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Pemberton approves skate park beneath power lines

Pemberton council has approved the location of a skate park beneath hydro lines over the objections of some very concerned citizens. At a meeting on Jan.

Pemberton council has approved the location of a skate park beneath hydro lines over the objections of some very concerned citizens.

At a meeting on Jan. 12, council unanimously approved the location of a new skate park at Lot 12, at the northwest corner of Portage Road and Cottonwood Street - a location that lies partially beneath some 230 kV transmission lines.

"I have to say, I've struggled a lot with this one," said Councillor Lisa Ames. "The better part of the last month speaking to friends, other moms, getting their opinions and trying to get a sense of where people stood on this.

"In a perfect world, no, I don't think I would want the skateboard park there, or the bike park, any of that.

"At the end of the day I have to support it, although I would like us to continue to pursue or look at options to get those power lines raised, well, buried in a perfect world."

Ames ultimately voted, along with other councillors, to allow the park at Lot 12. The vote came after a report by Caroline Lamont, Pemberton's manager of development services, who said in the report that the municipality received a total of 10 letters from citizens about the park - five supporting its location and five opposing it.

One of the opposing letters came from Eddie Hicks, a member of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team, who said in an e-mail that placing a skate park under power lines treats its users like "second class citizens" because it shows little regard for their well-being.

Lamont recommended that council support Lot 12 as the location for the skateboard park, but that staff be directed to post signs indicating that the lot is exposed to electromagnetic fields due to its proximity to transmission lines.

Pembertonians raised concerns about youth playing under power lines at the bike park and skate park at a town hall meeting last June. The Village of Pemberton has looked at various ways to deal with the issue - one is to raise the power lines, another is to bury them. Both involve a heavy capital cost that the village cannot afford.

Other items at the meeting included a letter from Martin Dahinden and Michelle Beauregard, a former mayoral candidate and former councillor, respectively, who last October were the subjects of legal action by the Village of Pemberton.

The village filed a petition against the couple in B.C. Supreme Court asking them to remove from their property near the Pemberton Industrial Park a structure that they claimed violated the "Unsightly Premises Bylaw."

Dahinden and Beauregard said in their letter that as of Dec. 21, 2009 a green wood studio structure had been moved off their property and outside the Village of Pemberton. They added that they hope to get a building permit for a trailer structure on their property and to review their building permit situation with the building inspector.

Lori Pilon, the administrator at the time of the filing, did not confirm that the village was even taking legal action, nor would she elaborate on what was allegedly violating the bylaw.

Meanwhile minutes from council's Dec. 15 meeting indicated that council appointed new members to its Advisory Land Use and Advisory Design Review Commissions at an in camera meeting, out of the public eye.

They rose with report to announce that Whistler entrepreneur Bob Adams, Lodging Ovations General Manager Saad Hasan and Whistler realtor Drew Meredith had been appointed to the land use commission. They also announced that Whistler architect Dennis Maguire and Whistler planner Kristina Salin had been appointed to the design review commission.

Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy said the appointments were made in camera because it was a personnel issue in which councillors debated about various candidates.

"There's a personal nature to the applications," he said.