Squamish Nation holding out on regional transit MOU 

Pemberton Council Briefs: Comprehensive bylaw amendment; painted crosswalks

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOEL BARDE - Hard at it To the relief of parents and VOP council, crews were hard at work painting the crosswalks on Oct. 16.
  • photo by Joel Barde
  • Hard at it To the relief of parents and VOP council, crews were hard at work painting the crosswalks on Oct. 16.

In a verbal update on regional transit, Village of Pemberton (VOP) Chief Administrative Officer Nikki Gilmore told VOP council that the Squamish Nation has yet to sign on to a memorandum of understanding between stakeholder communities.

Speaking at Pemberton's Oct. 16 regular council meeting, Gilmore explained that while the Squamish Nation is supportive of regional transit in the Sea to Sky corridor, the First Nation needs to determine precisely how it wants to participate.

"They are concerned with the financial component, and do not want to commit at this time," said Gilmore.

The memorandum of understanding sets out principles for the parties to work towards (such as fair distribution of costs among benefitting communities) and minimum service levels. The MOU also establishes that the system will be governed under a commission-type system rather than under the jurisdiction of the Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD).

The VOP, Squamish, Lil'wat Nation, and Whistler have all signed on to the agreement, which has been hailed as an important landmark for establishing the long-awaited system.

Despite the setback, the Sea to Sky stakeholder communities appear to be making some progress.

At its last regular council meeting on Oct. 2, VOP council endorsed a resolution from the SLRD calling for the establishment of a motor-fuel tax in the Sea to Sky corridor that would be used to assist in the financing of the system, which would increase public transportation options between Whistler and Pemberton and create a public transportation option from Vancouver to Pemberton.

Gilmore also noted that the SLRD has reallocated Regional Transit Reserves in the amount of $50,000 to hire someone to further the work of the regional transit system full-time.

In her remarks to council on Oct. 16, Gilmore said that while there is a lot of "leg work to be done" in terms of establishing the financing model for the system, stakeholder communities are having productive discussions with the provincial representatives.

"Given the rate this is going, it's unclear whether or not this (hire) could be utilized at this point," said Gilmore. "But if there are delays then it makes a lot of sense to have this individual hired."

When asked about the Squamish Nation development, VOP Mayor Mike Richman acknowledged it may make it more challenging to get the system up and running by its target date of fall 2019.

Said Richman: "In light of the fact that none of us have had that conversation with the Squamish Nation to see where they're at, I don't know (if it will cause a delay).

"I'm hoping that it's a productive conversation that moves this along

Comprehensive update

At its Oct. 16 regular council meeting, VOP council amended the comprehensive zoning bylaw that was passed this summer.

The changes apply to developments Sunstone, The Ridge, and Tiyata.

According to a staff report, while the new bylaw made a number of significant changes, zoning for the aforementioned developments was not intended to be changed—but was.

"It appears that in translating the information to the new Zoning Bylaw No. 832, 2018, some information was inadvertently omitted or erroneous," read the report. "The amendments proposed are intended to reflect the zoning entitlements that existed before the introduction of Zoning Bylaw 832, 2018."

Richman said that the amendments are minor and reflect what council had previously decided upon for those areas in question.

"They're minor changes in terms of some setbacks and density," he said.

"Long conversations were had about (the zoning regulation) ... it was approved to go ahead, and now we want to make sure this zoning bylaw reflects those conversations."

Crosswalks

After significant public outcry, work crews are hard at work painting the crosswalks along Portage Road.

Both Pemberton council and community members have been calling on the province—which has jurisdiction over the crosswalks—to paint them for months, as the crosswalks are faded and pose a safety risk to the community.

At its last regular council meeting, council instructed staff to send a letter to the Ministry of Transportation calling for swift action and expressing its frustration with the situation.

At its Oct. 16 meeting, council instructed staff to rescind that letter and to send something different.

The new letter will ask that the province set aside an annual budget for the painting and create a timeline for when the work will be complete.

At Councillor Ted Craddock's suggestion, the letter will also insist the crosswalks be painted "prior to school opening."

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