The Pemberton Community Centre is safe. That’s the message PCC manager Linda Brown wants to get out to the community.
A series of recent anonymous complaints about the fire, electrical and air quality safety of the facility have led to investigations that have now been completed to the satisfaction of all regulatory bodies involved.
“The fire department cited two problems. One, the metal shop hallway needed to be cleared out and 500-plus arena seats that belong to PACA needed to be taken out of the attic,” explained Brown.
The centre administrator is committed to having the seats removed by year’s end.
The electrical inspection revealed a number of inadequacies with the system, consistent with a building of that age. The PCC contracted with North Star Electric to fix the problems and the wiring has since been deemed up to code.
Air quality issues have long been used as a rationale for a new centre or daycare facility.
“The building was tested for harmful omissions and mould spores. No harmful omissions were found,” said Brown.
Brown points out that some people think that test was irrelevant because it was done during the summer months when moulds are not prevalent.
“It doesn’t matter what time of year the test is down, spores are detected if spores are present, dormant or not,” said Brown.
VOP director of services Dave Allen concurred that the air quality report showed that the results were in the acceptable range and the building’s air quality did not pose a health hazard.
“We’re operating a tight ship,” said Brown. “What shape is everything in? Quite good I’d say.”
A recent surprise visit by Coast Health Authority Inspector Angie Spitz revealed that everything was indeed, in good shape.
While the new community centre received a boost with the affirmative vote on the recreation referendum on Nov. 19, Brown points out the PCC will be used until the new site is completed and commissioned.
“We don’t have a date,” said Brown. “Once there’s a plan in place, we will be able to say. But at this point we don’t even have drawings.”
While the new community centre will certainly go ahead, this does not mean the existing facility, with its gymnasium and playing fields, will fall by the wayside. In fact one of the options is to retain the gymnasium and adjacent washrooms as a field house, staffed only when events necessitate staffing.
“We hope to acquire the fields and building from the SLRD,” said Brown.
Brown’s boss, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District administrator Paul Edgington, confirmed this in an e-mail stating: “The SLRD is in negotiations to purchase the land from the School District No. 48.”
“There’s a definite conversation,” said Brown. “All efforts are being made to retain a portion of the building. At this point, there is no concrete plan. With the new council in place the direction might change more positively.”
While the particulars of the centre’s fate are unknown at this time, what is known is that the facility is well used. This year 1,742 people have taken part in programs at the centre, there have been another 2,024 drop-in visits, 55 kids attended summer day camps and another 50 are in the centre’s after school care.