, an independent organization named the Commission on Resources and Environment (CORE) was established. It was mandated to advise the government and public on land and related resource use issues, and to develop and guide the implementation of a provincial land use strategy (CORE, 1995a).
The CORE program initially focused on four regions of the province that were plagued with particularly well established land use conflicts: Cariboo-Chilcotin; Vancouver Island; East Kootenay; and West Kootenay-Boundary (Figure 1 in Owen, this volume). For each of these regions, plans were to be created which designated land and other resource uses for a variety of purposes. These uses included tourism, forestry, mining, and agriculture, all of which potentially could contribute to a stronger and more diversified economy (CORE, 1995a).
A key element of CORE's strategy was to encourage and support public participation in each of these land use planning processes. This was to occur through shared decision-making (SDM) processes that brought together government and stakeholders to negotiate consensus-based agreements on land and resource management issues. SDM in this context involved empowering participants addressing a predetermined set of issues for a specified time period, with the authority to make a decision. As well, these participants were also empowered to jointly seek an outcome that accommodated rather than compromised the interests of all concerned.
This paper describes the role of tourism stakeholders in CORE's Cariboo-Chilcotin shared decision-making planning process. It assesses the efficacy of the process in terms of outcomes desired and attained by tourism interests. It focuses on the perspectives of the tourism stakeholders who participated in the process.
Calls for greater public involvement in decisions concerning public lands have arisen in recent years due to a universal need to find new ways to reduce land use conflict (CORE, 1995a; Runyan, 1997). This need has been linked to the public's increasing frustration with the limitations of conventional, top-down government decision-making (BCRTEE, 1991; Dorcey, 1986).
In response to a combination of political (Brenneis, 1990), democratic (Parenteau, 1988), and functional factors (Darling, 1991), some governments have experimented with more collaborative, participatory approaches to decision-making (Kofinas and Griggs, 1996). A particularly inclusive form of participatory planning is referred to as shared decision-making (SDM). It focuses on encouraging stakeholders to collaboratively seek outcomes that accommodate, rather than compromise, the interests of all concerned. Whereas conventional administrative, legislative, and judicial approaches to conflict management and decision-making tend to be adversarial and produce win-lose outcomes, SDM processes aim to produce win-win solutions. SDM processes seek to achieve fair, efficient, wise, and stable outcomes through incorporating more direct and effective stakeholder participation in decisions. Stakeholders decide on issues to be addressed, assist in data acquisition, participate in making trade-offs, conduct analyses, and engage in implementing decisions.
The theory and practice of SDM is embedded in the principles of collaborative (Gray, 1985; Jamal and Getz, 1995), consensus (Gray and Hay, 1986), and interest-based negotiation (Freeman, 1984), and is discussed in detail in other literature (Duffy, Gunton, and Roseland, 1996; Penrose, 1996). Shared decision-making holds promise as a tool for promoting sound decision-making in land use planning. The challenge is to make SDM processes effective. With an appropriately structured process, viable decisions and agreements become possible (Wondolleck, 1985). As decision structures improve for SDM, so too does the quality of debate (Dryzek, 1983).
A set of process support, representation, resource, and negotiation design criteria (Table 1, Penrose et. al., this volume) provided a systematic framework for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the Cariboo-Chilcotin process from a tourism industry perspective. Penrose (1996) suggests that implementation of these SDM criteria collectively enhance the probability of achieving fairness, efficiency, and stability in land use planning and management decision-making. These SDM framework criteria guided the interviewing of all tourism stakeholders who had participated directly in the SDM process in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Region. This approach was taken to highlight linkages between the process and the context of the planning exercise (Yin, 1989).
The research occurred in two phases. Initially the researchers reviewed the minutes of eleven meetings of the Cariboo-Chilcotin CORE regional land use planning process. This review occurred between May 1993 and March 1994. As well, personal telephone interviews were conducted with 16 representatives from the 24 interest sector organizations--including tourism--participating directly in the process. These interviews identified and explored key issues regarding the process in general, and the challenges of public involvement in shared decision-making in particular. This phase of the research provided stakeholder insights on the process while it was in progress. The second phase from October to November 1996 involved telephone interviews with representatives of the tourism sector organizations which were directly involved in the planning process. All six of these personal interviews occurred after completion of the planning process and the establishment of the region's land use plan. This approach allowed the researchers to explore issues related not only to process but also to the process outcome.
