Pemberton to break ground on community centre 

Opening of $6.7 million facility scheduled for September 2007

By Cindy Filipenko

Local politicians will be onsite Monday, Aug. 28 at 4 p.m. to break ground for the new Pemberton community centre at the corner of Cottonwood and Portage streets.

Billed as a community celebration, organizers are encouraging residents of the Pemberton Valley to come out, have a hot dog, something to drink and help mark this important event.

A joint initiative of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) and the Village of Pemberton (VOP), representatives from both organizations will be on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking. Electoral Area C Director Susie Gimse will join Mayor Jordan Sturdy to turn the soil.

The 22,000 sq. ft., $6.7 million facility, scheduled to open its doors in September 2007, will replace the existing community centre housed in the decommissioned high school. The decision to replace the exiting centre, and borrow the necessary funds, was made via a referendum during last year’s municipal elections.

The budget for the project also includes a 15 per cent contingency to accommodate unforeseen costs. This brings the potential total cost to $7.7 million.

"We’re hoping not to spend any of that contingency," said Paul Edgington, SLRD administrator.

Currently a $1.1 million provincial recreation grant is the only non-repayable money in the financing structure. Depending on contingency usage, the local governments could be borrowing upwards of $6.6 million to complete the project. All financing is in place.

The project management contract was awarded earlier this year to RMT Contracting. The award-winning Vancouver-based company has overseen several projects in the area including construction the Pemberton Valley Supermarket, an extension to the Xit’oclaw School in Mt. Currie and Whistler’s 19 Mile Creek housing development. Local builder and RMT associate, Greg Stratton, will be the site superintendent.

The two-storey community centre will include a recreation dry space, library with dedicated children’s area, fitness centre and activity rooms.

According to lead architect Dane Jansen, fulfilling the goals of the project extended beyond creating a visually appealing building that contained the requested room sizes.

"(Creating) it includes developing practical sustainable solutions that will make for a comfortable building with lower operating costs. It means providing a flexible light-filled environment for people to interact in and celebrate their community," said Jansen.

The building will feature geothermal heating, green design elements such as a vaulted central atrium with clerestory glass and have a modest 130 ft x 130 ft. footprint. Parking will be underground.

"We are building this building with an eye to the future and making choices regarding heating, airflow, finishes or expansion, that make sense in the long run. It is not a monument, but a building that a lot of thought and hard work has gone into and we can be justifiably proud," said Mayor Sturdy.

The development of an overall plan for the areas is in the works with space allocated for future projects including a water park, skate park and youth centre.

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