Pemberton council gave final reading to a zoning amendment during Tuesday’s (July 17) meeting that will allow a local home-builder to expand its business in the Tisdale area, but not before debating whether the village should request the business move into the industrial park instead.
Durfeld Constructors had been pursuing a zoning amendment to its 2.7-acre property, located just northwest of the Rutherford Creek crossing bridge, to allow for prefabricated home construction. Durfeld, which has been operating on the property for eight years, intends to move sister company B.C. Passive House Ltd. from Williams Lake to the Tisdale land, with plans to erect a large, indoor construction facility to accommodate the move.
But because the industrial park has space available to accommodate B.C. Passive House, discussions have been sparked during the rezoning process as to whether or not the Tisdale area is the ideal location for the business to go.
The village heard comments mostly in favour of the rezoning during a public hearing held July 3 and Mayor Jordan Sturdy said Tuesday that the focus should be more on the investment and jobs the business can bring to town and less on where it is situated.
“To the Village of Pemberton, it amounts to the same thing – taxation revenue and jobs, all in the village,” said Sturdy. “I think this is a great opportunity for us that can bring us a new type of business that has a real future.
“I’m not sure that forcing this business into the industrial park is to our advantage.”
While Couns. Ted Craddock and Mike Richman shared Sturdy’s opinion, Coun. Alan LeBlanc said he was concerned about the long-term cost of developing the area and who would pick up the bill for things like water, sewer and power connections if required in the future.
Coun. James Linklater also said he had “reason to pause” on the issue, wondering if the village could be more diligent in making the industrial park more attractive and if allowing the rezoning would be a “precedent-setting” move on council’s part.
“I want to be an advocate and support this but I want to make sure it’s for the good of the Pemberton community,” said Linklater, who asked if it was possible to postpone final reading.
Sturdy advised against “playing chicken” with the proponents and halting the procedure at such a late stage, while development services manager Caroline Lamont reminded council that a similar rezoning was approved for Lil’wat Properties, which is located right next to Durfeld’s land, earlier this year to conduct similar work.
Federal riding placement questioned
As expected, council passed a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting to send to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission of B.C. a letter that requests the Pemberton Valley be included with the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding instead of the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon district.
Area officials have long been opposed to the Pemberton Valley’s current federal alignment since it has many more connections with Whistler and other corridor communities than those within its riding. The proposed realignment for B.C., which accommodates for six new seats for the province in the House of Commons, sees Pemberton remain in a Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon that will extend even further north to include 100 Mile House.
Council also directed staff to forward the resolution on to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and the MPs of the two ridings, as well as to prepare an online strategy encouraging local residents to send their feedback to the boundary commission board for consideration.
Fulton Lands to get grand opening, new name
Residents of the Pemberton Valley are invited to the official ribbon-cutting on the Fulton Lands property which was recently acquired by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada and The Nature Trust of B.C.
The 65-acre property was purchased from the Fulton family by the partnership to be protected for conservation and community use, as the area contains environmentally-sensitive wetlands and existing trails used by community members.
SLRD board chair and Area C director Susie Gimse and Barbara Fulton will be among those giving short speeches at the ceremony. Refreshments will be served and attendees will receive a commemorative water bottle to mark the occasion.
The ceremony is scheduled for Monday (July 23) beginning at 4:30 p.m. The SLRD is providing free shuttles between the Sabre gravel pit parking lot and the venue starting at 4 p.m.
Monday’s ceremony will also mark the opening of the SLRD’s “Name the Park” contest, which will remain open until Aug. 20. Area residents are encouraged to submit their suggestions for the park’s name. After local stakeholders narrow down the submissions, the partnership will decide upon a permanent name for the park.
Visit www.slrd.bc.ca for more information.