Candidates for Village of Pemberton Council 

The race to run the Spud Valley

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Communities are always at crossroads at election time. It’s no doubt cliché to say that during a municipal election. There’s not, however, a better way to describe the Village of Pemberton, which is poised to become bigger on November 15, the same day that it will elect a new mayor and council.

Along with its municipal election, in which two people are seeking the mayor’s chair and six others are seeking four council seats, the Village is hosting a referendum on boundary expansion. If successful, it will add approximately 20 new areas to the Village boundaries and remove them from Electoral Area C of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD).

The referendum’s timing is impeccable, given rising concerns over governance issues within Pemberton and the surrounding valley. It’s been one of the biggest issues in this municipal campaign.

The issue works something like this: if someone says they’re from Pemberton, it doesn’t necessarily mean they live in the Village. They could just as easily live in Area C, which includes areas such as Walkerville, Owl Ridge, and Mosquito and Ivey Lakes, areas that lie north of Highway 99.

But those aren’t the only parts of Area C that don’t belong to the Village. There’s also properties along Airport Road to the south of the highway, as well as BC Hydro Lands just adjacent to the Village.

The whole area accounts for around 2,600 people, and none of them can vote in this election.

But that’s not all. North of the village there’s also Mount Currie, a Lil’wat community that accounts for at least 1,181 people, according to a 2006 census. Mount Currie’s elected council oversees administrative matters.

If you include the 2,192 people who live in the Village, that’s a population of 5,973 people. Nearly 6,000 people governed by three separate jurisdictions. And only the Village residents can vote.

A brand new council will be taking on this issue after November 15.

But that’s not the only issue. Pembertonians are hungry for a new recreational facility, whether a pool, a skate park or an ice rink, all of them ideas that have been tossed around the Village, Area C and Mount Currie for years. The desire is one thing – paying for it is another.

None currently seeking council seats have served on a previous council, though at least two have had experience with others. The mayor’s seat is being sought by two people –incumbent Jordan Sturdy and challenger David MacKenzie, who has just completed his first term on council.

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