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Joint council meeting a first

Goodwill abounds between both Pemberton Valley governments



Local governments in the Pemberton Valley entered a new era of cooperation on June 14 when the Mt. Currie Band and Village of Pemberton held the first joint council meeting to discuss issues affecting both communities.

"This would not have been possible even a decade ago," Chief Leonard Andrews said of the meeting.

He attributed the renewed goodwill to joint initiatives the two communities have undertaken, such as the development of the "Winds of Change: A Healing Vision" document.

VOP Mayor Elinor Warner echoed Chief Andrews’ sentiments, and expressed the hope that through working together the communities could return to a time when the communities were more unified.

"The more we work together on things, the more benefits we bring to each community," said Mayor Warner.

Both councils’ willingness to collaborate was evident through the swift and unanimous passage of motions including: striking a joint working group to investigate potential 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games legacies for the valley; adopting the principles outlined in the "Winds of Change"; and endorsing the Mt. Currie-Pemberton Friendship Trail.

"Winds of Change" co-chairs MCB Councillor Joanne John and Mayor Warner have been presenting the drug and alcohol strategy report to various groups throughout the communities. Both women acknowledged the positive impact the document is having in the valley, citing the creation of alcohol-free, family events such as the recent Fun Day and Second Annual Pemberton Folk Festival where the document was readily available.

"The books were definitely being picked up," noted festival organizer and VOP Councillor Richard Doucet.

"We, as community leaders, have to model the report in a way that is visible to both communities," emphasized Councillor John during the discussion of the motion.

Sheldon Tetreault, MCBC senior administrator, noted the role the "Winds of Change" played the development of the proposal for The Friendship Trail. Tetreault is one of four members of the Sea-to-Sky Leadership cohort who developed the proposal for a 7.2 km trail linking the neighbouring communities.

"We saw this project as a way of increasing recreational opportunities and building stronger social relationship," said Tetreault. Creating healthy communities through increased recreation and socialization are two of the reports 13 principles.

The meeting concluded with a motion to establish a formal protocol agreement between the MCB council and VOP council, moved by Chief Andrews, seconded by Mayor Warner and passed unanimously.

While the terms of the protocol agreement will be defined in the coming months, Warner expressed her hope that the two governments would continue to meet on a semi-annual basis.