Pemberton seeks to update Official Community Plan 

The Village of Pemberton is looking to update an Official Community Plan (OCP) that's been in place since the mid-90s, fulfilling a pledge that at least one councillor made during November's election.

At a Dec. 17 committee of the whole meeting, council discussed preparations for a new OCP, a plan that can be developed either by municipalities or regional districts to help guide decision on planning and land use management.

Councillor Ted Craddock, the top vote getter in the November election, made OCP revision a focal point of his campaign, saying at one point that Pemberton needs a "plan for the future."

Pemberton's current OCP, adopted in April 1999, sought to guide community planning in anticipation of increased population growth.

In 1998 the village population was estimated at 1,300 people, according to the OCP. The village website estimates that 2,283 people lived in Pemberton at the end of 2007.

Planning and governance are a big issue in Pemberton. The province is currently considering a proposal to expand the village's boundaries into 20 new areas and the village itself is looking into a governance restructure that could impact the governments of both Pemberton and Area C.

The Dec. 17 meeting set out a number of goals for revising the OCP - among them, to ensure timely delivery within 2009 and facilitate "far-reaching and effective community consultation."

Preparing a new OCP could mean hiring a planning consultant, according to a Feb. 3 staff report. Cost estimates in that report show that the village could be on the hook for $40,000 to $80,000 if it took that course, and that funding could be contingent on government grants.

However, council decided at a Jan. 6 committee of the whole that a rewrite of the OCP would be unfeasible given its commitment to boundary expansion and a governance restructure. A more comprehensive OCP, the report reads, should be drawn up once those matters have been explored more deeply.

Caroline Lamont, manager of development services for the Village of Pemberton, presented a "work program" for revising the OCP at the Village's Feb. 3 council meeting. The program, which is expected to unfold in four phases, includes a review of the existing OCP, identifying community goals and developing a community consultation plan.

"The report and this presentation is really a culmination of the direction that we received from you at your Dec. 17 and Jan. 6 committee of the whole meetings," Lamont told council.

"Really what it does is it lays out a work program for the OCP update and goes through specific tasks as understood by development services at this time."

She recommended that council avoid consultation during March break and summer holidays, periods when families would no doubt prefer to spend time together rather than at municipal public meetings.

Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy then asked what she meant summer holidays. Lamont replied that she was referring to July and August, specifically, and then said she wouldn't even recommend community consultation for the first week of September.

"I'd hate to see us delay that much," Sturdy said.

At the same council meeting, Councillor Alan LeBlanc reported that a fire alarm system would be installed in Pemberton's youth centre starting Wednesday (Feb. 4). The youth centre, located next to the new community centre, has been converted out of the old library but has been sitting in limbo because the village hadn't been able to find a building inspector.

An inspector was recently hired after eight months of looking but LeBlanc, a fervent pusher of the youth centre, said that more has to be done to get the centre open.

"There has to be some letters from the architects, schedules from the architects and professionals, and then we need to actually have a building inspection," he said.

It was then pointed out that the VOP has its own inspector, but Sturdy then jumped in and said that the Village is looking to "close the file" with a SLRD inspector. The centre is a joint project between the Village and the SLRD.

Council also received a motion at the Feb. 3 meeting that recommended the mayor be allowed to sign a Fire Service Agreement that would extend village fire services to the Pemberton Meadows and Heights areas.

Village administrator Lori Pilon said the village owns the new service and the SLRD would be contracting it for fire services to the new areas. Residents of both the Village and Area C will be paying $0.62 per $1,000 of assessed home value for the fire service.

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