Rec facility referendum set for June 14 

Pemberton voters to make call on borrowing $4.8 million

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Village of Pemberton residents will vote in a June 14 referendum to determine if they support the village's proposal to borrow millions for the construction of a new multi-sport recreation facility.

Pemberton council set the referendum date during its regular meeting on Tuesday, May 6, while also confirming the question that will appear on the ballot.

Essentially, voters will be asked if they are in favour of borrowing $4.8 million, repayable through taxation over a 30-year period, to help finance the facility and adjacent outdoor playing fields.

Although the village has received approval from the Inspector of Municipalities to borrow $4.8 million, the final designs and costs of the potential facility, as well as projected revenue, have not yet been made public. Chief administrative officer Daniel Sailland said revised financial details regarding the facility are expected to appear before council at its special meeting on Tuesday, May 13.

"Any additional information... will be rolled out throughout the process, moving between next week, and the 14th of June," said Sailland, noting that village officials have recently been meeting with would-be user groups of the facility to develop a business case to present to the community before the referendum.

"We don't have a guaranteed crystal ball, but the groups are there... and they're looking for the space. Assuming everything goes well, we have confidence in that business plan."

Information that will begin going out to voters next week will include a full explanation of the referendum and an FAQ section, said Sailland. Additionally, the tax-calculator spreadsheet currently on the village website will be updated, allowing voters to see exactly how much their taxes will increase in the event of a "yes" vote in the referendum.

FESTIVAL PERMIT EXTENDED

Pemberton council elected to extend the Pemberton Music Festival's Temporary Use Permit (TUP) to a maximum three-year term on Tuesday, after festival officials requested the original TUP's length be reconsidered.

Last month, council approved a one-year permit for the festival, subject to about a dozen conditions. TUPs can be renewed only once, also to a maximum of three years, after which time rezoning must be pursued.

Although village staff continued to recommend a one-year term for the permit, council members decided to instead fulfill the festival's original request for a three-year TUP. Council retains the rights to rescind the permit, and the three councillors voting in favour of the three-year motion felt there are enough safeguards in place.

"If the community says... 'We don't want it,' we have the ability to revisit it," said Councillor Mike Richman.

Councillor Ted Craddock cast the lone dissenting vote.

Meanwhile, festival representatives Maureen Douglas and Cam McIvor appeared at Tuesday's meeting to update council on its community outreach and parking strategies ahead of the July 18 to 20 event.

Douglas said there would be "very extensive" messaging sent out to the community through social and traditional media, on all event partner websites and via mail-dropped pamphlets for local residents.

A public info session will also take place June 4 at the Pemberton Community Centre at 7 p.m., providing details about festival operations, parking and traffic management plans and more. Additionally, those seeking short-term employment opportunities with the festival are required to appear at one of two job fairs scheduled for May 24 in Pemberton and Mount Currie. McIvor said festival officials are confident they have found solutions to some of the parking issues that created congestion during the 2008 Pemberton Festival. Most notably, IR2 will be used as a primary parking area connected to the festival site by a pedestrian overpass of Highway 99, while the airport will no longer be used. McIvor said those approaches should help reduce traffic congestion.

"There have been a lot of lessons learned from the last event," said McIvor. "Keeping the highway moving is our goal."

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