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Village of Pemberton Council preview for Tuesday, Feb. 25

First Look: Local transit sustainability issues; downtown enhancement plan financial update; invasive species control funding
Clare Ogilvie

Here's a quick look at what you can expect at the Tuesday, Feb. 25 Village of Pemberton (VOP) regular council meeting.

The meeting kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Council Chambers (7400 Prospect Street).

Local transit sustainability

VOP council will discuss some challenges facing Pemberton's local transit service during Tuesday's meeting.

A BC Transit report included in the regular council meeting agenda package states that the Pemberton Local (Route 100) is facing some serious financial challenges.

"The existing Local Service transit is no longer sustainable," states the BC Transit report.

"The Operating Company (Whistler Transit Ltd) is unable to continue delivering services in its current form due to the lack of economic viability and associated operational challenges."

Whistler Transit has been operating the service for the past two-and-a-half years.

The report states that the two buses that are used are at the "end of their life" and "require replacement."

BC Transit is also seeking to address ongoing staffing issues, which has led to service cancellations over the past several months.

The fact that Pemberton local drivers are not required to be unionized presents a challenge when it comes to replacing sick drivers, as those who drive in Whistler are unionized, explains the report.

"When local drivers are unable to make service, Whistler Transit cannot 'assign' the work to Whistler operators and can only request drivers to consider taking on Pemberton local work," it says.

"This has created challenges for [Whistler Transit] in preventing service interruptions when local operators are not available."

BC Transit is therefore recommending that the VOP commit to supporting the use of two new Whistler Transit owned, 24-passenger vehicles as well as adjust the current labour agreement to address the unionization discrepancy.

Funding the changes would cost the municipality an additional $73,879 a year, according to the report.

"This recommendation will allow the VOP to quickly stabilize the current situation but also allow the time for BC Transit to work with staff to analyze long-term options to improve service certainty and reliability," reads the report.

You can read more about the recent cancellations on the route here:

Downtown enhancement plan financial update

Council will also be provided with a financial update on the downtown enhancement project.

The comprehensive project saw the downtown core receive significant below- and above-ground upgrades, and was facilitated by a $5.3 million federal-government infrastructure grant.

In July, VOP council gave fourth and final reading to a loan authorization bylaw to borrow up to $980,000 to cover the cost of extending and paving the parking lot adjacent the Community Barn and to serve as a contingency fund for the downtown enhancement project.

The paving and parking lot extension job was expected to cost $100,000, with the remaining $880,000 allocated for any potential cost overruns (the VOP said at the time it was hoping not to use all of it).

You can read more about the loan authorization process here:

Invasive species control funding

The Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council is requesting funding for 2020 for an invasive species local government partnership program.

In a letter to council, Clare Greenberg, executive director of the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council, asked that council join the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and Lil'wat Nation in repeating the same donation as last year: $1,600.

Last year's money went towards weed pull with Stewardship Pemberton Little Saplings program kids, hosting an information booth at the Pemberton Farmer's market, and delivering letters to landlords with high priority invasive plants on their properties, among other initiatives.