COMM 435

Reinventing Resource Dependent Communities: Success stories and Recommendations from 4 BC Communities
By: Toby P. Newstead

Slowly, BC has been torn away from its easy-money roots as an exploiter of resources in a world that desperately wanted them; increasingly, it is a province that has to scrabble to earn a living in a world whose needs and wants are much different (Markey, 2005, p. 363).

As Markey states, the small communities of British Columbia are at a crossroads (2005). Many BC towns were founded on the extraction of primary resources; be it minerals from our mountains, trees from our forests, or fishes from our seas. But today these small, rural communities that once thrived on the extraction of natural resources are struggling (Corbett, 2005; Fowler & Etchegary, 2008). Resource depletion, environmental concern, and the economic climate have dictated an ultimatum – in order to survive, resource-dependent communities must reinvent themselves. Gone are the days when a BC interior town would live well off the operation of a single mine. Gone are the days when a small settlement would thrive on the operation of one mill. Gone are the days when a tiny island community would prosper on the operation of a fishing fleet. Former single-industry communities are now faced with the task of adapting to new economic, environmental, and social circumstances (Corbett, 2005; Draper, 2000; Fowler & Etchegary, 2008; Hall & Richards, 2000; Markey, 2005). Community adaptation has been the topic of extensive research. The literature emphasizes the importance of shifting a community’s economic base away from a single, non-renewable resource and towards newer, more economically and environmentally sustainable alternatives (Draper, 2000; Hamley, 1991; Hanna, 2005; Markey, 2005). This paper will review said literature in regards to community

COMM 435 based planning initiatives, specifically in the fields of tourism and education. The concepts of tourism and education will be coupled with the notion of social, environmental, and economic sustainability. The insight gleaned from the preexisting research in this field will then be applied to case studies of small, formerly resource-dependent communities in BC, in an attempt to illustrate how and what works in terms of community reinvention in the face of resource depletion or industry collapse. From our meta-analysis of these community case studies, it became clear that community planning, community based tourism, and community based education were the central pillars around which our case study communities adapted. We will explore each of these three themes through a close examination of four specific communities. We will also compile a list of general recommendations designed for towns facing the task of self-reinvention. LITERATURE REVIEW Community planning Economic, governmental, and environmental changes are dissolving the traditional means of economic and socio-political stability in many of British Columbia’s small towns (Markey, 2005). As socio-political stability dissolves, communities are faced with the task of restructuring their traditional means of sustenance. Community planning is usually the first step in community restructuring. A common first step in the community planning process is the crafting of an official community plan that reflects the values of the community (Draper, 2000; Hanna, 2005; Markey, 2005). A community plan addresses the issues specific to the community, and clearly outlines the community’s goals in the face of said issues. Many community plan documents contain step-by-step processes; “we are here” and “we are going there,” (Draper, 2000). It is imperative that the community crafts a plan with realistic, attainable objectives that echo the community’s values, shared identity, and culture (Hanna, 2005). Community planning is often pursued through the procurement of an external expert. Professional community planners can lend expertise and insight, however, Hanna (2005) insists that the role of the planner is to act as a facilitator, a messenger of institutional knowledge, not to act as an interest group or lobbyist.

COMM 435 Community planning must represent the community members, their needs, values, goals, and shared culture (Drapper, 2000; Hanna, 2005). For the Canadian town of Ucluelet, planning for sustainability was a proactive response to community growth (Hanna, 2005). Ucluelet’s local planner brought in external sources to help avoid any bias within the community and to assist in community decision making. Encouraging and allowing community participation in the form of public meetings, workshops, and events enabled a collective agreement on their community theme of sustainability and contributed to their official community plan (OCP) (Hanna, 2005). Simple application of external economic or social stimuli usually fails to build the internal relationships necessary for prolonged community sustainability (Markey, 2005). It is important that the community plans for self-reliance; reliance on internal resources, instead of external or non-renewable ones (Hanna, 2005). It is also suggested that in time a local community planner position be created within the community’s municipal government, in this way institutionalizing a continual, on-going planning process (Hanna, 2005; Markey, 2005). Markey (2005) highlights the role local government plays in community planning. Local governments are major local employers, major economic actors, and they hold a key position in the planning process (Markey, 2005). In addition, Markey (2005) states that local governance (the non-governmental institutions that take on state related roles) also plays an important part in community planning; these institutions would include schools, chambers of commerce, and other organizations. Markey (2005) identifies some instances in which senior governments (Provincial and Federal) have both succeeded and failed in enabling community planning. Senior government’s failings include: “inconsistent program implementation, rigid program designs, urban policy bias, and offloading functions without the necessary resources.” Senior government’s successes include: having filled facilitative roles, and some instances of program flexibility (Markey, 2005, p. 370). The planning process must forge lasting relationships between community actors and the organizations through which plans will be enacted; this can be achieved through transparency and local participation (Markey, 2005). Important theoretical backdrops to the planning process include the concepts of community democracy, advocacy, and collaboration (Hanna, K., 2005; Markey, 2005; Peterman,

