Pemberton Benchlands neighbourhood planning process begins 

"It’s now about finding out what the public wants. No idea is a bad idea."

— Sheena Fraser, Deputy Clerk, Village of Pemberton

Input on type of housing, recreational use and physical layout for 225 acres sought

The development of 225 acres of Crown Land in Pemberton is in the hands of its residents.

That’s the message from the Village of Pemberton on the Pemberton Benchlands. The village has secured the services of Ekistics, a Vancouver-based planning company, to develop a land use plan that responds to the specific landform environment and community values.

"As part of the subdivision approval Land and Water B.C. had to do a neighbourhood concept plan," explains Sheena Fraser, Deputy Clerk for the Village of Pemberton.

To establish the needs of the Pemberton residents and create a feasible response, a series of three community consultations are being held. The inaugural meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 19 at the Pemberton Community Centre, located at 7567 Pemberton Meadows Road, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Representatives from Ekistics will be presenting their site analysis and leading a discussion of site context, opportunities and challenges while soliciting feedback and suggestions.

"It’s now about finding out what the public wants," says Fraser. "No idea is a bad idea."

To date, the issue has been in the hands of a steering committee comprised of representatives of the VOP, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, Land and Water B.C., as well as four landowners whose properties will potentially be affected by road access to the Benchlands. The steering committee worked in conjunction with Ekistics and a Neighbourhood Advisory Committee who acted in a "watchdog" capacity for residents of the existing subdivision.

"It made sense to bring all the parties together from the start," says Fraser. "It’s all part of the village and affects our residents and taxpayers."

She urges the wider community to get involved now, as the goal is to have Ekistics present the various options at a Feb.10 public forum. At the forefront of these options will undoubtedly be the type of housing that the land will support, be it affordable, multi-family, single family or estate dwellings.

"Anything from recreational use such as trails to whether the area should be designed to have corner stores, schools or parks are the type of things we need to consider," suggests Fraser.

The complete draft of Neighbourhood Concept Plan will be presented at the final forum on March 3.

The Benchlands are located on the bluff northeast of the village, another portion of land sold off by Land and Water B.C. is currently being developed as 54-lot subdivision by Serge Coté’s Benchlands Housing Corporation. The entire area has been designated as a growth area for the Official Community Plan. A previous engineering report allowed for a total of 400 lots to be developed, however the actual number of lots will be determined by recommendations presented in the Neighbourhood Concept Plan.

Ekistics – derived form the Greek words "oikos" meaning settlement – has been involved in town planning for more than 40 years with projects including Burke Mountain and Kettle Valley.


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