Sell out in Pemberton 

Benchlands project further evidence of community’s rapid growth

Thirty new residential lots in Pemberton were snapped up almost as soon as they hit the market.

The Pemberton Benchlands project went on sale on Saturday, Feb. 21 and every property was reserved within hours of the launch.

"Today's sales are a positive indication of how strong the Pemberton market is," said Jane House, vice president of sales and marketing for Glacier Creek Development Corp.

The popularity of the latest residential development highlights a trend in Whistler's growing bedroom community.

In 2003 Pemberton was the second fastest growing municipality in the province. The growth was marked at 7.3 per cent, just behind Radium Hot Springs and slightly ahead of Tofino.

"It's amazing, seeing as we had a moratorium," said Pemberton Mayor Elinor Warner.

In 2002 Pemberton council put a moratorium on development until the village could build a new sewage treatment plant.

Even with the plant upgrades however, Warner points out that Pemberton does not have much more room to grow.

The community is surrounded by an Agricultural Land Reserve, a provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use.

Warner predicts that any more growth spurts may spill over to the outlying communities of Birken and D'Arcy.

Though she admits Whistler is a very successful community Warner said people are choosing to move to Pemberton because it's a quieter pace of life. It's also a great place to raise children she said.

Statistics of municipal population estimates show Pemberton's population at 1,861 in 2002. Two years later the population was 1,997.

Whistler in comparison grew by .5 per cent from 9,432 to 9,480.

The Pemberton Benchlands project is one of the biggest projects currently on the books.

The project as a whole is made up of 54 lots, which are being sold as a combination package with custom home designs. The homes range in size from 1,700 to 2,500 square feet and are priced from $500,000 to $700,000.

This is the second project offered by Glacier Creek that was sold out within hours of going on the market.

Six months ago 80 town homes at Pioneer Junction sold out in one day.

The homes in the Pemberton Benchlands project will be finished in two years.

The provincial government has indicated that up to 400 homes can be developed on the site, including multi-family homes, a new school and parks.

Sixty-three per cent of the homebuyers at Saturday's sale came from the Pemberton Valley.

Parents rally for Pemberton French school

French speaking parents in Pemberton are lobbying for a French school in the community.

Serge Coté who has two children in the L'École La Passerelle, which is based out of Spring Creek Community School in Whistler, said there are 17 children in Pemberton who qualify for the French school.

Parents have asked School District 93 to consider their request.

Coté explained that his children, along with other Pemberton kids, must travel roughly one hour to and from school every day.

La Passerelle's move from Myrtle Philip to Spring Creek has made the daily journey that much farther he said.

A French school in Pemberton would take up a few classrooms within the existing elementary school.

"It's so beautiful to see (my children) fully bilingual," he said.

A decision will be made on Saturday.

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