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Ironman Canada gives operations overview

Road closures to be finalized by May, event organizers tell Pemberton Council

Plans for Ironman Canada 2013 are taking shape, with Evan Taylor and Maureen Douglas of Ironman Canada providing an update on the Whistler-Pemberton event at the April 2 Pemberton Council Meeting.

The race will take place on Aug. 25, the first of four annual swim-bike-run endurance competitions. It was announced with great fanfare that the region had successfully gained the event in October and sold out soon after registration went live.

Taylor and Douglas met Village of Pemberton staff earlier in the day and briefed them about what was planned in terms of operations and what had be achieved so far.

Taylor, Ironman Canada's assistant race director, told council they were in the process of finalizing the final draft.

Answering a question by Mayor Jordan Sturdy about an overview of the day, Taylor said they expected 2,600 competitors to start the first leg of Ironman, swimming 3.8km across Alta Lake, with 50 to 75 professional competitors starting at 6:30 a.m. and the remaining racers to start around 7 a.m.

From there, competitors will complete a 180 km bike course starting at Rainbow Park in Whistler, which will close the Sea to Sky Highway and Pemberton Meadows Road, and then run the final leg of 42.2 km. The details of road closures, including scale of closures and time, have not been finalized but are expected to be in place by the end of April or early May.

Taylor said they expected 40 per cent of participants to be first timers, and an overall completion rate of 90 per cent. Competitors will have until midnight Aug. 25 to finish the race.

Douglas confirmed that the public will learn more about the details of race day from Ironman Canada in early May from social media and advertising. She said they "were working with all impacted stakeholder communities" including the Village of Pemberton and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

"We want to work collaboratively with everyone in the corridor to ensure that it is successful," she said.

Douglas said 3,000 volunteers would be needed on race day and this aspect of Ironman "is already in great shape."

Birkenhead River freshet concerns

In his mayor's report, Jordan Sturdy told council of regional concerns that the provincial government was not taking seriously the threat imposed by the upcoming freshet melt, which could mean unmanageable water flow changes on the Birkenhead River and flooding in May.

The Village of Pemberton, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, the Lil'wat Nation and the Pemberton Valley Dyking District wrote a letter outlining these concerns to the province.

Sturdy said between $100,000 and $150,000 would mitigate the problem by "re-channelizing" the Birkenhead River. The worst-case scenario would be the flooding "taking out Highway 99."

Draft development procedures bylaw presented

Caroline Lamont, Pemberton's manager of development services, presented a draft of the village's new development procedures bylaw at a public information meeting prior to the start of the council meeting.

Twenty-four people attended the session, with Lamont explaining that the bylaw establishes application fees, how future approvals or rejections will be made, and sets down municipal requirements for applications to amend the Official Community Plan, variance or temporary use permits, strata applications or zoning bylaws, among other things. The changes were needed for various reasons, including meeting provincial legislative changes.

It has already been presented to council and had changes recommended.

"Then it will come back for official reading following comments and considerations from the public," she said.

"It's sort of a one-stop shop for people looking to do development or get approvals within the municipality."

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