Pemberton asked to enter RGS resolution 

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District wants to put an end to the row over the regional growth strategy and is asking member municipalities to enter a non-binding resolution process.

In a letter included in the Village of Pemberton's June 16 council package, regional district CAO Paul Edgington asks whether the village would be interested in entering a "non-binding dispute resolution process" that it's already entered alongside the District of Squamish to try and put to the district's concerns about the strategy to rest.

"The District has expressed a strong concern with a perceived loss of autonomy over land use planning decisions and the potential for intervention in local decision-making," he wrote. "We would ask that you arrange to consider the subject of your involvement in the (resolution process) at your earliest possible council meeting."

The letter, dated May 28, asked council to respond by June 10 - six full days before the Village even held a council meeting. Council was also asked to confirm which council members and staff would attend an Elected Officials Forum scheduled for the third week of June after another was already postponed due to the Tyaughton Lake Fire.

Council received the report and agreed to enter the process.

The row over the regional growth strategy began last November when Squamish council rejected it, citing a lack of community consultation, a lack of clarity over procedure and concern over the amendment process. As the biggest municipality in the regional district, some on Squamish council feel their community has the most to lose.

The Elected Officials Forum is expected to suss out the concerns that district members have about the strategy. That includes the Mount Currie Band of the Lil'wat Nation, which appreciates the strategy's goals but feels it could limit the use of land within the First Nation's traditional territory.

The strategy is a wide-ranging bylaw that aims to limit urban sprawl in the regional district's member communities by focusing development into compact communities with opportunities to live, work and play.

Council also received a letter dated May 27 from Chief Darrell Bob of the Xaxli'p First Nation, whose reserve is located near Lillooet.

In an urgent message to Kevin Falcon, B.C.'s former transportation minister, Bob expressed a severe dissatisfaction with an emergency response plan in the event of a release at 10 Mile Slide, a section of Highway 99 near the reserve that Bob claims is slowly slipping off into the Fraser River.

"The slide is literally coming down, in stages, in blocks, and it's slowly starting to slip into the river," he said in an interview.

In his letter to Falcon, Bob writes that technicians from the Ministry of Transportation and Highways estimate that the slide area is up to two kilometers in length and 400 metres wide - big enough to have a "catastrophic" impact on the Fraser River and fisheries, not unlike a slide that blocked the river at Hell's Gate in the Fraser Canyon in 1913.

"This is supposed to be a corridor for the Olympics," Bob said in interview. "To have an alternate route that's in this condition is absolutely scary."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation was reached late Tuesday but could not comment at deadline.


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