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Pemberton, SLRD and Lil'wat Nation team up to study local transit feasibility

The three local governments are inviting locals to share their thoughts on transit in the Pemberton Valley through a new survey
Pemberton - sea to sky - bc transit - bus stop by Joel Barde
The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, alongside the Village of Pemberton and Lil’wat Nation, is seeking public input about regional transit in the Sea to Sky through a new survey launched this April.

How do you feel about the Pemberton Valley's current transit system? 

That's what the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD), the Village of Pemberton (VOP) and Lil’wat Nation wants to know.

In a news release issued Wednesday, April 14, the three municipal governments announced they are joining forces to conduct a study looking into the efficacy of the transit options currently serving residents of their communities. 

"The objective of this project is to understand how to effectively and equitably use the resources available to maximize the transit operations available in the Pemberton Valley, including the regional service between Pemberton and Whistler and the potential for expansion of the local service," the release read. 

Said Russell Mack, director of SLRD Electoral Area C, in the release, "Our communities are growing, and transit is a service that enhances quality of life for residents, by improving access to healthcare, employment opportunities and education, while also reducing our environmental impact and carbon footprint."

The team behind the study is now in the public engagement phase of the project. It's currently seeking public feedback about transportation needs and opportunities in the Pemberton Valley through an online survey that launched Wednesday. The survey will remain available to residents through the SLRD, Village of Pemberton and Lil’wat Nation websites until April 28. 

"We hope that residents will share their thoughts on the transit service in the Pemberton Valley, and, in particular, ways that the service could be improved to meet the needs of our growing communities," Mack said. 

Lil'wat Nation political chief Dean Nelson said he is pleased to see this work move forward to, hopefully, improve the transit experiences for community members. He also encouraged residents of his community to engage themselves in the process, as did Village of Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman. 

Information gathered from the survey will help inform the governments' future decisions and plans regarding local transit in the region, he added. "The feedback we receive will help us collectively develop creative strategies to explore expansion opportunities for local transit which will service our communities for years to come while helping us achieve our vision of a low-carbon future," Richman explained in the release. 

Currently, the Village of Pemberton is responsible for administering the Pemberton Valley Transit System with BC Transit, on behalf of all three local governments in the valley, while funding for the system is cost-shared between the SLRD, the Village of Pemberton, the Lil'wat Nation and BC Transit. All revenue collected from the service goes directly to the local government partners to offset their share of the total costs. 

The project is being led by the WATT Consultant Group, with representation from the SLRD, VOP and Lil’wat Nation.