COMM 435 W. 2004; Wiber, M, Charles, A., Kearney, J., & Berkes, F., 2009). Advocacy planning is geared towards helping the disadvantaged of a community, while collaborative planning is geared towards compromise and cooperation between various stakeholders (Peterman, 2004). Most modern community planning positions the planner as a facilitator (instead of an expert), and places great value on participation, consultation, and empowerment – community planning without community input is a moot effort (Peterman, 2004). Community-based tourism As communities shift their economic focus away from primary resource extraction towards more sustainable ventures, tourism comes into focus as a popular alternative. Binns and Etienne (2002) cite tourism as “an inexpensive strategy that can draw in foreign exchange through exhibiting local culture and environments” (p. 236). Binnes and Etienne (2002) explain how in South Africa, tourism that has been developed in line with the principles of sustainability, has contributed to “economic upliftment, community development, and poverty relief” (p.235). Balancing the economic profit of tourism, with the inevitable cost to local environments and the possible disruption, or commodification of local culture, remains at the forefront of most current tourism for development literature (Binnes & Etienne, 2002; Hamley, 1990; Richards & Hall, 2000). Current literature on tourism as a means of stimulation for community economy and social capital addresses contentious issues such as environmental degradation, and the continuing trend of foreign ownership, the provision of only low wage, seasonal employment, and property conflict (Agyeman & Evans, 2003; Binnes & Etienne, 2002; Hamley, 1990). Despite some negative connotations coupled with the concept of tourism, the industry does hold promise for many BC towns facing social, economic, and environmental reinvention in the present day. In some instances tourism fits almost naturally with rural small towns. Corbett (2005) illustrates this as he recalls how former fishing families, who possess boats, boat handling skills, and an innate knowledge of the waterways, have made the natural transition to the whale watching industry – a tourist magnet along Canada’s Atlantic coast. For the Northwest Territories the fragile landscape, unique social structures, and the

COMM 435 abundance of nearly inaccessible natural attractions became the characteristics that made the region an attractive destination for outdoor, adventure seekers (Hamely, 1990). The promotion of location, heritage, natural attractions, festivals, and special, purpose-built facilities such as sanctuaries and conference centres, can lead a struggling community to renewed economic prosperity (Binns & Nelt, 2002; Draper, 2000; Hamley, 1990; Richards & Hall, 2000). The benefits of well planned, community focused tourism will be further explored in the examination of BC’s community case studies, which will appear later in this paper. Education and the community Even though small communities tend to have a heightened sense of community cohesion (Fowler & Etchegary, 2008) they often face inflated trends of out-migration, especially among their younger citizens. This trend threatens the social vitality of said communities. Corbett (2005) reconfirms this trend. Corbett reiterates the strong link between a higher education and a higher chance of moving away from one’s hometown. He illustrates this through the example of Digby Arm, a small, rural community on Canada’s Atlantic coast where the more educated the youth become – the further away the youth tend to move (Corbett, 2005). Corbett (2005) also touches on the point that our conventional education system does not drastically benefit coastal community dwellers; “you [didn’t] need much education if you wanted to stay around here.” (p. 60). There is potential, however, for education to take up a role as a sustainer of small communities. Charles, Kearney, Wiber, & Berkes (2008) illustrate the role education can play in community preservation by relaying how co-learning and education can draw on community members knowledge of a resource (the fish, or the forest) and retrain residents to use their innate knowledge for resource management, instead of simple resource extraction. Education and the community, as well as sustainable community tourism, and community planning will be further explored in the following analysis of BC community case studies. METHOD We employed the methodology of applied action research as a means of addressing the issue of primary industry collapse, and community reinvention

