Pemberton Music Festival gets permit 

Approval subject to long list of conditions village officials expect will be met

click to enlarge 2008 FILE PHOTO - PeMBERTON PERMIT Pemberton council issued the Pemberton Music Festival organizers the permit they need to bring back the festival, which was last held in 2008.
  • 2008 File photo
  • PeMBERTON PERMIT Pemberton council issued the Pemberton Music Festival organizers the permit they need to bring back the festival, which was last held in 2008.

The Pemberton Music Festival's Temporary Use Permit (TUP) was accepted by council during its regular meeting held Tuesday, April 15, subject to 15 conditions and approvals from other stakeholder agencies.

Though some must be satisfied within the next month, Village of Pemberton officials do not anticipate the short timeline to be problematic for the event producers.

"We expect them to be able to comply with all of the conditions," said chief administrative officer Daniel Sailland, adding that the festival's team has already "done a lot of work" on meeting some of the requirements.

In particular, technical details requested by the village's public works and development services departments must arrive by May 15. Those departments are seeking clarity around issues of water and sewer service, site drainage and more. Sailland noted that festival officials have already been working to address the conditions on the TUP.

Although the permit was subject to the festival producing more information about event logistics, the TUP application provided some new details about what the festival will look like when it runs July 18 to 20.

The grounds will include five stages, the largest being a canopy-covered stage that will be 46-metres wide and 92-metres long. The entire 43-acre site will have fencing around the entire perimeter, covered with scrim fabric, and there will be three or four controlled-access points of entry to the venue. There will be at least one port-a-potty per 150 festival attendees, and upwards of 700 garbage receptacles on site.

More detailed parking and traffic management plans are yet to come, but the TUP application did include some information about getting festivalgoers to and from the venue.

Festival officials are expecting 85 per cent of attendees to arrive between the evening of July 16 and afternoon of July 17. Up to half are likely to leave the grounds on July 20, and the remainder will have until noon on July 21 to vacate the venue. Shuttle service is proposed to run from the festival site to camping and parking locations, old Mount Currie and downtown Pemberton, and Whistler Olympic Plaza and Creekside. Pedestrian and cycling routes to the site have been identified, and a condition of the TUP will be for the proponent to alert trail users to any possible detours or closures.

In total, the application forecasts an economic impact of $47.7 million for the region.

The 2008 Pemberton Festival resulted in more than $100,000 of community enhancements through a $3 contribution from producers for each ticket sold. That same condition will be placed upon this year's festival producers, though it hasn't yet been decided how the funds generated through the per-ticket contribution would be distributed.

Another condition on the TUP requires the proponent to prepare a post-mortem report upon the festival's completion. The report must be filed by the end of October and detail any issues or challenges encountered before, during and after the festival's production, and must include recommendations on how to remedy those concerns.

Given the festival site's location within the Agricultural Land Reserve, the proponent must also identify what benefits to agriculture will come out of the event.

Council had the option to approve the TUP for a three-year period, rescindable at the village's discretion, and Sunstone Group president Neil Colquhoun was present at Tuesday's meeting to request the full term on behalf of the proponent. However, the RCMP and other agencies commenting on the application had reservations about the three-year permit with the producers having no prior history in the Pemberton Valley.

Council chose a one-year approval for the permit, which can be extended once, by up to three years. Sailland noted that if the festival becomes an event held in perpetuity, the village would look at rezoning the subject properties, so a TUP would no longer be required.

"The Temporary Use Permit is to test the waters and see if it can work in that existing area," said Sailland.

Other government agencies and stakeholders must also provide approvals before the festival is officially given the green-light, including a separate TUP submitted to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

Another condition of the TUP submitted to the village is the granting of a Special Events Permit, which will be issued by village staff upon satisfaction from all stakeholders on issues related to site safety, sanitation, parking management, fees for municipal services and more. That permit does not require council approval.

Meanwhile, acting mayor Alan LeBlanc said Tuesday that the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch wants the festival to serve alcohol in beer garden-style, as opposed to the whole-site license preferred by the village and proponent, and supported by the RCMP. Council resolved to reiterate its position to local MLA Jordan Sturdy and Attorney General Suzanne Anton that beer garden service could encourage problematic behaviour at the venue.

Furthermore, LeBlanc said it appears that the perimeter security patrol on horseback proposed for the festival will not be permitted, according to correspondence received from the provincial Ministry of Justice. Sailland said the letter from the province indicates that current legislation identifies dogs as the only animal suitable for security purposes. The village has no involvement in security provision or allowance of mounted patrol, but will be seeking clarity on the ministry's interpretation of the existing legislation.

Visit www.pemberton.ca to view the full permit application and comments from the village and other stakeholders.

Slight increase to property tax, decrease to parcel tax

Village taxpayers will see a one-per-cent increase to municipal property taxes in 2014, but the parcel tax scheduled for this year will be reduced by more than half.

Those details were announced during a special presentation of the 2014 budget prior to Tuesday's regular meeting.

"We've done our best to keep (the budget) quite lean," said councillor Mike Richman.

The property tax increase is a smaller jump compared to previous years, as recent budgets have implemented a two-per-cent increase. The rise in rate is anticipated to add $11,000 to the village's annual revenue.

Meanwhile, the $150 parcel tax that was scheduled for this year is being reduced to $73.30.

The parcel tax was initiated in the 2013 budget to address outstanding development permit requirements and maintenance on the Pemberton Community Centre, and scheduled to last two years at $150 annually. However, council indicated that the tax could be lowered due to a couple of factors, most notably that more outstanding items on the facility were taken care of in the first year than expected.

In an indirectly related move, the requisition limit for the Pemberton-Area C joint recreation service was recently raised by the Pemberton Valley Utilities and Services Committee, which will help cover the service's operational deficits.

The largest capital project on the books for this year is a new water reservoir, pegged at $1.2 million. The village has initiated an Alternative Approval Process to borrow money for the new reservoir.

Slides from Tuesday's budget presentation are posted on the village's website. Pemberton's Five-Year Financial Plan is expected to be passed at the next council meeting on May 6.

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