Pemberton gets money for skate park, water main 

Construction of recreational parks contingent on BC Hydro approval

Six years of work by the Pemberton Skatepark Society has finally paid off, as the Village of Pemberton has obtained more than $245,000 to build a skate park and bike skills park across from Signal Hill Elementary School.

Chuck Strahl, Member of Parliament for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, which includes Pemberton, announced Monday that Pemberton has received $245,236 through the Building Canada and Infrastructure Stimulus Funds to go towards the skate park and bike skills park at the intersection of Portage Road and Cottonwood Street.

Strahl also announced $643,860 for a water main looping project to help meet population growth projections and fire flow requirements.

"By investing in this water main project we are creating jobs today and laying the foundation for future growth and prosperity," Strahl said in a prepared statement. "Investing in recreational facilities such as the skate and bike skills park encourages our youth to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle."

The announcement marks the end of a long road for the Pemberton Skatepark Society. The fruit of their efforts will be a 1,200-square-metre park with a public/skater social and viewing area, paved trail connections and features such as ramps and jumps to provide "optimum skating fun," according to a village memo.

"We're very excited to see it moving ahead," said Jeff Clarke, a director with the Pemberton Skatepark Society. "Now we can go to the community with something concrete and begin gathering the rest of the funds and commitments from the community to get things thing finished off."

The Village of Pemberton will be kicking in $122,618 towards the park, satisfying one-third of the $367,854 needed to build it. The federal government did not specify how much it was contributing when it issued its news release.

Meanwhile the bike skills park will come on top of a novice pump track that's become a popular destination for youth in the community. Located next to the new Pemberton Community Centre, it's been the first piece of increasing recreational opportunities within the valley.

The Village of Pemberton has been working with the Pemberton Valley Trails Association to develop a bike skills park that will also be located next to the community centre. The pump track is simply its first phase.

Money for the skills park comes in part from a $5,000 grant that came out of revenue from the Pemberton Festival.

The first phase of the new park was designed and constructed by volunteer operators who work on Whistler Mountain's bike park and the Crankworx Festival.

Once completed, the skills park will include a 1,600 square-metre space that includes the existing pump track, a skills area, jumps and a BMX track. It's expected that the majority of the park will be designed from dirt, save for small bridges and a skills area proposed for the parcel.

Machinery has already moved on to the property for completion of the bike park, which is expected to satiate a long-standing desire for more youth amenities in the community. Town hall meetings and elections within the Pemberton Valley have repeatedly raised the desire for more recreational opportunities such as a pool and ice rink, among other things.

Though there is wide community support for the parks, people nevertheless remain concerns about hydro lines that traverse the property right above the tracks.

BC Hydro gave conditional approval for the bike park until Aug. 1, but Caroline Lamont, manager of development services for the Village of Pemberton, said staff are currently seeking an extension. They last heard from BC Hydro earlier in September.

"We have the extension for the skate park, we just needed some more details on the bike park," she said.



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