COMM 435 (Holter, Schwartz-Barcott, 2008; Schon, 2000). We first examined academic research in the fields of community sustainability, community planning, sustainable tourism, and education. This research was then reviewed in conjunction with our data, which were case studies of BC towns facing economic, social, and environmental hardship and/or impending change. From the research literature and the community case studies we produced an outline of common problems facing small, rural communities in BC. We then summarized and analyzed how four specific communities, Tofino, Ucluelet, Chemainus, and Bamfield were deliberately and successfully reinvented. We also compiled a list of recommendations for communities tasked with reinventing themselves, or for communities simply wishing to improve vitality, participation, or economic and environmental sustainability. Our method of data examination followed the general processes of applied action research. In our meta-analysis (Ellington, 2003; Sirin, 2005) of BC community case studies, we consulted reports on the towns of Lillooet (Makhoul, 2004), Bamfield (Makhoul, 2004), Tofino and Ucluelet (Hanna, 2005), Chemanius (Meisler, 1994), and the Upper Skeena (Donaldson & Docherty, 2004). We first identified the general problems faced by these BC communities. Second, we identified the possible courses of action available to each of these communities. Third, we identified which courses of action each specific community selected in consideration of their needs, visions, values, and goals. Fourth, we evaluated the outcomes and consequences of selected courses of action. Fifth, we reassessed the actions that the communities employed in order to ensure that said actions solved more problems than they created. We used the applied action research model because it echoed the processes used in the drafting of our case studies. The applied action research model also clearly illustrated the stages of community reinvention. The action research model allowed us to successfully conduct our research in a systematic way, and to dissect our case studies in an interpretive manner. Through our review of the most current and most relevant community reinvention literature, through our chosen method of research, through our analysis of community case study data, and through our recommendations section, we aim to provide an accurate, appropriate, and up to date guide for small towns to use while reinventing their community.

COMM 435 DATA ANALYSIS Previously this paper outlined the academic research in the fields of community planning, community based tourism, and community based education. These concepts were developed as tools of sustaining small, resource dependent towns as they transition from a primary industry to a more diversified economic and social base. We now examine our data; case studies of specific British Columbia communities that have enacted the aforementioned principles of conscientious, participatory community planning, community based tourism, and innovative, location-based education. Each of these three themes will be more fully developed by looking closely at one specific community that serves to exemplify the academic principles relating to community planning, community based tourism, and education in the community respectively. Community planning in action Tofino and Ucluelet are located on either side (north and south respectively) of the Pacific Rim National Park on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in Canada. The two towns are about 40km apart and both have populations of fewer than 1,700 full-time residents. These towns were severely isolated until the last few decades, and they still remain relatively hard to access. Tofino and Ucluelet were founded on timber harvesting and commercial fishing – industries that were once lucrative, but had became drastically less so by the mid 1980’s. The decline of timber supplies and salmon stocks, Aboriginal land claims, Provincial and Federal politics (such as softwood timber exports, and US-Canadian salmon policy disputes) are just some of the many complex issues that led to the end of Tofino and Ucluelet’s primary industries. Tofino and Ucluelet share a similar location, they share a similar population base, and they once shared the same primary industries. However, as the two towns faced impending industry closures an important distinction developed. Tofino became the “place of choice,” where nature lovers and environmental activists flocked to – and Ucluelet remained where the loggers and long-time residents lived. At times the relationship between these two different groups, the newly-arrived environmentally-minded and the long-time loggers grew contentious. Despite a developing chasm between the two communities, both towns recognized the importance of community planning, and both towns implemented