Interviews with the six key tourism informants involved a combination of open and closed questions related to the characteristics of the SDM process in which they had participated. In analyzing interview responses, attention was paid not only to overall "average" responses, but also "minority" opinions because in a SDM process these opinions are critical to the final decision reached. This helped to reveal key weaknesses and strengths of the process.
Tourism and the Cariboo-Chilcotin Land Use Planning Process
With abundant natural resources, sparse populations, pristine wilderness, and rich cultural heritage, the Cariboo-Chilcotin Region offers many opportunities for tourism development. Many of these business ventures, especially those involving backcountry tourism, are dependent on the ongoing availability and accessibility of pristine landscapes. In recent years, several of these businesses have been either jeopardized or pre-empted by other noncompatible land uses associated with forestry or mining activities (CORE, 1994c).
The BC Ministry of Forests and its industry stakeholders in particular have traditionally wielded tremendous influence in land use policy decisions concerning the Cariboo-Chilcotin Region. Conversely, the provincial ministry responsible for tourism has had little influence in land use planning processes in the area. This is partly because the tourism ministry has had neither legislated authority nor the resources to participate directly in land use planning decisions (Syer, 1995). Tourism voices in land use issues have been muted by weak support from within the provincial government. As a result, the region's tourism industry has enjoyed no security of access to public land and other key natural resources.
The Cariboo-Chilcotin CORE regional land use planning process was undertaken to resolve much of this uncertainty with respect to land use and to promote environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Prior to the CORE process, land use planning and management had focused on specific resource uses such as forestry, mining, or parks under the authority of distinct provincial government ministries. No comprehensive overall strategy was in place.
CORE contacted hundreds of individuals and organizations in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Region to encourage participation in its planning process. Interest sectors with common needs and concerns formed. They selected committees to represent and inform their respective constituencies. They also selected a representative to negotiate for them at the CORE planning table. Each sector prepared an "interest statement" which outlined its interests, goals, and objectives. Each of these interest statements also detailed the resources and lands most important to achieving those goals and objectives, the data and analysis needed to support the sector's interests, and a description of its understanding of sustainability. Key elements of the Cariboo-Chilcotin CORE process are summarized elsewhere in this volume (Table 2, Penrose et. al., this volume)
Tourism Interests in the CORE Cariboo-Chilcotin Process
The region's tourism industry had originally intended to hold only one seat at the CORE Cariboo-Chilcotin planning table. This stance was based on the assumption that the forest industry sector, the most economically and politically dominant sector in the region, would also hold only one seat. However, when forest industry stakeholders created five sector interest groups, the tourism industry thought it critical that they match them with five sector interest groups of their own. These tourism sector groups were referred to as: Resorts and Campgrounds; Freshwater Fishing; Hotels and Restaurants; Fish and Wildlife; and Commercial Backcountry. A sixth sector, Guest Ranchers, formed initially but was unable to continue due to a lack of resources (Figure 1).
While each tourism sector had its own specific planning issues to be addressed, they all shared some common needs and concerns. Most importantly, they all felt that BC's tourism industry depended heavily on the province's pristine wilderness and scenic beauty (Council of Tourism Associations, 1992). A brief description of the tourism sectors and their unique interests is presented in Table 1.
The Cariboo-Chilcotin CORE process evolved slowly due to a combination of delays in the delivery of relevant planning information to stakeholder decision-makers and the emergence of two confrontational coalitions of stakeholders. One group coalesced into an "industry coalition". It included industrial forest licensees and contractors, mining companies, labor unions, chambers of commerce, as well as municipal and regional government groups. The other group of stakeholders combined to form a "conservation coalition". It was comprised of community and conservation groups, horse loggers, and other environmentally oriented organizations. These coalitions often met away from the negotiation table to develop positioning strategies. Three of the five tourism interest sectors worked most closely with the conservation coalition. They depended heavily on their coalition group for the funding of mapping projects and information gathering. The other two tourism sectors attempted to work as closely as possible with both coalitions, believing that tourism interests would be best served if they maintained some degree of independence.
