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Pemberton moves forward with new soccer field

News briefs: New Chamber president; airport repairs; Men's Shed funding

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The Village of Pemberton (VOP) is partnering with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District Area C to forge ahead on a new soccer field.

The site is a tract of land donated to the VOP by the Den Duyf family and is located on Pemberton Farm Road East. The family donated the land with the expressed purpose that it be used for recreation.

"Soccer is probably the single biggest sport for kids in our town," said VOP Mayor Mike Richman. "We want to make sure we have soccer fields for the future."

Richman said the VOP received a good deal on gravel and has used that to pre-load the site.

"Right now we are in the process of doing the exploration as to how much things are going to cost, whether we have the funds — and this is one of those projects we want to do without going to local taxation," he said.

The VOP will look at whether the project will include one or two soccer fields, whether artificial turf would be an option, and any related costs.

"As we get a better look at our costs, we'll have a better idea what we're able to do," said Richman.

President named

Graham Turner has been elected the new president of the Pemberton Chamber of Commerce and has his sights set on raising the profile of the village and the local possibilities.

Turner — retail operations manager for the Lil'wat Business Group — is the founder of Pemberton BMX and said the unique appeal of the area draws residents, but more work needs to be done to attract business to the industrial park, for example.

"People would love to set up shop there and create 50 jobs, but the Internet's not strong enough," he said. "We have to build that profile."

Graham said he'd also like to work on keeping locals in the area. "We're all taking our money out of this town to go recreate somewhere else. We all jump in our cars and head down to Whistler," he said.

VOP Mayor Richman said of the announcement: "Graham is a real community guy, so it will be good working with him."

Airport paving

A grant for nearly $195,000 for the Pemberton Regional Airport means that much-needed repairs to the asphalt can be completed.

In a March 28 announcement, West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA Jordan Sturdy said the funding from the B.C. Air Access Program will be used for repairs and an emergency access road.

"That money is going predominantly towards basically fixing the taxiway and the apron to repair some really large cracks in the asphalt, and the apron where passengers load and unload," said Richman. "It's for safety, as well as to preserve this important asset to our area."

Funding windfall

The Pemberton Valley Men's Shed has received a nearly $16,000 grant from Squamish Savings that will ensure the operation of the popular Tool Library.

"We're really happy about it — we're doing some pretty cool stuff," said Men's Shed member Bill Reynolds, who added the funding would also assist in popular workshops such as birdhouse and bat-box building.

Reynolds said the idea of a Men's Shed is proving popular, with new ones reportedly opening in Squamish and Coquitlam.

"It's a great idea — it's mainly for old men who don't know what to do with themselves when they retire," Reynolds said with a laugh.

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