Pemberton town hall meeting draws a crowd 

Suggestions, questions and uncomfortable truths mark first meeting

By Cindy Filipenko

The current Village of Pemberton administration’s first town hall meeting was a resounding success.

More than 120 jammed the Pony Espresso on June 5 to make their concerns known to Mayor Jordan Sturdy and councillors Mark Blundell, Jennie Helmer, David MacKenzie and Kristin McLeod.

Mayor Sturdy, who fielded the majority of questions in the 100-minute session, opened the evening with a discussion of the VOP’s four pillar Strategic Plan, that emphasizes social, economic and environmental sustainability.

VOP administrator Lori Pilon was pleased with the evening’s outcome.

“We’ve already received constructive comments for the strategic plan,” she said, noting that all input from the meeting and subsequent evaluation/comment forms would be taken under consideration.

“As per the strategic plan, we want to meet more frequently with the constituents. I think we’ll have these kind of meetings at least twice a year, as well as other opportunities to get together to develop real relationships,” said Pilon.

Suggestions from the floor at Tuesday’s meeting ranged from including “Home of the World Champion Layaom Eagles” on the “Welcome to Pemberton sign” to increasing accessibility to One Mile Lake by adding a sidewalk and enhancing transit frequency between Whistler and Mt. Currie.

Some suggestions were dismissed as being too costly. When asked why Pemberton did not have “911” service, Mayor Sturdy pointed out that start up costs were $350,000 and that most cell phones had the capacity to use the emergency number. Likewise, alternative arrangements for garbage and recycling management could be made, but they would be made at a cost.

Asked about the status of the new community centre, the mayor confirmed that the opening would be delayed until February 2008.

“We’re basically on budget. There are some changes of scope that have raised the costs. We didn’t consider the Youth Centre, there’s a water line and a traffic study,” said the mayor.

He added that the original building had been planned for 19,000 square feet and it is now 22,000 square feet.   The projected budget overrun is currently at $500,000.

“We’d like to see a water park and a skate park completed as part of the budget, but if we don’t have the money that will have to wait until sometime later,” said the mayor.

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