[Part 1 of 2] Table 1. Tourism Sector Interests in the Cariboo-Chilcotin CORE Process Interest Sector Description Resorts and * owners and operators of * Campgrounds resorts and campgrounds Freshwater * backcountry and front- * Fishing country operators serving domestic and international * markets * provide accommodation (e.g. fish camps and resorts) and services (e.g. angling * guides) * $20 million in annual * revenues * about 0.5 million days fishing by sport anglers (1993) Hotels and * hotel, resort, and restaurant * Restaurants owners and employees * primarily front-country operations located along major travel routes and highway corridors Commercial * operators including guides * Backcountry and facility owners * operations located at the * edge of remote wilderness, usually accessible by air or * dirt road * primarily seasonal * operations * supplying products such as fishing, hunting, hiking, * photography, heli-hiking, mountaineering, education, kayaking, canoeing, rafting * etc. Fish and * commercial and non- * Wildlife commercial trappers, hunters, and fishers * the region contains some of BC's most important salmon * spawning and rearing habitat * the region encompasses * over 20 percent of BC's big- game guiding territories and provides about 13 percent of BC's total resident game harvest * trapping is significant, with * over 245 registered trap lines [Part 2 of 2] Table 1. Tourism Sector Interests in the Cariboo-Chilcotin CORE Process Interest Sector Key Interests Unique to Sector Resorts and development of trails on public land Campgrounds Freshwater protection of water quality for both fish Fishing habitat and water sports protection of spawning grounds for wild trout stocks, and enhanced development of fish hatchery programs development of enforceable lake shore tree harvesting guidelines designation of prime lakeside and sites as tourism development areas to encourage investment Hotels and provision of a legislated role for the Restaurants government agency responsible for tourism to monitor regional land, water, and air values for the purpose of protecting tourism interests Commercial increase the amount of large protected Backcountry areas restriction of logging and mining in foothills and mountain ranges restriction of further development of roads in the backcountry recognition of commercial backcountry tourism as a priority industry in buffer zones surrounding protected areas maintenance of access for backcountry tourism to all protected areas "single-window" administration of all licensing and tenure for commercial backcountry guides Fish and preservation, enhancement, and Wildlife expansion of fish and wildlife habitat and populations to maximum sustainable levels passage of legislation to protect fish and wildlife habitat, especially that of rare and endangered species protection of migration routes, spawning beds, rearing lakes and streams, headwaters, adjacent riparian areas and upland forest, particularly with regard to critical salmon habitat habitat enhancement or transplanting of elk, sheep, caribou, and other big- game species in traditional territories
After eighteen months of negotiation, the CORE negotiating table was unable to reach consensus on a land use plan, particularly because of the gulf in opinion between the two coalitions regarding the designation of protected areas in the region. Following the end of the process, CORE encouraged all interest sectors to submit information, proposals, and recommendations that they had developed directly to the Commission. The tourism sectors submitted three proposals recommending a variety of regional zoning plans, economic transition measures. and resource planning and administrative arrangements. CORE synthesised this information along with other proposals into a land use options report for the Cariboo-Chilcotin Region. In April 1994, CORE convened a workshop with all interest sectors in the region to review an options report. However, some industry coalition representatives boycotted the workshop. Aggressive media campaigns and political lobbying by all interest sectors ensued in efforts to influence public and government opinion. In July 1994, CORE delivered its recommended Cariboo-Chilcotin Land Use Plan to the provincial government (CORE, 1994b). The report contained 74 recommendations, focusing on protected areas, forest practices, and an economic development strategy.
