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Pemberton adopts four-pillar strategic plan

Economic development officer, affordable housing, airport key items for 2007

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By Patricia Westerholm

Pemberton has a plan for the future.

Now it’s up to council and staff to ensure that the plan is carried out.

Council voted Tuesday to adopt a strategic plan that outlines the community’s social, economic and environmental goals of the future.

The strategic plan has been in the works for several months. It was first presented to council last month and was approved in principle at that time. The plan was further reviewed and on June 5, was presented to the community at the Town Hall meeting.

Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy says the adoption of the plan is a positive step forward for the community, but the key now is to ensure that the action items outlined in the plan are carried out.

“This has been in the works for several months,” Sturdy said, adding that the adoption of the plan is only the beginning of what can ultimately be a very positive process for Pemberton.

“I think this is the beginning… of some achievement. It’s very well to have a plan, but you need to put the plan in place.”

The strategic plan “aspires to set a stable course for Pemberton, balancing social, economic and environmental goals to ensure the Village maintains its unique character and enviable quality of life. It builds on current projects and achievements, and provides immediate, short and longer term actions.”

The plan centres on four pillars: social sustainability, economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and good governance. It outlines action items to achieve each goal in the upcoming years and performance measures to ensure that the work is done.

“This is a framework,” Sturdy said. “One of the biggest benefits of the plan is that it gives staff the opportunity to understand what council wants to achieve.”

In the plan, Social Sustainability is identified as “the striving to create a strong and vibrant community, recognizing the importance and benefits Pemberton derives from an engaged healthy citizenry. Residents take pleasure in a quality of life, supported by walkability, community gathering spaces, and access to trails and recreation. Citizens are engaged and empowered — enjoying volunteering opportunities, involvement in community groups, and municipal support for community-driven initiatives. Elders are valued, and the community strives to support a multi-generational and healthy mix of families, singles, and seniors.”

The actions identified to support social sustainability include:

• Enhancing Pemberton’s walkability, through stroller-friendly sidewalks, bike lanes, trails plans, and handicapped accessibility;

• Supporting affordable housing through the development of an affordable housing policy that will ensure a diverse range of options while also providing developer incentives to value resident affordability;

• Investing in recreational assets such as One Mile Lake, the development of the community centre and future projects such as skate, bike and water park developments;

• Supporting a multi-generational community; in conjunction with the Seniors’ Society, the Lions Club and the Mount Currie band, the Village will develop a plan to become a senior-friendly community. The Village will also support and facilitate the process for development of the Lions land into seniors’ housing;

• Creating cultural opportunities;

• Building relationships with First Nations.

Economic sustainability, as outlined in the plan, is “a commitment to make decisions that are fiscally responsible and that balance the short term needs of the community against their long-term impacts. It also means valuing and supporting a diversified economy.”

Actions to support economic sustainability include:

• Supporting the downtown revitalization and beautification through the creation of gathering places, additional green space, accessible parking, linked trails and upgraded sidewalk;

• Undertaking a strategic plan for the airport. The Airport Authority has been incorporated and $100,000 secured to develop a strategic plan. This process will be initiated this year. The consulting contract has been awarded to Intervistas and the deadline is Sept. 30;

• Secondary access to downtown;

• Support of Tourism Pemberton;

• Leveraging Olympic opportunities; plans include the hiring of an economic development officer;

• Exploring the Village boundaries and the viability of boundary expansion.

Also identified in the plan is environmental sustainability, which “acknowledges our interdependence with the natural world, and the enhanced quality of life Pembertonians enjoy because of the region’s natural assets, clean air and water, and accessibility of nature. The Village aspires to protect the integrity of our environment through education initiatives and the efficient management of our resources.”

Actions identified to support environmental sustainability include:

• Supporting the Pemberton Environmental Interpretive Centre on One Mile Lake;

• Phasing in water metering to encourage water conservation and responsible consumption;

• Valuing energy neutrality. The Village will establish an ad hoc community environmental task force to identify opportunities to green Pemberton, and explore conducting an energy audit of the Village operations;

• Exploring renewable green energy.

Good governance is the fourth pillar of the strategic plan and is identified as “a commitment to open and accountable government, to integrity in action, citizen engagement and fiscal responsibility. The Village is committed to delivering municipal services at the highest possible level, within the scope of our resources.”

Action items identified to support good governance include:

• Promoting open channels of communication;

• Developing a secondary well;

• Encouraging recycling and responsible waste management;

• Alternative sources of funding to meet the community’s infrastructure

needs will be explored;

• Community visioning; The Village will host an Imagine Pemberton workshop and an open house community mapping project.

In addition to identifying the four pillars and outlining action items for each, the strategic plan also provides performance measures for each category with clearly defined goals for 2007 and 2008.

Sturdy admits that the community of Pemberton is facing many challenges in the coming years. It is his hope that the newly adopted strategic plan will help guide the community on a positive course for the future.

For Sturdy, one of the key elements of the plan is the performance measure checklist.

“We are starting to work through the performance measures,” Sturdy said. “Some will move more quickly than others. It’s almost like a checklist of what we need to get done, within the context of our financial situation,” he said. “I don’t think anything we have listed is unachievable.”

Some of the key items for 2007 include the hiring of the economic development officer, moving forward with the creation of a strategic plan for the airport and the creation of an affordable housing strategy.

“We have a unique opportunity here,” Sturdy said. “We have a great community… we just have to manage it well.”

For more information about the Village of Pemberton Strategic Plan, visit municipal hall or www.pemberton.ca .