Keywords: remote settlements, community governance, amenity migration, new regionalism, Vancouver Declaration, sustainable development, remote communities, resource-based communities, British Columbia, Canada, skills-based employment, social capital networks, local development
Amenity migration and sustainable development in remote resource-based communities: lessons from northern British Columbia
Development in northern British Columbia (BC) has focused on resource-based exports, frustrating efforts to promote self-sustaining development. The paper reports on a pilot study testing the applicability of the 2006 Vancouver Declaration on a 'new governance paradigm for managing human settlements' to northern BC. Fieldwork focused on two small northern BC settlements. Semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders offered insights into the composition of a 'new regionalism' pathway which exploits the appeal of place to amenity migration, allowing a shift from resource-based dependency towards high added-value professional skills-based employment. The paper explores the evidence for such a shift. Findings indicate that good social capital networks stimulated by pleasant surroundings have promoted more sustainable patterns of local development. Effective territorially-based community governance is seen as important in enabling these settlements to acquire greater ownership of their built and natural environments.