Pemberton extends 'forgivable loan' of $30,000 to skateboard society 

Money brings skate park budget to just under half a million dollars

The Village of Pemberton approved what it calls a "forgivable loan" of $30,000 for the Pemberton Skateboard Society at its Tuesday council meeting.

The money was approved after a report to council from Lonny Miller, the Village's interim manager of administrative services, asking lawmakers to approve the loan in order to complete design and construction of the park. The work is expected to wrap up in February and must be completed by March to satisfy the requirements of a government grant.

In his report, Miller said the Pemberton Skateboard Society has thus far raised $122,618 after fundraising for several years. In November 2009 the Village received approval for a grant of $245,236 through the Building Canada program, which was to make up two-thirds of the original estimated project costs.

The total amount that still needs to be raised is $47,854.26, although $30,000 will be taken care of through the loan. A capital allocation in the Village's 2011 budget will cover the remaining $17,854.26. The total projected cost of the project is now pegged at $415,738.26.

The loan is forgivable in the sense that the Skateboard Society will continue to fundraise over the next two years in an effort to repay it.

Pique asked council during Question Period why it couldn't just give the money as a grant instead of a loan that they're not certain will ever be repaid. Councillor Lisa Ames laughed when asked the question. Councillor Ted Craddock said the Village had no choice under the Community Charter but to provide the loan.

The report recommended that the money be provided on the understanding that the Society repay it with interest at rates charged to the Village by the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA) within two years. It also asked that the society report to the Village on its situation through financial statements in order to monitor its progress towards "avoiding the need for forgiveness."

The report initially recommended that the society be required to use its "best efforts" and continue to raise funds from all sources available, but that portion was removed and council approved the recommendation without it.

Tuesday's council meeting also saw lawmakers express concerns about horses traversing the highway between Pemberton and Mount Currie. The concerns likely came in response to an incident on Oct. 31, when two young horses were killed after being hit by a vehicle near the Pemberton festival grounds. One died at the scene and another had to be shot when RCMP members attended the scene.

Councillor Al LeBlanc asked council what action is being taken to prevent future incidents.

"It's pretty sad when those horses are injured or killed," he said. "You know, it's just a lack of looking after them, the owner, and if there's no owners then we should just get a big truck and ship them all out."

Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy responded that the Village is looking at ways to contain the horses. Once apprehended, the horses have to be contained for 10 days, fed and the owners have to be notified before they can be shipped out of town.

To do this, someone within the community has to step forward and agree to keep the horses in a corral.

"We don't' have anybody who has a facility to contain them and feed them," he said. "So we're kind of stymied in terms of what we can do."

Sturdy added that there are approximately 30 horses that keep wandering the highway. LeBlanc said that number is growing because the wandering horses are going to other pastures and new horses are joining the herd.

"It becomes very difficult to get that horse out of that herd," LeBlanc said.




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