SLRD okays Signal Hill development 

Several approvals still needed before Pemberton’s biggest subdivision becomes a reality

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has okayed an amendment to Pemberton’s Official Community Plan (OCP) that will allow 382 homes on lands adjacent to Signal Hill Elementary School.

A report from SLRD planners states that the amendment, which sought to accommodate a mixed-use neighbourhood on the 32-acre land, is “largely consistent” with the district’s Regional Growth Strategy (RGS), which aims to limit urban sprawl and ensure that Sea to Sky communities are compact, walkable and sustainable.

The SLRD regional board approved a motion to send those comments to the Village of Pemberton at its Dec. 16 meeting.

SLRD planners Lisa Griffith and Kim Needham wrote in their report that the Signal Hill development will “concentrate development into an existing settlement area” and maintain a “compact urban form,” as well as accommodate growth and increase population density within the Village of Pemberton.

The report also says the development will support the VOP as an established business and service centre and provide a variety of housing types and densities in a compact, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood.

Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy said the village didn’t need SLRD approval for the neighbourhood, but asked for comments anyway because they’re “good neighbours.”

“I think people recognize that that’s a good land use, that area, and so there really isn’t a lot of discussion about the overall concept,” he said. “What there will be lots of discussion about is the detail.”

The Signal Hill neighbourhood is primed to be Pemberton’s biggest subdivision ever, if it’s ultimately approved. Project proponents Bruce van Mook and Garth Phare expect to build a neighbourhood with three components.

Glacier Creek Estates, also known as the “Wye lands,” will have 139 units composed of townhomes, live/work units and condominiums. It will sit adjacent to Pemberton’s RCMP detachment.

Gateway Park, meanwhile, will be located next to the railway near the town centre and have 222 units composed of a hotel, seniors’ centre and townhomes.

Tiyata, the other neighbourhood, will house the project’s primary residential component and have 101 units including village homes, townhomes and condos. The name comes from the Lakota word for “at home.”

The proposal must now be considered by a number of other bodies including the VOP’s Advisory Land Use Committee, the Pemberton Valley Trails Association, the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce and School District 48.  

The SLRD board also received a letter from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Gas Tax Management Committee informing them that they received $1,191,531 from the federal gas tax.

About one-third of that funding, $380,000, is expected to go towards bus pullouts and shelters for the Whistler to Pemberton Commuter bus, while $30,000 is being put towards trail lighting for the trail that runs alongside Highway 99 between Pemberton and Mount Currie.

The letter, dated Nov. 6, asked the SLRD to keep the announcement confidential until the UBCM could arrange a media event recognizing federal Gas Tax Funding. That event never happened and it likely won’t, according to SLRD Area C representative Susie Gimse, who spoke to media after the SLRD meeting.

The regional board, meeting for the first time with all its new directors, elected Area A director Russ Oakley as chair of the board and Gimse as its vice-chair.

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