Cottage Country in Transition

Cottage Country in Transition: A Social Geography of Change and Contention in the Rural-Recreational Countryside

Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 302
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  • Book Info
    Cottage Country in Transition
    Book Description:

    Using the Rideau Lakes region of eastern Ontario and the Cultus Lake area of southwestern British Columbia as case studies, Greg Halseth examines the ways in which economic, political, and social power affect community change. He focuses on specific issues, such as residential change, land use planning, property taxation, and social organization. Moving beyond empirical research, Halseth sets the changes occurring in these communities within a broader intellectual context of "community power" and "commodification of the rural idyll." He pays particular attention to how general processes and pressures work themselves out in particular places.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6719-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-2)
  7. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    The image of a small, rustic cottage nestled beside a forest-fringed lake has come to form an important part of the Canadian geographic imagination.¹ Ideally, this image is seen in our mind’s eye from a slightly elevated point looking over the cottage and across the front porch out across the calm waters of the lake. This image represents a common summer, weekend, or vacation destination for millions of people across North America. But the idyllic calm of that lakeside scene belies a more complex and often somewhat contentious landscape. Missing are the rural communities and the farm and rural residents...

    • 2 Cottages, Cottaging, and Cottage Ownership
      (pp. 13-36)

      The summer cottage at the lake is an immediately recognizable element of the rural-recreational countryside. The long history of cottages, cottaging, and cottage ownership across Canada has generated geographic imagination that is now intimately connected with this activity and plays an important role in how cottagers and rural residents alike shape and organize their understanding of the issues and participants in debates over local land use and community change. The geographic imagination associated with “cottage country” can be explored by looking at two critical components. The first the folklore that has developed with respect to cottages and cottagers, while the...

    • 3 Community Change in the Rural-Recreational Countryside
      (pp. 37-66)

      This study of community change and local contention over that change in the rural-recreational countryside is organized around four closely connected conceptual frameworks. The first is concerned with the role ofspatial orientation.This is a critical issue because the decision to view local change from within the rural community or from outside affects the type of questions asked. The second frame work is concerned with defining therural-recreational countrysideand establishing the relative status of change as an integral aspect of that countryside. Third is the nature ofcommunityitself, including the need to transfer the community question to...

    • 4 Rideau Lakes and Cultus Lake Study Areas
      (pp. 69-96)

      This chapter sketches the local geographic and historical context in which community change in the rural-recreational countryside can be interpreted. It begins by reviewing the historical development of the Rideau Lakes and Cultus Lake study areas. With particular attention to the cottaging areas where conversion pressures are experienced, historical patterns of local development are reviewed to provide one setting against which recent patterns of residential change can be evaluated. A second discussion provides an overview of local and regional population changes using recent census data. Finally, the chapter closes with an argument for understanding the amenity values of each study...

    • 5 Respondent Profiles
      (pp. 97-113)

      To sustain the argument that differences among residential groups in the rural-recreational countryside are critical to the organization of load debates over community change, it is important to delineate the specific differences. This chapter compares the socio-economic profiles of Rural Resident, Converter, and Seasonal Occupant groups in The Rideau Lakes and Cultus Lake areas. The analysis is based on responses to questionnaire surveys carried out in both locations in 1991. For the most part the discussion focuses on the Rural Resident and Converter groups, introducing Seasonal Occupants to highlight latent conversion pressures. However, a specific summary of Seasonal Occupant data...

    • 6 Housing Change and Conversion Pressures
      (pp. 114-138)

      The conversion of seasonal-use cottaging properties into permanent homes is responsible for introducing new residents and residential groups into the rural-recreational countryside. In this sense, conversion refers to the change from seasonal to permanent residential use of the property, which may be accomplished by renovating a cottage or constructing a new dwelling. In some communities this conversion activity accounts for a significant proportion of recent population growth and local development pressure. Residential change through cottage conversion, therefore, occurs within and has an impact upon the local housing stock. To evaluate both the scope and scale of conversion activity, and whether...

    • 7 Community Groups
      (pp. 141-162)

      To extend the argument that residential change via cottage conversion results in community change, our examination of the local population now moves from the individual to the group level to portray broader forms of interactions that together create community institutions. This study of community groups emphasizes themes of membership, participation, and an evaluation of the degree to which community groups act as a collective voice for their members. We examine two forms of community groups in the Rideau Lakes and Cultus Lake areas. The first are characterized as property-based organizations, such as resident/ratepayer or cottagers’ associations. The second are characterized...

    • 8 Local Government Structure
      (pp. 163-187)

      The mandate of local governments to regulate land-use planning creates a unique forum in which debate and contention over residential development and resulting issues of community change can be resolved. As well, the activities of local governments in the land-use planning process also make them important institutional actors in the debates themselves. Elaboration of the structure and operation local governments is, therefore, an essential building-block in the interpretation of community conflict over residential change. This chapter explores whether local government policies recognize recreational-development and cottage-conversion pressures, and describe the regulatory structures developed to respond to and cope these pressures. Following...

    • 9 Change and Contention along the Rideau Lakes
      (pp. 188-203)

      The movement of new individuals or groups into established communities has long been recognized as a potential flashpoint for local contention. One aspect of residential change around which contention and debate can emerge is the struggle for control of local land-use planning debates. In a very real sense this is a struggle among residential groups for control of the decision-making process. It rests on the ability to put forward and to carry through on alternative visions for the future of the community.

      Contention over residential change through cottage conversion is evident in a number of recent land-use planning debates along...

    • 10 Change and Contention at Cultus Lake
      (pp. 204-222)

      Contention and debate over community change in the Cultus Lake area has come into the public arena largely through the actions of local government land-use planning activity. As in the Rideau Lakes area, this public debate builds strongly upon the locally constructed geographic imagination of separate landscapes for the cottage- and rural-property areas. But there are also differences between the two study areas. The first concerns the particular status of leasehold properties in Cultus Lake Park; the second, a perception by debate participants about whether their voices will be heard and will be effective. Unlike the relatively strong collective voices...

  11. 11 Conclusions
    (pp. 223-238)

    This study has examined the implications of residential change within the local community by focusing upon a particular setting and type of residential change. The rural-recreational countryside is a geographically and socially divided landscape, with localized cottage and recreational areas juxtaposed within a broader rural and agricultural landscape. In the countryside, the conversion of cottages from seasonal to year-round homes is a dynamic responsible for the introduction of many new residents. The pressures and implications of this residential change have been explored through issues of individual and household characteristics, local organization and participation in community groups, and participation in debates...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 239-262)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 263-280)
  14. Index
    (pp. 281-283)