There’s nothing quite like a discussion about local recreation that gets Pemberton Valley residents to speak up, and that was exactly the goal at last Wednesday’s (Nov. 14) community consultation and open house.
About 120 people attended the session at the Pemberton Community Centre last week, with discussions focused on future recreation facilities for the region, hosted by the Village of Pemberton and Lil’wat Nation.
The two local jurisdictions are expecting to see a recreation feasibility study on the topic from Canlan Ice Sports Corp. to arrive in their offices soon, but last week’s meeting was a chance for folks to say what they’d like to see — be it a rink, a pool, a field house, or something else — and where they’d like it to go.
“The objective was really to see if we had missed anything,” said Mayor Jordan Sturdy. “We wanted to make sure we covered things so that when we do go into the feasibility analysis that we’re covering the issues and items the public wants us to consider.
“The idea wasn’t get to get solutions, it was to make sure we identify all the priorities.”
Chief administrative officer Daniel Sailland said the feedback received during the event — which also featured short focus groups with attendees — was “quite good,” with some different suggestions, such as a running track or theatre stage, offered beyond the obvious choices.
Coun. James Linklater said he was encouraged by the turnout at last week’s consultation, not just by the number of attendees but by the diversity of voices that were heard.
“There’s the same cast of characters that comes out to community events, but there was a different demographic there, particularly young families,” he said.
With a new major recreation amenity likely still years away, it is those young families and youth within the community who will ultimately benefit from the end result of all brainstorming. With that in mind, village staff members were pleased to see Pemberton-area students participate in the discussion during a special lunch-hour session at the high school.
“They were all really engaged,” said Caroline Lamont, manager of development services, who led the school session and heard some unique ideas. “I was at a table of skateboarders and they said, ‘If we do a field house, can we have indoor skate skills? Because we can’t do that in the winter.’
“It was really great.”
Though a second session that was scheduled for last Thursday (Nov. 15) in Mount Currie had to be cancelled, the discussion continues online. Pemberton’s new Have Your Say website launched last week, where community members are encouraged to post further thoughts about their wishes for recreation facilities. Anonymous submissions have been filling the site since, with suggestions made about facilities in general, but also on the approach that local authorities should consider once an idea is settled upon.
Go to www.haveyoursay.pemberton.ca to add your comments or view the community recommendations.
The feasibility study is due in December, and Sturdy said its findings and the feedback online and in last week’s session will be further examined before more community consultation sessions take place in the New Year.