Village of Pemberton (VOP) council broke to hold a scheduled public hearing during its Nov. 5 regular council meeting to hear from the public on proposed changes to the VOP's official community plan (OCP) and zoning bylaw.
The minor amendment would re-designate an area adjacent to the Sunstone Ridge development from "special planning area" to "residential," allowing Sunstone Development Ltd. to move forward with a plan to create nine new 2,000-square-metre "estate lots" and enlarge four existing lots.
The new lots would necessitate the extension of a municipal roadway, but will utilize water and sanitary infrastructure constructed in earlier phases of the Sunstone Ridge development.
Council heard from three people in total, with one in support, one against, and another who said she was "neutral."
Jagoda Kozikowski of 1757 Pinewood Dr. said that she doesn't agree with the proposal to amend the OCP.
The prospective expansion represents a "major eyesore," and will result an increase in traffic on Pemberton Farm Road East, she said.
Kozikowski also expressed concern for the sharp-tailed snake population in the area.
"I feel like further extending the development up the hillside, which is a critical habitat [for the species], is more of a detriment," she said, also raising concerns that the VOP's public hearing was not adequately publicized.
"There was no extra effort at all to reach out to the Plateau community," she said. (The hearing was advertised in the Pique and via VOP's email newsletter.)
Cam McIvor of Sunstone Ridge Developments Ltd. said the company has already undertaken extensive environmental work on the area in question.
"We've had four separate environmental consultants on this property, and there is nil-to-low habitat value for the sharp-tail snake on Sunstone," said McIvor.
"There is a focused area over on the Ridge property, and all of that has been dealt with the [B.C.] Ministry of Environment—all the way up to Environment Canada."
McIvor added that Sunstone has a snake-compliance plan in place.
He added that he believes that pedestrian traffic on Pemberton Farm Road East could be improved.
"We've been working with the Village and talking to them about doing something to improve the pedestrian traffic, etc.," he said.
A third speaker, who identified herself as a resident of the Ridge, said that she was "neutral" about the amendment, because she didn't feel she had enough information.
VOP council will decide on whether to move forward with the OCP amendment at a forthcoming council meeting.
AIRPORT DEVELOPMENT INQUIRIES
VOP council passed a resolution that sets basic criteria for individuals or businesses looking to undertake a lease at the Pemberton Airport.
The criteria requires proposals illustrate "benefits to the community of the proposed operation," job creation, revenue growth, noise creation, and a business plan (in the case of a commercial operation).
Councillor Ted Craddock raised concerns that the language in the criteria would be "onerous" for an individual who may want to rent space for a glider.
But VOP staff assured him that there was plenty of flexibility within the criteria, and that they support the language in it.
He, along with the rest of council, supported the resolution.
"I think it's good language to use," said Sheena Fraser, the VOP's manager of corporate and legislative services.
THIRD QUARTER RESULTS
VOP council also received its quarterly update from various departments at its Nov. 5 regular council meeting.
Lena Martin, manager of finance and administration for the VOP, presented a consolidated statement of revenues and expenses to council.
Martin's report states that VOP staff is "confident" that the municipality will be on budget at the end the year, though consolidated revenues and expenses are higher than anticipated.
At this point the collection of revenues and the outlay of expenses should be around the 75-per-cent mark. However, consolidated revenues and expenses are higher than this percentile, explained Martin.
Ending on Sept. 30, the VOP's net financial balance stands at a surplus of $2,286,273, she explained.
Following her presentation, Coun. Ryan Zant asked about the truck used by VOP bylaw, suggesting that it is in need of replacement.
Martin said that she believes a replacement is slated for next year.
Zant also suggested that perhaps the VOP could purchase an electric vehicle, saying there could be cost savings.
The VOP's development services department reported that it issued 26 permits in total, including for three single-family dwellings and six single-family dwellings with suites.
The value of construction was $7,013,026.95, with $59,282 in permit fees.
The VOP's volunteer fire department reported another busy quarter.
"For the third quarter Pemberton Fire Rescue responded to 129 incidents," stated its report to council.
As of Sept. 30, the department has responded to a total of 359 incidents for the year, representing an increase of 63 incidents over the same period in 2018.
In his presentation, Fire Chief Robert Grossman noted that the department fielded 389 calls as of Nov. 4.
That's the same figure the department responded to in all of the previous year, he explained. "We are anticipating to reach 450 for the end of the year," said Grossman.
The fire department also reported having had a "very successful" recruitment drive in the quarter, producing 13 applicants, all of whom have successfully completed the recruitment process.
To date, membership stands at 37, with two full-time members, 20 paid on-call members, 13 new recruits, and two members currently on leave.