With work underway on the long-awaited downtown enhancement project, the Village of Pemberton (VOP) is working in coordination with business owners to minimize the impact.
"Staff has been working really, really hard with the local business owners," said VOP Mayor Mike Richman. "We totally get that this is going to be a disruptive project. There is no real way around that when you do this scope of work."
The downtown enhancement project will see the rehabilitation of Birch, Frontier, Aster and Prospect streets, as well as the replacement of aged, underground piping.
The project also includes new storm-water and catchment systems, and the installation of new sidewalk LED street lights throughout the downtown core.
To facilitate the work, traffic will be redirected from various streets throughout the summer.
The road construction will by no means shut down Pemberton in its busy summer tourist season, said Richman. "We are fully open for business all summer, and we can't wait for the tourist season to begin," he said.
Despite the roadwork, there will be plenty of parking for people to access, added Richman.
"We've tried to lay it out in a way where parking gets replaced as parking gets removed," he said, adding that VOP staff has been working with business owners to accommodate deliveries, and to release a tentative project timeline.
Mark Mendonca, president of Tourism Pemberton, and Graham Turner, president of the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce, commended the VOP's communication with business operators on the file.
There are some concerns, however, particularly when it comes to temporary water outages, said Mendonca.
That point was echoed by Kirsten McLeod, owner of the Pemberton Valley Supermarket.
"I can't operate a grocery store without water," she said. "Vancouver Coastal Health will not let any food establishment operate without water."
McLeod said she has been notified that there will likely be three occasions when her water will be temporarily shut down, with the outages expected to last between six and eight hours.
"If (the outages) are outside of our operating hours, we wouldn't (have to close down)," she said, adding that the grocery store is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, with staff arriving at about 6 a.m.
McLeod is looking forward to the end product. "I'm definitely looking forward to safe sidewalks, (just) to safely get around," she said.
Ivan Knowles, owner of Spud Valley Sporting Goods, said he is most concerned about dust control.
"We get an afternoon wind blowing through town, it's just going to make dust," he said. "They are going to have to be on top of that ... and do what they can to ensure that there is some form of topping being applied right away to the holes they are digging."
With the right approach, the VOP can mitigate the issue, said Knowles. "If they stay on top of it, and they control the dust ... people will be more inclined to walk the community. But if that's not happening, people don't want to be walking in a dusty environment—that's for sure."
Mobilization for the project is already underway, and the VOP has released a projected timeline, which may change due to "inclement weather, material delays, and other unforeseen circumstances."
• Mid May: work on Frontier Street to begin (road work, sidewalk work, irrigation, and landscaping)
• End of May: work on Aster Street to begin (road work, sidewalk work, electrical work, and landscaping)
• Mid June: work on Birch Street and John Currie Lane to begin (road work, sidewalk work, electrical works, irrigation, landscaping, water main works)
• Beginning of July: work on Prospect Street to begin (road work, sidewalk work, electrical works, irrigation installed, landscaping, water main works, retaining wall installation on the west side)
• End of July: general work to begin (road works, sidewalk works, electrical works, landscaping, water main works)
• Fall: project completion
For more information on the project and up-to-date road closures please see the VOP's website: https://www.pemberton.ca/municipal-services/2019-downtown-enhancement-project.