VOP requests additional funding from Ironman 

Council votes to request increased contributions to PVUS and groups manning race stations

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - IRONS IN THE FIRE The Village of Pemberton Council is continuing discussions with Subaru Ironman Canada Organizers.
  • File photo by Dan Falloon
  • IRONS IN THE FIRE The Village of Pemberton Council is continuing discussions with Subaru Ironman Canada Organizers.

The Village of Pemberton (VOP) is holding steady in hopes of getting more money for community groups from Subaru Ironman Canada.

As discussions continue between event organizers, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and Tourism Whistler about extending the contract beyond 2017, the VOP is looking to support Pembertonians' concerns.

At its June 20 meeting, council acknowledged many residents are frustrated with both personal and business limitations as a result of road closures on event day without seeing an offsetting benefit.

At the June 6 meeting, council voted to support the event's continuation for three years with conditions, including an increase in the Ironman Foundation's contribution to community groups who volunteer at the aid stations from $1,000 to $1,500 per station. Discussions continued after the meeting, Gilmore explained.

"The response I received is they're not able to contribute any more per station," Gilmore said during the meeting. "There's X amount of money that comes from the Ironman Foundation that's distributed to all the volunteer stations. They could increase the numbers per station, but it would have to be across the board in both Whistler and Pemberton.

"They do not feel that it's equitable to provide more funding to one particular station than another."

Council voted to request Ironman to make a $5,000 contribution to the Pemberton Valley Utilities and Services Committee (PVUS), which is part of the Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) board dealing primarily with shared services such as recreation and solid waste management between SLRD Area C and the VOP.

Councillor Ted Craddock continued his opposition to the event, noting many of the concessions, such as providing VIP passes and free entry to residents, won't benefit many residents, especially in comparison to providing funding for community groups.

"It's a corporation that's not willing to come up with $4,000 for a community that doesn't benefit, in my opinion, very much," he said. "I think there was a lot of fluff in the stuff that we got from them. Certainly, the marketing stuff is fairly substantive. I think Tourism Pemberton could to well with that. But overall, I don't think there's anything we should be jumping up and down... about."

Other proposals were to provide a shuttle for local workers and to open the highway northbound for 1 p.m. on race day.

"There's some real effort in there as well as the fluff, but I think we need to keep pushing," Mayor Mike Richman said, adding the VOP needs to involve the business community as well.

Council also expressed concern that Ironman organizers could choose a slightly different route that could still close the highway but go through less of the village's jurisdiction and lessen any potential benefits.

"There's a very, very real possibility that the race is going to carry on anyway, whether it's up the Duffey (Lake Road) or south (of us)," Richman said. "That's what's been in the back of my mind as we're trying to make the most of the event for Pemberton.

"If we go down the wrong road, we could end up in a position where we're shut down, we get a little bit less because it doesn't go right through town, but we still can't get in or out of town."

Gilmore also said the RMOW has proposed starting a joint working group also including representatives from Tourism Whistler, Tourism Pemberton, the Pemberton Chamber of Commerce, and others to try to capitalize on potential Pemberton marketing opportunities.

For more coverage of Pemberton Council coverage, go to www.piquenewsmagazine.com.

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