Pemberton council looks set to shelve its unpopular Pemberton Creek Community Power Project (CPP) for the time being, looking instead to developing a long-term energy plan and what the role of any potential run-of-river project would be alongside other energy producing options.
Chief administrative officer Daniel Sailland updated council at the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 18 on the recent Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) for the Pemberton Creek Project, saying seven commercial applicants had applied to be part of the village's CPP plan.
The council, which holds the license tenure for developing the creek, announced it was looking into the options of building a community power project at Pemberton Creek last winter. Considerable organized opposition to the plan grew in the community, with dozens indicating they were against it at an information open house in April.
"Throughout this process there has been a tremendous amount of community dialogue... We definitely struck a nerve in the community," Sailland said.
Though only a couple of concerned citizens attended the council meeting to listen to the discussion on the IPP, seventy-two Pemberton residents sent communications or signed petitions against the concept, with 60 more from Squamish-Lillooet Regional District Area C and two from outside the region.
Pemberton Creek would include a 12 to 15 MW run-of-river power plant providing enough power annually to cover twice the amount of total home energy now used in Pemberton, according to a public information sheet.
The timeframe for the project would be an engagement, construction and start-up process of four to 10 years followed by a 40-year operation lifetime of the plant. The village said its revenue from a 49 per cent stake in the project would be $800,000 in the 10th year. Overall project costs would come to $40 million to $50 million, with a minimum of $8 million cash investment and a loan of $32 million.
Sailland said that staff was concerned that the potential of the plan be explored within the five years remaining on the license from the provincial government to apply to build the Pemberton Creek CPP, before someone else is granted the option.
"As owners of the license, it is easier to dialogue with ourselves than from the other side of the table (with another party)," Sailland said.
Council supported the second of three motions put forward.
This means that in putting the RFEI on pause, the VOP would look at two things: the rate of water infiltration in the well catchment area, looking at the impact of diverting water from Pemberton Creek, which is the community's main source of potable water; and the exploration of a community energy plan for Pemberton, which could include a community power project.
Staff will gather further information based on the second motion, including looking at successes and failures in other community power projects such as Powell River, and present them at the last council meeting in July.
Village tables Annual Report for 2012
Chief administrative officer Daniel Sailland tabled Pemberton's Annual Report for 2012, "Reiterating our vision" at a Special Council Meeting on June 18.
The number one strategic priority outlined in the annual report was economic vitality in the community, followed by good governance, excellence in service and social responsibility.
Mayor Jordan Sturdy commended VOP staff for being "less shopping-list oriented" and for producing a clear, understandable report.
Sailland said the aim had been to streamline the processes and make the report more accessible.
Councillor Mike Richman said: "I think things are more efficient, where we don't get such a good grade... is that I would like to see improved relationships with Lil'wat Nation and the Chamber (of Commerce)."
Sturdy stepping back from SLRD, PVUS
Thanks to his new role as an MLA and junior minister in the provincial government of Christy Clark, Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy has been replaced as a director on the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) and on the Pemberton Valley Utilities Services committee (PVUS).
The replacements were selected at the regular council meeting on June 18.
Councillor Ted Craddock is the new SLRD representative for Pemberton, with Councillor Alan LeBlanc as his alternate.
Councillors Mike Richman and James Linkletter will join PVUS until the next appointments are made in six month's time.
Sturdy hopes he can manage to remain as mayor and carry out his provincial duties until the next municipal elections in 2014.