Pemberton independent school back in play 

Proponent for Ravens Crest Developments brings application to Village of Pemberton

An independent school in Pemberton is back in play now that the decision is in the hands of the Village council.

This follows the approval in May by the provincial government of an application by the Village of Pemberton to move into 20 new parcels of land. In this is included the Hillside area, which was slated for development of an international private school and housing development.

"On May 13, the subject lands were incorporated into the jurisdiction of the Village of Pemberton and (proponent) Ravens Crest Developments has applied to redesignate a portion of their land for an independent school," Manager of Development Services Caroline Lamont said at the Village's June 7 council meeting.

A rezoning would see the Village change lands that are either vacant or currently used for residential and agricultural uses and redesignate them for the school. The land encompasses 30 acres and the proponents expect to build a 250,000 square foot facility that would include classrooms, an auditorium, gymnasium, student residences and other accessory buildings, according to a staff report.

At build-out, the school could accommodate approximately 600 to 1,000 students with a permanent staff of about 165 employees.

A school was initially being pushed by the international GEMS organization, which owns such facilities all over the world in cities such as Dubai, London and Tianjin, China.

The report states that, due to the global economy, GEMS cannot commit to new school construction but that the proponents would like to move forward with rezoning without naming a specific operator.

Ravens Crest Developments initially tried to move its application for a school through the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District when the Hillside was located in its boundaries but withdrew it in anticipation of the Village's boundary expansion.

Though the development lies on agricultural land, the proponent has already obtained a non-farm use permit from the Agricultural Land Commission.

Council passed first and second reading of bylaws that would permit the school to go forward and scheduled a public meeting the evening of June 21.


Council to advise Whistler on pay parking

Pemberton's mayor thinks it will fall on deaf ears, but the Village of Pemberton nevertheless passed a motion to send the Resort Municipality of Whistler a letter expressing concern about pay parking.

Councillor Ted Craddock said at the June 7 council meeting that he has spoken to various community members who have serious concerns about the cost that pay parking will have on Pemberton residents who work in Whistler.

"With the last study we did, we hit about 38 per cent of our working population working in Whistler for some type of organization or business up there and we have a large number of our community that volunteer in Whistler," he said.

"The benefit to Whistler is they're getting a lot of employees from outside the community and I believe those people are going to face some hardship over the cost of monthly parking. I just would like to suggest to council that we just bring those concerns to the council of Whistler."

Mayor Jordan Sturdy said he thought the letter would "fall on deaf ears" but he added there would be no harm in sending the letter.

Councillor Susie Gimse joked that the Village would be interfering with Whistler's process and also supported, along with the rest of council, a motion to send a letter.


Upper Lillooet project proponents to submit application by end of 2011

Pemberton council also hosted a delegation from Natalie Closs, project manager of the Upper Lillooet hydro project, a series of run-of-river facilities planned for the Lillooet River north of the Meadows.

Providing council with an update on the project, she said that Creek Power, a joint venture between majority holder Innergex and Ledcor, anticipates that it will submit a formal application for an environmental assessment certificate to the Environmental Assessment Office in December of this year.

Closs faced a number of questions from council on the route of a 72-kilometre long transmission line that would have to be constructed to usher power from the projects to the grid.

Councillor Al LeBlanc asked whether the transmission line would follow the same corridor as one being considered for a project being proposed for the Ryan River by Mississauga-based company Regional Power.

"We're hoping there's only ever going to be one," Closs responded, showing council a video of where Creek Power expects the line will go.

The transmission line would start at the projects, which are located on the Lillooet, on Boulder Creek and North Creek, several kilometers north of the Pemberton Meadows, and travel along mountainsides near Rutherford Creek, where it could be seen from the highway.

Many Pemberton residents, who already have to contend with 230 kV and 500 kV transmission lines traversing the valley, are concerned about the aesthetics that additional power lines could bring to the community.



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