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Village of Pemberton council preview for Tuesday, Jan. 14

First Look: Mountain bike skills park; hot springs management plan; cannabis-related business license fee
Photo by Clare Ogilvie

Here's a quick look at what you can expect at the Tuesday, Jan. 14 Village of Pemberton (VOP) Regular Council Meeting

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

Mountain bike skills park

Following a recent presentation from Bree Thorlakson—executive director of the Pemberton Off Road Cycling Association (PORCA)—VOP staff is presenting a plan to council that would see a mountain bike skills park included in the designs for the VOP's recreation lands.

"Staff reviewed the Recreation Site plan, and have identified a 1.3-acre area that could accommodate the skills park," reads a staff report included in the agenda package.

Staff is seeking council's direction on the plan, as well as on related site preparations (if council approves the location).

The proposed location would see the skills park replace two smaller practice fields that were included in the original recreation site concept plan, which was approved by council in 2014.

In her Dec. 10 presentation to VOP council, Thorlakson laid out a case for the bike park—which would include dirt jumps, a pump track, and skills feature—to be located on the recreation lands, which are accessed via Pemberton Farm Road East.

VOP staff has been in discussion with PORCA on the development of a skills park since 2016.

An early plan for construction of one underneath the power lines close to the BMX track was not approved by BC Hydro due to height restrictions.

The alternate plan, which had it built on School District 48 property adjacent to the Pemberton Secondary School was deemed unfeasible by PORCA out of concern for the requisite insurance costs.

PORCA has already secured some funding for the project: $25,000 from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation in April 2019 and an additional $10,000 donation from Squamish-based OneUp Components.

In total, Thorlakson estimates that yearly maintenance of the project would be about $5,000, and the approximate cost of the project would be $160,000 (depending on the features that are selected).

Hot springs management strategy

VOP Council is being asked to give input on a management plan for the Meager Creek and Keyhole hot springs.

The province is partnering with Lil'wat Nation on developing a new strategy to manage the sites.

The Meager Creek Hotsprings have been closed since the 2010 Capricorn landslide, though they continue to see visitation.

The Keyhole Hotsprings have been closed seasonally to protect grizzly bear recovery. This closure was put in place after an increase in human-wildlife conflict in 2017.

Cannabis-related business licence fee

Coast Mountain Cannabis Inc. (CMC) is asking the VOP to reconsider its business fee for cannabis-related businesses.

The company, which operates out of a building in the Pemberton industrial park, recently became a Licensed Producer under Health Canada's regulations.

"Having invested over $5 million to date, much of which has been spent with local contractors, and hired 8 local full time employees on really good salaries, we feel we have contributed a lot to the Pemberton economy already," states a letter from Andrew Ellott, one of four founders of the company.

"In the next year it is likely we will spend another $5m and hire another 10-12 full time employees as we complete the facility in the Industrial Park."

In his letter, Ellott asks VOP council to reconsider its business licence fee for cannabis-related businesses, saying it is "egregious" in comparison to what other businesses in the valley are required to pay.

The VOP's annual business licence fee for a standard business is set at $150, while its annual business licence fee for a "standard" cannabis production facility is set at $5,000 (or $2,500 for a "micro" production facility).

"We were dismayed and disappointed when we went to pay for our Business License that we were asked to pay $5,000, or more the 30 times what every other business in Pemberton pays," wrote Ellott.