"I think people have to realize that (boundary expansion) is not going to affect farm land. Farm land is protected by the Agricultural Land Reserve and will continue to be."
Alan LeBlanc and his family moved to the Pemberton Valley in 1959. As an adult, he chose to make the area his home. He is the owner of Albeth Contracting, a company specializing in concrete pre-mix and excavation.
"It was a wonderful experience growing up here. Its been a great place to live and I want to give something back," said LeBlanc of his decision to run for Electoral Area C director for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.
The sole candidate on the Valley Vision Leadership in Action slate not seeking a position on the Village of Pemberton council, LeBlanc will be going up against incumbent Susie Gimse.
While he and Gimse see eye to eye on many of the core issues affecting the community, their approaches are different.
In the more than 45 years LeBlanc has called the valley home, hes seen incredible growth. In terms of managing this growth, he believes a proactive stance has to be taken. On the issue of V.O.P. boundary expansion, LeBlanc believes the best way to define new boundaries is to follow existing infrastructure. For example, water lines are in place extending from the village out to the new sewage treatment plant and up the valley several kilometres.
"I think people have to realize that this is not going to affect farm land. Farm land is protected by the Agricultural Land Reserve and will continue to be," he says.
He sees opening up more land for potential development as integral to stoking the local economic engine. He sees both primary and secondary industry as having a place in the community, but feels the area is best positioned to capitalize on its existing natural assets.
"Weve got this incredible mountain community, weve got agricultural and weve got amenities like paragliding and extensive mountain bike trails. Were one of the last places that can offer real backcountry adventure," he said. "Weve got some of the best snowmobiling anywhere."
LeBlanc feels its essential that people really differentiate between the three levels of government.
"At the municipal level, government is really about neighbours helping neighbours."
LeBlanc feels it is essential that the three branches of local governments with jurisdiction in the Pemberton Valley the V.O.P. council, Mount Currie Band council and the SLRD have to increase communication. Asked about his strategies for increasing communication with the Lilwat Nation his response is at once straightforward and practical.
"It all begins with a cup of coffee, doesnt it? You start talking and you build relationships," he said.
He cites the example of the DArcy water system needing "a couple of hundred thousand dollars" to ensure its completion. First Nations stakeholders in the areas have not been included in the discussions. Opening up the doors to a co-operative venture may have seen the current funding issue as a non-issue.
Having resided in Pemberton most of his life, LeBlanc is well aware of the issues surrounding recreation.
"Weve been talking about an ice arena for 20 years," he said, noting that the land allocated for recreation now seems to have a plethora of projects attached to it. "Theyre talking community centre, a daycare, a skate park that should have been built last year that lands going to get pretty crowded."
Moreover, hes not certain that the most recent recreation study, commissioned by the joint services committee, really reflects what the community wants.
"Weve had enough studies, its time to act."