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Interface Planning Casebook - Case File 3 > Casebook > Valley Vision

Valley Vision | towards a comprehensive vision for the future of the Bulkley Valley

Interface Planning Casebook - Case File 3

In the Bulkley Valley, there is no true settlement plan. Provincial government biologists, foresters, and agronomists have drawn up plans for sensitive wildlife habitat and lands productive for agriculture or trees, but that is all. In this context, ILMB (Integrated Land Management Bureau) technicians, instructed to facilitate the sale of Crown land at the Interface as a matter of government policy, act to transfer parcels to private hands for incremental rural residential subdivision purposes. Southwest of Smithers, the resulting subdivisions send up tall plumes of smoke from burning brush piles and wood stoves. The smoke enters the vertical eddy created by northwesterly air movement in the lee of Hudson Bay Mountain, then spreads out over the town. Smithers air is already some of the worst in British Columbia and according to local doctors smoke constitutes a serious public health problem in this area. The Regional District apparently aims to encourage residential intensification in this direction because suitable building land is close to town and will therefore satisfy Government of British Columbia desires to lessen the consumption of hydrocarbons by commuters. Ministry of Environment meteorologists are not consulted by either the ILMB or the Regional District. The ILMB does not employ its minuscule staff of trained urban and regional planners in comprehensive settlement planning.


The general problem seems to be the restriction of planning to silos, combined with planning by technicians who are not trained as regional planners.

Potential solutions

Ultimately, perhaps, there should be a provincial settlement planning agency charged with developing comprehensive regional plans transcending technical silos. Urban and regional planners, as generalists, have traditionally had the role of synthesizing input from the technical specialists on government planning staffs, and they would certainly not make such a simple mistake as locating sources of pollution on the windward side of a settlement in the zone of the Prevailing Westerlies.

Planning principles at stake

(1), (4), (6), (8), (10), (12), (13), (17), and (26)
Refer to Planning Principles


R. Chipeniuk

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