COMM 435 innovative planning processes (Hanna, 2005). Tofino and Ucluelet both planned to capitalize on the phenomenal Pacific Rim National Park as a means of attracting tourist dollars. The community planning processes employed by Tofino and Ucluelet exemplify the principles of collaborative, consensus-based, participatory community planning as outlined in the academic literature (Berkes, Charles, Kearney, & Wiber, 2008; Binns & Etienne, 2002; Draper, 2000; Hall & Richards, 2000; Hamley, 1991). By 1998 Ucluelet had drafted an Official Community Plan (OCP) and in 2001 Tofino followed suit. Each town’s OCP took roughly one year to draft and was compiled by the local municipal government with extensive public input. The OCPs took into account land use planning, services, and infrastructure development (Hanna, 2005). The OCPs of each town were characterized by the fact that Tofino had become an eco-tourism destination, while Ucluelet had simply remained home to longtime, “blue-collar” residents. Tofino’s OCP was designed to answer to an exponential increase in tourists. As one resident stated, the planning process in Tofino was like “still building the boat while you’re sailing out of the harbor” (Hanna, 2005, p. 32). Ucluelet, on the other hand, had very little tourism and its OCP was designed to foster tourist growth. Tofino’s plan was reactive – Ucluete’s plan was proactive (Hanna, 2005). Despite the differences in Tofino and Ucluelet’s plans their planning processes were similar and successful. The OCPs were initially undertaken by the local municipal government, as stated above. Tofino and Ucluelet elected citizens from the community to a steering committee which guided the drafting of the OCP (Hanna, 2005). At each stage, in consideration of each proposed aspect of the plan, the steering committee was consulted in order to glean feedback and input about how proposed policy would actually impact the community. Where and when possible, open community meetings were held to allow the municipal planning committee and the steering committee to learn how the community at large felt about specific aspects of the emerging OCP. These public meetings embodied the principle of participatory, collaborative community planning (Berkes, et al., 2008; Draper, 2000; Peterman, 2004). Tofino and Ucluelet passed their OCP as official public policy, however the documents remained adaptive, so as to allow for future amendment (Hanna, 2005). By employing participatory processes and by drafting malleable OCPs Tofino and

COMM 435 Ucluelet exemplified the recommendations for active, local participation, and for organic, flexible policy that are made repeatedly in academic text (Agyman & Evans, 2003; Berkes, et al., 2008; Fowler & Etchegary 2008; Hanna, 2005; Peterman, 2005). In Ucluelet’s case the planning process was aided by a preexisting community bond. Many Ucluelet residents had lived in town for generations, had worked together in the fishing and logging industry, and had suffered the collapse of these industries together. This is contrasted by the fractious community of Tofino. Many residents of Tofino were relatively new to town, having moved to the area in order to partake in the massive anti-logging protest through the 1990’s. These “new” Tofino residents had a contentious relationship with the “old” Tofino residents who had been active in the logging and fishing industry. One Tofino resident explains, “When I saw who would be at the table, I wasn’t sure this was going to work,” (Hanna, 2005, p. 32). Despite the challenging relationships between the “new” and “old” Tofino residents, the principle of open consultation, and a commitment to listening to each stakeholder’s concerns eased tensions and enabled the development of an OCP that took into consideration the different aspects of Tofino’s vision, goals, and objectives (Hanna, 2005). The professional planners employed in Tofino did an exceptional job of enacting the principles of open, consultative plan development, (Agyeman & Evans, 2003). While Ucluelet had a preexisting community cohesiveness that eased the planning process, Ucluelet did not have the existing tourist base that Tofino had at the inception of the planning process. As stated above, Tofino was already a major tourist destination before the town began work on its OCP. Ucluelet, on the other hand, attracted few tourists, but planned to incorporate tourism-development into their OCP. Planning in economic development that is appropriately matched to a town’s vision, goals, and values is a concept heavily emphasized in academic literature. Ucluelet did this by planning in tourism – an industry that would capitalize on the natural surroundings of Ucluelet, namely Pacific Rim National Park, and the traditional skills of the residents, namely sports fishing, and ecotourism adventures. By deciding on tourism as the industry of choice, Ucluelet’s OCP reflected the residents’ vision of remaining a tight, cohesive community, the town’s goals of

