December 07, 2007 Features & Images » Feature Story

Saying “I Do” to the EDO 

Pemberton has always been full of potential, now it’s trying to marry that potential with a huge opportunity

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It’s a good thing Alexandra Ross is organized.

She’s going to need to be.

She has less than 800 days to ready Pemberton for the great Olympic opportunity, and nine bosses to answer to, in addition to the taxpayers of Pemberton and Area C, as she steps into the brand new office of Economic Development Consultant (EDC) for Pemberton and Area C.

With a host of meetings scheduled before her contract had even been finalized, a boot-strapping budget, office space available in Whistler and on Robson Square, and the first project in her in-tray, she’s hitting the ground at full throttle.

In Pemberton, to be faced with a huge opportunity, but with scarcely enough resources to exploit it, is not a new situation.

What is new is a critical mass of optimism.

Consider the specific opportunities on the books: An Airport Definition Report commissioned by the Airport Authority to get a sense of the hard costs and upgrades required to prepare the airport to receive regular air services. An environmental impact assessment underway on the Ryan River Independent Power Project. The Village of Pemberton investigating its own microhydro project on Pemberton Creek. A Community Forest under negotiation. The newly established Whistler 2020 Food Task-Force, set to partner Pemberton primary producers with the Whistler market and its sustainability drive. Local committees doing the groundwork on a Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centre, and a Seniors’ residence and tiered care facility. Construction continuing on the new Community Centre and library. The Child Care Centre filling up spots. Developers working on a small lot subdivision for Silverthorne, and a small acreage subdivision at Ravens Crest. Boundary expansion applications. Five-thousand square feet of new commercial space, with residential above, being developed on Portage Road. The international concert promoter Live Nation proposing a multi-day European-style summer music festival for this summer. The world’s largest private school operator, GEMS, pursuing an international private school in Pemberton. Seventy-five members signing on to join the Track Club, adopting a role as “the community that slides”, with the view to putting local kids on the podium in 2014.

In the 18 months since Chamber President Paul Selina made a presentation to council, urging them to create a more welcoming environment for new business, improve communication between business and government, and employ an Economic Development Officer, there’s been a shift in Pemberton — and it’s starting to feel to many at the helm of Pemberton’s business community as if the tide is coming in.

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