Village of Pemberton (VOP) council took an important step to help alleviate the community's acute daycare shortage at its Sept. 10 regular council meeting.
Council approved the application of a $3-million grant for an additional building that would be constructed on the same lot as the Pemberton Children's Centre and be used to expand the number of spaces it offers.
A recent report on Pemberton's daycare situation—presented to council by Lisa McIntosh of Sea to Sky Community Services this summer—found that there are currently only 12.5 spaces for every 100 children (aged 12 and under), which is well below the provincial average of 18.4 spaces for every 100 kids.
Council's decision came as positive news to Maude Ash, executive director of the Pemberton Children's Centre.
"It's really exciting," she said, following the meeting. "This is something we have been discussing for years now. As a non-profit operation, it would take a very long time to fundraise the money to actually make it happen."
If successful, the VOP would be the owner of the building, and the Pemberton Children's Centre would be the operator/lessee.
As part of its application, the VOP is required to provide a conceptual drawing to the province.
The VOP will therefore allocate up to $10,000 from its 2019 budget to complete it (though VOP chief administrative officer Nikki Gilmore said she is hopeful that the end sum for the drawing will be less).
During the meeting, council discussed redirecting the money from funding allocated for the design of a new municipal hall.
Following the meeting, Richman said that creating a new municipal hall has been on the VOP's radar for years, as there are space constraints with the current building.
That said, he noted that it is getting late in the year, and that the money would be well spent on the conceptual drawings for the daycare building.
"This is an important need," said Richman. "We just had that childcare report and now this opportunity is here. I think we have to be proactive and seize this opportunity to provide more daycare."
VOP council also directed staff to move forward with a process that could see a minor amendment to the VOP's Official Community Plan (OCP).
The amendment is being advocated for by Sunstone Ridge Developments Ltd., which would like to create nine new 2,000-square-metre "estate lots" on land currently designated "Hillside Special Study Area" (in anticipation of future OCP-level planning work and additional rezoning application work, according to VOP staff).
Moving forward, VOP staff will ask the project proponent to consult various stakeholders—including Lil'wat Nation and the Squamish–Lillooet Regional District—and host a public information meeting about the proposed change.
Richman said he looks forward to hearing what the public has to say about the Sunstone proposal, noting that it is important to be mindful of any potential impact to the hillside it sits on.
"I'm always conscious of where we put density in housing," he said.
"I want to make sure that the development does not detract from that landscape."
2018 Annual Report
Council also received the VOP's annual report during its Sept. 10 regular council meeting.
Put together by staff, the 2018 Annual Report catalogues the VOP's strategic priorities and what was achieved over the past year.
In a letter included in the report, Gilmore highlighted the Community Forest Partnership Agreement with Lil'wat Nation, the construction of the Friendship Trail Bridge, and the VOP's new comprehensive zoning bylaw as highlights for 2018.
Gilmore also highlights advancement to high-speed internet access.
"As the way that people receive information is increasingly online, the Village is proud to have facilitated an agreement with TELUS to provide high-speed internet to our residents," wrote Gilmore.
"Pemberton's contribution towards the infrastructure was made possible through generous contributions from Pemberton's development community, specifically Alpi Group, Alture Properties (Crestline), The Ridge at Pemberton ... Sunstone Ridge Development Ltd., and Tiyata Village at Pemberton."