The Village of Pemberton (VOP) is moving ahead with a proposed development for its "580 Hillside" lands, with potential impacts to trails and the environment in mind.
At the regular meeting of Pemberton council on Dec. 15, council passed third reading of two bylaw amendments related to the development.
The amendments themselves were fairly minor, dealing with mapping and density changes, but the amendment process triggered public hearings around the development, said Mayor Mike Richman.
"That was good, because it gave the public an opportunity to come out and voice their thoughts about the development," Richman said. "For the most part it was positive. There were a couple of concerns voiced regarding preserving trails, because there is some important recreation up in that area."
The proposed development — located about 3.6 kilometres east of the Village centre — conflicts with a large number of local trails, said councillor Jennie Helmer.
Helmer has voted against the development every step of the way.
"I find that growth is really looked at as a positive thing, but we rarely look at the consequences of it," she said. "I wanted to bring attention to the fact that there's all these trails there that are impacted by it, and the ecosystem, and then there's this big patch of farmland right below it."
The developer has also agreed to replace "like trails for like," Helmer said, though no formal commitment is in place.
"The nuts and bolts of that haven't been sorted out, so that's going to be the next process," Helmer said.
At the Dec. 15 meeting, Helmer also brought forward a motion asking the approving officer to consider the 2013 Keystone Environmental Report follow-up recommendations in conjunction with the subdivision application review.
The Keystone Report recommends developers incorporate best management practices to manage the habitats of endangered sharp-tailed snakes in the area.
"The development itself calls for about nine hectares of forest canopy removal, which is pretty big," Helmer said. "That's the standard for a development where you're removing forest canopy, but it's such a fragile ecosystem on that south side... so that's another really big value for me, is that we take care of what already exists on that hillside, and that the ecosystem is protected and maintained to a certain extent."
There will be more regulatory matters coming before council concerning the development, but Richman said he's happy to see the project moving forward.
"That area is identified in our Official Community Plan as a growth node, off the flood plane, where you've got good solar aspects, so I think there's a lot of positive aspects to the development," he said. "Hopefully they do it in a really thoughtful manner, but yeah, I'm happy. I think the timing is right and it will be good to see those go on the market."
The developer's agent, Cam McIvor, could not be reached for comment, but Richman said he believed the goal was to get some inventory on the market for late spring, 2016.
SLRD, PEMBERTON LAUNCH ONLINE REGISTRATION SERVICE FOR COMMUNITY CENTRE
Users of the Pemberton and District Community Centre can now register for programs online.
As of Dec. 3, registration can be done on any mobile device or computer by visiting www.slrd.bc.ca./pemrec-register.
"Staff has been working on bringing online registration to our patrons for a while now, so we're excited to launch this convenient new service," said Pemberton councillor and chair of the Pemberton Valley Utilities and Services Committee James Linklater, in a release.
"It's pretty user-friendly, but the staff at the Community Centre will be available to guide people through the process if they have any questions while they learn the system."
Early indicators are that people are quick learners — only two people showed up to register in person on the first day of winter registration, the release said.
PEMBERTON VALLEY LODGE HONOURED
The Pemberton Valley Lodge (PVL) is 2015's winner of the Hotel Association of Canada's Green Key Energy and Environment Award of Excellence.
The award recognizes a lodging property that has developed a culture towards sustainability, while still maintaining quality service.
"It's exciting to see our commitment to the environment recognized at this level. Over the past 11 years our sustainability program has grown substantially, thanks to the efforts and creativity of staff and management," PVL general manager David Mackenzie said in a release.
"Our team has worked diligently to incorporate green practices into our everyday operations, and we've seen the benefits, including a positive impact on our bottom line."
The PVL uses a hotel-wide recycling program, LED lighting, water-conserving bathroom fixtures, recycles its soap products, donates old linens to homeless shelters and uses recycled paper products.
The lodge also uses green cleaning supplies, purchases green energy credits from Bullfrog Energy and even provides charging stations for electric vehicles.
Past winners of the award include the Fairmont and Westin hotels and resorts.
WINTERFEST WEEKS AWAY, NEW COUNCIL SCHDULE FINALIZED
After a couple of challenging years weather-wise, the Pemberton Winterfest is set to return this Jan. 22 to 24, 2016.
"The Winterfest Society has set themselves up for any conditions, because there was a lot of disappointment when it got cancelled due to lack of winter recently," Richman said.
"Obviously the best possible scenario is we have a nice winter and we're out there curling and skating and all that stuff... If not, they will put together a series of activities downtown in the barn and maybe elsewhere, so something will happen one way or another."
For a full schedule of events and up-to-date info, head to www.pembertonwinterfest.com.
Pemberton council returns on Tuesday, Jan. 19 — head to www.pemberton.ca for a full schedule of council meetings.
"(We're having) a residential school presentation on Jan. 19th, and hopefully early in the New Year we'll be getting a look at the draft report of the community forest, so some exciting things coming up," Richman said.
"However people celebrate it, I'd love to wish people an awesome holiday season throughout the Pemberton valley and the corridor."
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