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The Resort of British Columbia

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The provincial government not only set this ambitious goal but also has prepared a series of planning resource materials and reports that strive to achieve the desired results. These reports are available on the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts website ( www.tsa.gov.bc.ca ) and focus on resort development in the context of planning, servicing and local governance, best practices, streamlined approvals (harmonization) and First Nations interests. These documents were then incorporated in the recently released Provincial Government Tourism Action Plan to 2015 (February 2007).

There is also an organization of resort towns in B.C. that have initiated the “Resort Community Collaborative” providing a forum, resources and shared relationships for many of our province’s established and emerging tourism destinations such as Whistler, Tofino, Fernie and Revelstoke. Most of these communities have been dealing with the impacts of resort development for several decades and each have addressed their challenges with innovative and homegrown approaches.

So clearly B.C. towns and the provincial government will be increasingly recognizing that our unique communities, recreational experiences and incredible natural environment are providing a global demand for real estate and destination amenities. Yet the people of B.C. will need to retain control over the future of their cherished communities while embracing the opportunities for new economic growth. This will require a strong and well-supported community vision, leadership and implementation plans that bring together planning professionals as well as stakeholders, community interests and senior government to share their challenges and work towards solutions. This integrated approach will be crucial for B.C.’s sustained success, as clearly B.C. is magnificent and if we fail there will be no new frontiers.

– Caroline Lamont is a planner with Brent Harley and Associates, The Resort Planning Group

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