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Final approval pending for Pemberton Music Festival permit

Council awaits word from Agricultural Land Commission

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The next Temporary Use Permit (TUP) for the Pemberton Music Festival is closer to gaining complete approval after a council meeting Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Although Village of Pemberton (VOP) council has general support for the TUP, it couldn't yet pass as council is awaiting referral comments from the Agricultural Land Commission.

"Council basically showed general support for moving forward with another TUP," said VOP Mayor Mike Richman following the meeting. "There was a big conversation on conditions to make sure that the social and economic impacts are mitigated — and that locals are looked after."

The council meeting was moved to the Pemberton Community Centre in order to accommodate residents who wanted to ask questions. Richman said the question-and-answer session lasted more than an hour.

"For the most part, there are concerns that come out about the protection of the rivers, protection of the agricultural land — and they were all really good comments," he said. They are all things that I think we are dealing with in the conditions of the TUP."

Council's report on the TUP includes consultations with government ministries, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, Lil'Wat Nation, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, RCMP, farmers' market and the local Pemberton Valley Dyking District — among others — for input and recommendations.

"These are tough decisions," Richman said. "It's obvious the economic impact of this festival is undeniable. It's a huge economic driver in our area and it's our job to balance the environmental and social impact."

Richman said council is making calls to the ALC to try to get approval, which could be in place by the next council meeting next month.

The TUP for the music festival would be another three-year term, as it was when previously granted in 2014. For 2017, festival organizers are targeting 60,000 participants — an increase from roughly 45,000 in 2016, 28,000 in 2015 and almost 20,000 in 2014. Huka Entertainment's agent, David Buttrey, has said the 60,000 will be achieved over the three-year period.

The festival sites — as in previous years — will be maintained as is, with the main venue of 45 hectares (111 acres) and a handful of additional nearby lots used for camping and parking.

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