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category: Nature
published: Sep 2008
ISBN:9781926855165

The Weekender Effect

Hyperdevelopment in Mountain Towns

by Robert William Sandford

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5 of 5
2 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $7.99
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover
category: Nature
published: Sep 2008
ISBN:9781926855165
Description

Provocative, passionate and populist, RMB Manifestos are short and concise non-fiction books of literary, critical, and cultural studies.

As cities continue to grow at unprecedented rates, more and more people are looking for peaceful, weekend retreats in mountain or rural communities. More often than not, these retreats are found in and around resorts or places of natural beauty. As a result, what once were small towns are fast becoming mini cities, complete with expensive housing, fast food, traffic snarls and environmental damage, all with little or no thought for the importance of local history, local people and local culture.

The Weekender Effect is a passionate plea for considered development in these bedroom communities and for the necessary preservation of local values, cultures and landscapes.

About the Author

Robert William Sandford is the EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. He is the co-author of the UN Water in the World We Want report on post-2015 global sustainable development goals relating to water. He is also the author of some 30 books on the history, heritage and landscape of the Canadian Rockies, including Water, Weather and the Mountain West, The Weekender Effect: Hyperdevelopment in Mountain Towns, Restoring the Flow: Confronting the World's Water Woes, Ethical Water: Learning to Value What Matters Most, Cold Matters: The State and Fate of Canada’s Fresh Water, Saving Lake Winnipeg, Flood Forecast: Climate Risk and Resiliency in Canada, Storm Warning: Water and Climate Security in a Changing World and North America in the Anthropocene. He is also a co-author of The Columbia River Treaty: A Primer, The Climate Nexus: Water, Food, Energy and Biodiversity in a Changing World and The Hard Work of Hope: Climate Change in the Age of Trump. Robert lives in Canmore, Alberta.

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Great, thoughtful, thought-provoking read

"Deep and meaningful connections to place are a fundamental element of what makes us human."

Robert Sandford, The Weekender Effect

The Weekender Effect is another one of RMB’s slim little manifesto series. It is narrated by long-time Canmore resident Robert Sandford, who I later found out, is a prominent ecological activist and environmental steward from the Rocky Mountain Parks area. Much of the manifesto is exactly what one would expect from a small, idyllic, mountain-town resident who is seeing his community erode as giant influxes of weekend residents arrive and snap up investment properties–he’s not too happy. Surprisingly however, he provides a well researched, discourse on the metaphysical aspects of place, which he attempts to balance in a non-whiny way as he paints the somber evolution of the town.

I was anticipating a pedantic analysis of urban migratory patterns, coming from a small-town biased “we were here first” type narrative. Instead, I was taken aback by how many of the nuanced steps in the development of sense of place he was able to pick up on. 

Tourist economies are just as volatile as the bust-boom of the resource cycles, and should be approached with a degree of cautiousness. As described in his essay, the mountain parks are fortunate enough that they have a huge swath of territory conserved and set aside, making true preservation and conservation of megafauna possible.

Sandford also because paradoxical when describing the successes of tourism. He proudly touts the 7 million vists a year to Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks and then is quick to criticize the “wealthy urbanites from around the world who have decided that living in this largely protected landscape is preferable to living in the often corroded and dirty places they helped build.” The “little” things, often done for the safety and comfort of permanent residents (like the highway adding more passing lanes, rumble strips and pull-outs), also facilitates an increased amount of traffic, and definitely erodes barriers of migrants into the area. 

I really grappled with Sandford's piece: it was thoughtful and resonating. 
Thanks to RMB and Bob Sandford for a great, thought-provoking book-highly recommended.

Original, complete review posted at:
http://katiclops.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/the-weekender-effect-and-the-end-of-tourist-season/

Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

The Weekender Effect: Hyperdevelopment in Mountain Towns

This is a passionate essay on the state of urban development in Rocky Mountain communities of Canada. His book, which is academic in tone, is loosely divided into three sections. In the first section, Sandford praises our efforts in preserving the pristine environment of the Canadian Rockies, particularly through the creation of the 23,000 square kilometre Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. In his view, it is not what we “have built that makes us truly unique as a culture, but what we have saved.” In the second section he talks about Rocky Mountain communities where developers have not been sensitive to local values, culture and landscapes. The third section provides an example of one mountain community, Canmore, Alberta, that has suffered as a result of poor urban planning.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2011-2012.

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