Ironically, the final stage in this creative experiment in inclusive, public, land use planning took place behind closed doors. Following the release of CORE's recommendations, the provincial government appointed a mediator to shuttle between the industry coalition, the conservation coalition, and the other "independent" sectors to try to reach agreement. In September 1994, a broad agreement was reached. Regional interests continued to negotiate details of this agreement through the fall while a government land use coordinating agency prepared the plan document. Finally in February 1995, the province released the final Cariboo-Chilcotin Land Use Plan.
A number of recommendations included in the final plan were of particular significance to regional tourism interests. For example, seventeen new protected areas were established under the plan and tourism operators were guaranteed access to opportunities in all land use zones. As well, special resource development zones (SRDZs) were established in order to enhance and protect values important to tourism and other interests. In these zones, logging, mining, and grazing were to take place in a manner that respected values such as ecosystem integrity, fish, wildlife, backcountry recreation, and cultural heritage--all of which are critical to tourism. Further, the provincial government agreed to work in partnership with tourism interests in the region to provide legislation which would help to sustain natural resources upon which the tourism industry depends. It also promised to ensure that a responsible public agency would be given a clear mandate to represent tourism resource interests in regional resource planning and policy development. As well, the government pledged to work with tourism interests to develop a land use policy statement and to appoint a staff person to work with these interests in land use planning. It asserted that the land use plan would "promote expansion, new growth, investment, and job creation for tourism-based industries" (BC, 1994).
From a postevent evaluation perspective, tourism stakeholders felt that the CORE Cariboo-Chilcotin land use planning process had both strengths and weaknesses. These reflective assessments are described in the context of the previously mentioned SDM criteria (Table 1, Penrose et. al., this volume). The perspectives provided reflect the viewpoints of all six tourism representatives who participated directly in the CORE process.
For a SDM process to succeed, participants must acknowledge the need for change. Prior to the start of the process, most tourism respondents felt that a consensus-based planning approach was appropriate. However, some expressed concern as to whether consensus could be achieved given the intensity of conflict that existed in the region. All of these representatives agreed that there was a need for a regional land use planning exercise that would address land use conflicts, protect tourism interests, and build respect for the tourism industry. Several stressed that for too long tourism's voice had been unheard in decisions affecting the land base. There was a critical need to secure access to the natural resource base, and also to protect values upon which tourism depended such as clean water, fresh air, undisturbed landscapes, and abundant wildlife. As one respondent commented, "It was apparent that there were only two designations for land use--clear-cut logging or parks". There was a need to establish other zones in which tourism activity could take place along side other compatible activities.
If a SDM process affecting public lands is to be successful, government must demonstrate leadership and commitment. While interview respondents felt that government's support of regional tourism interests was stronger than it had ever been, they believed support was still limited. Although CORE allowed a full range of tourism interests to sit at the negotiation table, government's provision of maps and information critical to tourism was slow and incomplete. Most respondents believed that individual government representatives were committed to the process, and tried to make themselves available for consultation. Conversely, most respondents did not feel government staff were empowered to commit the resources needed to assist tourism interests in a timely and effective manner. Many respondents commented that the provincial government agency responsible for tourism--the BC Ministry of Small Business, Tourism, and Culture--lacked the resources and technical capability of their forestry counterparts in the BC Ministry of Forests. This situation constrained the ability of tourism stakeholders to negotiate as forcefully as forest industry representatives during the CORE process. Most of them felt that the tourism ministry lacked sufficient staff, funding, and the experience needed to assist the tourism sectors meaningfully.
Many respondents commented on the overall lack of understanding by government of the needs of tourism with respect to land use planning. For example, there were no comparable government policies in place to guide the planning of land for the tourism industry, like those available for the forest industry. As well, government was reluctant to assign a dollar value to intangible resources important to tourism, such as landscape visual quality. As a result, tourism stakeholders were at a great disadvantage in trying to argue the economic importance of undisturbed landscapes to their industry.
Finally, tourism interests felt that they were hindered by a lack of support from municipal and regional governments. While most stakeholders felt that provincial government representatives played a neutral role, local government representatives were seen as overtly biased toward logging and mining interests. As one tourism respondent commented, "Local government was only interested in maintaining their existing tax and voter base in a region dominated by the forest industry".
