Land Use Planning
The Canadian Institute of Planners defines planning as the “scientific, aesthetic, and orderly disposition of land, resources, facilities and services with a view to securing the physical, economic and social efficiency, health and wellbeing of urban and rural communities”.
Land-use planning is an essential element in the integrated management of Canada’s coastal zone as human usage of land and water invariably results in impacts to the environment. For planning in the coastal zone - a broad region including watersheds and lands bordering the ocean, as well as the coastal ocean itself - this means looking at and involving social, economic, political and environmental elements.
Community involvement and public education are important tools in coastal planning. Many land-use issues may be best approached using planning approaches that involve or educate the public. Community involvement gives property owners an opportunity for input into management decisions regarding land-use, improves communication and increases environmental awareness of agencies, governments, non-government organizations and the community.
The 2003 report “A Guide to Land Use Planning in Coastal Areas of the Maritime Provinces” from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans provides a comprehensive guide to land use planning in the Maritimes. Among things covered in the report are overviews of common coastal ecosystems, tools used in land use planning, coastal structures and more.
There are many tools that can be used to facilitate land use planning. In one project from the Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network, three tools are evaluated for interoperability, and how they can be used in coordinating development and conservation goals.
When development ventures beyond the coastline, marine spatial planning becomes an important tool, serving a similar purpose as land use planning. For more information about marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management, check out the ICOM Methods page.
Information about land use planning can be found from various municipalities throughout the four Atlantic Provinces:
- Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
- Fredericton, New Brunswick
- St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia
Management plans are developed through extensive consultation and input from various people and organizations, including Indigenous Peoples, local and regional residents, visitors and the dedicated team at Parks Canada.
Land Use and Climate Change
With the impending impacts of climate change on coastal areas such as sea-level rise and severe storms, attention is being directed towards how land use planning may better equip communities to face such changes. The “Spatial Planning in Coastal Regions: Facing the Impact of Climate Change” report from the International Federation of Surveyors highlights the core issues of coastal adaptation to climate change and discusses the impacts of climate change on spatial planning in coastal regions. For more information about climate change adaptation, check out the Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions Association or theAdaptation theme page.