The parameters of what the village would like to see in proposals for development of a community power project on Pemberton Creek will be revealed to the public later this month.
Pemberton council revealed that information during the rise and report period of Tuesday’s council meeting, the first of 2013. A Request For Expression of Interest (RFEI) is expected to appear at the council table for endorsement during its Jan. 22 meeting.
“We discussed it in camera today in terms of the details on the Request For Expression of Interest and asked staff to bring forward a report and (the RFEI) for council to approve,” Mayor Jordan Sturdy said following Tuesday night’s (Jan. 8) meeting.
“We felt it’s important to bring it forward in a public meeting.”
Though Sturdy could not comment on the details of what was discussed in camera, he said it was “fair to say” that the session gave council members a chance to provide input on what guidelines they’d like to see included in the RFEI.
Development of the RFEI has been controversial since council first voted to have staff compose one in November. A petition signed by more than 100 residents was delivered to council in December, with signees expressing concerns over environmental impacts and other potential problems associated with a run-of-river hydro facility on Pemberton Creek. Council has maintained throughout the process that the purpose of the RFEI is to explore what options are available for such a project, and does not indicate a commitment to pursue one.
Vandals, drunks could get fines
Further discussions with local RCMP officials are expected to take place before a Nuisance Bylaw comes to the council table for initial readings.
The draft bylaw — which would allow the village to impose fines for inappropriate behaviour such as vandalism, littering, public drunkenness and more — appeared before council for the first time during Tuesday’s committee of the whole session.
An accompanying staff report said that, without the bylaw, issuing criminal charges is currently the only way that RCMP can address those types of inappropriate incidents.
But with a bylaw in place, said the report, officers would have “options in dealing with people” beyond the Criminal Code, as fines could be issued for offences deemed to be minor.
“Is breaking a limb off a tree a Criminal Code offence? Perhaps you could stretch it to that, but is that really the direction we would want to go?” said Sturdy. “It seems a bit dramatic for something that is more of an irritant than anything else.”
Sturdy said Tuesday’s discussion among council members was focused on if the legislation may put more strain on the village’s bylaw services department, which already struggles with enforcement due to lower-than-ideal staffing levels.
However, Sturdy said the RCMP have indicated that they would support the bylaw and council expressed a desire to discuss the issue with police further before moving ahead.
Local RCMP officials will be invited to a future committee of the whole session to provide their input on the draft bylaw before it takes any other steps toward adoption.
Cultural roundtable members needed
The village is still looking for members to join Pemberton’s Cultural Roundtable after interest was lower than hoped during last month’s call for committee members.
The purpose of the roundtable group is to help with the implementation of the Pemberton & Area Cultural Plan, which was compiled in 2011 after consultation with community groups and other stakeholders in the Pemberton-Area C-Mount Currie region. The plan provides strategies for government and community members to promote cultural assets within the Spud Valley.
The plan recommends the formation of the roundtable in order to use a “team approach” bringing all of those invested in Pemberton’s cultural scene together, with the hope of creating synergies between local groups.
Village communications coordinator Jill Brooksbank, co-author of the cultural plan, said the committee will hopefully meet at the end of February once all committee positions are filled.
Contact Brooksbank before Jan. 17 at 604-894-6135 or firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in becoming a roundtable member or to learn more about the initiative.