Inclusive Representation of Interests
An effective SDM process requires that all interested and affected parties be invited to participate. Most respondents felt that all tourism sectors were represented in the CORE process. In fact, the initial negotiating table included a guest ranching representative, but this person was unable to negotiate for this sector due to personal business commitments elsewhere. Interestingly, only one respondent commented on the minimal participation by aboriginal stakeholders, despite the fact that native groups were negotiating land claims in the region.
While a consensus-based process must be inclusive, the number of parties must also be manageable. With 24 sectors and two spokespersons per sector, most respondents believed that the CORE table was too large to be effective. Respondents noted that it was very difficult to discuss issues, engage in problem solving, and educate others in such a large group. Lengthy speaker lists meant that by the time one had an opportunity to speak on a given issue, discussion had often moved to another issue. All tourism sectors were represented by volunteers, most of whom had little or no experience in public speaking or negotiation. Respondents commented that they felt intimidated by the size of the public forum and by professional negotiators hired by some other sectors.
Counter to the principles of consensus, the Cariboo-Chilcotin process became a game of numbers. When five forest industry sectors appeared at the first meeting, tourism stakeholders decided to split into five sectors, believing there was strength in numbers. While tourism interests took some comfort in having apparently achieved an even-footing with forestry interests, they suffered from their lack of resources. As one respondent commented, "Tourism shot itself in the foot because we could not possibly staff the five sectors and do the work the process demanded and run our own businesses". Some respondents felt tourism interests would have been better represented if they had organized themselves into a single, cohesive sector and hired a professional negotiator. Yet when asked whether in a future process they would again form their own sector or work together in a single group, most stated that it would depend on how other interests organized themselves. They felt it was critical that tourism be seen to be equal in power to any other industry, in spite of the additional work and pressures created by splitting into multiple interest groups.
Effectiveness of Interest Representation
An effective representative in a SDM process must be committed and well informed. Prior to CORE, tourism's interests had been given few opportunities to be involved directly in land use planning. Throughout the process, tourism stakeholders consistently demonstrated a willingness to explore options, focus on interests not positions, and accommodate the interests of other sectors. However, these stakeholders felt that not all participants from other sectors were genuinely supportive of the process, especially those who were schooled in positional, competitive, labor-management bargaining. Indeed, the nontourism representatives were perceived to be combative and domineering during the discussions. Tourism representatives were frustrated by this behavior.
Effective representation also requires that communication channels be maintained to ensure that constituents remain informed and able to provide relevant input. Respondents indicated that they attempted to maintain communication with other tourism operators. However, their efforts were hindered by several factors including: lack of time and energy due to the demands of their businesses and personal lives; dispersion of operators over a very large geographic base; irregular access by some operators to phone or facsimile; lack of funds to produce and distribute information bulletins; the seasonal nature of operations; and a lack of interest by some operators. One respondent stated that his sector suffered from a lack of communication and strategic partnerships, noting that it was only in the past few years that "we've had to learn to get together, discuss ideas, and work out compromises with each other".
The CORE planning process placed heavy time and resource demands upon individual sectors and their volunteer representatives. Delineating land use zones and drafting related management policies were complex tasks. It was difficult to understand the considerable volumes of economic, social, and environmental information, let alone relate this information to land use zoning and management. The tourism industry was represented by a few dedicated individuals. Interviews revealed that no single tourism sector had more than four people actively participating in the process. Respondents indicated that it was often difficult to sustain representation on several concurrent process subcommittees. Often they had to deal simultaneously with the demands of their own constituents and other sectors. Given their lack of time and resources, many of these challenges were compounded by the decision to form five tourism sectors instead of one team for negotiation purposes.
