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What is the Land Use Planning Process?

The Planning Board identifies six stages to the planning process it uses. They are:

1) Information Gathering
The Board continually gathers and updates information about wildlife, forests, heritage sites, current land uses, etc., but at this stage decisions are made about selecting information to use for planning. Also at this stage, formal consultations begin with Gwich’in, communities, government and industry (the stakeholders) to identify issues that should be addressed in the Plan.

2) Plan Options
What needs to be in the Plan? Here the Board presents ideas for solutions to potential land use issues based on the best information that is available.

3) Draft Land Use Plan
This is the first effort at proposing the content and structure of the Plan document. The Board distributes the document and collects comments from the stakeholders.

4) Final Land Use Plan
After all stakeholders have had a chance to comment on the draft plan, the Board produces the Final Plan. The Board submits the finalised document to the Gwich’in Tribal Council, the territorial government, and the federal government for approval (the signatories). The Board will consider all of the comments the signatories make.

If the Board decides to change the final plan based on the comments, then all three have to agree.

5) Plan Implementation
At this stage, the Plan is put into use by regulatory agencies for making decisions about land use and resource management. The Board has a responsibility to monitor how the Plan is used and determine if it is effective.

6) Review and Amendment
After the approval of the Plan in 2003, the Board is now required to facilitate a review of the Plan once every five years. This gives the Board an opportunity to continually improve and update the Plan and to ensure it is meeting the goals and objectives. This document is the result of the first review process and as soon as it was approved the Board began the cycle again at stage one for review number two.

The consultation work of the Planning Board is critical to all stages of the planning process. It ensures we have useful direction on goals, land use issues, and the land use zoning system. Because Gwich’in, communities, government and business groups are more directly involved in the planning process, we feel there will be better support for, and understanding of the Plan. This is what will make a successful land use plan.

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