pss poop 

The new $13 million Pemberton Secondary School is going to open in the fall. No one knows how, no one is sure under what circumstances and no one wants to say who is going to pay to solve the sewage problem that is the stumbling block. Pemberton Mayor John Steward met with Howe Sound School district representatives and representatives from the Ministries of Education, Municipal Affairs and Environment last Thursday but says no solution to the sewage dilemma was found. "Nothing came out of that meeting, nothing at all," says Steward. He says the representatives from various ministries did not have the power to make any binding decisions, but they did have the authority to tell Steward the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Education have no cash to solve Pemberton's sewage problems. School District Chairman Don Wilson, who was at the meeting, says a decision on the sewage solution has to come from the ministers themselves, but adds the Ministry of Education has indicated the new school will open. "We're moving in now; the school will open Sept. 5," Wilson says. Steward says he is disappointed Wilson is telling the media the school is going to open in the fall when no solution to the problem has been identified. The Village of Pemberton has not granted the new school an occupancy permit because the village's sewage treatment plant is already at capacity. The village faces a potential $10,000/day fine if it exceeds its effluent discharge limit. Steward is not satisfied with the Ministry of Education's indication it is willing to kick in "$100,000 to $200,000" to install holding tanks at the new school site and deal with the disposal of the sewage in a different manner. "The Village of Pemberton has a holding tank in place, but if the School Board wants to find an interim solution by installing holding tanks that is fine… where the sewage will go, I have no idea." Mayor Ted Nebbeling says Whistler has not been approached about processing PSS sewage if holding tanks are determined to be the interim solution. Whistler may not be able handle it anyway because the Whistler waste water treatment plant is already at capacity. "If Whistler takes Pemberton Secondary School's waste the Ministry of Environment will have to upgrade Whistler's waste (discharge) certificate," Nebbeling says. But Steward says a $200,000 interim solution is not very fiscally responsible when $200,000 is "10 per cent" of the $1.59 million the village is looking for to permanently upgrade their sewage treatment plant. "Speaking as a taxpayer I can see long-term solutions to this problem and I can see a short term quick fix," Steward says. "If we are doing this just to open a school maybe we should examine the reasons for spending that money. This is not the Ministry of Education's money, nor is it the Ministry of Municipal Affairs' money, this is your and my money as taxpayers." Steward says it might be a better idea to hold school at the old PSS, while a long-term solution to Pemberton's sewage problem is sought. "We have a school here that has been functioning since the late ’40s, what's one more year in that school going to mean to students?" Steward asks. "It's not going to hurt their education."

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