Resources for Participants
A good SDM process will ensure participants are provided sufficient and timely funding, training, and information. Some respondents felt funding received from the Commission was sufficient, arguing that tourism operators must be prepared to commit their own resources to land use planning efforts. Others complained that funding was inadequate because it did not cover expenses incurred to meet with constituents prior to or after CORE meetings. There was no funding to conduct much needed socioeconomic studies and analyses of tourism's role in the region. While CORE did fund replacement labor costs, several respondents emphasised that the amount received was insufficient to compensate tourism operators for the time spent away from their businesses. Moreover, most found it difficult to find someone who could replace them even for one day because of their specialized skills and knowledge. As a result, inequalities were created between sectors staffed by paid professionals and those staffed by volunteers. Tourism interest sectors were all represented by volunteers.
A significant training gap between tourism and many other sector interest groups was identified by tourism representatives. Training for this process consisted of only a brief seminar on interest-based negotiation at the outset of the process. Respondents indicated that they needed much more training in interest-based negotiation, as well as training in public speaking, group dynamics, and project management. Again, volunteer tourism representatives felt they were at a disadvantage compared to professional negotiators hired by several forest industry sectors.
The most significant resource gap for tourism interests was the severe lack of accurate and relevant information to support negotiation. The CORE process served as a catalyst for tourism interests to create important maps and gather socioeconomic data. However, tourism stakeholders lacked the financial and human resources needed to generate this information. As a consequence they depended upon the government of BC to help them in this regard. Unfortunately, much of the information provided by government arrived late or not at all, and much was not in a format that was immediately useful to the negotiation process. In particular, the tourism sectors lacked up-to-date socioeconomic data on tourism's contribution to the economy. There were also data gaps relating to natural resources critical to each of the tourism sectors. Tourism representatives could not match the economic and resource information nor the analytical capabilities brought forth by many of their counterparts in other sectors, especially the forest industry. As one tourism representative noted, "Timber harvesting continues in areas important to tourism because there is a lack of data to counteract claims made by the forest industry".
In spite of their resource deficiencies, the CORE tourism sectors received little funding or expert assistance from regional or provincial tourism associations. These organizations apparently lacked both the expertise and institutional resources to assist effectively in the planning process. Moreover, the Cariboo Tourism Association decided to remain neutral throughout the CORE process because it did not want to offend powerful forest industry interests. Most tourism representatives felt that individual tourism operators and their industry associations should have provided more support to tourism interests in this public land planning process. Another respondent stressed that government is ultimately responsible for supporting interest sectors to participate in a public process which is charged with making a public decision affecting public land.
Effective process management demands process managers who are neutral, committed, available, skilled, and knowledgeable. Overall, all respondents felt the Cariboo-Chilcotin convenors and facilitators met these criteria. While some thought the process managers could have taken a harder line with those participants who tended to dominate or disrupt discussions, most felt that the managers did everything they could to achieve consensus.
Terms of Reference and Scope
If a SDM process is to succeed, its terms of reference must be clear and its mandate scoped appropriately to keep negotiations manageable. All but one respondent felt that CORE's terms of reference were clear. However, respondents were split as to whether the mandate was manageable. Several reasons were cited for the mandate being inappropriate. First, agreement on the plan's boundary proved extremely difficult to establish. Many sector representatives had vested interests in specific boundary options, and were not prepared to venture from these choices. Second, the absence of an established provincial land use zoning policy, including zone names and broad descriptions of acceptable land use activities within zones, hindered efforts to map and engage in meaningful discussion regarding land uses. Third, there were significant gaps in the forest management and economic transition legislation needed to ensure the decisions reached through the planning process would be supported appropriately. For example, the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act which was designed to implement strict forest management practices, and the Forest Renewal Act which was designed to enhance employment through reinvestment of forest revenue in silviculture and value-added wood manufacturing, were not brought into law until after the Cariboo-Chilcotin CORE process had ended. These deficiencies made it difficult for the tourism sector groups to assume that lands dedicated to forest industry use by the planning process would be managed sustainably. For the most part, respondents indicated that poor scoping and limited direction by government had led to over a year being wasted by CORE representatives negotiating details of boundaries, land use zone definitions, and forest management and economic transition policies.
