Letters to the Editor 

An open letter to the Village Of Pemberton’s Council and Staff and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District’s Director Gimse and Staff

We at the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce would like to express our discomfort with regard to the approval process of the recent land and business development plans that have come forth for approvals.

There appears to be a lack of both consistency and transparency with the review and approval process that interested proponents of new land and/or business developments in Pemberton and its adjacent SLRD areas have to go through. A consistent and transparent process would make it clear to new business developers how to meet with government’s approval without bearing unnecessary expense either to them or to the taxpayers. Projects with obvious or substantive reasons for rejection should be terminated at earlier stages in the approval process to avoid unnecessary expense to both businesspeople and taxpayers. On the other hand, if projects are allowed to proceed through the stages of the approval process, then they ought not to be rejected for spurious and nontransparent reasons at the 11th hour. This is a costly process for both taxpayers and business proponents, both directly and indirectly.

The chamber, as a representative of the local business community, would like to ask both council and SLRD why proponents of new businesses do not have a clearer picture of what is and isn’t acceptable. It makes our job as advocators of business in our communities much harder. How can we continue to convince interested groups to give the area a chance, when what it takes to get a green light here is so unclear?

Let’s look at the example of the Silverthorne Development. First, this development is proposed on land with a history of past residential zoning; it has long been slated for development. ALR and wetlands issues were addressed long ago in this parcel’s history. And all adjacent lands are similarly slated for similar developments. Second, this is one of the most reasonable and responsible land development proposals that have been brought forth in recent memory. So why – particularly after all the past approvals for this land – can three councilors respectfully wait till a second or third reading to reject such a proposal?

We understand that a few community members who own property adjacent to the Silverthorne parcel object to the development, despite the fact that it was slated for development long before they purchased their properties. We do not see how the opinion of so few community members can influence council to the point that they reject a project that until recently had so much support.

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