COMM 435 attaining economic viability, and the local values of economic, social, and environmental sustainability (Hanna, 2005). The successful facilitation practiced in Tofino to smooth over the resident’s rifts and differences exemplifies the principles of open consultation and collaborative, participatory community planning. The drafting of an OCP that reflect Ucluelet’s vision, goals, and values exemplifies the principles of community focused, community originated planning. The concept of capitalizing on tourism as a means of re-developing, or re-creating a formerly resource-dependent community will be further examined in the following section. Community-based tourism Along the east coast of central Vancouver Island, lays a small, former mill-town, called Chemainus. In the 1980’s the one mill in Chemainus shut down, leaving the town with no industry. Chemainus did not employ a planning process quite as elaborate, or collaborative as did Tofino and Ucluelet (Hamma, 2005), but in the face of total economic collapse Chemainus did work to reinvent itself as a tourist destination. There was some disagreement in the community about trying to attract tourists – some residents, “did not want to have anything to do with tourism,” while others were absolutely committed to it (Meisler, 1994, p.3). As stated, the planning process in Chemainus was not as collaborative, consultative, and participatory as it could have been, and in the end tourism was rather heavy-handedly decided on as the course of action (Meisler, 1994). Despite some holes in Chemainus’s planning process, the kind of tourism that was decided on was very community centered. Karl Schutz, a German immigrant who moved to Chemainus in 1951, is attributed as the instigator of the town’s tourism development. In 1971, inspired by the magnificent, Biblical frescos of Moldavia in Romania, Schutz pitched the idea of splashing colour around Chemainus, in the form of many brightly painted murals. He was laughed out of the Chamber of Commerce office. However, a decade latter, when Chemainus’s mill shut down, and the town’s future was uncertain, Shutz’s idea was revisited. Through federal and provincial grants, local and foreign artists were commissioned to paint giant murals throughout Chemainus’s downtown core. The subject matter of the murals was decided in consideration of Chemainus’s past, present, and future. The murals pay homage to the Coast Salish, to the first

COMM 435 European settlers of the area, and to the ocean and marine life of Chemainus (Meisler, 1994). As the murals began drawing tourists into Chemainus, residents started to respond. The economy that had collapsed with the closure of the mill was revitalized as residents opened up coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. The murals, designed in accordance with local themes and stories, became the lure that drew tourists into town. The town then developed to accommodate the newly arriving tourists. The story of Chemainus’s murals exemplifies community-based tourism because the community itself became the tourist attraction. Visitors flock to Chemainus because of the town’s struggles and victories; visitors flock to Chemainus because of the town’s story (this is contrasted by places such as tropical Club Meds, where tourists flock for the climate, as opposed to the local story).The story of Chemainus, as depicted through the huge murals splashed upon the walls of downtown became the reason for tourists to visit the town. And, as tourists spent tourist dollars, the small shops and operations in Chemainus flourished. By selling its story, in the shape of artistic murals, Chemainus managed to shift its economic base away from the mill-industry and towards a more sustainable, communitybased tourism, through which a large cross section of residents benefited. Today Chemainus is full of sidewalk cafes, espresso bars, antique shops, art galleries, and a large theater; the town attracts more than 400,000 tourists a year (Meisler, 1994). By developing tourism in accordance with the town’s culture, history, and values, Chemainus developed a tourist industry that benefited the entire community, and this is the primary intent and focus of community-based tourism as documented in the academic literature (Binns & Etienne, 2002; Draper, 2000; Hall & Richards 2000; Hamley, 1991; Markey, 2005). Community and education At the end of a long dirt road, quietly tucked away on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, you will find the small town of Bamfield. Bamfield is surrounded by old growth forests, and neighbours some of the Island’s most beautiful beaches. Approximately 500 people call Bamfield home, one third of this population are from the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Community. This tiny town, once the prosperous hub of the Westcoast Fisheries, has been forced to reinvent itself in order to sustain itself

