Tuesday, February 16

 3:30pm - 5:00pm

Planning Methods – Engaging and Building Trust

Building public trust through collaborative planning and engagement.

Venue: Artist Studio

Moderator: Nick Grzybowski BSc., MADR - Yukon Land Use Planning Council, Associate Consultant.

Tuesday, February 16, 3:30 - 4:00

A Facilitated Planning Approach for the Northwest Territories

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Regional planning is a long, expensive, political process that takes considerable time and commitment to complete, so it’s critical that those efforts result in a plan that can be approved. A comparison of methods used in the 2006 Draft Dehcho Plan (not approved), and the approved Sahtu Plan (2013) demonstrates the benefits of a collaborative approach. This talk will explore a new planning approach based on facilitated workshops.  

The traditional planning approach used in the Northwest Territories is for the planning body to solicit input from each stakeholder group individually, and decide how best to reconcile those diverse interests. The result often lacks buy-in from participants because they didn’t create it. This was the case in the Dehcho Plan, and interim stages of the Sahtu Plan. It wasn’t until we initiated multi-stakeholder technical workshops towards the end of the Sahtu planning process that solutions came together that all parties could support, because they created the solutions. The role of the planner changed from “expert” – the one creating the solutions – to facilitator – helping others create the solutions.

What would happen if we ran an entire planning process as a series of collaborative workshops, each one designed to accomplish a step in the planning process (e.g. vision and objectives, issue scoping, information gathering and review, options, draft, final) or resolve a specific planning issue? A facilitated planning approach will be explored, including the strengths and weaknesses of this approach, opportunities and potential challenges, such as how to manage broader participation and engagement.

Tuesday, February 16, 4:00 - 4:30

Inspiring the Next Generation

Inspiring the next generation of land use planners is an essential step in maintaining healthy land and water systems in the north. The Connecting a New Generation with Nature (CNGN) working group, sponsored by the Canadian Parks Council, is a national effort to connect people with nature in Canada, by inspiring these young future leaders. CNGN believes that to create future champions of the environment, as well as effective leaders of planning and management, we must first place value on early nature experiences.

Public engagement, especially the engagement of young people, is paramount to any long term strategy. CNGN posits that it is absolutely fundamental to conservation strategies. The diverse, intergenerational team is working on an action-oriented document to be published in 2016 at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii. The group is co-chaired by two northern residents – Dan Paleczny, Chair, Canadian Parks Council and Director of Yukon Parks based in Whitehorse, YK and Chloe Dragon Smith, an inspired young adult from Yellowknife, NT.

Co-speaker: Dan Paleczny PhD. – Yukon Government, Director, Department of Environment, Yukon Parks

Tuesday, February 16, 4:30 - 5:00

Multiplying mistrust: Consultation, expertise, and disputes over fracking governance

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Hydraulic fracturing (or fracking)—a process for extracting unconventional oil and gas—has provoked a flurry of controversy over its environmental, health, and social impacts. Trust, understood as a relational, conditional, action-inducing judgment necessary for accepting perceived vulnerability, has notably been lacking in these debates. Even more strikingly, trust has been eroding through processes that are intended to increase transparency and engage the public.


In Canada’s Yukon Territory, a government committee was tasked with assessing the risks and benefits of fracking. Yet, instead of information access and public hearings fostering an open dialogue, these two channels appear to have further polarized the debates. In their work, we observed the absence of trust in two distinct areas, which we argue are linked: reservations about the status of “experts,” and doubts about the process of consultation. Our work reveals two underlying causes: first, the unintentional outcomes of weak participatory processes; and second, the strategic fostering of mistrust by actors on both sides of a polarized issue. We further argue that these two areas of mistrust are mutually reinforcing, and have spillover effects for other negotiations.
These findings have implications for planning processes in the north: without confidence in expertise or consultations, the resulting decisions tend to be challenged by citizens in the courts and streets. Consequently, finding governance mechanisms that build and rebuild trust is needed for making decisions that will be seen as legitimate by stakeholders.

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