Upgrades to fields at the old Pemberton Meadows Community Centre site won’t go forward until at least 2014 as the Sea to Sky School District and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District continue to work on a long-term lease of the property.
On Tuesday (Oct. 9), the Pemberton Valley Utilities and Services Committee (PVUS) voted to pursue a one-year lease that would run to the end of October 2013 after learning the school district rejected amendments to the lease terms proposed by the SLRD. The PVUS motion still requires SLRD board ratification.
The SLRD is planning $100,000 in capital improvements to the fields, but officials have said they wouldn’t pursue the upgrades without a long-term lease. The school district has said it won’t entertain a different term until viewing the results of a future use study on the property, which is due before the end of 2012.
However, the school district said its offer of a one-year lease through next October still stands.
“To summarize, we’re back at square one,” chief administrative officer Lynda Flynn told PVUS.
The proposed amendments would have given the SLRD the sole right to renew the lease up to four years, annually; immediate approval to make changes to the property; and the first right of refusal on purchase of the lands.
SLRD recreation service manager Peter Duhault estimated it would cost about $30,000 to maintain the fields in 2013.
Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy floated the idea of letting the school district retain control of the land for next year, meaning it would be responsible for handling field bookings and maintenance. However, PVUS ultimately decided that it would be in the community’s best interest for the SLRD to keep looking after them in the short term.
“We’re more likely to meet the needs of the community than the school district,” said Area C director Susie Gimse. “Their mandate is education, part of our mandate is providing recreation service.”
Demolition of the old building recently finished on the site, meaning the fields are available for use by community groups.
Studies awaited before Gates goes ahead
Pemberton Valley lawmakers will await the results of two studies related to recreation service in the region before deciding how to proceed with the Gates Lake facility in Birken.
The Gates Lake project was put on hold in August until PVUS, which operates the joint Pemberton-Area C recreation service, could come to an agreement on an approach to upgrading and maintaining the facility.
Gimse has commissioned two studies out of Area C select funds — one assessing the joint service and another looking at recreation needs in the Birken-D’Arcy corridor.
“I’m happy to park Gates — let’s look at the service and how it’s funded,” Gimse said in Tuesday’s meeting, which was the first PVUS gathering since the Gates Lake project was put on hold. “I’m hoping that, at the end of the day, we’ll have some kind of a session to discuss the outcomes of the review.
“I think it’s important that we move forward together and we need to start somewhere.”
Gimse said the terms of reference for the studies will likely be made available to the SLRD board later this month.
When Sturdy delivered news of the studies to Pemberton council last month, he did so in a positive light and reiterated that position at the PVUS table Tuesday. However, he’s anxious to see how the service assessment would be framed and how the Village of Pemberton’s role will be addressed.
“I’m interested in understanding the terms of reference for that particular assessment,” Sturdy said following the meeting. “I’m certainly supportive of it. I think we should look at the service with a critical eye and ensure that we’re getting good value for our money.”