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Pemberton area leader wants Ironman legacy

Residents support the construction of cycling lanes on the Meadows Road



Ironman Canada returns in July and Pemberton valley residents most impacted by the race are looking for future changes. Those with homes along the Pemberton Meadows Road couldn’t get on or off their properties for as much as six hours on race day last year.

Susie Gimse, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) representative for Area C, is lobbying on behalf of residents in her area for a legacy that will help ease the pain for residents on the Meadows Road.

“People are willing to live with whole road closures if there’s some kind of a legacy and one of the suggestions was cycling lanes,” Gimse said at the most recent SLRD board meeting. “At the end of five years if there’s a cycling lane that increases the safety and access on that road then maybe it’s worth it.”

The SLRD chief administrative officer, Lynda Flynn, said she and other SLRD staff members met recently with Keats McGonigal and Evan Taylor of Ironman to discuss plans for next year. According to Flynn, minor route tinkering is planned to reduce impacts but no major changes were discussed for the race on July 27, the weekend after the Pemberton Music Festival.

Flynn learned from the Ironman organizers that they don’t build roads or trails but they do advocate on behalf of race communities looking for infrastructure improvements.

Flynn said a response letter is going to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) as part of the MOTI effort to debrief from the race last year and prepare for the 2014 event.

In anticipation of the Ironman discussion at the SLRD meeting late last month the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Pemberton wrote letters to the board to share their support for the event. Both organizations recognized how the race disrupts business and daily life for many Pemberton and area residents but both also pointed out the event brings significant exposure to the area as a tourist destination.

Check back online and in print on Thursday for more from Pique on this issue.