It was standing room only at Tuesday night’s town hall meeting in Pemberton, as residents filled the Royal Canadian Legion, chatting with friends and neighbours, while eyeing posters proclaiming: “Getting to know your village.”
Residents were encouraged to draw their suggestions and ideas for the community on a map at the front of the room during the second town hall meeting of the year, dubbed “An Imagined Pemberton Evening”.
The mayor and councillors spoke on a number of issues, including the future of the local airport, the Winds of Change initiatives, the progress of the community centre, water issues, and boundary extension. They also invited comments and questions from residents, many of whom had tough querries about the progress and cost of some of the bigger ongoing projects.
Some residents seemed concerned about the cost of the new community centre, and the progress on the lot across from the centre, which will house a skate park, childcare centre, parking, a water park, and an amphitheatre.
One resident also questioned the future of the old community centre, which Mayor Jordan Sturdy explained was a bit uncertain, as it is currently owned by the school board.
Another popular topic was the issue of boundary extension. Sturdy explained that it is a multi-step process, which involves defining a precise boundary, consulting with constituents and other stakeholders, and obtaining approval from the Ministry of Community Services.
At this point, they are still working on deciding which areas to include in their request to the ministry, and are receiving requests for inclusion from property owners. Sturdy said they are expecting opposition from the SLRD, but hope to reach an arrangement that works for all areas, as the whole idea is to enhance the community.
But some residents seemed frustrated by the “phased approach” council is taking towards boundary extension, suggesting they take steps to amalgamate all of Area C and the village.
Sturdy agreed this would be ideal, but said it would be a drawn out process, taking anywhere from five to 10 years to accomplish.
In the meantime, they plan to move forward with their extension plans, hope to have a defined map within a month, and make their application to the ministry by Christmas.