Success of a consensus-based land use planning process is also dependent on an appropriate geographic scale and a realistic time frame. The geographic scale of the land use planning area should be meaningful to all participants. While tourism representatives recognized the value of planning at a regional scale, some felt the eight million hectare planning area was too large. They expressed concern that it was extremely difficult to communicate with many tourism colleagues who were widely dispersed throughout the wilderness areas of the region. This scale made it difficult to appreciate fully the land and issues of so many diverse areas. With respect to the time frame of the process, most respondents felt that 15 months should have been enough time if all participants had wanted to achieve consensus. They also indicated that if government had provided clear direction with respect to plan boundaries, land use zone definitions, and forest management and economic transition policies, the process would have had a better chance of reaching a viable conclusion in the time allotted.
Participant Role in Design
All participants should be involved in the design of the process in order to gain comfort in negotiating with each other, and to build commitment for the process and its outcome. Most tourism representatives acknowledged the benefits of having participants negotiate the process design. However, their experience at the Cariboo-Chilcotin CORE negotiation table tempered their enthusiasm for being involved in design without adequate direction from government or process convenors.
An effective SDM process requires a comprehensive and effective procedural framework. Among many attributes, this procedural framework must strive to ensure that the location, frequency, and timing of meetings accommodates the needs of all participants. Most tourism representatives found that neither the location nor frequency of meetings hindered their ability to participate effectively. However, several others found that the timing of meetings was a problem. Meetings were held on Fridays and Saturdays, and sometimes Sundays, over a 15 month period. Weekends and summers were busy times for every tourism operator. This put volunteer tourism representatives, all of whom ran businesses, at a disadvantage in relation to other sector representatives. The personal and business opportunity costs associated with their involvement in the planning process were perceived to be higher than those of most other sector representatives.
The complexity of substantive issues must be managed by structuring a decision process in such a way as to provide clarity to the process, bound discretion, and involve all participants meaningfully. Most tourism representatives held that the Cariboo-Chilcotin process failed in all of these aspects. Some tourism representatives also expressed dismay with the lack of objectivity and rigor in decision-making. They contended that the process was more political than technical.
It was apparent to the tourism representatives that the process failed to involve participants meaningfully in the decision process. The CORE Cariboo-Chilcotin process ended without consensus agreement. As a consequence, CORE drafted a comprehensive land use plan for the region. One respondent commented that the tourism sectors agreed with much of the Commission's draft plan, but it was not clear how the plan was developed. This "black box" approach to decision-making was repeated when the government conducted subsequent negotiations to develop a revised land use plan designed to appease the forest industry's request for a larger logging land use allotment. Several tourism representatives noted that they had to lobby the government to ensure that they were included in these negotiations. These negotiations focused principally on resolving issues between the industry and conservation coalitions and not necessarily on the interests of the tourism industry. In failing to clearly and publicly articulate the process and rationale for its final decision, the government returned to an exclusive approach to decision-making that had provided the impetus for shared decision-making in the first place.
Finally, the goal of a planning process must be to promote decisions rooted in the principles of sustainability. Many tourism representatives agreed that sustainability was a guiding principle throughout the process. However, they did not believe the process participants had reached consensus on substantive issues related to implementation of this concept. They felt that the process had not led to the collective crafting of new approaches to land and resource management in the region. Importantly, they indicated that the process had not provided enough education concerning the fundamental concepts of sustainability, as well as a basic understanding about how to integrate its principles into their decision-making processes.
Despite the commitment of many stakeholders to make CORE's planning process work, in several ways the derived outcomes were frustrating for the tourism interest representatives. They expressed concern about the limited extent to which the process had addressed their immediate land use needs, influenced tourism land use planning policies, modified forest management practices affecting tourism, dealt with the uncertainty associated with the availability of natural resources critical to their operations, and provided support for future planning initiatives.
Land Use Needs
For the tourism stakeholders, the government's final land use plan did not adequately address the needs of individual tourism sectors or of the tourism industry as a whole. For example, they felt that the plan did not go far enough in protecting access corridors, lake shores, viewscapes, and wilderness areas. Further, tourism had not been able to secure a place equal to many of the other interests involved in the land use planning process. They believed that planning for the use of Crown land was still based largely on the needs of the forest industry.
