News » Whistler

Industrial park and VOP reach agreement on services

Community benefits could include secondary community water source, more tax revenue



"This is a plan that council sees as having long-term economic benefits to the community."

–David Allen, VOP director of development

While many of the Pemberton industrial park’s property owners feel that services are long overdue, Mountain Building Centres’ Brian McIntosh said for his company, the timing is about right.

McIntosh is referring to the recent agreement struck between industrial park property owners and the Village of Pemberton to address the park’s water and sewer needs.

"Our plan has always been to move to the industrial park when we’ve fulfilled our lease considerations," said McIntosh, co-owner of the local building supply chain. "But this change certainly warrants the property more useful. A holding tank system would not have been that desirable. It would have been an additional cost."

Mountain Building Centres, which has stores in Squamish and Whistler, has been operating from a 3,000 sq. ft. facility in Pemberton. The new store, projected to open in the industrial park in 2007, will be between 10,000 and 15,000 sq. ft.

"While the timing will probably be perfect for us, we’re 100 per cent behind Cam (McIvor) and what he’s been doing to move this forward," says McIntosh.

While the building supply company has not been negatively affected by servicing issues, others, including a car wash and a Re-Use It Centre, have been in a holding pattern pending servicing and the resolution of development cost charges (DCC). Currently, fewer than a dozen of the 69 lots in the 10-year-old industrial park have been developed.

Businessman Cam McIvor attributes the historical lack of economic activity in the park to the necessity of holding tanks and prohibitive DCC. For example, a holding tank suitable for a 6,000 sq. ft. building, can cost between $16,000 and $18,000 to install and have an additional annual service cost up to $4,500. According to McIvor, whose offices are located at the industrial park, the current DCC for that size of building could be as high as $60,000.

However, this is due to change because of an agreement reached June 14 by the Village of Pemberton and the industrial park’s owners. The group reached consensus on exploring an option from a report produced by Kamloops’s Urban Systems. The plan takes into account the park’s needs at build out – a process that could take 25 years. Currently 32 individuals or corporations own land within the park, including the VOP that holds title to a two-acre parcel. The agreement calls for the implementation of a cost-sharing plan that will see the industrial park taking on two-thirds of the estimated $3.9 million project.