The Village of Pemberton council has decided to disband the airport committee in favour of laying the groundwork for the Pemberton Valley Airport Authority (PVAA). Councillors David MacKenzie and Mark Blundell will be representing the VOP on the newly formed, airport governance committee.
A brief from chief administrative officer Lori Pilon, described the new committee to be established under the B.C. Societies Act that would operate as a "quasi-independent agency."
"This committee only has a mandate of one or two months," said VOP deputy clerk Sheena Fraser.
The singular goal of the governance committee will be to develop and recommend terms of reference and membership for the PVAA.
The previous committee was comprised of representatives throughout the Sea to Sky corridor, with few members residing in, or doing business in, Pemberton. This new committee appears to be weighted in favour of members of the Pemberton community. In addition to the two VOP council members, there will also be a VOP member at large position open to the public and representation from either Tourism Pemberton or the Pemberton Chamber of Commerce.
Further Pemberton Valley representation will come in the form of a Mt. Currie Band council appointee and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District’s Area C director Susie Gimse. Whistler will have two seats on the committee, the appointees to be decided by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Whistler, Whistler-Blackcomb and the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
Pilon’s brief had outlined three possible scenarios that could facilitate the management of the airport. The first option was to develop a department within the VOP; the second was the PVAA model, which was adopted; the third option was to create a private-public partnership (P3). According to the brief, the P3 model has not been applied at any Canadian airport.
In May 2005, council adopted a land use plan for the area. Guidelines for implementation of this plan are expected by the end of summer.
Blundell, long a proponent of the airport, was delighted with the decision to move towards creating the PVAA, a move he said was "two years in the making." The third term councillor has often spoken of the role the amenity can play in transportation for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The airport is currently capable of facilitating aircraft as large as DC-8s.