COMM 435 during the past three decades. Its motivation for change came in 1997 when the BC Ministry for Children and Family Development labeled their 80 students between kindergarten and grade 12, at high risk for poor health, education, and economic outcomes (Makhoul, 2004). The announcement of this assessment made the community realize that the future of Bamfield was destined for tough times, and that changes must be made soon, otherwise the town would continue in the same regrettable direction. The same year, in 1997, the Ministry of Children and Family Development granted Bamfield $75,000 for improvement to their local educational system. To allocate this money members of the community, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, got together and created the Bamfield Community School Association (BCSA). The BCSA hired Linda Myres as the Bamfield Community School Coordinator. Myres’ theory that “traditional curricula tend to institutionalize learners, making it difficult to see any connection between life and the world” was a perfect starting point for Bamfield (Makhoul, 2004, p.2). Recognizing the need to make learning more relevant for Bamfield residents, Myres decided to incorporate local history, and knowledge into the educational system. Community members recognized the need to educate their residents, whether it was in the arts, sciences, or environment – education was at the root of their solution. The BCSA saw the opportunity and resources that Bamfield could offer in the way of education in these areas and over the next decade created: the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, the Rigid Hull Inflatable Officers Training courses (Coast Guard courses), the Coldwater Pinto Abalone research centre, the Bamfield Huu-ay-aht Community Forest, and the Bamfield Community School. (Makhoul, 2004). By embracing local traditional knowledge and expertise, and by capitalizing on local surroundings Bamfield was able to make learning relevant for locals. Making learning place and people specific is a concept often repeated in the academic literature (Berkes, et al., 2008). Creating educational programs gave Bamfield residents, particularly the younger generations, incentive and opportunity to stay in Bamfield, and in doing so worked to combat the “learning and leaving” dilemma that many small, rural towns face (Corbett, 2005). The locally designed, locally

COMM 435 focused programs developed in Bamfield, the Coast Guard courses, the Marine Science Centre, and the Abalone project, were designed for longevity. The programs created by the BCSA both encouraged and enabled locals to learn about their community and its resources. The Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, and the Coldwater Pinto Abalone projects educate residents, young and old, on the ecosystems that surround their tiny town. The Rigid Hull Inflatable Officers Training courses teach rescue tactics to people from across Canada and the United States (Makhoul, 2004). And their Huu-ay-aht Community Forest teaches people how to harvest mushrooms, salal, and medicinal products, and finds new ways in using forest materials for artistic creations. By establishing these projects Bamfield has created future possibilities for academic research and provided incentives for younger generations to reside in their community (Makhoul, 2004). Not only has Bamfield concentrated on educating its own members, but they have also started to educate outsiders; from the Abalone project came Coast Watch, another project that informs visitors to the area on the regulations of Abalone harvesting, and that any illegal actions must be reported to the RCMP (Makhoul, 2004). In 2002, Bamfield successfully submitted a community outline to the Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) with three mandates: 1) To contribute to Bamfield’s growth and sustainability, and to build a network of like-minded communities along Vancouver Island’s central coast; 2) To develop entrepreneurial activity that would support the area’s economic and social health; and 3) To contribute to the health and sustainability of settlements on the west coast of Vancouver Island by building on existing community capacity” (Makhoul, 2004, p.1). With help from the OLT, Bamfield plans to expand internet access to the whole community; they also hope to use video conferencing as a tool to broaden their health care services. Internet access would offer support and bring more information to many of the town’s social services such as recreation programs, women’s services, adult and family education, health education, the community newspaper, television and radio stations (Makhoul, 2004). The internet allows people in isolated areas, such as Bamfield, to feel connected to the rest of the world; it provides updates on innovations and issues, generates ideas for small communities, and can help in aiding successful educational programs. The ability to

COMM 435 reflect upon the things that residents were lacking and how educational innovation could address these deficiencies is another way Bamfield exemplifies the suggestions made in the academic literature (Fitzgerald, 2005). In 1997 Bamfield residents realized that their future was not looking bright; they also realized the potential of using innovative education as a means of reinventing their community. By using educational programs to re-establish resources in a way that locals would find interesting, learning has become relevant to all residents. Bamfield stands as a solid role-model for other coastal communities facing similar barriers, and fortunately for them “there appears to be no limit to the ideas Bamfield residents can generate” (Makhoul, 2004, p.8). RECOMMENDATIONS Listed below are recommendations generated from case studies of Lillooet (Makhoul, 2004), Bamfield (Makhoul, 2004), Tofino and Ucluelet (Hanna, 2005), Chemanius (Meisler, 1994), and the Upper Skeena (Donaldson & Docherty, 2004).These recommendations illustrate successful initiatives implemented by BC communities, and can be used to generate ideas for other communities facing resource depletion or industry collapse. These recommendations have an emphasis on community planning, community-based tourism, and community education. Each of these recommendations has been an initiative designed and implemented from within the community. Community reinvention is a process best instigated from within. Bamfield • Bamfield used its school as a centre for community wide learning in order for the entire community to have access to the internet, to the library, and to online courses seven days a week (Makhoul, 2004). • Bamfield community members recognized their need to change, and once this was understood by the entire community, they then started to see the changes they were working towards – the community worked collaboratively, and from the ground up (Makhoul, 2004). Lillooet

