Pemberton has heard from its citizens, and the message is clear - "green up" that downtown as much as you can arrange it.
That was a central message that came out of two days of community consultations last week that included workshops, walking tours and open houses.
Caroline Lamont, manager of development services for the Village of Pemberton (VOP), said in an interview that many community members want to see more trees, better use of park space and ultimately a more welcoming sense of arrival as visitors and residents enter the village.
"Until I really looked at the pictures I didn't realize the lack of trees," she said. "We all like the roundabout and it's looking great but just more of a sense of arrival. Certainly one of the biggest (responses) was greening up the whole downtown with trees and whatnot."
Consultations began with a walking tour last Wednesday afternoon, followed by an "Issue Identification Workshop" at the VOP offices.
From there followed a community presentation on "Achieving Great Downtowns" by downtown designer and planner Michael Von Hausen, who has helped develop a master plan for the City of Langley and a development feasibility study for Vladivostok, Russia.
The VOP hosted a stakeholder and landowner design workshop on Thursday and then held a community open house at the new Pemberton Community Centre.
Responses from all these events included a desire to develop a courtyard on the property between AG Foods and the Pemberton Hotel, which currently houses a parking lot.
"That is sort of a cluster of restaurants and businesses, plus it has great sun exposure and terrific views of Mount Currie," Lamont said, adding later in the interview that the courtyard is something that the village can start moving forward on right now.
Lamont said she'd like to "pedestrianize" it more, but said that businesses are currently operating there and that any proposed improvements are merely concepts at this point.
"A lot of people have looked at the village as more regulatory," she said. "I think what we want to do is consult more and talk about it and try and work for everybody."
Making any of these improvements happen will require funding and investment opportunities - important steps that the VOP has yet to explore.
Other suggestions that came out of the workshops included integrating a better transit hub, kids' park improvements at Pioneer Park as well as a B.C. Hydro site across from Home Hardware that currently has three houses on it. That, Lamont said, could be considered an important site for new businesses.
Lisa Ames, a VOP councillor who attended all the workshops, said many of the suggestions from community members were focused around getting people out of their cars.
"I think everyone that attended was very interested in improving the look of the downtown core," she said. "The suggestions were adding more green space, making it really more pedestrian-friendly, (more) signage, making the parking parallel to the (train) tracks, turning that area into a really good commercial parking area.
"We have two full days of great community input and I think we'll build from that."
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