On October 29 & 30, Mathew Bond NSMBA President & Mark Wood NSMBA Director, participated in the ORC Workshop:
"WORKING TOGETHER: FINDING SOLUTIONS TO REGIONAL AND COMMUNITY TRAIL ISSUES"
With the increasing use of trails by different recreation groups throughout BC, conflicts can develop between various users. This workshop will take two examples in the Lower Mainland to review how such conflicts can arise and explore ways to deal with them.
It was a broad mix of recreationalists in attendance: Trails BC, Hike BC, Moto, ATV, Horsemen and many government bodies including the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations (MNRO) and Metro Vancouver. Representing mountain bikers were the NSMBA and Mike Nelson from SORCA.
Conflict Resolution was an important facet of the workshop and Mike Adam, Vice Chair, Labour Relations Board presented "The elements of conflict and principles of dispute resolution". Mr. Adam is the judiciary between labour and management and had some tremendously valuable insights. The ultimate goal in all conflicts is constructive, collaborative resolutions, especially when there is a shared interest with a group you'll be involved with in future. An Interest based resolution builds relationships and supports creativity, creating a win/win solution. In finding resolutions, compromise means sacrifice on both ends, while collaboration "not just divvies up the pie, it expands the pie." Power based resolution often destroys relationships with loss of opportunities, shrinking the pie creating a lose/lose situation according to Adams. He also spoke how Governments have now adopted 'Interest' based approaches.
The topic of panellists for the first case study were none other than SORCA and Squamish Dirt Bike Association of Squamish:
"How did competing trail users in the Squamish recreation area overcome their differences and agree to work together?"
It was an inspirational discussion which saw a collaborative, interest based resolution in a tense relationship that had seen significant conflict between users.
After lunch, we received an update from the Ministry, compliments of John Hawkings, Provincial Trails Manager, MTCA (Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts). With the new almagamation of Ministerial duties, it is apparent the management of rec sites by user groups has proven successful. Perhaps it makes sense to incorporate the same strategy with trails? Hawkings also spoke of the decision by the Ministry to desist maintenance on access roads which have been decommissioned, much to the chagrin of all groups in attendance.
With the newly created MNRO Super Ministry, the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, under Hon. Steven Thomson, will be responsible for:
– Crown land allocation and authorizations
– Forests and range authorizations
– Independent Power Production
– Mines and minerals permitting and inspections
– Mineral and coal titles
– Aquaculture licensing and regulation
– Water use planning and authorizations
– Aboriginal consultation and coordination – natural resource operations
– Resorts and alpine ski developments
– Licensing and permitting for angling, hunting and trapping
– GeoBC and information management
– FrontCounter BC
– Provincial hatchery and stocking program
– Watershed restoration
– Fish, wildlife and habitat management
– Drought management
– Dam and dyke safety and regulation
– Flood plain management
– Pests, disease, invasive plants and species
– Public backcountry and commercial recreation
– Recreation sites and trails
– Archaeology and Heritage Conservation Act permitting
– Resource management compliance
– Crown land restoration
– Forest investment operations
– Wildfire management
As the scope of the newly created ministry is staggering, Hawkings felt this year will be a time to create a plan and focus for the coming duties and are to be determined.