Tourism Planning Policies
Of great concern to the tourism representatives was the lack of government policies dedicated to supporting the tourism industry in natural resource allocation matters. At the time of the Cariboo-Chilcotin planning process and even after its completion, the province of British Columbia still had not developed a comprehensive set of land use planning policies for tourism. Such policies would have helped guide the CORE planning process in planning for land resources critical to tourism interests in the region, just as it did for forestry. As well, tourism planning on public land continued to be largely divorced from recreation planning even though the two were intricately linked. However, all tourism stakeholders felt that the process had helped to raise the profile of the tourism industry as an important player in future land and resource management decisions. They also believed that their role in the process had at least partially led the government to enact a revised Tourism Act which specifically mandated some formal land use planning responsibilities to the province's tourism minister.
Many tourism stakeholders were frustrated with the unwillingness of government and the forest industry to adopt forest practices which would safeguard the region's environmental and aesthetic values. The tourism representatives expected the forest industry to come forward with more information concerning how they planned to sustain forests and tourism values over the long-term. This did not occur.
Although most of the tourism representatives believed that the CORE process contributed to reducing the level of uncertainty over land use, they felt that a great deal of uncertainty still remained. From their perspective, the language of the land use plan agreement was sufficiently vague and convoluted that it left many issues open to further negotiation. It seemed that the language was intentionally left unclear so that stakeholders could interpret the agreement in any way that met their needs. For example, they believed that tourism operators and timber companies might interpret the objective "maintain visual quality" very differently in terms of appropriate harvesting intensity. This, in turn, could lead to considerable uncertainty concerning the ongoing availability of scenic assets for tourism viewing purposes.
The tourism representatives agreed unanimously that there was a need for an ongoing, shared decision-making process in the management and allocation of land in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Region. An inclusive, participatory process was needed because there were still many outstanding issues to resolve. However, they felt that future planning initiatives of this type would need to provide tourism stakeholders with more targeted resources in order to ensure effective participation. This included more money to fund mapping, to pay for information collection and administration, and to hire replacement staff. Without this funding, as well as comprehensive training in negotiation and public speaking, the tourism representatives felt that ineffective involvement and ongoing frustration with future planning processes of this kind would continue.
Increased diversification of the economy, the rapid expansion of new resource industries such as tourism, and accelerated technological change have created a growing demand for more effective and inclusive approaches to public participation in land use planning. This has led to the development of many new techniques for providing such opportunities. The CORE Cariboo-Chilcotin planning process enacted many new and innovative approaches for citizen involvement and shared decision-making. While the Cariboo-Chilcotin process was successful in generating public participation and in contributing to interaction between interested parties, it also experienced a number of problems. Yet in spite of these challenges, CORE's emphasis on more widespread, participatory, and shared decision-making is likely to resurface in future land use planning exercises in North America. What is exciting is that tourism stakeholders will probably be invited to participate directly in many of these future processes. This represents a fundamental shift in perspective for most land use planning agencies which have traditionally perceived tourism as strictly a service industry with few specific regional land use requirements. Tourism's participation in the Cariboo-Chilcotin process has highlighted the industry's fundamental dependence on environmentally sound natural resource management and land use allocation decisions. In many ways, tourism is now considered a resource industry as much as a sector of the service economy.
This recognition should not be taken with complacency. There is a very real possibility that without concerted efforts on the part of tourism organizations to prepare themselves appropriately for future land use planning processes, the industry's ability to shape decisions may be reduced to tokenism. The tourism industry and its stakeholders must become more proactive in setting the agenda, collecting relevant information, and attracting the resources and support needed to participate fully and effectively in such public planning processes. Failure to take such steps will reduce the tourism industry's ability to participate effectively in future shared decision-making processes associated with public lands.
The authors would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for its support--research grant no. 410-93-0889. We also extend our appreciation to those tourism representatives who participated in our study.
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|Author:||Williams, Peter W.; Penrose, Robert W.; Hawkes, Suzanne|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1998|
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