Pemberton waits to hear from candidates 

Some unaware town is in different riding this year, and who candidates are

With the federal election just under three weeks away, most of the country has been covered with campaign signs and inundated with messages from candidates, but according to several Pemberton residents things are different in their town.

Pemberton is in a different position mostly because of a change to the electoral boundaries, which has placed Pemberton in an isolated pocket of the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding.

Prior to this election, Pemberton had been in the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast riding which is the same riding most of the towns along the Sea to Sky corridor belong to, including Whistler and Squamish.

The result is that the politicians in Chilliwack have had to find new allies, meet a new batch of media and greet other local elected officials. And while this process is happening quickly, many Pemberton residents are still in the dark about the election.

Colin Peters is a cook at the Pony Espresso in Pemberton and he said he did not know that he would be voting for candidates in a new riding come June 28 th .

"I had no idea really… but it seems a bit strange that they would go putting little borders up in between towns like Pemberton and Whistler," said Peters.

"To be honest, I haven't really heard or seen anything to do with the election yet…. I've noticed maybe one or two signs on the highway, but that's about it."

Peters said Pemberton was expanding and he would like the federal candidates to address how the town could manage this growth. He added that it was also important to ensure that the town finds ways to generate "revenues from the Olympics".

Al, who did not want his full name printed, from Pemberton had also not heard anything from the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon candidates, but he agreed that infrastructure was a major issue in his town.

"This place needs some more infrastructure and that includes things like looking at property taxes and sewage treatment plants," said Al.

"But there's also a lot of stuff like real estate (prices) getting out of hand.

"Whatever they do, they need to be doing it right; we don’t' need any stupid decisions."

Tyler Freed owns Coast Range Heliskiing in Pemberton and he said he had read about the changes to the electoral boundaries but he hadn’t heard anything about the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon candidates.

"I've seen nothing really, except for a few signs," said Freed. "I haven't heard about anybody commenting about Pemberton and the election."

Freed said when the candidates come to Pemberton he would simply like to see them listening to people.

"I guess I'd like to question how they can see themselves helping to facilitate some positive changes and growth for Pemberton because there really is lots of things happening in this town."

The positive news is that most of the candidates in the major parties tend to step up their efforts to get to Pemberton and ensure the residents know who and what they will be voting for come June 28 th .

Today (June 11) Liberal candidate Bob Besner will be in town, and on Saturday Conservative MP Chuck Strahl is going to be campaigning in Pemberton.

The Marijuana Party candidate, Norm Siefken, is expected to be in Pemberton on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

NDP candidate Rollie Keith has visited Pemberton but was unsure when he would be back.

The Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding covers an enormous area and Keith admitted it was difficult trying to get to every "nook and cranny" but he said it was up to the candidates to keep persevering.

"It's a bit of an endurance contest really… obviously you can't talk to everybody but that's where the local media can really help because it's important people know what we're talking about."


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