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Pemberton boundary expansion approved

Four years in the making, province approves expansion into 20 new parcels of land



It took four years, two consultant reports, many rounds of consultation and a nearly $25,000 handout to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

But finally, the Village of Pemberton's boundary expansion approval came in the form of a letter from Queen Elizabeth II.

The provincial government has approved the expansion of its municipal boundaries into 20 new parcels of land, a development that could net it between $180,000 and $200,000 in annual property tax revenue.

"It's a bit of a relief to finally have this thing sorted out," Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy said at a Tuesday council meeting. "It's not entirely complete in that we don't benefit from taxation this year. Because of all the delays, we lose another $190,000 this year as a result of the timeline."

With the expansion approved, the Village of Pemberton gets both new tax revenue and the ability to make land use decisions around the properties in question. Before they were in the purview of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and property taxes went to the provincial government. Directors with the regional district often took positions that were anterior to the Village's expectations around development.


The properties include various agricultural and residential parcels along Airport Road; the Rutherford Creek run-of-river facility on Highway 99, just outside Pemberton; and the Ravens Crest property, which is slated for development of a housing development and an international private school by the GEMS organization.


The expansion had to jump through many bureaucratic hoops before being realized. The Village of Pemberton held one of its first information sessions around the proposal in the summer of 2008, where a consultant with Stantec presented a report showing Pemberton could take in up to $250,000 in tax revenue annually.


The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District later commissioned its own report, contracting Sussex Consultants Ltd. to look into the tax implications of the Village expanding its boundaries. That report determined that the regional district could lose $13,000 in revenue due to the expansion, money it would have to make up by cutting services or raising taxes.


The province also asked the Village to do more consultation around the proposal. It went through an Alternative Approval Process that saw them carry out more talks with the neighbouring Mount Currie Band, which ultimately passed a resolution registering its lack of opposition to the proposal.


The application was then bounced back to the province for approval.


The Sussex report ultimately proved a sticking point in discussion between the Village and the regional district. After much wrangling back and forth, with Sturdy accusing the regional district of obstructing its application, the Village ultimately agreed to hand over $24,396 to mitigate its financial concerns around the proposal.