Pemberton approves Signal Hill development 

Subdivision will see nearly 300 units developed near town centre

Pemberton approved its biggest subdivision ever without a shred of resistance at a special council meeting March 30.

Council unanimously gave fourth and final reading to two bylaws that will allow Signal Hill Homes to take up a significant portion of land near the town centre and the elementary school. The development will see just under 300 units of housing developed around the village in a mix of village homes, townhomes and condominiums.

In order for the development to go ahead council had to pass two bylaws: one a zoning amendment that converted a plot from Highway Frontage Commercial to a special planning area, another an amendment to Pemberton's Official Community Plan. The bylaws passed unanimously without any discussion.

Thus ends a long road for developers Bruce van Mook and Garth Phare, local businessmen who first brought the idea to council in October of 2008. They originally envisioned 462 units of housing.

As part of the deal, the developers will contribute a maximum of $1,690,000 in amenities and infrastructural improvements to the Village of Pemberton.

That includes a community garden with improvements (up to $20,000); an affordable housing site (up to $400,000); a school bus drop-off (up to $300,000); parkland dedications (up to $50,000); park improvements (up to $60,000) and a Village Loop Trail (up to $60,000). Those costs will come as Community Amenity Contributions.

Other contributions include on-site sewer and water line oversizing to accommodate future development; construction of a sewer line from Portage Road along Highway 99 to a lift station; and a pedestrian bridge over Pemberton Creek. Those upgrades will come in place of Development Cost Charges required by the village.

The developers will also contribute to dyke improvements on the property by taking responsibility for flood protection works. Those improvements will cost the developers a maximum of $800,000.

Van Mook said it was a "significant moment" for Pemberton to allow the Signal Hill development.

"The plan started really I think with your worship (Mayor Sturdy) on a blank piece of paper," he said. "It evolved to what you just approved. I wanted to just take a moment to commend Don, who was our architectural planner on that, certainly staff, Caroline Lamont, with her experience, with the assistance on behalf of the community, evolving it to what it's become today.

"Ten years from now, we'll be able to walk down the street in that development and reflect on what we've accomplished. I want to thank this council and the previous council as well who were involved."

Tuesday's decision didn't come without a lot of wrangling back and forth between the developers and the village. The development hit a snag when the proponents discovered that a dyke running across the property was unsafe.

Working with the Pemberton Valley Dyking District, they applied for a grant through the federal Building Canada program to repair the dyke. The dyke is on a section of Pemberton Creek.

The cost of fixing the dyke was estimated at anywhere between $1.2 million and $1.5 million and federal funding was expected to take care of 90 per cent of the cost. The developers planned to put up the remaining 10 per cent.

The federal money, however, never came. Then van Mook and Phare found themselves in constant discussions with the village to figure out how they could make the development happen.



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