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Village of Pemberton outlines draft capital projects in budget info session

Still ample time for community feedback ahead of this year’s budget, says manager of finance
Pemberton residents have plenty of time to share input on the 2023 municipal budget.

The Village of Pemberton (VOP) outlined its 2023 draft capital projects during a budget information session on Tuesday, March 14.

In his presentation prior to the regular council meeting, Thomas Sikora, manager of finance for the VOP, also highlighted how the Village hopes to address the problem of high staff turnover.

In 2022, the turnover rate was 25 per cent.

“I highlight this because it’s a great expense to the organization and a great priority in this year’s budget in terms of trying to stabilize that and avoid one-off costs and create a more stable workforce,” Sikora said. “Some of the key initiatives that will be included involve conducting a review of competitiveness amongst the comparators, making sure that the pay scale is in line with the market.”

Officials also plan to define retention strategies and conduct “targeted investment training, development, and succession planning.”

Before going through the proposed capital projects, Sikora emphasized that the projects—other than those already underway or fully funded through grants—haven’t yet been approved, and there’s still time for community feedback.

The first project listed was the $3.66-million daycare that had its site prepared last fall and is expected to be completed in early 2024.

Meanwhile, the water treatment facility project that will replace the existing facility, offering additional filtration for iron and manganese, is currently awaiting the results of a grant application.

“It will allow for future growth as well,” Sikora added.

That estimated project cost is $8.2 million.

Other, less costly, projects on the list include: the Fernwood water main and pressure-reducing valve replacement ($280,000), an “essential distribution system” at the end of its life; the McRae Road water main upsizing ($270,000), to increase capacity for future Industrial Park water main looping; and the Industrial Park generator ($100,000), which will ensure sanitary service during power outages and help meet increased needs as the industrial park grows.

With regards to fire services, Engine 10 is reaching the end of its life and needs replacement. While the total cost is $750,000, Sikora said the suggestion is to order the chassis (or base frame) this year and complete the engine in 2025.

As well, “there are a number of priorities around the Level 3 75kW EV fast chargers” also in the draft budget to fall in line with the community’s Climate Action Plan. There are grants available for these sort of projects, Sikora said, up to a total of $150,000.

Another big-ticket item on the list is the amenity building at Den Duyf Park. Both that building—which includes bathrooms, storage, a snack bar, community space, and EV chargers—and the parking lot construction are expected to cost $2.6 million.

The Park and Ride, coming in at $1.9 million, is expected to be designed this year and completed by 2026.

“This is a project which is funded through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, Rural and Northern Communities program,” Sikora said. “And this is a very important project in the ability to promote transit, get people out of their cars and have the option to better utilize the bus.”

He also highlighted a few of the operations and parks fleet upgrades needed to address equipment nearing the end of its life. That includes the replacement of a bucket truck, retired due to safety issues, for $40,000; a F550 plow and sander for $110,000; and the bed of a garbage truck, estimated to be $40,000.

While no members of the public offered feedback during the meeting, Sikora added there’s still time for residents to share their thoughts before council reads and adopts the budget in April or tax notices are issued in May.

“I would highlight, along the way, staff provides a draft of the budget for council to review and input, but along the way we continue to monitor anything we hear from the public,” he said. “Reaching councillors or providing input is helpful as we … develop a cost-effective budget that inserts cost-efficiency and accountability.”

To offer your feedback, email