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Tourism Pemberton debuts new app

Council to look into initiative
Apt app Tourism Pemberton president Mark Mendonca shows off screengrab prints of the new app to council on Tuesday, June 7.

A new app for Pemberton is up and running — and with its official launch July 1, Tourism Pemberton president Mark Mendonca hopes that it proves itself as the go-to tool at the upcoming music festival from July 14 to 17.

Mendonca appeared at the Village of Pemberton (VOP) council meeting Tuesday, June 7, to request "unconditional" council support for the app, which was developed by John Barber of Whistler's Barber Media.

Mendonca refused to say how much the app development cost, and added that an initial 60-day period for information input would be handled by Barber, but after that he would have to look into costs for regular updates.

"The rate for having an app is usually $20,000 to $30,000. We've been given a significant deal. It's almost experimental what John is doing with us... and we're running with something that's integral for the community and Tourism Pemberton," he said.

Mendonca hopes to get the VOP, area businesses, chamber of commerce members and non-members on the app to showcase what Pemberton has to offer.

"We are negotiating with the Pemberton festival to use footage on screens and buses, put Tourism Pemberton videos up. On the buses that will be rolling in from Whistler, this is an immediate target for us. We need thousands to download, giving our app some significance," he said.

Council accepted Mendonca's proposal and will look into the VOP's role in this.

Funds from sale of lot

The recent sale of a Prospect Street lot that was owned by the VOP brought in $149,810 and council determined that the best use of the funds is to keep it in general revenue.

Although the money could be used to pay down the remaining balance on the downtown Community Barn, Lena Martin, Manager of Finance and Administrative Services, said that considering low interest rates, keeping the money on hand is probably the best solution. "We don't have a lot of reserves," she said.

Chief Administrative Office Nikki Gilmore agreed with Martin, and said: "I like to keep it more general... if something comes up you want to have the money to act... rather than paying down debt or not taking advantage of borrowing right now."

Council moved for the funds to be directed to general revenue.

Men's Shed renovations

Tim Harris, manager of operations and development services, provided and update for the upcoming move of the popular Men's Shed to a structure behind the village offices.

Renovations to the existing property include a structural engineering assessment at a cost of $1,495; $1,495 for parts and supplies; and $2,770 for electrical upgrades. The VOP had already budgeted $4,000 for upgrades to the garage doors, which leaves the Men's Shed remake with a shortfall of $5,500.

Councillor Jennie Helmer suggested the VOP split the cost, with the Men's Shed members fundraising to come up with the other $2,750, which council approved.

Bee business

Councillor Helmer requested that the VOP bylaw on beekeeping be adapted to conform to similar bylaws in North Vancouver, Vancouver and Squamish, where two hives are permitted on land less than 929 square metres. The VOP bylaw currently restricts beekeeping to one hive for a 750 square metre lot.

"What is the average lot size in Pemberton?" asked Helmer, who added that other jurisdictions are not as restrictive as the VOP. Council moved to change the number in the bylaw and for a work plan to be ironed out in the fall schedule.