COMM 435 • When Lillooet’s population started to decline, the community created a community proposal in order to stabilize Lillooet’s economy, and with an emphasis on the crucial need for adult education (Makhoul, 2004). Lillooet’s proposal recognized that their community would not respond well to large projects, so it focused on encouraging small initiatives instead (Makhoul, 2004). The Lillooet Learns project was created to assist existing programs in sustaining and meeting their goals, and encouraging local participation (Makhoul, 2004). The primary mandate of Lillooet Learns was to support and encourage adult learners in continuing their education through the University College of the Caribou distance courses via satellite campuses and online courses (Makhoul, 2004). In order to educate residents, and create a safer, healthier community, the following programs were implemented: 1) A Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Committee worked to educate the community on the effects of F.A.S. (fetal alcohol syndrome); the committee worked with affected families and found ways to raise awareness of the concern (Makhoul, 2004). 2) An annual Multicultural Day was created. Multicultural Day offered a subtle way of explaining how different people live, and a supportive environment with the intention of changing stereotypes held by residents of Lillooet (Makhoul, 2004). Upper Skeena • To battle the Upper Skeena’s 90% unemployment rate the Storyteller’s Foundation was created. The Storyteller’s Foundation worked to place value on relationships and local knowledge, to correlate action to the community conditions, and to encourage community members to learn from each other (Docherty & Donaldson, 2004). • The Storyteller’s Foundation was created to combat the failures of government initiatives meant to help Upper Skeena’s economic development – the Storyteller’s Foundation was a local, internal initiative and it succeeded where an outside, top-down initiative failed.

COMM 435 • In partnership with the Office of Learning Technologies, the Storyteller’s Foundation started a 3 year research project whose purpose was to see how “learning as an organizing principle helps mobilize and engage people as citizens, workers, and family members, in creating a healthy, sustainable community” (Docherty & Donaldson, 2004, p.3). • Through the research project the Upper Skeena learned how to build relationships and network with important partners in the educational, private, and public sectors in BC, how to use technology to their advantage, and how to design their own curriculum (Docherty & Donaldson, 2004). • Other projects that emerged from the research are the Learning Shop (an informal education centre), educational programs that offer support to those struggling with literacy, and mentorship programs for people entering the work force (Docherty & Donaldson, 2004). • The Upper Skeena kept a close eye on their youth and held discussions on how to help youth reconnect with their family and their community (Docherty & Donaldson, 2004). • To generate discussion and change, the Upper Skeena published a newspaper aimed to encourage proactive action from community members (Docherty & Donaldson, 2004). CONCLUSIONS The mill-towns, logging towns, and fishing-towns of BC are disappearing. Due to economic and environmental variables outside of their control these resourcedependent towns, once scattered throughout the province (and indeed, the country), are either fading away, or choosing to reinvent themselves (Corbett, 2005; Markey, 2005; fowler & Etchegary, 2008). The communities that we have examined in this paper are some of those that have chosen to reinvent themselves. The processes of reinventing a community, of identifying the communities goals, values, and visions, of drafting an official community plan that speaks to these principles, and implementing reforms and revisions, be it through innovative tourism initiatives or enhanced educational opportunities – these are processes that require a lot of

COMM 435 hard work. Community reinvention is time consuming and demands constant and cooperative effort. However, the alternative to reinvention is the dismal demise of the community. By outlining the relevant literature on these topics of community reinvention, and then by applying these academic concepts and suggestions to a meta-analysis of actual, real-life, present day BC communities, we hope to have illustrated how communities can shift their economic and social base away from non-renewable resources and towards more sustainable alternatives. The case-studies we discussed offer templates for change, and stories of hope. The recommendations we list are designed to illustrate the versatility of community reinvention and to suggest some possible courses of action. Community reinvention might seem like a daunting task, but it is possible – and communities that attempt the process, such as Tofino, Ucuelet, Bamfield, and Chemainus, reap the benefits of their hard work.


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