Tempers flared at Tuesday’s Village of Pemberton meeting, when SLRD board chair, Russ Oakley, mentioned the fire service agreement issues that are outstanding between the SLRD and the village.
Oakley was in the process of updating council on progress made in the region since January, when he last addressed council, and brought forward the notion that the village and the SLRD had to work together to “think more regionally.”
While Oakley said a recent suggestion to involve the province in the controversy may be needed to expedite matters, Councillor Mark Blundell argued the issue could be resolved by adopting an agreement similar to the arrangement between Furry Creek and Squamish.
Oakley responded that the situation in Furry Creek is different from a rural area, and while staff has been directed to work with the VoP to reach an agreement, the SLRD board hasn’t intervened because the issue is mainly between Area C and the VoP.
But both parties seemed to agree that, at the pace things are moving, fire service will likely be discontinued, because the issue won’t be resolved by the Dec. 31 deadline, and the areas in question may be without fire service for the upcoming year.
“It’s been a frustrating issue and it’s taken far too long to resolve,” said Oakley, adding that he hoped intervention from the province may lead to a short-term resolution.
New well coming
Council passed a motion to proceed with drilling and testing a new production well in Premier Park.
Sturdy said the new well appears to have a good supply of quality water, as it is from the same aquifer as the existing well, and drilling could start as soon as next Wednesday.
At the town hall meeting Tuesday evening, Councillor Mark Blundell explained that drilling a new well is an important step for the community, as they are down to just one now, and if that went down, the village would only have a 12 hour supply of water.
Blundell said an $80,000 grant was given to the municipality, and $72,000 of that grant would be allocated to drilling the well.
The overall budget for the project will be about $1 million, and Blundell said the village has applied for two grants to help cover costs. They hope to have the new well complete by 2008.
Blundell also confirmed at the meeting that the water from both the existing and new wells will be treated to prevent water quality problems.
Water metering coming
The village has opted to slowly move forward with water metering, but has dismissed the idea of universal metering after a study by Earth Tech Inc. showed the process wouldn’t be cost effective.
Instead, the consultants offered a number of alternative changes the village could make immediately to work towards metering in a more “cautionary manner,” explained Councillor Blundell.
Some of the suggestions include ensuring new construction includes installation of meters, a leak detection and repair program, and considering mandatory watering restrictions during summer months.
One of the recommendations is that the village first move to industrial enforcement, then to voluntary residential.
Sturdy agreed that retrofitting the entire village with meters would not be cost effective, but suggested incentives may be used to entice residents to add metering systems.
Intern coming with spring
Staff at the Village of Pemberton will have an intern among their ranks in the spring.
Pemberton was one of five local governments chosen to host an intern through the Local Government Management Association’s new internship program.
More than 21 applications for the program were received. In addition to Pemberton, the Village of Burns Lake, Town of Ladysmith, City of Nelson and District of Saanich will receive $36,000 grants to host an intern. Each local government will also contribute towards salaries and training.
The Local Government Management Association will now focus on selecting interns for the 12-month placements who have recently completed their post-secondary education.
Applications from prospective interns will be received until Jan. 15, 2008, and will then be sent to the five local governments to select their interns.