Pemberton: Sustainability’s the issue 

Their concepts for a more sustainable community run the gamut from creating a more efficient transit system to exploring affordable housing options and job creation based on existing natural assets.

Looking to move a couple of years ago, paramedic Carrie Turchinetz took a colleague’s positive recommendation and checked out Pemberton. The single mom of a kindergarten-age daughter is glad she did. She finds Pemberton a remarkably friendly place, and the first town where she and Brianna really feel at home. However, securing the physical space of home is a challenge.

"One of my biggest concerns is housing. Other communities I’ve lived in have had low-income housing. That doesn’t exist here.

"It takes everyone to make this community run, not just the people who can afford to be here. It takes the people who work in restaurants, people who work at the gas stations, people like myself who are single parents," said the part-time ambulance attendant. "We love our community and want to stay, but it’s not always accessible."

While acknowledging that the idea of low-income housing makes many people nervous, Turchinetz believes that providing an option such as co-op housing would help to further stabilize the community.

"If people could afford to live here it wouldn’t be such a transient community," she said.

With a job that brings her in touch with a cross-section of people in crisis who call the Pemberton Valley home, Turchinetz is acutely aware of the need for social programs in the area.

"If you need assistance you have to go to Squamish, and it’s difficult to get the help when you need it."

She praises the quality of available daycare and the opportunities the current community centre offers. However, she sees room for further development.

"I think it would be great to have a community workout facility where part of the interaction could be with your kids, so you’re getting exercise, you’re teaching your kids good health and building a foundation of good habits."

Martina Pierre echoes Turchinetz’s belief that a solid community is diverse. But she also believes that with diversity comes a need for increased communication.

Dean of the Ts’Zil Learning Centre, Pierre feels that it is imperative that the new Village of Pemberton government continues to expand on the dialogue that the current administration had begun with the Lil’wat Nation.

"In terms of land issues, we’re always having to deal with third parties because they have to consult with us. I think the overall understanding of where we’re coming from and the history of issues with Native people has to happen," said Pierre.

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